Pixies/Nirvana producer Steve Albini has slammed Amanda Palmer after she asked for fans to play in her live band for free.
Palmer, who is also the singer in the Dresden Dolls, hit the headlines earlier this year when she managed to raise over $1.2 million to release her new album via online fundraiser site Kickstarter.
She is now touring in support of the album, which is titled ‘Theatre Is Evil’, and has asked for “professional-ish horns and strings” musicians to join her onstage in each stop of the tour.
By way of payment, the singer said that she would offer: “We will feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch, and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make.”
This clearly rankled Albini, who posted a lengthy rant on forum Electrical Audio, saying that he believed that if “you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot.”
He wrote of Palmer’s request for unpaid help: “I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other, but I wouldn’t stoop to doing any of them myself. The reason I don’t appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even from an audience.”
He continued: “If your position is that you aren’t able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot. Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn’t know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience’s threshold.”
Palmer herself has since responded to the criticism, telling the New York Times that she believed the backlash was “absurd”.
She said: “If you could see the enthusiasm of these people, the argument would become invalid. They’re all incredibly happy to be here. They fundamentally believe it’s worth their time and energy to show up at this gig. To me it seems absurd, If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where’s the problem?”
Amanda Palmer will undertake a UK tour later this year, playing three UK shows on the trek as part of a full European tour.
The run of shows kicks off at London’s Koko on October 23 before the singer travels to Manchester to play the city’s Cathedral on October 24. She ends her short UK run with a gig at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on October 25.