Steve Albini Apologises For Labelling Amanda Palmer An 'Idiot'

Pixies/Nirvana producer Steve Albini has apologised to Amanda Palmer after he seemingly branded her an idiot for asking fans to play in her live band for free.

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Pixies/Nirvana producer Steve Albini has apologised to Amanda Palmer after he seemingly branded her an idiot for asking 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."

Albini seemed rankled by Palmer's plea and posted a lengthy rant on forum Electric Audio, stating 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."

However, he has now published another post on the same forum to clarify his stance. "Well, since the new journalism is just re-posting what other people have lifted from message boards and twitter, there are probably going to be a hundred or so stories on the web with headlines like 'Steve Albini calls Amanda Palmer an idiot,' so I'd better make my position on that clear," he wrote. "I don't think Amanda Palmer is an idiot, and it was rude and sloppy of me to make that impression. I'm sorry Amanda Palmer, the internet is going to tell you that I think you're an idiot, and while that's not true, it's my fault."

In the lengthy post, he went on to add: "I have no problem with bands using participant financing schemes like Kickstarter and such. I've said many times that I think they're part of the new way bands and their audience interact and they can be a fantastic resource, enabling bands to do things essentially in cooperation with their audience. It's pretty amazing actually.

"It should be obvious also that having gotten over a million dollars from such an effort that it is just plain rude to ask for further indulgences from your audience, like playing in your backing band for free."

He then concluded: "F--k's sake a million dollars is a sh-tload of money. How can you possibly not have a bunch laying around after people just gave you a million dollars? I saw a breakdown about where the money went a while ago, and most everything in it was absurdly inefficient, including paying people to take care of spending the money itself, which seems like a crazy moebius strip of waste."

Meanwhile, Palmer has also responded to crticicism of her request by posting an open letter in response to musician Amy Vaillancourt-Sals, who initially hit out at the former Dresden Doll for asking musicians to play for free. Talking about accusations that she was devaluing other musicians and their work, she said: "I get the impression that they see me as a force of evil who is miseducating the public to think that 'music should be free'. Here's what i think about all that, and it also applies to this paid/non-paid musician kerfuffle: YOU HAVE TO LET ARTISTS MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT HOW THEY SHARE THEIR TALENT AND TIME."

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.

Thanks for the report to

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I like Steve Albinis work, but if one of my favourite bands offered to let me play with them for a night I'd jump at the opportunity!
    yes but one of your favorite bands doesnt want you. It would want you if you where good enough to be paid. worked hard to have a well crafted performing skill. "proffesional-ish". Your favorite band: "youd need to show up for a quickie rehearsal (the parts are pretty simple) in the afternoon, then come back around for the show!" aka - you to pay for your own transportation twice. - take a whole day of from work, that is if you dont live in your parents basement. - Pay for your own food - Spend time outside of rehersal learning the music - audition "so please include in your email some proof of that (a link to you playing on a real stage would be great, or a resume will do." - disregard 1 mill charity - Not get paid or recompensed for time/skills/money spent - Not get paid and profited over seriously guys you need some healthy skepticism. how can you even form you opinion with out reading the full story? i assume you are also going to make opinions on that mohamed video on youtube because you vaguely heard something in the news.
    What!? NO! You mean to say there will be websites that post up whatever gossip they pick up on the internet and claim it news? I, personally, would never join a website like that, nor would I feed into their tabloid fervor by posting comments for no reason. ****.
    God forbid there be musicians out there that will play music just for the sake of playing music! So you wanna go play some horn parts with the singer of Dresden Dolls without making her pay you? Then f*** you! Get your priorities straight
    Thats not the point. She is infact an idiot. If you cant manage to make money off of what you do for a living... especially and pretty much exclusively to do with the fact that you were given as much leway as 1 million, free money let me be redundant, not fronted she doesnt have to pay back or share,free 100% profit,has not worked for pocket money. Then you should save the humiliation and just refrain from managing your own solo career. If read the articles youll see, shes asking this because she foolishly wasted money with poor decision making/execution. "where the money went " Its pretty clear that she doesnt have the proper means anymore to hire musicians. The way she words it also is "we'll pay you whatever little way we can" not "I want to give fans back/ unique oportunity to share..". being gratefull for getting not giving out. Its just extremelly wrong to keep asking for handouts when you are in a possition where you and your actions are impressionable to others and younger people and not in trouble. Her response does not address a miscomunication, she is just flat out trying to be defensive about it and changing the subject, its not wether the fans are happy doing it. Its more to do with being incompentent, bands have made a career starting with much less and paying all members. On the other hand Singer/lyricist/composer 'artist' not being able express herself and get the message across? Idiot no matter which way you slice it. God Forbid the musican isnt the one being screwed over.