Virtual Crowd-Pleaser

Amanda Palmer makes social media seem punk-rock. The former frontwoman of the Dresden Dolls, who now works solo, spends a lot of time talking to fans online. She funded her latest record, “Theatre is Evil,” via Kickstarter, becoming the first musician to raise more than a million dollars on the site. When we spoke to the punk cabaret performer, she was on a farm in upstate New York preparing for her tour (she hits the 9:30 Club on Wednesday). Specifically, she was on a swing, being pushed by her husband, author Neil Gaiman, which is like something a nerd would make the subject of a painting labeled ‘Paradise.’ ”

You and Neil are very into Twitter. Is it hard to keep your private life private?
The communication has to feel authentic and real, like it’s actually feeding something. I don’t engage with haters and critics; I don’t get involved in long, drawn-out political arguments with people.

But how do you keep from getting too sucked in?
You have to use the Internet as a tool of inspiration and connection and not just distraction.

Kickstarter began as a tool for people who couldn’t get funds any other way, but now you’re one of many established artists using it.
I got criticized for being too big to use Kickstarter, and I thought, “Hey, wait a second, that’s not fair.” A crowd is a crowd. An artist is an artist.

So there’s no difference between you and some unknown indie band trying to crowd-fund its album?
It shouldn’t matter if it’s the guy down the street who wants to build a papier-mache brontosaurus park on his front lawn for everyone to enjoy, or if Lady Gaga decides to crowd-fund her next record. Both are totally legitimate. It’s just a tool.

Ten years ago, people were whining about how nobody pays for music, yet the same people who stole CDs are now helping fund new ones.
People love helping artists. We just have to figure out what the system is. When I was a busker, the system was a hat at my feet and you put a dollar into it. With the Internet, we have to figure out something slightly more complicated. But if people love an artist or a song and it’s very easy for them to show their appreciation, they will do it.

9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; Wed., 7 p.m., $25; 202-265-0930. (U Street)

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