Amanda Palmer On The Power Of YES!

image from www.amandapalmer.netResponding to a recent Bob Lefsetz rant on The Power Of No ("You have to value yourself. You have to trust yourself."), Goddess Of Music D.I.Y. Amanda Palmer shared how saying "YES!" has fueled her career: "We said yes to every gig, no matter what it was… we said yes to every fan who wanted our time and attention…".


Amanda Palmer:

this is what the dresden dolls did:

we said yes to every gig, no matter what it was.
(it meant playing in some really, really bizarre situations, often to crowds of ghosts.)

we said yes to every fan who wanted our time and attention after every/any bizarre gig we played in every art gallery, basement, shit bar, loft and convention. (it meant staying often 3 hours after every gig to sign and talk to and hug our fans. often outside in the rain or cold because the venue ejected us).

we said yes to every local band or performer who reached out to make friends & join forces, even if they couldn't squeeze on the stage. (it meant putting a lot of our new performer friends on the sidewalks and in the lobbies of our gigs near the power outlets and explaining to the venues that "this is how we do things").

we said yes to anybody who wanted to help our cause and we tried to make it easy to help. and we thanked people effusively for every offer, no matter how distant or strange, whether we took the offer or not. we said thank you and yes to people who offered to feed us, give us crash space, or get us on their radio station or interview us for thier fanzine. (it meant, and still means, a lot of time on the email).

the only thing we said no to was taking a break from touring.

oh yeah…and once we turned down an offer to put one of our songs on a free camel cigarettes "alternative music" compilation. gag me.

on the topic of YES: you were asking where the musicians were at #Occupy.

jeff magnum played #occupywallst, I just played #occupyboston… 50 arrested last night. we're here, and getting louder.

to the musicians who are listening: don't wait to be fucking invited. nobody will invite you. grab your instrument, tell your fans & people … and just go. sing. go. the whole world is watching.

amanda fucking palmer

photo from ActiveStills.org

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  1. Bob Lefsetz opinion is not correct. Van Morrison? Maybe Van Morison said no when he had two or three hits and albums in the bank and everyone knew his name, but that guy was going around NYC playing gigs while he had a new born at home with his partner where all they had was a mattress to sleep on. He definitely wasn’t saying “no” then.
    Every artist who isn’t a millionaire has to say “yes” unless it really conflicts with their moral beliefs. There is no room to allow opportunities pass us by. Opportunities don’t always return if you’re “great”. Ask The Doors if the opportunity ever presented itself again when they passed up a chance to play at Woodstock.
    Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

  2. Lefsetz is a cynical lawyer with a romantic view of artistry. He thinks there is some elixir of attitude required before you can make great music. I understand the appeal of that but I question the wisdom of it. In my experience success is much more random.
    There is hardly an artist’s biography where the break wasn’t a lucky strike, where some chance event or other didn’t intervene to dictate the play. That being so, the more you do the greater the likelihood of the chance event, of running into people who might make a difference. Relationships are key and you start out with none. It’s being there that counts.
    I’m with AP. Say yes and say it a lot. Yes is lifeblood. No is career suicide.

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