Every few years, comics writer and novelist Neil Gaiman collaborates with a musician -- from Alice Cooper's "The Last Temptation," to Tori Amos, who may or may not be doing music for "Death," to Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, who's writing the "Coraline" musical. And now, Gaiman's got himself a Dresden Doll.
"I went out to Amanda's place for about three or four days to work on the book," Gaiman said. "For reasons known only to Amanda Palmer, for probably the last 12 or 13 years, in her off moments, she's been taking or having taken photos of herself dead."
The idea sprung from the "Twin Peaks" season-one catchphrase, "Who killed Laura Palmer?" ("She loved that growing up," Gaiman said. "She was a huge 'Twin Peaks' fan"). But the idea grew even larger -- instead of being killed once, Amanda Palmer (at least photographically) has been killed many times over, and each photo depicts her corpse in a different place.
"Sometimes on roads, on stairs, shoved into trash bags, lying floating in pools," Gaiman said, "including one amazing photo of her at dinner, dead and obviously stuffed as whoever killed her has been wheeling her out at dinner every day for several years."
Gaiman's job was to write short stories to go along with Kyle Cassidy's photos.
"At some point in there, Kyle, Amanda, and I were talking at 3 in the morning, and I said something about having written a torch song," Gaiman recalled. "And they said, 'Well, sing it.' So I did. It was this strange thing called 'I Google You.'"
Amanda ran off and got a recording device, and asked him to sing it again, which he did. Gaiman assumed that was that, and at the most, he might hear her sing it one day at a show for him, "maybe in a year's time." "Instead," he said, "two days later, in Los Angeles, she'd already put chords to it, learned it, and did it as this amazing Ella Fitzgerald torch number."
Amanda's been performing the song ever since -- you can catch different performances on YouTube -- and it's become a highlight of her show, "which makes me astonishingly happy," Gaiman said.
The track didn't make her solo album -- also called "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" -- but it's a bonus track available for download with purchased copies. "It's a lovely, lovely album," Gaiman said, "so it was fun to be involved."
What do you think about Neil Gaiman partnering up with Amanda Palmer for this project? Is it a good match? Let us know in the comments!