The Dresden Dolls formed the day after Brian Viglione witnessed Amanda Palmer perform solo at a Halloween party in 2000. Their live performances soon gained them a huge cult following.

During these performances, the two band members would often wear dramatic make-up and fancy clothing which pushed their cabaret/theater aesthetic and encouraged fans to become involved at their shows. Fan antics such as stilt walking, living statues, fire breathing and other performance art becoming an integral part of the show.

Having toured alongside such acts as Nine Inch Nails and Panic! at the Disco as well as prime performance spots at music festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, the Dresden Dolls have subjected themselves to a whirlwind of touring and promotion that came to an end early last year as the duo decided to part ways for a while in order to pursue individual goals. Palmer is pursuing a solo career and Viglione is supporting the punk band The World/Inferno Friendship Society with whom he will be touring and recording a new album throughout early 2009.   

Already having released their last studio album Yes, Virginia before the onset of their last tour, the duo decided to release an album of B-Sides and alternate cuts later in the year called No, Virginia not long after they decided to part company as collaborators. Amazingly cohesive as an album despite it's almost afterthought status as a release, No, Virginia is the perfect compilation to the burlesque cabaret-drenched rock that was characteristic of their previous work.

Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione took time to talk with O&AN about the album and the future of the Dresden Dolls during an exclusive phone interview from his home in Boston.

O&AN: Was the original intent for No, Virginia to be a separate album of its own or was the work intended originally to be a part of the previous work?

Brian Viglione: I think it was put together pretty much the same as the first two albums and not really as disparate as people might have perceived. When we recorded Yes, Virginia we recorded seventeen songs during the session. We chose the ones that were the best out of those and decided that we would find a way to release the rest some day. Then we had several other songs we always wanted to record but never got to opportunity to so we decided to take that opportunity with No, Virginia. There were a few songs that long time fans might have been familiar with already but most of it was pretty much unheard until we released them.

O&AN: Are there any plans at all for you and Amanda to hit the road again in the near future?

BV: I’m really not sure when the Dresden Dolls will go back on the road again. We may start doing some more shows around the New Year but at this point I really doubt it. The rest of the year we’re basically doing different things. Amanda will be doing some touring on her solo record and I’m going to be touring with a band from Brooklyn called The World/ Inferno Friendship Society and they are incredible. They are basically a punk rock swing band. It’s a total blessing to be able to do a bunch of shows with them in the fall and spring.

O&AN: Will there be any further recordings from the two of you at all in the near future?

BV: No, Virginia will have to be it for a while until we decide to get back together and do something again. There will be some live stuff coming out from this last tour but nothing really new. Both of us got really burned out doing Dresden Dolls for the past three years so we decided to get away from it for a little while. It’s not so much something that we have to do any more. Now it’s more like it’s something that as we decide we want to come together and do something again we can do it and enjoy it for what it is.

O&AN: The Dresden Dolls really kind of exploded overnight, or so it seemed from the outside. Were you at all surprised by the immense amount of attention the band got in such a relatively short period of time?

BV: It really did surprise me the amount of immediate interest we received but at the same time it didn’t because we were in the middle of it every step of the way. We were very aware of what our nightly shows were doing for the spread of the band and we were totally committed to keeping our Web site and mailing lists updated. In that way it was very calculated, we had a very active hand in developing our audience so it wasn’t like we sort of opened the papers one day and “Bam! How did that happen?”

We were working our asses off daily trying to bring the band to the next level. What we were the most grateful for was ending up with a fan base that we really genuinely liked. There is a real attitude of camaraderie and respect. People were very invested in the band and that was the most gratifying thing ever.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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