The Dresden Dolls – “Night Reconnaissance”

Next month the Dresden Dolls release No, Virginia…, a collection of unheard material from the Yes, Virginia… sessions along with b-sides, compilation contributions, and previously unreleased winter ’08 session tracks. (Dresden Doll Brian Viglione told us they look at it as a companion to Yes.) One of those newer songs, “Night Reconnaissance,” is this week’s Drop. Viglione said it was put to tape “January 17th at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts, four days after we returned from our winter tour of the States.” We were curious about the Hughes-y narrative, so we asked the Dolls some questions.

You mentioned you “don’t mess with Amanda’s lyrics.” Do you feel a relation to this track’s story?
Brian Viglione: As far as I can tell, it’s a song about rich, suburban outcasts getting revenge on the people who judge them by stealing their lawn ornaments and showering them with the love they wish their own parents showed them. So, I guess not. I grew up poor and my folks were very loving, but I guess I’ve gotten revenge on stuck up people who’ve looked down on me at times. I don’t know, I just love to play the music.

How much of the song’s autobiographical?
Amanda Palmer: Oh man, wait ’til you see the video. We made most of it on my parent’s front lawn. It was great, my mom cooked us all scalloped potatoes and made coffee. My sister stopped by (not knowing we were filming) and we put her in an American flag and had Brian flee with her body across the lawn. I don’t know if that part made the cut. But yes … it’s pretty autobiographical. If you’re a weird little teenager in the suburbs, chances are you’re going to be a thief of something. Street signs, lawn ornaments, whatever. I’m always so jealous of Pope, our video director. He grew up in Manhattan in the ’80s and jumped trains and had a graffiti posse and was smoking weed in central park when he was 12. I was just shoplifting eye shadows and nail polish from the CVS in Lexington center. And getting caught, repeatedly. I was such a bad thief, totally lame.

The first line: “Nothing is cooler than children who come from good homes.” What inspired that?
AP: HA! That’s my new favorite misheard lyrics ever. It’s actually “crueler.” But I like yours better. I sometimes actually change my lyrics to things that are misheard. That’s the beauty of the internet. You can get online and read the way people are hearing things. So the right words, anyway, were about the cruelty of bored suburban kids. They’re some mean dicks. I mean, kids in general are pretty cruel, but mean bored suburban kids are a weird breed.

No, Virginia… is out 5/20 on Roadrunner. The band’s doing a contest in conjunction with the pre-order — you can win a toy piano used and signed by Amanda and Brian. Get details here.