Dresden Dolls fans have had a bellyful of their record label

Amanda Palmer fans bellies rebellyon

Amanda Palmer fans show their bellies in support. Photograph: The Rebellyon.com

Some are pretty - a bare stomach with hearts and flowers drawn on in marker pen and lipstick. Others get straight to the point: "Here's your fat belly," someone has written on a stomach swelling beneath a red satin bra. "Now fuck off Roadrunner."

The record label Roadrunner has been getting some serious online bellyache from fans of one of its artists, Amanda Palmer, after she reported on her blog that she had been asked to cut shots from the video for her solo song Leeds United because "they thought I looked fat".

"I thought they were on crack," writes Palmer, the wonderfully punchy singer from Boston-based cult band The Dresden Dolls. "I'm a vain motherfucker. I know when I look fat ... but this was just nonsense. I thought I looked HOT. I really, really didn't see where they were coming from. So I didn't budge."

Her fans - women, mainly, but a few men too - started sending pictures of their own bellies to Roadrunner in protest, and the Rebellyon movement (www.therebellyon.com) was born, celebrating stomachs of all shapes and sizes. There are pictures of supposedly "perfect" tummies and those that have been through the transformation of pregnancy bearing stretch mark memorials. There are bellies that have obviously put in years of heavy drinking ("I drink beer and love my belly") and tummies belonging to people with better things to do than sit-ups. A woman called Julie writes: "Never had a flat belly, Amanda changed my thinking!"

Another holds up a sign next to her bare stomach reading, "It is scum like Roadrunner in today's messed up society that nearly caused me not to be here to post my Beautiful Belly". On a gloriously pregnant tummy a plea is written in red lipstick: "Who needs love? Bellies!"

The thing is that Palmer, who does a lot of yoga, could never be described by even the most pernickety fashion editor as fat, which goes to show how warped the perceptions of some marketing executives have become, even the ones who work for independent labels. Not, of course, that it would have made their censure acceptable if she was overweight. And it is worth noting that Roadrunner's unease with tubby tummies appears to apply only to its female artists. A look at the label's other bands, including Megadeth and Slipknot, reveals some stomachs that are hardly Beckham-esque in their proportions.

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  • This symbol indicates that that person is The Guardian's staffStaff
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  • liveon35mm liveon35mm

    3 Dec 2008, 9:53AM

    Dresden Dolls are simply one of the most entertaining live band on the planet at the moment...and they are also the nicest guys on the music scene.

    Probably the only band that doesn't have any restriction for photographers, that let us work throughout the show with or without using a flash.

    Leave Amanda free, the world needs her...and I need a new Dresden Dolls album, actually!


  • timjonze timjonze

    3 Dec 2008, 11:00AM

    Staff Staff

    I'd say it's no coincidence at all - the reason she was making a video in the first place was because she had a single out.

    But as for Arhoolie's suggestion that this is a PR stunt, I'd have to say no. Record labels usually pay for and so - to some extent - control PR and this is very bad publicity for them

  • AgProv AgProv

    3 Dec 2008, 11:06AM

    I can't beleive this... I remeber seing the Dresden Dolls on the Jules Holland thing one Saturday, and any normally functioning heterosexual male would have been riveted to Amanda Palmer, Not only could she play and sing, the top she was wearing was dangerously low-cut and she was bouncing and gyrating on that piano stool in away that suggested she knew fall-out was inevitable and she didn't care if it happened. Rats, by the time Jules had cycled the shoe round to their second appearance, she was wearing some sort of more modest top, as if in the interval some killjoy producer had intervened. I fell for her then - how can anyone say she's fat?

  • grimlord grimlord

    3 Dec 2008, 11:19AM

    why on earth would you press release something if you weren't pushing a campaign?! Check when Bono appears on the world stage. Of course there's an album / tour, and she makes a strong and valid point, as Bono often does. Why is it that people want musicians to be unpaid idealists? Ethics AND employment - wot a concept!

  • bloodydoorsoff bloodydoorsoff

    3 Dec 2008, 11:47AM

    Aren't people cynical? Yes, she has an album AND a single to promote. That is why she made the video.

    That's what videos are: promotions for songs. The hoo-hah over the belly thing comes from the fans. Long live the belly!

    Although, personally, I did think she looked a bit podge in a couple of the shots. Still bought the album, though cos Amanda Palmer is fab.

  • DKThrust DKThrust

    3 Dec 2008, 12:32PM

    What I can't understand is how on earth an album as magnificant as 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer' can be so royally ignored by the music press. The only review I saw of it was in 'The Guardian' (full marks Dorian!) whereas 'Mojo', 'Uncut', 'Q', etc., didn't even knowledge it's existance.

    If Palmer's fans' belly campaign gives her wider press coverage, then all the better. Perhaps Roadrunner should consider employing Amanda's 'street team' as their marketing/PR department as their own one appears to be next to useless.

  • hairyfrog hairyfrog

    3 Dec 2008, 12:48PM

    It is partly because of stupid suggestions and image-values like Roadrunner's that young women become anorexic.

    This reminds me of that film company that told Emma Thompson to shave her armpits. When she refused (I love you, Emma! [not just for that]), they digitalised the "disgusting" hair out of the film.

    I have heard idiots spouting that fat (or wrinkled, or floppy-breasted) women should be banned from nudist beaches. Particularly nauseating when coming from some beer-bellied lout.

  • shellac shellac

    3 Dec 2008, 2:03PM

    Judging by her comments on her blog regarding Roadrunner, this isn't a publicity stunt.

    "i asked to be dropped a few weeks ago, so i could move forward in freedom.
    they refused.
    they have until june to decide whether to drop me or not.

    let us pray."

    The rest of the article regarding the label is pretty interesting too.

  • RosieSwash RosieSwash

    3 Dec 2008, 4:05PM

    Staff Staff

    "I hope the dude collecting the images sends them soon; we've only gotten twenty belly photos so far."

    that quote actually suggests there were more than 20 belly pics but "the dude" had the rest of them.

  • emine emine

    3 Dec 2008, 5:42PM

    Staff Staff

    Hello. There's more over on Amanda's blog (link posted above by jessicatrash) but I thought I would add quotes from an email from Amanda that arrived too late to get into the paper, but this is the web, innit, what with value added goodness:

    "I am leaving the label, hopefully, when this record cycle is up. They've got a very skewed vision of me in general, the relationship is totally soured at this point. They have this strange idea that I want to be a commercial, mainstream artist and I'm scratching my head my thinking: 'Where have you guys been for the past five years? Have you been paying any attention to who I am and what I do...and why?'"

    "The most heartbreaking thing I was told by someone at the label is that I should trust him to know what would sell, because, i quote word for word: 'I'm a GUY, Amanda. And trust me, I know what people like.' I wanted to tell him: 'But I'm a WOMAN. And trust me, I know your kind of thinking and what it does to the world. And you can take your small, scared little mind and shove it up your bum.'"

    Aahh, imagine if Britney/Kylie/Beyonce etc had backchat like that...

  • Mendoza Mendoza

    3 Dec 2008, 7:48PM

    thank you mendoza. now was it "the dude" or just "some dude?"

    Dude with the photo's I guess? Doritojoe seems to be the email address for the photo's on the blog. But this is what gets me..

    The response this got was hundreds of fans sending in pictures of their own bellies to RoadRunner as a sign of protest!

    But as above, the Roadrunner dude says they've only had twenty in, as of yesterday?
    And it's not as if he's dissing the whole thing, he gives the rebellyion props and denies that it was PR stunt on RR's behalf...way too smart for them he says.

    So where the hell is all this 'serious bellyache'?

    'Cos as far as I can see, it's a just one blog with some belly photo's and to para-phase THE Dude's righthand man, Walter Sobchak...

    "You want bellies? I can get you bellies, believe me. There are ways, Dude"

  • BarryBeatmaster BarryBeatmaster

    3 Dec 2008, 8:53PM

    And trust me, I know what people like.

    ah, the golden spiel of every record label exec ever.

    thing is, they DON'T know what people like- or else the record industry wouldn't have a 90% failure rate on their signings.

    Palmer should send Beth Ditto round to sort 'em out.

  • alias43 alias43

    4 Dec 2008, 12:27PM

    i'm a red blooded male if ever.

    i watch non league football (afc wimbledon)

    i play in a doom metal, 3 marshall stacks cranked up.

    i have a quite a large beard.

    amanda palmer is hot, as is her belly. i love bellies. as do many people.

    viva la belly!

    i'm sorry for this post, it's really pointless. i'll get back to posting about doctor who and charlie kaufman....


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