Franz Ferdinand are a popular band who I like OK, but not many people know it is also the name of a famous Archduke in Austria who was killed and so started World War I. They called it the Great War, even though it was bad, because they didn’t know there was going to be another one. Germany got beaten twice, so it must have sucked to be German, especially if you were from Dresden which was firebombed and you died.
The Dresden Dolls are also a band, but they aren’t as popular. I think they are making fun of the name of the New York Dolls, who were a band in the ’70s. They talk about the ’70s a lot, like using lyrics from the Doors, Disco, and the Rolling Stones, who were all bands in the ’70s. This is because people then played “glam” which liked German cabaret a lot, and so do the Dresden Dolls. Cabaret was even the name of a musical in the ’70s, except it was about America. I saw it last year, in a movie.
The Dresden Dolls sound like a glam record my mom has called Berlin, which is also a city in Germany. They are two people and the piano makes the “walking bass” rhythm a lot, which is a type of “boogie.” People in Germany in the ’30s were really into black music like that. Sometimes the piano doesn’t walk but just plays a chord really fast, like in Rent, which was really about Bohemia, which is also in Germany. Bohemia was the home of the Reformation, which was fought against Catholics like the Kennedys.
The drummer reminds me of Buster Keaton, because he paints his face all white, which lots of German actors did in the ’30s, because they couldn’t talk. They were very crazy and sad and sometimes didn’t know if they were boys or girls, and also always very confused and scared of commitment in relationships. In conclusion, I like the Dresden Dolls a lot because they are pretty and fun, and learning about Germany has made me happy that the U.S. hasn’t ever got beaten in a war.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 6, 2004