From left to right: Sarah Bowman, Melora Creager, Jonathon Tebeest
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Genres||Cello rock, dark cabaret, indie rock, folk rock|
|Labels||Filthy Bonnet Records
|Past members||Jonathon TeBeest
Stephanie McVey (touring)
Rasputina is a cello-driven band based in New York that is renowned for their unconventional and quirky music style as well as their fascination with historical allegories and fashion, especially those pertaining to the Victorian era. The sound and visual concepts that began in Melora Creager's 1991 Rasputina manifesto presaged and influenced movements and trends such as Modern Victorians, Steampunk, freak folk, corsetry, and crafting.
The group is fronted by cellist/vocalist Melora Creager, who writes the music and lyrics and creates art for the band's albums, singles, and website.
In 1989, Creager wrote a manifesto, and placed an ad in The Village Voice seeking women to form an electric cello choir. Julia Kent, then an editor at the Village Voice, was the first respondent. The original group of nine was whittled to three. They named themselves "Rasputina", after one of Creager's songs. The group performed frequently and became a local favorite in New York City. Columbia Records signed the group in 1996.
In summer 2010, a documentary was made about Rasputina called Under the Corset by Dawn Miceli. In January 2011 Melora Creager announced on The Dawn and Drew Show that Dawn Miceli would be playing the drums on the February 2011 tour.
- Thanks for the Ether - Columbia Records, 1996
- How We Quit the Forest - Columbia Records, 1998
- Cabin Fever - Instinct Records, 2002
- Frustration Plantation - Instinct Records, 2004
- Oh Perilous World - Filthy Bonnet Co., 2007
- Sister Kinderhook - Filthy Bonnet Co., June 15, 2010
- A Radical Recital - Filthy Bonnet Co., 2005
- Melora a la Basilica - 2008
- The Pregnant Concert with artwork by Dese'Rae L. Stage - May 10, 2010.
- Great American Gingerbread - Filthy Bonnet Recording Co., 2011
Singles and EPs
- Transylvanian Regurgitations - Columbia Records, 1997
- The Olde HeadBoard (vinyl EP, limited release) - Columbia Records, 1998
- The Lost & Found (1st Edition) - RPM Records, 2001
- My Fever Broke - Instinct Records, 2002
- The Lost and Found, 2nd Edition - Instinct Records, 2003
- The Willow Tree Triptych - Extremely limited by Melora, 2009
- Ancient Cross-Dressing Songs - Extremely limited by Melora, 2009
- Transylvanian Concubine/The Vaulted Eel, Lesson#6 - Oculus Records 1993
- Three (3) - (promo), 1996
- Three Lil' Nothin's - (promo), 1996
- Transylvanian Regurgitations (vinyl promo) - Columbia Records, 1997
- The Olde Headboard - Maxi Single (promotional distribution) - Columbia Records, 1997
- The Olde Headboard - Music Video, 1998
- The Olde Headboard (Weathered Mix) - 1998
- My Orphanage Live at the Knitting Factory - 1999
- Under the Corset - Documentary, 2010
- Great American Gingerbread - Combination of CD rarities, including a DVD of live performances at The Knitting Factory, 2011
- "Transylvanian Concubine" on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album soundtrack. (The song was featured in the episode "Surprise".)
- "Transylvanian Concubine" on The Black Bible, a four-disc compilation album released by Cleopatra Records. (October 27, 1998)
- Our Lies - 2001
- "Hunter's Kiss" on the compilation album 12 Tales in 2002
- "Coraline" on the Neil Gaiman tribute album Where's Neil When You Need Him? Dancing Ferret in 2006
- "A Skeleton Bang" on the charity album Colours Are Brighter in 2006
- "Warbots" on the compilation album Asleep By Dawn Club Mix #2 released by Dancing Ferrets Records
- "Sweethaven" on the cover album This Is the Town: A Tribute to Nilsson (Volume 1)
- "A Bit Longer Than Usual (Rasputina Mix)" on And Then There's Nothing, a remix album for Tweaker, Chris Vrenna's band
Creager is a self-proclaimed history buff and often bases the lyrics for the band on that historical knowledge.
- Thanks for the Ether
- "My Little Shirtwaist Fire" is based on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911.
- "The Donner Party" discusses the Donner Party, a group of American pioneers traveling to California who encountered a series of mishaps and resorted to cannibalism. The track compares them to the colonial pilgrims.
- "Howard Hughes" is about the eccentric billionaire aviator.
- How We Quit the Forest
- "Rose K." is about the matriarch of the Kennedy family, who had a stroke at age 94 and was cared for at the Kennedy Compound by private nurses and staff. Although Melora jokingly refers to this as her "Alzheimer's Song" on A Radical Recital, Rose was not known to have suffered from Alzheimer's disease. In concert, Melora also frequently introduces the song by referring to Rose's decision to have her daughter Rosemary Kennedy lobotomized at the age of 23, to calm her alleged mood swings.
- "Herb Girls of Birkenau" describes the victims of human experiments in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, from the point of view of a powerless witness.
- "Diamond Mind" is a satire inspired by the music of a De Beers diamond commercial that uses music composed by Karl Jenkins, which he later used as a theme of the orchestral piece Palladio.
- Cabin Fever
- "Rats" is about the 16th century decision by the then Pope to declare the semi-aquatic capybara as fish for Catholics to eat during Lent.
- Poor Relations in the Shed Out Back (Frustration Plantation bonus disc)
- "Yellow Fever" is about an outbreak of yellow fever in New Orleans in the summer of 1853.
- Oh Perilous World
- "1816, The Year Without a Summer" is about the Little Ice Age. The year 1816 had an unusual weather pattern (due to the volcano Mount Tambora erupting) and was known as the Year Without a Summer. The song also makes mention of author Mary Shelley writing her famous novel Frankenstein, Freemasons and Benjamin Franklin.
- "Choose Me For Champion" is based on a speech by Thursday October Christian I.
- "Cage in a Cave" is about Thursday Christian's father, Fletcher Christian, an 18th-century man who was the leader of the mutineers from the Mutiny on the Bounty in Tahiti.
- "Incident in a Medical Clinic" is about the disease Schistosomiasis (also known as Snail-fever).
- "Child Soldier Rebellion" makes mention of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda's usage of children as soldiers.
- "Oh Bring Back the Egg Unbroken" is about the Tangata manu competition of the inhabitants from Easter Island.
- "We Stay Behind" is about the people who stayed behind in New Orleans during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. An article from the AP by Allen G. Breed exclaims, "I've never even had a nightmare or a beautiful dream about this," about watching the warehouses burn. "People are just not themselves."
In popular culture
- The Dead Milkmen have released a song titled "Melora Says" which is about some of the themes covered in Rasputina's music.
- "Under the Corset with Rasputina - a documentary by Dawn Miceli". Underthecorset.com. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
- "DNDS-953". Thedawnanddrewshow.com. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
- "Various - The Black Bible (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
- Allen G. Breed (2005-03-09). "New Orleans Evacuation Picking Up Steam". Retrieved 2008-01-11.
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