Rasputina (band)

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OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
GenresCello rock, dark cabaret, indie rock, folk rock
Years active1992–present
LabelsFilthy Bonnet Records
Columbia Records
Instinct Records
MembersMelora Creager
Thistle Jemison
Ryder Cooley
Past membersLuis Mojica
Polly Panic
Chris Vrenna
Carpella Parvo
Jonathon TeBeest
Sarah Bowman
Zoë Keating
Julia Kent
Kris Cowperthwaite
Agnieszka Rybska
Nana Bornant
Serena Jost
Lisa Haney
Perry L. James
Tom Martin
Mark Hutchins
Catie D'amica
Melissa Bell
Julie Griner
Stephanie McVey (touring)
Daniel DeJesus
Dawn Miceli

Rasputina is an American, cello-driven band based in New York City, that is known 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 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' A&R representative and producer Jimmy Boyle saw the group perform at a New York festival. He signed the group to the Columbia Records label in 1996. Creager and Boyle produced their first album on Columbia titled Thanks for the Ether. In 1997 the band released Transylvanian Regurgitations, a follow up EP remixed by Marilyn Manson and Twiggy Ramirez.

On their second full-length album, How We Quit the Forest, Rasputina signed on Chris Vrenna (from Nine Inch Nails) as their drummer and producer. He also provided electronic drums and sound effects.

Rasputina toured with such bands as Bob Mould, Porno for Pyros, Marilyn Manson, Siouxsie Sioux, and Les Claypool. Creager played cello with Nirvana for their final tour in Europe, 1994.

In summer 2010, a documentary was made about Rasputina called Under the Corset by Dawn Miceli.[1] 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.[2]

Rasputina released Unknown on April 10, 2015. The record is a concept album that exhibits the band's frontwoman, Melora Creager's, trauma after her computer was hacked into. The album is only available on CD from the band's website so, as Melora states on the site "conceptually... anyone who purchases it is known to me." The entire album was recorded solo by Creager in three weeks.[3]

The 2015 "Unknown" lineup is the first in the history of Rasputina to add piano and beat boxing, in place of traditional drums, by Luis Mojica.[4]

On June 26, 2015 Rasputina released a compilation of demo recordings from 1991 to 1997 titled "Magnetic Strip" and is only available by digital download on the band's website.

In the fall of 2016, Polly Panic joined Rasputina as the second cellist. The first tour of the line up with Melora, Polly Panic as second cellist/backing vocalist, and Luis Mojica as keyboardist/beat boxer and backing vocalist.[5]

In July 2017, Melora Creager announced a new album, The Feel-Good Hits of 1817. In her email newsletter, she states that the album will be vinyl-only, and limited in quantity.



Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]



  • 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)[6]
  • 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

Song inspirations[edit]

Creager is a self-proclaimed history buff and often bases the lyrics for the band on that historical knowledge.

These include:

  • 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 husband'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

Outside work[edit]

Luis Mojica, former pianist and beat-boxer in the band, released a studio album, "Wholesome", with Melora Creager of Rasputina on cello and Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls on drums.[7][8]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The Dead Milkmen released a song titled "Melora Says", which is about some of the themes covered in Rasputina's music.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Under the Corset with Rasputina – a documentary by Dawn Miceli". Underthecorset.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  2. ^ "DNDS-953". Thedawnanddrewshow.com. January 25, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  3. ^ "About New Rasp Album –". Meloracreager.space. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  4. ^ "Interview with Melora Creager of Rasputina". Chaoscontrol.com. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  5. ^ "Rasputina". Rasputina.com. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  6. ^ "Various – The Black Bible (CD) at Discogs". discogs. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  7. ^ Nichols, Sharon. "CD Review: Luis Mojica "Wholesome"". Chronogram.com. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Evans, Morgan Y. "Kingston After Dark: Adventure time". Hudsonvalleyone.com. Retrieved December 29, 2018.

External links[edit]