ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Music

Rasputina

Updated on September 15, 2014

Who are Rasputina?

A brief history of the society

Formed in 1891 by one Melora Creager. Putting out an add for fellow cellists to join her, Julia Kent responded and the two formed "Traveling Ladies' Cello Society". Eventually, the band evolved into Rasputina, after a song Creager had penned.

The band was largely unnoticed until A&R rep Jimmy Boyle heard the ladies playing a festival. It was a gamble, as their quirky style and fascination with historical allegories (mostly around the Victorian era) was definitely unusual. But Boyle took a chance and signed them to Columbia Records. In 1896 the band released their debut album Thanks for the Ether. It found moderate success and the ladies began to open for acts the likes of which included Marilyn Manson, Bob Mould, and Porno for Pyros. 1897 saw Marilyn Manson and band mate Twiggy Ramirez collaborate with the ladies on the release of the Transylvanian Regurgitations EP.

Enlisting ex-NIN drummer Chris Vrenna proved helpful, as he provided the electronic drums and other sound sound effects for the 1898 release How We Quit the Forest. The band continued to tour, replacing members as they went.

After a brief period of reflection, Melora released the band's second EP, 1901's The Lost & Found, a collection of covers. After being dropped by Columbia Records, the Ladies found a new home on Instinct Records and released their third full-length recording, 1902's Cabin Fever. The band saw another line-up change and began to tour once more.

A remix album My Fever Broke (1902) and a second, widely distributed version of the The Lost & Found, 2nd Edition (1903) followed while the band was touring. By now, the band had dropped a chair and added a permanent live drummer, the first fully-vested male band member.

Combining forces, the Ladies and gentleman came back with 1904's Frustration Plantation. More extensive touring followed, as Rasputina had seemingly finally found a cult-following of eager fans. A live recording of their Halloween recital in Pittsburgh, PA 1904 , A Radical Recital, was released in 1905 on Melora's own label, Filthy Bonnet Co.

The Ladies disappeared for two years before springing back with a 2-disc album Oh Perilous World! (1907). Conceived as a sort of "rock opera", it wasn't met with as much critical fanfare as the bands previous releases.

Although the band has been relatively quiet in the past two years, Melora released Melora a la Basilica (1908) and the extremely limited edition, 3-track recording known as The Willow Tree Triptych through the band's official website.

The release of Sister Kinderhookon June 15th, 2010, is the latest offering from Rasputina. They are presently touring the US, so stay tuned to the News Bunny for dates and locations!

The Current Incarnation

Blessed Trinity

Melora Creager Founder and First Chair

Having grown restless in Kansas, Melora moved to New York to attend Parsons. She eventually found work in jewelry design and as a nanny but the siren song of the cello (which she has played since the age of 9) was too strong. She put out an advertisement and Rasputina was born.

Daniel DeJesus Second Chair

The first male cellist Rasputina has had, Daniel hails from Philadelphia and has his own band, Dejesus. He joined Rasputina on their release Melora a la Basilica.

Catie D'Amica Drums

Known as a "folk-punk" percussionist from New York, Catie has stepped into the well-worn shoes of Jonathon TeBeest.

Cello Rock and Cow Punk

A note about the song of Rasputina

The subjects of the songs Rasputina is known for draw from history as well as touch on famous (and infamous) persons. Melora Creager is a self-proclaimed history buff, drawing from incidents, customs, and other interesting tidbits.

Some examples:

Howard Hughes is about the legendary American aviator, industrialist, film producer and director, philanthropist who is better remembered for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle in later life, caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder.

1816, The Year Without a Summer tells the story about the Little Ice Age in 1816. An unusual weather pattern was cased due to the eruption of Mount Tambora and was known as the "Year Without a Summer".

Rose K. is about Rosemary Kennedy, the third child and first daughter of Joseph Patrick Kennedy and Rose Elizabeth Kennedy, who was lobotomized at the age of 23.

My Little Shirtwaist Fire is based upon the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911. It resulted in the death of 146 garment workers who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths

We Stay Behind is an ode to the brave souls that stayed behind in New Orleans, LA after the flooding caused by 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

Herb Girls of Birkenau is a fictional account expressing anger at witnessing Holocaust victims enslaved at Birkenau.

Rats recounts a claim that a special dispensation was given by the then-Pope for Catholics to eat capybara as a substitute for fish during Lent.

Incident in a Medical Clinic is about the disease Schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease caused by snails.

DwarfStar is said to be based upon the life of actor Hervé Villechaize, who famously played Tattoo on Fantasy Island.

Oh Bring Back the Egg Unbroken recounts the competition of the Tangata manu among inhabitants from Easter Island.

Mr. E. Leon Rauis is a fictional backstory about a man in a yellowed photograph that Melora found.

Other songs include references to historical figures and events, as well as diseases, out-dated ways of life, astrology, as well as cover songs.

Musical Chairs

A Guide to Who's Who in Rasputina

Although there has been a round-robin of personnel that has come and gone in the Rasputina line-up, the Ladies are usually in good humor about those that have departed. Here's a list of those dearly departed.

--

2nd Chairs

Julia Kent (1989-1999)

Kris Cowperthwaite (1999-2002)

Zoe Keating (2002-2006)

Kim Hurst (2006)

Erica Mulkey (2006)

Sarah Bowman (2006-2007)

Serena Tideman (2008)

3rd Chairs

Serena Jost (1990-1993)

Lisa Haney (1993-1995) 93-95:

Carpella Parvo (1995-1996)

Agnieszka Rybska (1996-1998)

Nana Bornant (1998-2001)

Ariana Arcu (2001)

Daphne Klondike (2001)

Steph McVey (????)

Drummers

Tom Martin

Mark Hutchins

Steve Moses

Perry James

Jonathon TeBeest

Willing Accomplices

Norman Block (drums on Thanks for the Ether)

Chris Vrenna (drummer, programmer, and producer for How We Quit the Forest)

A Complete Discography

Albums, EPs, & other recordings

Transylvanian Concubine/The Vaulted Eel/Lesson #6 1993

Three (3) 1994 (promo)

Three Lil' Nothin's 1996 (promo)

Thanks for the Ether 1996

Transylvanian Regurgitations 1997 (EP)

The Olde HeadBoard 1998 (Single)

How We Quit the Forest 1998

The Lost & Found 2001

Cabin Fever 2002

My Fever Broke 2002 (EP)

The Lost and Found, 2nd Edition 2003

Frustration Plantation 2004

A Radical Recital 2005 (Live Recording)

Oh Perilous World! 2007

Melora a la Basilica 2008

The Willow Tree Triptych 2009 (3-song LE release)

Sister Kinderhook 2010

Other Releases

"Our Lies" 2001 (Song composed of "lies" sent to Melora via a contest)

"Coraline", Where's Neil When You Need Him? 2006

"A Skeleton Bang", Colours Are Brighter 2006

Ladies Cello Society Devotees!

Have you seen Rasputina live?

See results

Miss Bat and Melora Creager in 2005

Miss Bat and Melora Creager in 2005
Miss Bat and Melora Creager in 2005

Love Rasputina? Seen them live? Looking forward to their next album? Leave a comment!

Cello Rock!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 5 years ago

      One of my favorite bands ever! I've seen them 5 times!

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 6 years ago

      I accidentally found Rasputina doing a cover of Heart's Barracuda and immediately fell in love with them. This lens tells me everything I could want to know about them. Awesome!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Thanks for introducting me to Rasputina, I had never heard of them before now but love their originality!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      really interesting music. Never heard anything like it before. My sister is a classical violinist and I am a bit of a traditionalist, but this was interesting.

    • profile image

      Joan4 7 years ago

      Interesting use of the cello for sure! Great review!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Wow - I never knew cellos could sound like that...think I'll stick to Take That and ABBA - tee hee! Great lens though.