- July 2001

Rasputina Interview with Melora Creager
By Kathryn

  Rasputina have gone through a number of member changes since the release of their first CD, Thanks for the Ether, in 1996, but vocalist Melora Creager has always remained the heart of the band.

  Shortly before the New Directions Cello Festival, I contacted Rasputina's webmistress about doing an e-mail interview with Melora. Much to my delight, the response was positive.

The UConn show was wonderful! Have Rasputina ever performed in that sort of non-club setting before?

A long time ago, we played at weird gay birthday parties. Like behind a bed in a Victorian recreation apartment, or where everyone went off in a bus at the end to God knows where. But the cellofest show was the best sound we've ever had. It was such a joy to be able to hear and be musical.

Have you done many other shows since K. Cowperthwaite joined Rasputina? How long ago did you find her?

I think Cowperthwaite has done about 3 shows. I met her about a year ago, and she is a revelation to me. She's an excellent cellist and is very happy to be playing with us.

There was no drummer at the UConn show, will you be adding one for future performances or recordings, or are you happy with the drummerless sound?

I like to be able to perform w/or w/o a drummer. I really wanted one for the cellofest, I wanted it to be a really good show, but Perry couldn't make it. And then, it was good we didn't have one-it turned out to be more magical that way. For recording, we are continuing to use programming, live drumming, and, of course, drummerless songs.

Any plans to work with other musicians in the future? Any you would like to work with?

I've been talking to David Eugene Edwards from 16 Horsepower, because I really want to sing with him. He's game, but we have to come up with the right song. Do you know of them? They're very good.

(Kathryn adds: Since Melora was the second person within 12 hours to mention 16 Horsepower, I had to take a chance on listening, and was quite pleased with what I heard. And also wondered what rock I was hiding under that prevented me from hearing them before...)

Do you plan on doing more shows in the area (meaning the northeast, in general) any time soon? Any plans for a larger scale tour?

We will probably play CMJ in September, and I think we're talking about playing at a university in Buffalo or somewhere in the Fall. You never know when we'll go outside my house and play in the parking lot.

The website mentions a CD of covers to be released very soon. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

A year ago I recorded some covers to get back in the swing of music after my daughter was born. We're going to release them on the website because they sound pretty good, and our sweet fans need and deserve something to listen to. The songs are written by Pink Floyd, Marilyn Manson, Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin and Mother Goose.

Is there a CD of original material in the works?

We are recording a new album right now, and hope to finish by Autumn. It contains 3 doll songs, 5 animal songs, and 3 water songs. There are other subjects too, but those seem to be common themes in it.

You finally let us see a photo of Mr. E. Leon Rauis. I read somewhere that you found his photograph in an attic. I always find it both fascinating and sad the sheer volume of abandoned portraits that end up filling boxes and baskets at antique stores. Do you collect discarded images such as his, or was it just something about his photo that inspired you?

I have a lot of those old photographs, and many books of reprints. I'm very picky about which I buy; Mr. Rauis being the King. I have a hunchback midget lady that I like very much and many pictures of children. I don't own any tintypes, but wish that I did.

Do you do all of the artwork for the CD covers and website?

I do all the art for everything-that is one of my joys. However, I allowed some energetic and talented young lads to do the cover e.p. art. I don't know what came over me.

Much of the artwork has a very storybook look to it, and some of your songs also reflect that aesthetic. Do you have any favorite childrens' books or fairytales?

The original Mother Goose and Brothers Grimm are very sick, yet vague and nonsensical. I love those.

 Tit tat tit.
 Your toungue shall be slit,
 And all the little puppy dogs
 Shall have a little bit.

That's genius, right?

And speaking of children, you have a daughter. How old is she now, and has her presence inspired your music at all?

My daughter turned 2 a few weeks ago. Her name is Hollis Willa. It's really hard to do creative work while raising a child. Her great existence has reconfirmed for me how much I need to do this work. I was going crazy when I wasn't doing music. And she makes me grow alot as a sensitive person, which is good for me as a growing, sensitive musician.

What are some of your favorite movies? Do you feel a good filmscore is an important part of enjoying a film?

Of course a good film score is important, but it might not be very noticeable. I like Neil Young's music for Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man". I like Wizard of Oz (and the music), The Piano. I love movies, but that's all I can think of right now.

What music do you listen to? Old favorites? New discoveries?

I don't much keep up on trends and new music. I'm more inspired by old photographs and nursery rhymes. I listen to old David Bowie, Baroque era classical, Andrews Sisters, a lot of things from the '30's, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Tom Waits, some soundtracks...

Oh, and my friend the Leo wants to know... do _you_ believe in the signs of the zodiac?

There are many cockamamie things I scoff at, yet believe; the zodiac being one of them. I'm an Aries (the Best!). I've lately gotten very into the I Ching. It's uncanny and poetic.

Well, I think that's it...if there's anything else you'd like to add, feel free.

We had a contest for mailing list members to send in their best lie, and we would make a song out of it. We have completed the song, and it will be up on the site soon. It was so fun! There were so many lies, and the song sounds so nice.