Women Who Rock - March/April 2003

Rasputina: Sex & Violins
By Dianne Spoto Shattuck

  Even in person, Melora Creager looks like a Victorian porcelain doll - one that's not only come to life, but that has risen from the dead. The founder of the artsy Goth electric cello act Rasputina sat down with me in her publicist's Manhattan office to discuss the band's new album. Donning a navy, polka-dotted 1940s chiffon frock, striped woolen stockings, and Dickensian leather ankle boots, she both bewitched and creeped me out. Beneath her glass-like blue eyes were two pink plums of rouge, placed high on her cheekbones. Her flowing blonde mane was chopped clear off in the back, as if a little girl had gotten hold of a pair of scissors to play hairdresser with her new dolly. This doll theme has given Melora's fans something to do when they aren't standing in line for concert tickets. "We get a lot of dolls that fans have customized," she says. "We get a lot of big plastic babies that they customize - like, they'll paint the socks and make 'em look all dead and stuff, and glue feathers all over them. I'll come back from tour with suitcases full of sick dolls! Hollis, my 3-year-old daughter, will go through them."

  Rasputina's latest EP, The Lost & Found, 2nd Ed., is a collection of classic rock covers and nursery rhymes, made new by Melora's morbidly charming arrangements. Yet choosing to cover '70s anthems that appeal to the working-class hero seems more odd than her corpse getup. "Well, I like the point of view of the lyrics and stuff. I think these are all men's songs, except 'Fire & Ice,' which is by Pat Benatar." And then there is Melora's sinister version of "This Little Piggy." She explains, "I've always been into nursery rhymes in their original form because they are really twisted. They're messed up! Violence and animal cruelty! My daughter's voice is on that track. She was tiny, too - a baby. She sounds like a seagull or something."