Cello, It's Me

It takes more than just corsets to keep Rasputina tightly strung

"There were plenty of spineless bastards working on the periphery who caused them a lot of problems," she recalls of the Nirvana adventure, "but it was really neat. Of course, there was a lot of sad and bad stuff, but those guys are really nice people. And Kurt was a really nice person."

But as it came to pass, Creager would spend the past few years at home with a new baby, knitting embroidered booties while writing and recording new songs. Two new ladies, K. Cowperthwaite and Nana Bornant, brought more than 30 years of collective cello experience to Rasputina, and yet another drummer boy was discovered. Thus the recitals began again in earnest, with Creager never failing to introduce the songs with a most unserious tone, joking about Crisco enemas, urine drinking, and uterine plugs, and telling jokes at the expense of celebrity targets such as Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen of Full House fame.

"Generally, with the celebrities that I become obsessed with, I lose interest when they become a joke on The Tonight Show. Now that the twins have their magazine and they're truly ruling show business, I don't have anything to say about them anymore," she says.

Melora Creager (right) leads Rasputina, a division of the Ladies' Cello Society
Melora Creager (right) leads Rasputina, a division of the Ladies' Cello Society


9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13. Tickets cost $10; call 561-832-9999.
Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

Celebrities are faire game on Cabin Fever!, the third Rasputina record, a treacherous and complicated work that takes occasion to lob unpleasantries at Björk and Polly Jean Harvey. Still the scratching, scraping, grating, screaming, and oft-disturbing Rasputina sound remains intact. This time, supernatural chamber-rock oddities like "Gingerbread Coffin" return to the fore. Difficult meters and odd, diaphonic harmonies abound, while mechanized noise creeps insidiously inside of "Rats" and "AntiqueHighHeelRedDollShoes." On the gentle "Our Lies," Creager's voice sounds bigger and fuller than ever before, which she attributes to childbirth and corset-wearing.

In a few months, Creager promises, Rasputina's new master, Instinct Records, will issue a previously Internet-only album called The Lost and Found, a covers collection including Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," and Nico's "All Tomorrow's Parties." Rasputina is back on the road (making a rare visit to West Palm Beach next week), but Bornant has elected to stay home, making Rasputina a two-woman, two-cello enterprise for the first time ever.

"We were very scared to do that," Creager relates, "but we didn't want to cancel the tour. And it was really great. Somehow it was more clear and strong, and there was a really good response."

So Rasputina dances onward, alone. To date, no one has dared try to abscond with the group's secret formula.

"It is so hard and the rewards are so small to do this group," Creager says. "Just to find three cello-playing girls who are willing to do it is really difficult. I think that's why it's never copied!"

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