[Rasputina's Melora Creager, the undisputed doyenne of cello-based, kinda-goth, steampunk-avant-la-lettre indie music, has graciously agreed to guest-blog for West Coast Sound in anticipation of their upcoming LA gig at the Troubadour, this Saturday, August 14. She's been sending us these awesome letters from the road, which you can read exclusively here. This is the first installment.]

August 7, 2010

Dear True Friends,

We of Rasputina are on the road and want to write and tell you how it is going.

It is going very well, thank you. We are on the 4th day of the second leg, that being pretty much all of July and August on tour.

Why did I say yes to a show in Shreveport, Louisiana just 2 days previous? That may be my only regret in life, thus far. Our recital in Austin, Texas last evening was, however, very fine & excellent.

We are travelling in a small phaeton–only 4 horses to pull us. We've got my 8-month-old baby Ivy along and that colours the whole vibe. She's an excellent traveller, with a sweet and accepting disposition. Young as she is, she might take these strange circumstances as normal ones. I wonder if she thinks we're on the lam, on the run from the law? Rushing in and out of hotel rooms night after night, dealing with large amounts of cash, dying our hair with shoe polish in gas station restrooms…

Lay-persons assume touring must be wild times of luxury and depravitous fun. In truth, at this level, it's the hard work of a dog, pretty much 24 hours a day. We cannot accept well-intentioned offers from friends of dinner and amusements. For weeks at a time, we keep an unchanging rhythm of wake-up too early, drive too far, load-in, sound-check, eat, perform, break down the stage, sleep. I do like this strange work though. I like the intensity of the shows, and the feeling of being outside of society in a mini-community of our own, where we desperately hang on to souvenirs and shared jokes, our only possessions besides our cellos.

Our days off are rare, but when we do have one, I try to arrange a Rasputina Field-trip™. We've visited murder sites, slave cabins, bayou huts, and have taken historical house tours of all kinds. Last leg, we visited George Washington's Mt. Vernon and Mark Twain's boyhood hometown, Hannibal, MO. Since the West is so big, all upcoming days off are “driving days”, but I do look forward, as always, to the dramatic landscapes of the Southwest.

So now, as we head from Austin to Dallas, I'm just looking forward to the next day, the next day and the next, ad infinitum. I will let you know how it goes.

Best Regards,

Melora Creager

Directress, Rasputina.


August 7, 2010

Hi Friends & Readers,

Rasputina Road-Report, Entry #2: I didn't expect anything from

Dallas– I wasn't aware of any real Rasputina following there or

anything, but what a sweet show it was- great sound, and an

attentive, affectionate, non-drunk audience. For their rapt silence

during the banjo section of the show, I gave them a prize. They

seemed pleased.

While on the road, I'm designing a fashion-show invitation for

designer Anna Sui. She wants some embroidery like my 'Sister

Kinderhook' album cover. So I've got my little craft bag, needle

case, photo references from Anna, and I work on it a little every day

(in the van). It's so funny to take a picture with a phone of some

embroidery and send it by bluetooth to a computer so I can email it

to Anna for approval.

I don't get to read all day like the other guys. Drummer Melissa

and 2nd chair cellist Daniel both just finished Mia Farrow's

autobiography and became obsessed with her! Just about all they do is

analyse Woody Allen and project which character in Mia Farrow's life

they might be most like. Now they're reading Mackenzie Phillips' new

memoir and I can't say that this little book club is on a very

healthy path!

Today is a leisurely day off/driving day. We may perhaps reach

Amarillo, Texas, en route to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I miss my 11 year old daughter, Hollis. She spends summers with

her father. I've always tried to use her school-vacation times to

tour, so we're used to this kind of separation, but it's still hard.

She's just starting to comprehend what I do for a living and that

it's unusual and pretty cool.

Touring is such a 'deprived' condition. Self-imposed, yes, but

self-imposed deprivation- deprivation of space, privacy, cleanliness,

and comfort.

As we approach the Southwest, I look past looking forward to it

and look on to California. I do love LA. I've always had such

eccentric and loveable friends there. You know who you are! Anyplace

where you can know the natives and spend time with them becomes

interesting (no matter how superficial it might seem on the surface).


Melora Creager

Directress, Rasputina.

LA Weekly