Béla Lugosi Biography Béla Lugosi was created in the streets of Marseille, France, in 1994 by Misha Bodnar. But the story of Béla Lugosi begins long before that when Misha was only eight years old. The small blue eyed boy was discovered playing his cello in front of a bar in the streets of Santa Barbara, CA by the Hungarian gypsy virtuoso cellist Gabor Rejto. Under the tutelage of Rejto, Bodnar progressed in his music studies at an alarming pace, eventually becoming the youngest student ever to enter the U.S.C. music program at the age of thirteen. At sixteen, after a violent fight with his family over money owed to his father, Bodnar ran away to Paris. After falling in love with the imposing facade of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique,(it was made out of really nice stone ,but kinda cold) he became determined to attend the prestigious school. A grueling month spent practicing into the night and competing against 120 other gifted cellists payed off when Misha was offered a full scholarship to study within its ancient stone walls. He was one of eight chosen. During his time at the conservatory Bodnar won the Royaume de la Musique, a nationwide competition sponsored by Radio France. After graduating early with highest honors, Misha worked with the Marseille Opera Orchestra to survive, but quickly became disillusioned with the attitude of his fellow orchestra players. He decided to ditch the paycheck and go back to his roots; playing in the streets for small change and sandwiches.
The streets of Marseille were full of musicians of different sensibilities and cultures. It didn't take long for Misha to hook up with a group of rabble rousers named Venus Bitch. He stuck a pick-up on his cello and snatched the lead guitarist's amp thereby becoming the first electric punk rock cellist ever. With this band Misha travelled Europe opening for acts like Iggy Pop ,Suicide, L7, Lords of the New Church, The Legendary Pink Dots, and punk legend Johnny Thunders. After the tour Misha felt his home town calling and decided to take the best of Venus Bitch home with him. They crammed into a tiny studio once inhabited by Charlie Chaplin and renamed themselves Béla Lugosi. They recorded eight albums and took over the local clubs and press for almost a decade. The city of Bodnar's youth was changing, becoming more gentrified and sterile, and clubs began to shut down (or Béla Lugosi was banned from them). But they won't give up and continue to haunt the dark allies and dank clubs still remaining in this sunny seaside town to this very day. One thing Bodnar takes seriously is the quality of performers he works with, and though Béla Lugosi is a motley gang of musicians, dancers, strippers, cross dressers, comedians, guerilla theater actors and painters, they are all artists at the top of their game.