Starting on cello at the age of nine, Madigan Shive began her composing career at fifteen in the Pacific Northwest Riot Grrrl scene releasing music with seminal independent record labels K and Kill Rock Stars. Shive has gone on to establish herself as a singular and trailblazing performer, blending folk, art, punk, classical and avant-baroque styles. Her albums include Sew True, From the Burnpile, Saddle the Bridge, Plays for Change, and the recently reissued I Bleed: a Decade of Song. She is currently finishing her sixth full-length album, Covert Constellations, to be released in collaboration with her label, MoonPuss Music, as well as launching a comprehensive Bandcamp page containing for the first time in one place her remastered catalog spanning 20-years and 13 diverse collections (many of them either previously unreleased, out of print, or never before available online).
Shive has collaborated onstage and in studio with artists as diverse and influential as iconoclastic music producer Hal Willner (Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Allen Ginsberg, Laurie Anderson), Joan Jeanrenaud (Kronos Quartet), David Coulter (The Black Rider, The Pogues), Kimya Dawson, Neko Case, Cat Power, Gossip, Fugazi, The Good, the Bad and the Queen, Jolie Holland, Slovenian industrial-music-theater artists Laibach, Finnish chamber-metal showmen Apocalyptica and Academy Award nominee Elliott Smith.
Shive’s music can be heard in films including Better Luck Tomorrow, But I’m a Cheerleader, Chain Camera and Crooked Beauty. Commissions include prepared solo cello suites for San Francisco Grace Cathedral’s Vigil of Light, live score written and performed for the American Conservatory Theater’s production of the Jacobean tragedy ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, London’s Barbican Hall Twisted Christmas program, an original recorded score for Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s The Lion in Winter, composer and musical director for Los Angeles’ Getty Villa theater production of a new English translation of Sophocles Elektra featuring Olympia Dukakis in addition to the score and starring role in the experiMental silent film Transliminal Criminal.
She is a contributing author to the anthology Live through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction (Seven Stories Press), sharing company with bell hooks, Nan Goldin, Kate Bornstein, and other creative pioneers. She’s the founding collective member of The Icarus Project, a grassroots support and social justice network led by people living with experiences commonly labeled “mental illness.” Bright Eyes, Vetiver, Unitard (Karen O & Nick Z from Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Annie Clark (St. Vincent) have all been support acts for Bonfire Madigan.
Bonfire Madigan was included in the 2016 Huffington Post article, “12 Freedom Fighting Bands to Get You Through the Trump Years,” and was a contributing artist in the recent Hugs For Chelsea compilation (along side Thurston Moore, Ted Leo, Screaming Females, and Michael Stipe) to benefit Chelsea Manning following her release.
In the fall of 2017 Bonfire Madigan will be performing several shows supporting Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton (check tour page for dates). 2018 will usher in the release of a brand new album (Covert Constellations) as well as a music and mental health doc-opera called Whisper Rapture: A Bonfire Madigan Suite which explores her journey from traumatized youth to virtuoso musician to pioneering mental health activist.