I’m Here to Steal Your Song

While you slept the sleep of the dead and contented, I used the cover of last night’s darkness to steal another song from the void/cultural commons and to register it for my own use with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Socialize the work; privatize the profit — that’s always been my motto.

The song is called “I’m Here to Steal Your Song” (ASCAP work id# 887682747).

Here’s what it sounds like:

And here’s what it looks like (download it if you’d like):I'm Here to Steal Your Song  p1

I'm Here to Steal Your Song  p2

While I was at it, I also registered “Dopamine” (aka “Let the Dopamine Be,” work id# 887682868). I also took the opportunity to register Riley Broach’s new composition, “By Your Lonesome (It’s Time to Jam)” (work id# 887684085), because 1) it was just that easy, and 2) because Riley wouldn’t return my e-mail for the interview about his new song that was SUPPOSED to occupy this spot on the Viper blog.

Shh! Don’t tell Riley! Or do tell him. See if I care!

We’ll be playing both songs tonight at our 8:00 show at Anodyne in Walker’s Point, Milwaukee (with Mississippi Sawyer).

Viper, where’ve you been so long?

Announcing two upcoming Milwaukee shows for the season, which, shameful to say, will be the first honest-to-cripe Orchestra shows since this past July and our first Milwaukee shows since February.

February! Viper come home!

  • Friday, October 24, 2014, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.
  • Saturday, December 13, 2014, The Coffee House

On Friday, October 24, 2014:

We’ll be at the Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co., Walker’s Point Roastery (224 W. Bruce Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204 | (414) 276-8081 | questions@anodynecoffee.com) from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m.

The Roastery is masterpiece of restoration and reclaimed wood, a great place to see a show, sip some site-roasted coffee, or have a featured beer on tap from the Milwaukee Brewing Company just down the block.

And we’ll have Mississippi Sawyer as our special guests, an inspired three-piece who, by virtue of appearing, will double our usual on-stage suitcase count.  As they’ll tell you on their Facebook page, Mississippi Sawyer plays old time songs, traditional and original music with members playing homemade instruments and household items as musical instruments. (Who’d want to do that?)

When they’re not letting every hour represent itself at farmers markets or festivals in and around Milwaukee, you might find them, as here, featured on “The Dig Sessions,” playing “Ella Speed.” Sing it to your sweetheart!

This double bill has been a long time in the making, and it’s something not to be missed. $7.00 cover.

Then on Saturday, December 13, 2014:

We’ll be playing at The Coffee House (1905 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233 | (414) 534-4612), a Milwaukee institution that has been hosting acoustic music poetry since 1967.

More details on this show will follow, but we’ll be playing on the second floor auditorium that this venerable organizations has managed to infiltrate in this, its 48th season, and we’ll be onstage between 8:00 and 10:30. The date is 12/13/14 — the last number-sequential date you’ll see until January 2, 2034. We see this as part of our commitment to numerologically significant shows dates, like the show we did on 11/11/11, and the Fibonacci sequence-themed show we’re playing for November 23, 2058 (11/23/58).

Viper vice

It is hard living down the tempers we are born with. We all begin well, for in our youth there is nothing we are more intolerant of than our own sins writ large in others and we fight them fiercely in ourselves ; but we grow old and we see that these are sins are of all sins the really harmless ones to one, nay that they give a charm to any character, and so our struggle with them dies away.

– Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans

Sunday seems like a good day for some self-reflection and auditing, and specifically a good chance to take stock of those sins we might see writ large in others tomorrow evening, Monday, September 8 as The Viper and His Own Sins Writ Large in Others play on the Mickey’s Tavern patio in Madison, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

In no particular order, here is that inventory.

  • Late-night snacking
  • Generalized misanthrophy
  • Unearned morbidity and an inflated sense of existential injustice
  • Unnecessary car errands
  • Cold-blooded murder
  • Exaggeration of my vices
  • Phone phobia
  • Wrath
  • Pretending sleep to avoid dog-walking
  • Pretending to nerd status I haven’t earned
  • Ungenerous assumptions about the private lives of other a**holes on the road
  • Treating ibuprofen as a basic food group
  • Bleach stains on shirts/pants
  • Secret glove-compartment stash of M&Ms
  • Cultural co-optation
  • Making of vice lists on company time

That’s a start, anyway.

Detail of coloring contest page
Detail of coloring contest page

These Band Names I Have Shored Against the Ruins

The Viper and Ann Vipersspouse spent a very nice Milwaukee summer night not so long ago, eating cheese, consuming Wisconsin potables, and scrolling on Ann’s phone through T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land looking for good alternative “The Viper & His” band names to use when truth-in-advertising would seem to call for it.

(Such is the case on Monday, September 8, 2014, when The Viper & His Own Sins Writ Large In Others, with The Viper & His Second String, will be playing the patio at Mickey’s Tavern in Madison from 5:30-7:30.)

This turns out to be the really most enjoyable way to read The Waste Land. Try it at home!

Here’s a few of the choice ones, in order from the poem (not by preference), and organized by section, including the footnotes. So look forward to future performances from the Viper & His One-Eyed Merchants of Smyrna and the Viper & His Bats With Baby Faces (though Ann is really pushing for The Viper & His Old Men with Wrinkled Female Breasts).

  • The Viper & His Miglior Fabbro
  • The Viper & His Burial of the Dead
  • The Viper & His Cruellest Month
  • The Viper & His Dried Tubers
  • The Viper & His Handful of Dust
  • The Viper & His Irisch Kind
  • The Viper & His Wicked Pack of Cards
  • The Viper & His Pearls That Were His Eyes
  • The Viper & His One-Eyed Merchants
  • The Viper & His Unreal City
  • The Viper & His Hypocrite Lecteurs
  • The Viper & His Game of Chess
  • The Viper & His So Rudely Forc’d
  • The Viper & His Jug Jug Jug Jug Jug
  • The Viper & His Dirty Ears
  • The Viper & His Shakespeherian Rag
  • The Viper & His What Shall We Ever Do?
  • The Viper & His Lidless Eyes
  • The Viper & His Knock Upon the Door
  • The Viper & His Nice Set
  • The Viper & His Pills I Took To Bring It Off
  • The Viper & His Fire Sermon
  • The Viper & His Other Testimony of Summer Nights
  • The Viper & His Loitering Heirs of City Directors
  • The Viper & His Rattle of Bones
  • The Viper & His Chuckle Spread From Ear To Ear
  • The Viper & His Slimy Belly
  • The Viper & His Mrs. Porter and Her Daughter
  • The Viper & His Voix D’Enfants
  • The Viper & His Week-end at the Metropole
  • The Viper & His Violet Hour
  • The Viper & His Human Engine
  • The Viper & His Old Men with Wrinkled Female Breasts
  • The Viper & His Unreproved If Undesired
  • The Viper & His Automatic Hand
  • The Viper & His Wallala Leialala
  • The Viper & His Death By Water
  • The Viper & His Profit and Loss
  • The Viper & His Handsome and Tall As You
  • The Viper & His What the Thunder Said
  • The Viper & His Rock and No Water
  • The Viper & His Maternal Lamentation
  • The Viper & His Bats With Baby Faces
  • The Viper & His DA
  • The Viper & His Age of Prudence
  • The Viper & His Fragments Shored Against the Ruins


  • The Viper & His Bill of Lading
  • The Viper & His Cauldron of Unholy Loves
  • The Viper & His Approach to the Chapel Perilous
  • The Viper & His Handbook of Birds in Eastern North America
  • The Viper & His Spanish Tragedy

Now, let’s see what we can do with Howl!

Madison Match-up Madness, culminating in this moment of mental chess between Milwaukee, WI's The Viper and Ghent, Belgium's Stijn Debrouwere. Photo by Rob Henn.
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME. Milwaukee, WI’s The Viper plays Ghent, Belgium’s Stijn Debrouwere in a game of chess that is unreproved, if undesired. In Madison! Photo by Rob Henn.

Just add tuba

We’re very excited to announce that tuba/jug player Jerry Shelato will be joining us as The Viper & His Own Sins Writ Large In Others take to the stage on the Mickey’s Tavern patio in Madison on September 8, 2014 (1524 Williamson St., Madison, WI 53703 | (608) 251-9964). 

If you’re in Madison, or can get there by hook or by crook, then please think about coming out. This will be the last of our summer-ish shows on the outdoor patio, unless the thunder speaks and a damp gust brings rain over the arid plain and dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit.

Opening will be The Viper & His Second String. The Second String features me, Madison’s own Rob Henn, 52nd Street’s own John Peacock and a washtub bass, roaming wild and off-mic as we invade your personal space. The Own Sins Writ Large in Others add Jerry Shelato. Long-time listeners first-time callers will remember Jerry from our set performing music from The Simpsons at the Great Cover-Up in Champaign, Illinois in 1998. You will remember, won’t you?

Or how about this, from a really, really hot day in Champaign in 2009? (That’s not me and John in the middle.)


the kind of music your great-great-grandparents warned your great-grandparents about


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