Riley Broach recently took the trouble to create this ringtone of “Sharkin’,” yours free for the downloading (right click to download).
In honor of the UW-Madison Teaching Assistants’ Association event that The Viper and His Famous Orchestra will be playing this Friday evening, September 3, I’m posting here a recording of one of the Viper earliest performances for the Graduate Employees Organization of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“I’ve heard of Big 10 schools with representation…”
The exigent occasion for such poetry was — if I’m remembering this right — an attempt by the university’s administration to abolish part of the tuition & fee waiver for graduate assistants not working in their home departments (this would have had a big effect on English, for example, who drew teachers for their professional writing and other classes from places like the Law school) but to soften the blow with the announcement of a new, but kind of rinky-dink, dental benefit.
DETAILS: It sounds like I’m playing a guitar — my singing cowboy one? — rather than ukulele. Carrie Rentschler was a GEO member in the audience. GSAC was the company shop.
It took me a year to getting around to doing it, but I’ve finally managed to archive and post the recordings that Nick Hennies made last August of the The Viper & His Famous Orchestra playing at Mike N’ Molly’s in Champaign, Illinois. The individual tracks are now available for free streaming and/or download on the archives page of the Viper’s page/blog at http://theviper.org/dig-the-archive/: 2 sets, 1 encore, 24 songs in total. Over the next few weeks, I hope to get other shows up and online as well.
This particular show show is fun and relaxed – at times very relaxed – and gives a fairly good representation of the Orchestra in its current incarnation and a pretty decent preview of the sound we’ll be bringing to Mike N’ Molly’s when we play there along with Edward Burch this upcoming weekend (Saturday, July 10 at 11:00 p.m.) and when we host the kids show and instrument-building-session at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum also in Champaign (Sunday, July 11 at 1:30 p.m.). I’ve put these up pretty much as is, leaving out only the between-song banter.
But I also am planning to do some basic editing and mastering of some of the better tracks – adjusting the volume, cutting to the chase, etc. And so in that light I present below a good performance of Liz Phair’s “Flower.”
Flower (Liz Phair)
You’ll hear the Viper on the baritone ukulele, Riley Broach on the bass, Edward Burch on the suitcase, Rob Henn on assorted percussion (is that him doing the flamenco handclaps?), and Victor Cortez on metal music stand and Thor knows what else. That great sounding electric mandolin you’ll hear belongs to Kip Rainey.
I’ve cut out some out-of-tune a cappella caterwauling I’d done at the beginning of the performance, and cut out some of the middle parts where Riley & I go out on the floor to dance (the visual effect is lost here). But I’ve left in Edward’s confessional ruminations on how things are going in his life. And I’ve left in every single one of the filthy filthy lyrics. Don’t play this for anyone under 38.
Two new Viper solo recordings as of June 7, 2010.
Both were recorded in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the Viper playing a Harmony soprano ukulele tuned in D. Both basically follow the directions of John Cage’s composition 4’33″: in each recording I prepare to play the ukulele at 0’0″, then lower it and lift it to prepare to play it again at the 1’31″ and 3’02″ marks.
Both recordings were made using a Rode M3 microphone channeled through Line6 Gearbox software and recording to the Audacity sound editing program. “Silence” uses the “Classic Vocal Front” Gearbox setting and “Noise” uses “Detroit R&B Vocal.”
I recorded these to put some content on the Facebook band fan pages I created for “silence” and “noise” as part of my efforts to be able to “like” music, movies, books, and TV in a way other than to simply self-market myself as a list of discrete, pre-commodified brands.
And you can too! Go here:
Of course, in a fitting final piece of typical Facebook half-assedness, the Facebook music player application is apparently M.I.A. So you’ll have to listen to it right here on the Viper blog.
As I prepare for The Viper’s upcoming guest spot with The Golden Horse Ranch Band on Sunday, March 7 at The Whistler in Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois, I offer this taste of a new song written specially for the occasion.
This is a bit of a piece of a scratch recording of the last verse and chorus of a number titled “Big Headed Small Minded Man,” a song, as far as I’ve been able to determine, about dry cleaning, .
“Big Headed Small Minded Man” (scratch track)
You’re also welcome to view the video version of roughly this same part of the song as filmed by my daughter, Irene, with some help from Ventriloquitty.