Here’s what you missed if you missed The Viper & His Famous Orchestra playing at the Underground Wonder Bar this past Friday night, December 13, along with John Peacock and Edward Burch.
And it should give you a taste of what to expect at our upcoming shows: Saturday, Jan. 11 at Martyrs’ in Chicago for the big Sousaphenia event; Saturday, Jan. 25 at Uncommon Ground on Devon in Chicago (with Jack & Ace); and Friday, Jan. 31, at the Sugar Maple in Milwaukee. Details on our shows page at https://theviper.org/shows.
Viper set #1
- Hey! Rounders
- Ukulele Rhythm
- I Love a Girl in Moscow
- Save Me a Krampus (for the Holiday)
- Pound It Out
- Heartbreak for Beginners
- Make a World (Brand New)
- The Viper’s Blue Yodel no. 6.02 x 10 to the 23rd
- Big Headed Small Minded Man
- IL Central
- Make Believe
- Poor Alice
- The Neapolitan
- I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
- There’s Always Tomorrow / Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Viper set #2
- My Seafaring Lassie
- The Winnebago Bay
- The Yodeler’s Christmas
- The Yodeler’s Christmas (encore — honest!)
- The Monsters Are Coming
- Transformer Man
- Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been… Blue
- Das Kapital
- Ludlul bel nemeqi (Body and Soul)
- Good Morning Irene
- I Left My Liver in Libertyville
As you’ll see from the actual stage set lists below, we cut a bunch due to time and a sense that the audience wasn’t going to go for a whole set of un-mic’ed on-the-floor washtub bass tunes. AND when John and I were putting the list together while sitting in his car on the way down stopped on the interstate for and hour-and-a-half outside of Northbrookfieldparkridgeviewgrovemette, we somehow forgot to transfer some of our biggest crowdpleasers, including “Stopper in My Hand” and a season-appropriate “Mele Kalikimaka.”
C’est l’amour, c’est la guerre.
The Viper and His Famous Orchestra performing The Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin'” in the upstairs of the Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana, Illinois in the Year 2000. I think this took place in July, shortly before I moved from Champaign to Turkey (we do a song in Turkish elsewhere in the set), and I think we were playing as part of a benefit.
The instrumentation was sparse — no ukulele (I played the egg shaker — and eggs come from a chicken, not a bunny, dummy!). Just bass, trombone, and suitcase, and mostly just in the breaks. This was, I think, so we could roam as we spit. Most of the Adam Yauch lines seem to handled by Riley Broach, vocalizing with appropriate gruffness.
The show was recorded on a handheld analog tape recorder — I believe just through the built in mic — by Brad Allen. You can hear a little device-on-lap noise at the beginning. In digitizing it, I did a little bit of equalizing to cut out volume spikes but I didn’t otherwise alter the original recording.
The Generics, live at the Fairhaven Bowl in Mundelein, Illinois, summer of 1986. Raw suburban Chicago mid-80s power, undetectable Farfisa organ and all.
Photograph by David Broustis, circa 1985
And the message is as timely as ever. That message being: “Enjoy the bass stylings of Pat Gamet.”
The Generics at the time of this recording were: Ryan Jerving, guitar; Craig Witsoe, guitar; Nadine Engel (now Schneller), drums; John Papageorge, keyboards; Pat Gamet, bass; and Dean Samara, saxophone (though I think playing tambourine on this track). We would have all been Libertyville High School seniors (+/- 1).
There’s a part near the beginning of the song on the original recording where the right channel dropped out for about 30 seconds, which I’ve only had partial success in covering by patching the left channel on top of it. You’ll hear the difference when the right comes back in at 0:53 . Try not to let it spoil your peace, your love, or your understanding.
The Fairhaven Bowl still stands: join a league today.
Here’s a newly digitized live recording of the Viper and His Famous Orchestra performing the “Love Song of Kalua” at the
Red Herring Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana, Illinois, in July 2000, shortly before I moved to Turkey.
This is a much-recorded Hawaiian “standard” written by Ken Darby in 1954. Our version is based on the Marty Robbins version. Listen for my lapse into the Dick Van Dyke Show theme during my whistling solo.
The recording was made by our friend Brad Allen on a tiny little portable tape recorder, the kind you use to record lectures. Not bad quality, considering.