Category Archives: suckling pigs

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).

Must be the season of the Famous Orchestra

burden-yellow-fenceO dutiful and faithful followers of this space, ’tis the season for a whole slew of upcoming shows with The Viper and His Famous Orchestra in Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, and — just to throw a curveball in there — Jacksonville, Illinois. Here’s the rundown, so mark your calendars now.

Friday, December 13, 2013 (8:00-10:30 p.m.)
The Underground Wonder Bar
710 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 | (312) 266-7761

This will be our first show in Chicago since we played at LeRoy Bach’s place in July, 2010. It’s a early show, and we only collect a cover charge from those who specifically say they are there to see us at the door. So be sure to mention us by name, early and often.

Saturday, January 11, 2013
Sousaphenia 3 @ Martyrs’
3855 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL  | (773) 404-9494

We’ll be one of four brass-intensive bands playing at this now-legendary festival in its third year. The other bands are Environmental Encroachment, Bassel & The Supernaturals, and the 4 Star Brass Band.

Joining the Famous Orchestra will be our brother-in-brass Jerry Shelato on a Sousaphone that wraps ALL the way around!

Saturday, January 25, 2013 (10:00 p.m. – Midnight, after which we let it all hang down)
Uncommon Ground on Devon
1401 West Devon Ave., Chicago, IL, 60660 | (773) 465-9801

Opening will be Jack & Ace (featuring Braid’s own Bob Nanna, who I think is Jack. Or maybe Ace. Or Steve, or Gary.)

Friday, January 31, 2013
Sugar Maple
441 E Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207 | (414) 481-2393

You hear that, y’all? Mil-wau-KEE.

Sunday, Feburary 16, 2014 (4:00-5:00 p.m.)
Music Under the DomeJacksonville Public Library
201 W. College Ave. | Jacksonville, IL 62650 | 217-243-5435

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra have got a fever hotter than a pepper sprout. And the only cure is… more Jacksonville!

Bonus points will be awarded to anyone who comes to each and every one of these shows.

For those about to plan really far ahead… we salute you!

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra have got a fever hotter than a pepper sprout. And the only cure is…  Jacksonville!

If you’re going to be in Morgan County, Illinois (west of Springfield) in February 2014, mark your calendar now. We just set up a show for Sunday Feb. 16, 2014 at the Jacksonville Public Library as part of their “Music Under the Dome” series. (Check out the series brochure here.)

Showtime is at 4:00 p.m. and seating is limited, if free: so get there early. Well, not too early, because the library is only open on Sundays for these shows. So get there right on time. Please?

Jacksonville Public Library
201 W. College Ave.
Jacksonville, IL 62650

Thank you, John

…for being a boss popcorn. Last week, we had an “incident” at the Jerving house in which Jerving-the-youngest accidentally knocked the Toneport USB interface off the desk, bringing a dance-infused session of recording “Starships” with her friend Nala to an abrupt end. John Peacock came to the rescue by letting me borrow his sturdy Tascam US-122: he says “indefinitely” — and now we have that in print — which means that, once again, I can shove all kinds of sounds into my computer.

I tested it out today — doesn’t yet work through the Ubuntu side of my computer, but it does on Windows. The following represents a good five minutes of work, using the Audacity sound editor to lay down three tracks of Fender Telecaster gold, un-amped and plugged in as is directly into the machine.

The sound isn’t actually terrible. The song is an instrumental version of John Papageorge’s Kissyfish classic, “Girlfriend,” from our Grownups Are People, Too tape.

John Papageorge, circa May, 1987, Madison, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Mardi Gras (scheduled for June 5th this year)

On June 5, 2012, Wisconsin will be voting in an historic recall of our current governor, Scott Walker (among others). As a union kind of guy and as a parent of a Milwauke Public Schools student, I present this song which, rather elliptically, makes the case for giving Walker his walking papers and electing Milwaukee mayor (and Washington Heights neighbor) Tom Barrett in his place. Info on the song after the video.

MUSICALLY: What you’re seeing in this recording is the first song I’ve written on piano and, really, my first public performance on the ivory/ebony 88’s. That’s why I look so terrified for so much of the song. Late last year, we inherited a free piano from someone looking to unload it. So by February of this year I decided I was going to learn to actually play something on it. With it being Mardi Gras season and all, I decided that that something was going to be the New Orleans style associated with Professor Longhair — a habanera rhythm on the left hand; 8-to-thebar, “crush” grace notes, and falling arpeggios on the right hand.

The music for this song is basically the result of that: a swiping of “Tipitina,” “Big Chief,” and “Hey, Little Girl” (with some of Louis Jordan’s “Early in the Morning” and Ray Charles’s “Mess Around” around the edges).

VISUALLY: I set up the camera to try to make it look like the way Fats Domino was filmed in the 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee television variety special from 1969. I definitely succeeded in the Fats part, belly-wise. You also see me sporting my new Mahlon Mitchell button — free from the Tom Barrett rally with Bill Clinton I’d gone to earlier in the day at Pere Marquette park in downtown Milwaukee.

LYRICALLY: It goes like this (some of which I flub in the version I filmed — like I said, I was terrified and just holding on for dear life):

Don’t let the good times roll
Good times roll too slow
And it might take a push or a shove
To make the bad times go

So let the talkers talk
And let the walkers walk
And if they need a push or a shove, shove with love
And let the bad times roll

There’s a way to tell the story
So that it turns out right
Don’t let the good times flow
They flow too slow
Baby, let the bad times roll.

So tell your Ma and your Pa
Wisconsin Mardi Gras
Is scheduled for June 5th this year
Tout le monde, chantez-les bas

And let the talkers talk
Let’s let the walkers walk
And if they need a push or a shove, shove with love
And let the bad times roll

All y’all can sing it with me:
“Laissez les mal temps roulez
And if you still can recall, the thrill of it all
Baby, let the bad times roll.

…and it’s true. Like Frederick Douglass said: good times don’t just roll — sometimes they need a push or a shove. So let’s get out there and shove (with love).