not like you’re talkin’ about no dogfish
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This song began its pup shark life as a CD-Rom of free music studio software taped to the front of a British music recording magazine I purchased in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC, of which I’ve since forgotten the name and for which I can no longer find the software. The drums and whoosh-y synthwash sound were part of the software demo track, against which I created a little bassline (or maybe modified the existing one?) and spoke-sang Quint’s immortal line from Jaws.

You hear the result in the reference track below.

The Viper, “Sharkin'”, self-recorded while playing around with the demo track on home studio software that came as a CD glued to the front of a music magazine, roughly June 2008.

Translating this to a uke/trombone/bass/suitcase context took some doing, but it was done! In performance, we often do this very short, very minimalist, very one-joke piece multiple times in one set. It shows up throughout the set like an unwelcome shark at Amity’s beach — a joke I stole from Kevin Carollo, in whose band Half Slab I played drums for a similarly water-beast-themed song that served much the same function called “The Wild Grouper,” about a fish in a communal tank at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium that went a little, well, funny in the head one day and ate most of his tank-mates.

When we do this, we usually let the last time through extend itself a bit, giving trombonist Rob Henn a chance to kick his legs and move his arms around in a warm, salt-buoyant, double-harmonic modal sea.

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, “Sharkin’ (Extended Version),” Var Gallery, Walker’s Point, Milwaukee, WI, July 2016

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