Stepping The Betsy

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Musically, this song is a tribute to cryptomnesia: the condition, distinct from plagiarism, of forgetting your source for an idea that you thought was your own. You’ll hear this most clearly in the coda where we do a vocalese riff on the guitar solo from George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” the song that is most famous example of the term in action (he didn’t realize he was cribbing his music from “He’s So Fine.”

Lyrically, I still really have no idea what it’s about, though it’s a song I started writing in 1992 but didn’t finish until we first played it at the PRK Auktoberfyst in October 2011.

For reference, here’s a scratch track I created to let the band know what it was supposed to sound like before we started rehearsing in (with the second uke doing what would become the trombone part).

The Viper, scratch track of “Stepping the Betsy,” somewhere in 2011

And here’s our live debut of the song the 2011 Auktoberfyst, with me, Rob Henn, Riley Broach, and Edward Burch.

The Viper & His Famous Orchestra, “Stepping the Betsy,” Klas restaurant, Cicero, IL, October 2011

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