Tag Archives: The Viper and His Famous Orchestra

The eggplant that ate Chicago…

…looked a lot like The Viper and His Famous Orchestra. See for yourself. Here are a number of photographs from our recent rehearsals in Palatine, July 10 show at the Hotel SnS, and July 12 show at the Great Performers of Illinois 2009 festival in Millennium Park.


Nice high quality and well-shot photos of Edward Burch and The Viper and His Famous Orchestra by Robert Loerzel from his Underground Bee blog at http://www.undergroundbee.com/2009/07/12viper/index.htm


The Viper & His Famous Orchestra – Great Performers of Illinois
Posted by The Viper – includes shots from onstage I took while I probably should have been tuning my jug.

Viper Shows
Posted by Victor Cortez

Music Making
Posted by Riley Broach

Videos from The Viper and His Famous Orchestra: Drunk Bus
Posted by Victor Cortez

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra / Edward Burch
Posted by Rachel Leibowitz

Unfortunately, you can’t view these unless you’re on Facebook. And some require that you are a friend or a friend of a friend of the photographer. But I’m looking to put the best of them in a more permanent place on this site soon.

Victor Cortez rocks the 88's... er... 9's
Victor Cortez rocks the 88's... er... 9's

Photos from the Great Performers of Illinois 2009

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, Millennium Park, Chicago (July 12, 2009)
The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, Millennium Park, Chicago (July 12, 2009)

The setting was one of the great pleasures of playing with The Viper and His Famous Orchestra this past Sunday, July 12, at the Great Performers of Illinois 2009 festival in Chicago. The festival was held in Millennium Park, and our stage was right next to the Cloud Gate sculpture by Anish Kapoor more familiarly known as the “bean.” (That’s us playing to the right of it in the picture above.) Just beyond the bean was Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain in which my daughter, Kip Rainey’s daughter, and daughters and sons everywhere could play when they got bored with us. Behind us was Michigan Avenue and the Chicago skyline. And in front of us was Dan Peterman’s 100-ft.-long bench and picnic table, which proved indispensable to getting a crowd to hand around while we played.

The picture above was posted to Facebook by Erica Mueller O’Donoghue. More photos to follow.

It’s alive!

The Viper had his first practice with the Famous Orchestra since 2002 on Sunday, June 14. It sounded surprisingly good, and I think we’re going to sound really good by the time of our mid-July shows. I’m going back for more later this morning.

The practice included me, trombonist Rob Henn, and bass player Riley Broach. We practiced at the lovely 1866 home of Riley and Therese Peskowits in Palatine, IL. And here’s what we practiced:

  • Randolph St.
  • I Left My Liver in Libertyville
  • Heyse Latke Kalte Latke
  • Winnebago Bay
  • The Fillmore and Buchanan March
  • The Neapolitan
  • Seafaring Lassie
  • Whispering
  • Good Morning Irene
  • Ich Bin Berlin
  • Drunk Bus
  • Benny Lava

We’re in the phone book! We’re in the phone book!

…or at least we’re finally on CD Baby. After much gentle prodding from Tangleweed‘s Kip Rainey (source of many of the most delightful TweedBlog posts), I finally got my act together and sent in the 5 CDs of 2002’s “Everything for Everyone” that the site needs to start enabling self-distribution.

On our CD Baby page, you can hear significant chunks of all the songs, read a description of the band which, hands down, wins for the highest density of compound adjectives of any of the descriptions I’ve seen, and link to other examples of bands in the Avant Garde: Avant-Americana, Folk: Skiffle, and Lo-Fi categories. As you’ll see, we come in as both a top-7 editor’s pick and a top-7 best seller in the Folk:Skiffle category. Largely because there seem to be only 7 records in that category. Feel free to review the CD if you’ve heard it, and feel even freer to buy it!

I held off actually sending things in until I’d at least tried to cross some of the legal t’s and dot some of the copyright i’s that would make it ok for a commercial CD and downloads to include the covers we did on that recording: “Rhapsody in Blue,” “Pennies from Heaven,” Angie Heaton’s “Pretty Is as Pretty Does,” and Liz Phair’s “Dance of the Seven Veils.” It’s somewhat obscene that Gershwin’s 1924 piece is still under copyright, 88 years after publication, and (given that he died in 1937) now exceeding even the life-plus-70 years of protection that authored works are supposed to get.