EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE
The magnum opus of The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, Everything for Everyone was recorded in Urbana, Illinois in mid-2000, mixed in Chicago in mid-2001, and mastered in Urbana in mid-2002. It was recorded and mixed by Jay Bennett, and the CD design and layout was done by Edward Burch. The liner notes were written by The Viper, with the English-to-Russian and then Russian-back-to-English translations handled through an online translation engine whose name has long since been forgotten.
The Viper is a U.S. Rte. 1-based singer of songs and player of ukuleles who scats, croons, and yodels his way through the last 150 years of popular (and not so popular) music. He is an international sensation and has wowed 'em everywhere from Ankara, Turkey to Urbana, Illinois. He currently plays banjo uke, jug, and other assorted household implements with the Paint Branch Ramblers.
The Viper was born Ryan Jerving in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on a cold January night in 1968. Though only intermittently active as a solo performer since relocating to Ankara, Turkey in 2000 and to the Washington, D.C. area in 2002, The Viper labored in ways both great and good with His Famous Orchestra in Champaign, Illinois during the final, historic years of the last millennium. Aside from TV & HFO, Jerving played in the Kennett Brothers (a honky tonk outfit in the tradition of the Louvin Brothers), the Corn Likkers (an old time and jug band led by Kenneth Rainey, currently of Chicago's Tangleweed), the Prairie Mountaineers (a combo that mostly played fiddle tunes for contra dances), the Graduate Employees Organization brass band (in which he played cornet, badly), and the Ancient Jazz Quartet (ok, just one show, but the name couldn't be wasted). He is formerly of Madison, Wisconsin rock combos Kissyfish and Enzymatic Fly Vomit (a dorm rock splinter project of My Cousin Kenny), and a Libertyville, Illinois high school garage band called The Generics.
The core Champaign-Urbana Orchestra heard on Everyone for Everyone featured four players, including the eponymous ukulelist. The trombone was manhandled by Rob Henn, who could also be found working his organ with the Graduate Employees Organization of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Riley Broach, also of I Am the Earth Made for Man, played the double bass. And suitcase duties were covered by the woefully overtalented Edward Burch, also of the Kennett Brothers and the (Jay) Bennett and (Edward) Burch duo.
THE TAILIES AND OTHERS
A list of other musicians and singers who were at one time members of the Orchestra, recorded with them, or regularly sat in reads like a who's who of the local Champaign-Urbana scene in the 1990s: Kenneth Rainey (lap steel, mandolin, e-bow, jaw harp, and nose flute); Colin McKoy (violin, saw); Rectangle's Victor Cortez (toy piano, metal chair) and Matt Mitchell (ukulele); Williwaw's Bill Whitmer (processed ukulele, pocket trumpet); Wilco's Jay Bennett (Hammond organ); Beezus's Loretta Gaffney (flute, guitar), Elizabeth Majerus (ukulele, guitar), and Joy Gadrinab (drums); Corndolly's Rachel Switsky (electric bass); Nastybake's Kevin Carollo (suitcase) and Michael Berube (suitcase); the Tractor Kings' Rebecca Rury (drum kit); the Small Mediums at Large's Dave Wesley (double bass); the Prairie Dogs' Jordan Kaye (guitar); everyman Don Gerard (guitar); and vocalists Allen Stickels, Amy Young, Mark Dahlquist, Mila Yasko, and Julie Davis.