Name: Viper’s Drag
Latest Release/Upcoming Project: Nothing yet official in the works. We’re hoping to get our newer songs to settle in before going in to record.
Previous releases/bands: Self Titled Six Song EP
Upcoming Shows: Sept. 7th at the Lyric Room, Green Bay along with The Independent Variable and The French-Irish Coalition.
Describe your sound: We’re best described as bluesy and retro-delic with a hint of prog thrown in for good measure.
What’s the band’s origin story?
The band’s history actually comes from another band that Brian and Grant were in through out the 90’s called Graphic Nature. Other members included Chris Dame now with Johnny Wad, and Project Pink on guitar and Pat Hibbard, now with Let Me Be Frank Productions on bass. Like Viper’s Drag today, Graphic Nature primarily featured music and songs written by Grant and Brian and released 2 full albums back in the mid 90’s. Whereas GN featured a more eclectic hard rock format, Viper’s Drag has a bit more of a blues based retro sound while featuring moments of a more psychedelic/prog influence, particularly in our use of odd time signatures and more complex arrangements.
Who are your influences?
Our style could be described as a mix of Led Zep meets the Doors with a bit of Floyd, old King Crimson and a dash of delta blues to keep things interesting. Newer bands we’d share a common direction with would include Jack White, Black Mountain, All Them Witches and Rival Sons along with maybe the Black Crowes and even a bit of Soundgarden.
Favorite Venue to Play:
At this point basically any place which will let us play! We did our first gig at Gasoline here in Green Bay which probably would have been a favorite locale had it not closed down 2 days after our first show there! Hopefully it will reopen again soon. Playing Steele Bridge in Sturgeon Bay a few months back was also a fun getaway.
Where did you record?/Who did you work with?/How was the experience?
Though many of us have recorded in professional studios our EP was recorded mostly in our basement rehearsal space. Grant is also a classical pianist, composer, and church organist so we got to record the drum tracks in the sanctuary of one of the churches Grant plays for. The whole thing was recorded and mixed by Grant and Josh with help from our friend Glenn Pearce who engineered it, and is now the lead guitar player in Sir Real, a well established hard rock cover band in town. The experience was good and we think the recording came out very well, however it was a very time consuming endeavor with none of us really having a lot of experience. But you learn as you do, which we did, while we did!
Anything else the world should know about you?
With Grant’s first experience with original rock music beginning in the late 80’s, the band has a long history of being tied to the local original music scene for almost almost 30 years. We don’t aim for being the most commercial of bands and we consider our originality and integrity to be more important than writing music to appeal to the masses. Our songs are more complex than they appear at first listen and require musicians capable of rising to the challenge to play them. That said we do still try to create catchy grooves and riffs (even when in 13/8!), along with memorable melodies and choruses. We certainly enjoy what we write and play and hope that others will enjoy and appreciate it with us. For longer gigs we also play some choice covers of classic songs by Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Allman Bros., etc. to include along with our originals when needed. We think it is always advantageous to do some songs the audiences might know and it shows off our abilities for those times when people are unfamiliar with our original music. Being able to learn and play the classics of rock only benefits us in the end and makes us better musicians and song writers.
Viper’s Drag was originally the title of a piece by 30’s jazz singer and pianist Fats Waller so doing a search for our name will inevitably bring one to videos of that song, hence the addition of “band” when doing a search for us. FYI, a “Drag” back then was a type of slow dance and a “Viper” was someone known to have a bit of reefer madness back in the day.