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"Your race was genetically engineered by aliens and we were just the more or less passive visitors of this accelerated evolution process."
     
 
 
1190 Unique Iguanas
   
548 Visits to this Rock
   
9484 Total Lounge Visits
   
the Artists of Reptile Palace Orchestra

 
         
 reptilian Biographics  
         
     
Anna Purnell
 

       


 Anna Purnell

 trumpet, vocals

 

Anna Purnell was born in Monterey, California a while back. Since age six, she's lived in Wisconsin, growing up in Milwaukee and migrating to Madison to attend college. Raised on jazz, opera, and ethnic music in heavy and delirious doses, her father once drove through a stop sign and bashed another car because he was so enthralled by the symphony he was listening to on the brand new FM radio of the rental car. Understandably, she suffers from the same species of demonic musical possession (and questionable driving skills).

Her first instrument was Suzuki-method violin at the age of three. Despite an Alverno College nun's kind tutelage, Anna ditched the violin for the trumpet in fifth grade because she had decided to marry Louis Armstrong. "There was, of course, the age difference, but I figured we could overcome that."

In addition to the Reptiles, she plays trumpet with an all-woman band called Ladies Must Swing, front a local jazz combo called Six of One, and am one third of a women's acapella group called The Murder Sisters. She knits. She beads. Compulsively. Her first detective novel, Payment Due, is on track for completion in 2004.

     
 
         
         
         
         
     
Biff Blumfumgagnge
 

         


 Biff Blumfumgagnge

acoustic & electric violins, therolin, viola, acoustic & electric mandolins,
resonator, baritone & sitar guitars, vocals

   

Born in Milwaukee but growing up in Madison Wisconsin, Biff began fiddling in the 4th grade and played in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras before joining up with the Reptile Palace.

Beyond his main projects -- The Reptile Palace Orchestra, The Gomers ( http://thegomers.net ) and Jambeau ( http://members.aol.com/guymadison/bigbeet.html ) -- Biff also works with Robert Fripp (www.dgmlive.com), Adrian Belew (www.adrianbelew.net), Yammer ( http://beeftone.com/yammer.html ), Headpump, Tuppy the Band, Fuzzy Logic ( http://www.poetrvellis.com/fuzzy_logic.htm ), Willy Porter, Green Lime Dog and Jim James and the Damn Shames, and has guested with countless others, including John Kruth, Killbilly, The Dickle Brothers, The Dang-Its, The Kissers, Yid Vicious and Boiled In Lead.

Keep up with Biff at (link) http://beeftone.com.

     
 
         
         
         
         
     
Seth Blair
 

         


Seth Blair

electric cello, cello, vocals

   

Seth Blair and his cello were innocently doing the old solo singer-songwriter folk coffeehouse thing until RPO came along. Seth has written and forgotten many many songs, but the idea that people might dance to one was new to Seth -- although he had previously made people get up and leave. When he got a 6 string electric cello from the Seattle builder Eric Jensen, it spoke to him, saying: play Balkan rock music. Seth is also the substitute substitute rehearsal drummer for RPO. Robert has heard him play. Robert does not look very nervous.

Seth still infests coffeehouses from time to time. He has two cassette tapes, an all-cello solo effort called Skeleton Dance, and a collaboration with Seattle area twelve string wizard Tracy Moore, called The Bad Boys from Boston (it's a long story). Copies of these releases are currently holding up the foundation in a corner of Seth's house.

For a hobby, Seth works on the genetics of wing development in the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster.

 
     
 
         
         
         
         
     
Bill Feeny
 

         


Bill Feeny

electric guitar, vocals

   

Bill's "wonder years" were in Monroe, Connecticut. He and his friends built several forts and a raft. They spent their days exploring the woods, turning over rocks and logs, eating wild berries and apples and getting stung by bees.

In high school Bill studied a little music theory and took up folkdancing for gym credit. Bulgarian & Turkish music really turned his head, and he began collecting recordings of music from all over the world. "At that time the Nonesuch Explorer Series was about all you could find unless you went to specialty stores in weird parts of Milwaukee. I remember doing 'record runs' to this shop that sold eastern European clothing, cheap jewelry, DMSO and lots of obscure dance albums."

Eventually earning an associate degree in commercial art, Bill settled into a job as a production artist and cartoonist for a music publishing company. Since 1989, he's worked as illustrator for the University of Wisconsin Zoology Department.

Bill played in the gamelan Kyai Telaga Rukmi for eight semesters at the University of Wisconsin, then bought an Arp Odyssey and a Maestro Echoplex and started performing spaced out folkdance tunes with his brother Ed and Doug Code. They called the band Napred (which is the Wisconsin state motto in Bulgarian). Soon he was also in the rock band Appliances-SFB. A-SFB released two albums and a bunch of other stuff, and played a lot, mainly in the Midwest, for about 18 years before they just sort of stopped getting together.

Through the years, Bill's continued to have an itch to play for dancers, and eventually pulled together some musicians with that in mind. This group of players became the RPO.

     
 
         
         
         
         
     
Robert Schoville
 

         


Robert Schoville

drum kit, bowed aquaphone, shakers, surdu,
dumbek, tar, vocals, trumpet

   

Born in Madison Wisconsin, Robert's led an active life of learning and performing music from a percussive perspective.

Friendship with musicians with many cultures has led him to perform with Guillermo Anderson and the Central American All-Stars. He recently toured with Tico da Costa (Brasil) and Laura Fuentes (Chile), as well as two European tours with the Common Faces.

Robert is also Musical director of the Handphibians, Madison-based community percussion ensemble (Bateria) performing traditional and original compositions from Brasil, Cuba, and Africa and Avenida Brasil, performing Musica Poplular Brasiliera (MPB). Pursuing an advanced degree with an emphasis in multicultural music education, he's completing an advanced method book on Brazilian percussion techniques. On the web at www.handphibians.com.

     
 
         
         
         
         
     
Greg Smith
 

         


Greg Smith


clarinets, saxophones

   

A native of Madison with a music degree from UW-Madison, Greg Smith performs on clarinet, saxophone and flute in a wide variety of musical organizations and styles. Orchestrally, he is in his thirtieth season with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and fills in frequently with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. He has played with ³Madison¹s Own² Capitol City Band for over twenty years, and volunteers in its winter version, The VFW Band bringing joy to many around the city who may not otherwise have a chance to hear live music.

On the jazz scene, he was a past member of the Lost Century Jazz Band, has been dishing out hot Dixieland for over ten years of Monday nights with the Avenue Sizzlers, performs with Madison-based 6 of 1 backing the always-entertaining vocalist Anna Purnell, and also has been known to front his own jazz group Greg Roberts Jazz, performing traditional jazz at private parties and other area social events.

Greg is also clarinetist for the world music group Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble, recreating the traditional music of the Jews of Eastern Europe, often in some not-so-traditional arrangements, and The Reptile Palace Orchestra, with its own special version of Balkan lounge rock, whatever that is. Recently, he has started taking on the rhythmic and melodic complexities and high energy of latin music performing with Madison¹s Afro-Cuban Latin jazz band ¡Que Flavor! and the newly-formed Merenge and Salsa band Grupo Candela.

 
     
 
         
         
         
         
     
Ed Feeny
 

         


Ed Feeny


bass, vocals

   

Ed was born in Monroe, Connecticut. At the age of nine, his parents moved the family to Madison, Wisconsin, where he has lived ever since. He began folk dancing in gym class as a freshman at City High School, sparking his interest in the music and dance of regions ranging from the Middle East to Scandinavia. At 17, he picked up the electric bass. "I enjoyed the way the instrument created a link between rhythm, chord structure and melody. I also liked the fact that, as a bass player without any previous musical experience, I was always able to find work. Soon after, I replaced my fretted neck with a fretless, finding the fretless approach to be a more primal experience."

Along with future founding RPO members Doug Code and Bill Feeny, he helped create Napred, a group which played Eastern European folk music on traditional as well as non-traditional instruments. Shortly thereafter he replaced Bill Ylitalo as the bassist for Appliances-SFB, a group which also included future founding RPO member Bill Feeny. Both bands are no longer active. These days, he dances with Narodno International Dancers, and is co-arranger of their Polish and Macedonian suites.

When Seth added parenting to his incredible list of activities, Ed was invited to job-share the low-end duties. His wife, Suzy Grindrod, and children Anna and Grace, can also be heard on We Know You Know.

When not with his family, playing music, dancing, writing songs for Bob Dylan or trying to teach Bono humility, Ed can sometimes be found at his day job as a luthier for US Masters Guitar Works, where he made the bass he's currently playing.

     
 
         
         
 
 
 
 
Photo credits on this page: Nancy Cutlip, Graham Willoughby, Nick Wiedenhoeft, Bill Feeny & Deb Rabin
Cedar Culture Center show - (in concert, left panel) all Bryan Aker
 
 
 
     
 
  www.reptilepalaceorchestra.com is copyright© 2007, RPO. All rights reserved Worldwide.  
 
Artwork © 1997-2007 Bill Feeny
All material © 1997-2007 Beeftone Music and DeSelby Productions, Inc.
(except sulu and his handbags)
 
 

 
 

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