Band Bios

Anna Purnell – Vocals

The Velvet Smash's lead vocalist was raised on jazz, opera, ethnic music, and head-phones-only rock and roll listening. The Milwaukee native has studied with Richard Davis and Joan Wildman, but is entirely to blame for the way she turned out. Anna has fronted the Quickies and the Reptile Palace Orchestra, is the adjunct vocalist with klezmer phenoms Yid Vicious. Her other bands include Intemperance Collective and The Dixie Sizzlers. In The Velvet Smash she builds upon her lifelong commitment to torchiness, delight, silliness, and the wearing of glamorous costumes and ridiculous foot-gear.
Geoff Brady - Vibes

A native of Pontiac, MI, Brady plays vibes and theramin Madison bands including Yid Vicious, the Active Percussion Duo, Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Gomers, Executive Tea Set, Yammer, and the Theramones. He also plays solo occasionally, writes a little, and teaches sometimes. Brady is hard at work on his forthcoming one-man show, "Me, Me, Look at ME: A One-Man Show," and is very happy to be married to The Velvet Smash's accordion and horn player, the unflappable Kia.
Michael Brenneis – Drums

A man of mystery, talent, and innumerable projects, Michael heads up performing and composing ventures, including The Improvisor's Workbench, Executive Tea Set, Active Percussion Duo, Tomato Box, The Ten Sleeps Trio. In addition to The Velvet Smash, he also performs with The Sean Michael Dargan Band, The New Breed Quintet, Alison Margaret Jazz Ensemble, and Kyle Henderson's Blue Eyed Soul.
When not playing music, and even while doing so, Michael pursues a healthy lifestyle that disturbs and amazes his band mates. We keep trying to tell him that musicians are not supposed to engage in practices like jogging, eating life-enhancing foods, or moderation. He scoffs at us. Then he runs around the block and does a set of one-handed push-ups.
Kia Karlen - Horn and Accordion

Born and raised in Madison, WI, Kia also plays in Yid Vicious Klezmer ensemble. Currently She has performed with the Con Vivo Chamber Ensemble, Four Seasons Theatre, Capitol City Band and Madison Savoyards, and occasionally plays bass with local rock outfits including Yammer and the Theramones. With husband (and frequent Reptile Palace Orchestra guest drummer) Geoff Brady, Kia has scored experimental music for silent film screenings, staged sock puppet tributes to the great philosophers, and organized armies of artists for temporary public art projects at Ride the Drive and Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Kia works at the Madison Children's Museum, where she often figures out ways to do this sort of stuff for a steady salary.
Greg Smith - Bari Sax and Clarinet

This Madison native has been the bass clarinetist in the Madison Symphony Orchestra since the early 1970's. Other musical endeavors include the Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble, Capitol City Band, the Dixie Sizzlers (Dixieland), Yid Vicious (klezmer), Reptile Palace Orchestra (Balkan lounge funk), North Country Drifters (Western swing), and Grupo Candela (salsa, bachata, meringue).
Kevin Tipple - Upright and Electric Bass

Kevin grew up in Cedar Grove, WI, playing trumpet until his freshman year in college. It was then he picked up a knockoff Rickenbacker to join his brother's rock band, and the trumpet was soon forgotten.
Playing with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's jazz groups led to a summer cruise ship job and eventually to the upright bass he plays with The Velvet Smash and Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble. Kevin has also been involved with the groups Poor Charlie, The sQuids, and Montankus.