Brian Samuels: Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Mandolin - Brian is the founding member of Ultraviolet Hippopotamus. He started playing music around 15 years ago and has taught him self how to play a variety of instruments from guitar to the xylophone. Brian’s influences include Moe, Umphrey’s McGee, and Phish.
Joe Phillion: Drums - Joe Phillion, widely considered one of the best young drummers in Michigan, started playing drums at the age of 10 in the Pentecostal Church that he grew up in. Terry Bozio, John Bonham, Chris Meyers, Scott Pellegrom and Chester Thompson have all influenced his style.
Dave Sanders: Vocals/Piano/Keyboards - Dave Sanders, originally from Flint, came to West Michigan to study music at Western Michigan University. His music career started at age 11, with the Trombone at Blue Lake, eventually lead to the T-Lo Effect, and thence to Ultraviolet Hippopotamus. Dave not only commands a mean keyboard, but is a talented singer and songwriter. When you listen to Dave you’ll hear the kaleidoscope of Phish, Ween, Steely Dan, Herbie Hancock, Wham!, and Yes.
Casey Jones: Vocals/Percussion - Casey Jones was a member of the Red Frog African Drum Ensemble, and has played percussion for a number of Michigan bands. He has been playing music for 17 years, studied classical music and then became a member of the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra. His influences are Paul Simon, Allman Brothers and Phish.
Russell James: Vocals/Guitar - Russell studied music at the collegiate level and has been playing professionally for 13 years. In that time he has worked as a solo artist and with a variety of bands playing around Michigan. During the day, Russ is a Luthier and runs a school to teach people how to build and repair guitars. His biggest influences are Frank Zappa, Pearl Jam, YES, Peter Mulvey, and Peter Gabriel.
The band has two full length albums, numerous live recordings, and has become a phenomenon in the Midwest music scene, regularly packing such venues as Bell’s Brewery, The Intersection, Billy’s Lounge, Papa Pete’s, The Mouse Trap and Founder’s Brewing while steadily expanding their touring ground to neighboring states. Their festival circuit includes 10K Lakes, Strip Mine Festival, Hoxyville and Harvest Gathering. They have been featured on compilation albums with artists such as Michael Franti & Spearhead , Unphree’s McGee & Phish. Their thirst for exploration and desire to connect with the listener leaves audiences shakin’ their booties and wanting more.