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Thread: Happy The Man

  1. #51
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    I will defer to you and wiki. AND, honestly, based on PG's direction, makes more sense!
    Here is some more detail, which folds in much of what you believed to be true:
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Brendan Fahey
    By 1976, roadie friends for Genesis and Little Feat began popping in and out of the band's communal home in Reston, VA, to listen to the newest licks and spoke to Happy The Man in whispers of great things in the offing, if only they'd stick around. It was about this time that Whitaker would step up and, in a collegial way, begin competing with Kit Watkins and woodwinds-man Frank Wyatt for songwriting credit. And is also when Peter Gabriel discovered Happy The Man.

    Recalls Whitaker: "Peter came to the Happy the Man rehearsal warehouse in, I believe, the Arlington area (on the Virginia side of Washington D.C.) on June 26th, 1976. I remember distinctly because it was Amerika's bi-centennial and the day before my birthday. I had met him at a couple of Genesis concerts previously and I remember him once saying to me after some question on spiritual beliefs, "I'm a warbler...", which he said was a British warlock...okay...needless to say he is a bit of a foreboding character, one of my favorite singers/artists/performers of all time and I'm sure we were all just a wee bit nervous about meeting him and playing with him. (Especially with him walking out on the previous bands shortly after arriving...)

    "He spent over seven hours with us. We had very natural chemistry with him. He seemed a little 'spacey' when he would sit at the piano to play us one of his new songs. He would stop singing in mid sentence while holding the piano chord down... and then 'out of nowhere' he'd seemingly come back into his body and continue singing right where he left off! I remember looking at each other and nudging each other like "what the fuck...is he doing!" Talking about it now, I realize the songs were so new and fresh to him (first post-Genesis stuff ever) that he didn't really know exactly where they were going without a band's input...and would pause to 'channel' in a little more; or, shit, maybe he just forgot the words!

    "We mostly concentrated on two songs: "Slowburn" and "Down the Dolce Vita" [from Gabriel's first solo LP, 1977]. We had them both sounding pretty tight as a band and you could tell Peter was digging it. He was starting to loosen up a bit and actually smile. He wanted to leave with a tape of those two songs w/o vocals (probably so he could tighten up the vocals and lyrics) which we gladly gave him. Shit, we were 21-22 years old, we were close to being signed to Arista Records, and we were playing with Peter-fucking-Gabriel! Life was good..."



    .... though Peter Gabriel would remain interested in Happy The Man, an appreciation that would come to a crescendo in mid-77, ebb, and reemerge in 1979.

    Recalls Stan Whitaker: "He would call (HTM manager) Bob Steinem's house, where we were staying, and talk to me at length about how Kit and I had especially blown him away. He offered up some other member suggestions but we were adamant about it being the whole band or none. He admitted he had no problem with that, because he liked the chemistry of our band. (Probably reminded him of early Genesis days.) He wanted the whole band alright, but he wanted it exclusively!

    "My/our rap was that, `man, Peter, we'd LOVE to be your band, but we've worked six long hard years for a major record deal and have one 'on the table' with Arista... how can we give that up? We can't... but we CAN give your project priority and work the HTM stuff around your schedule.' We even joked about HTM being his opening act as well as his back-up band and we'd wear bags on our head during the HTM set...

    "He spent a good 1 1/2-to-2 weeks calling us and talking with our and his manager to try to get us to go exclusively with him, but ultimately decided he didn't want to share us; and we, as a band, had to follow our hearts and do what we had worked so hard for. Thank god we did, since two very timeless, precious works of art (to us anyway) were created with Arista (even tho' they didn't know what to do with 'em or with us for that matter).

    "On a very personal note," recalls Whitaker, "when HTM broke up in 1979 (culminating with Kit leaving for Camel), I had an opportunity to join Peter again, as he was just beginning to write for his third album. I somewhat regrettably turned him down to continue to follow my own musical path. (I was just beginning to 'find my own voice' and was just starting to enjoy singing.)"
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 07-18-2017 at 01:19 AM.

  2. #52
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Given the fact that the Allman Brothers Band and Sea Level both also made the jump from Capricorn to Arista, all within roughly the same time frame, I'm guessing what really happened there was that Arista simply bought what was left of the Capricorn roster, as Phil Walden's label was falling apart. So I'm guessing whoever it was at Arista who engineered that deal probably viewed The Dregs, at best, as a "Southern rock band", and more likely just viewed them as "one of our new clients".
    Actually, I think you are 100% correct.
    Steve F.

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  3. #53
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Here is some more detail, which folds in much of what you believed to be true:
    I knew that they didn't want to be Peter's band exclusively and that's why the band said 'no thank you'.

    And yes, that's pretty much what I thought the basic trajectory was.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  4. #54
    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    Let's be real. Any partnership with HTM would have been short lived, regardless. They may have been a fit for the music he was making in 1977 but within a year he was embracing a more stripped down, Eno/Bowie-ish style that HTM would have been completely unsuited for.
    Not sure. HTM members being excellent musicians could have changed/adapted their style and sound to fit PG's "new" direction. Remember Larry Fast, a long time collaborator and member of PG's live band also came from the prog scene (Nektar, IGTB, Synergy,...), as well as Tony Levin.

  5. #55
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    The tape Mike Beck refers to in the quote above (previous page) is a demo of solo material PG recorded with a band consisting of Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Anthony Phillips (on keyboards) and John Goodsall (Brand X guitarist). I remember when I interviewed Phillips, he spoke of this session with palpable enthusiasm, as it was the only time he ever played with Collins (as opposed to having him sing on sessions) and it was an amazing memory for him.

    I for one would love to hear those recordings! And the HTM instrumental demos he took away that day...
    Calyx (Canterbury Scene) - http://www.calyx-canterbury.fr
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    Canterbury & prog interviews - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdf...IUPxUMA/videos

  6. #56
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Interesting that Beck remembers Gabriel's visit to the band rehearsal studio as a very specific June 28, 1976... While Whitaker remembers it as June 26, 1976. The 26th was a Saturday, 28th a Monday. "America's Bicentennial" of course was July 4!

    [Edit: Actually, Beck's interview -- the purported source of the wiki entry -- does not mention a date at all. And Whitaker's birthday is June 27, so his recollection must be correct.]
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 07-18-2017 at 01:18 PM.

  7. #57
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Anybody know what this is???
    Nevermind. Here's the back cover:
    by the liner notes it appears to be a completely different and unrelated band
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Other than HTM and Caravan, were there any other sort of "progressive" orientated bands on Arista?
    Alan Parsons Project and Sky

  9. #59
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    by the liner notes it appears to be a completely different and unrelated band
    Doesn't anyone know how to use The Google anymore?

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Other than HTM and Caravan, were there any other sort of "progressive" orientated bands on Arista?
    England released "Garden Shed" on Arista.

    There was a nice compilation-album released in 1977, called Arista World Pop, although Happy The Man was missing (no POP I guess):

    A1 –Dickey Betts Run Gypsy Run
    A2 –Brecker Bros.* Finger Lickin' Good 3:58
    A3 –The Kinks Brother 5:23
    A4 –The Outlaws* Green Grass..... 3:17
    A5 –England (2) Parafinalea 4:14
    A6 –Lou Reed Follow The Leader
    A7 –Burlesque (2) Acupuncture
    A8 –Commander Cody Rock And Roll 3:57
    B1 –Jennifer Warnes Daddy Don't Go 4:50
    B2 –David Forman If It Takes All Night 4:20
    B3 –Silver (10) Musician 4:47
    B4 –Alpha Band* Last Chance To Dance
    B5 –Patti Smith Pumping (My Heart) 3:20
    B6 –Grateful Dead* Terrapin Station 2:12
    B7 –Eric Carmen Sunrise 3:29
    B8 –Alan Parson's Project* Some Other Times

  11. #61
    I believe the vastness of the Rock scene during that time left an impression on me. Managers, agents, musicians and crowds reacted with an abundance of enthusiasm. I was about 20 years old , traveling North, Mid, and South of the east coast and their name was truly spreading quickly. I don't truly get that? Although I do know they were praised ....I assume the possibilities of this occuring like it did may have been attributed to lack of record sales due to lack of promotion. As opposed to the name Genesis becoming a household name with people in general, prior to ever investigating their music.


    Therefore...Happy The Man were part of a scene where upon their name was spiraling upward...and although on a few promotional films, possibly television..and radio that was a fair but not extreme event..it wasn't enough to alter situations. I don't recall the band ever booked in places like The Tower Theatre opening for Jean Luc Ponty ... although it's possible.... Nevertheless..they should have been an opening act for internationally known artists just as Sea Level opening for Jefferson Starship. As to why record sales were not circulating like their outstanding reputation beats the hell out of me.

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    The Dixie Dregs (their 1st 3 albums) were on Capricorn.
    The Dregs (their last 3 albums) were on Arista.
    thanks Im sure that is correct. I was with Stan when OS opened up for Steve Morse and he said he knew him from Arista. I always somewhat lumped the Dixie Dregs and the Dregs as the same band.

    according to Stan... (and he has told me a number of different stories) HTM never really sounded like Genesis, but when they played with PG... for some reason they did... and Peter didn't want another Genesis clone backing him up. He also said Peter asked only Stan and Kit at one point, but they turned him down. Later he said PG asked again but Stan turned him down again. i think that was when Sid McGiness was leaving...but not totally sure of the timing.

  13. #63
    [QUOTE=interbellum;715801]

    A4 –The Outlaws* Green Grass..... 3:17
    /QUOTE]

    Say wha?! They cut Green Grass And High Tides down to 3 and a quarter minutes?! Bring me the head of the person responsible!

  14. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Proghound View Post
    . I always somewhat lumped the Dixie Dregs and the Dregs as the same band.
    Well, it pretty much is the same band. Different violinist and keyboardist, but essentially the same group otherwise, I believe. I think they truncated their name in a bid to make them more "mainstream"' or whatever. Probably something one of Clive's henchmen drempt up, and also probably the same reasoning behind them suddenly using a vocalist on one of those records (I can't remember if it's Industry Standard or Unsung Heroes). They even managed to make it onto American Bandstand (as noted in the recent Dregs thread).

  15. #65
    I recently did and interview with Stanley Whitaker and he talked about the Peter Gabriel meeting (and subsequent call from him a few years later as well) and you can hear it at
    https://www.mixcloud.com/magmashark/...iew-and-music/
    at the 12:40 mark of the show is when he talks about Peter.

  16. #66
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Doesn't anyone know how to use The Google anymore?
    "Siri, what the hell is this?"

    That album has long tracks, so it might be a Genesis clone! Oooooh...

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Other than HTM and Caravan, were there any other sort of "progressive" orientated bands on Arista?
    Nova
    Camel

  18. #68
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I have the first album. It's ok. I wasn't blown away by it. Haven't played it in 12 or more years.

  19. #69
    Member eporter66's Avatar
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    It would be interesting now if Gabriel had been willing to "share" HTM.

    I get both sides, Peter was an established artist, but was building his solo career. To allow HTM to do their own thing would have restricted Gabriel's freedom to do what he wanted when he wanted. I'm sure he was in full push mode.

    It took balls for HTM to ultimately say no, especially to someone whose music obviously meant a lot to them. But, they also had a dream and were within striking distance of that recording contract. Had they passed to be Pete's band, who knows how long they would have worked with him, and based on what we can surmise looking back, another year or two down the road, and the changes in popular music, we probably would have never Heard that great music from those two Arista releases.

  20. #70
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Makes me wonder where Peter was when HTM lost their Arista contract. Couldn't he have helped?

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Makes me wonder where Peter was when HTM lost their Arista contract. Couldn't he have helped?
    He was a moderately successful solo artist with two albums. I don't think he could have made Arista keep a band whose albums weren't selling.

  22. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Krautman View Post
    Not sure. HTM members being excellent musicians could have changed/adapted their style and sound to fit PG's "new" direction. Remember Larry Fast, a long time collaborator and member of PG's live band also came from the prog scene (Nektar, IGTB, Synergy,...), as well as Tony Levin.
    Tony Levin wasn't from prog. In fact I have read him saying he never heard Genesis until after he started working with Gabriel.

  23. #73
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Makes me wonder where Peter was when HTM lost their Arista contract. Couldn't he have helped?
    He should have bought 500.000 of their albums.
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  24. #74
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    I have the first album. It's ok. I wasn't blown away by it. Haven't played it in 12 or more years.
    You're referring to the Happy the Man this thread is about? Just checking.

  25. #75
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosebone View Post
    He should have bought 500.000 of their albums.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

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