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Progressive Rock Giant "Happy The Man" Back in the Game with Re-release

Discussion in 'News & PR' started by TalkBass, May 10, 2018.

  1. TalkBass

    TalkBass News Poster

    Mar 12, 2004
    May 5, 2018 – New York City

    Happy the Man is pleased to announce that they are re-releasing The Muse Awakens on their own label, ending a period of the record being out of print. Referred to as the “Grandfathers of American Progressive Rock,” and once highly sought after by Peter Gabriel directly after he left Genesis, Happy the Man released two albums in the 1970s that are considered classics of the art-rock/progressive rock genre: 1977’s Happy the Man (named by Rolling Stone as one of the “50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time”) and 1978’s Crafty Hands. After several years of touring and “unofficial” releases, the group disbanded. Years later, fueled by a fan-demanded reunion concert, the band went back into the studio with original members Frank Wyatt, Stan Whitaker, and Rick Kennell, along with new keyboardist David Rosenthal (Billy Joel, Rainbow, Steve Vai) and drummer Joe Bergamini to release 2004’s The Muse Awakens, the third official studio album of the band’s career.

    Having been featured in books such as producer Ken Scott’s Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust, Will Romano’s Prog Rock FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's Most Progressive Music, and Douglas Harr’s coffee-table book Rockin’ The City Of Angels, HTM’s place in rock history is secure, and during the out-of-print period copies of The Muse Awakens sold online for upwards of $100. Now their fans will once again have access to the critically acclaimed reunion album that brought the band to the attention of younger progressive audiences.

    “Only Happy the Man, Crafty Hands, and The Muse Awakens were recorded in actual studios,” said co-founder and bassist Rick Kennell. “The other five releases were assembled after the fact—from basement tapes, rehearsals and live shows—and while we love them, we were always disappointed with the audio quality. But our fans wanted more and it was the best we could do, since the band was inactive at the time.”

    “Playing with Happy the Man was one of the musical highlights of my career,” said keyboardist David Rosenthal. “I’m very proud of the album we made together and I’m thrilled that The Muse Awakens is available again.”

    “The Muse Awakens was an incredible new chapter in the life of a legendary band that I am proud to be a part of. I hope fans of all eras of progressive rock—from the early art rock bands all the way up to modern prog metal—will check out The Muse this time around,” said drummer Joe Bergamini.

    For ordering information, please visit www.happytheman.com.
    happyth2.jpg HTM Final Cover.jpg
    woodyng2, CayGee, bdplaid and 7 others like this.
  2. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    Great band to say that least
    Janforth and AztecViking like this.
  3. Janforth

    Janforth Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Awesome! Love HTM, always have, always will, and so great that Rick is on Talkbass, sharing knowledge and memories.
    AztecViking and B-Mac like this.
  4. AztecViking

    AztecViking Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    EndlessSummerVille, CA
    Happy The Man was one of my favorite groups when I was in my teens in the later 70's. And I was so happy to see this newer release come out in 2004. Had thought the band would never come back. But they did and The Muse Awakens is a really great new body of work too. Has the classic idiosyncratic brilliance of their first two major releases with a modern twist. I really like the new drummer they have on this one too.

    Here's a track to try out. :thumbsup:
    woodyng2 and Janforth like this.
  5. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Very cool
  6. Hey thanks so much everybody - and to TalkBass for posting this thread, and the press release. All of you guys are the greatest!

    It's so trite, corny, cliched and overused, but really - our stuff has always been driven by the fans. We couldn't be here if someone wasn't listening and appreciating somewhere, so the kind words mean a lot.

    And TalkBass? Suffice it to say I LOVE being on here! All the folks on here have treated me so kindly as a rule. I really love and appreciate this place.

    Should be more news on the horizon, have to see how some things pan out.
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I am formally inviting you to do a shameless plug. :D

    Where would YOU like us to buy the album?
    Janforth likes this.
  8. Hey TwoFingers

    Thanks, actually I am a big fan of shameless plugs. :smug::smug::smug::smug::smug:

    There are still some remnants of the past regime still having it up here and there, including Amazon - but they are being notified and it will be coming down. The only "official" authorized place to buy it is here now:

    ♫ The Muse Awakens - Happy the Man. Listen @cdbaby

    But soon it will be up with all the usual suspects, Pandora, Itunes, Spotify, Amazon etc.
    two fingers and Janforth like this.
  9. Janforth

    Janforth Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Talkbass, parish of bassists on the periphery.
    BassHappy likes this.
  10. s van order

    s van order

    Oct 4, 2012
    Stumpy Meets etc ... Just the name of that tune alone got me to check it out way back in the day. Best of luck.

    As a special treat, posted only on this forum, I now present to you the evolution of the cover for "The Muse Awakens". With thanks to artist and all around great guy Dan Muro, who created it.

    We really liked the first one as a logo but it didn't pass the "readability" test. the second one we felt just looked a little sterile and out of balance. The third one was obviously Dan's take on the "Muse" as relating to the "Sirens" of ancient mythology. It was attractive and intriguing but we felt it didn't compliment the idea of the music we were creating. No one wants to see someone clasping the hands over their ears on an album cover. The next one was a mandala based cover which we liked but seemed a little too cutesy-wootsey spiritual and wasn't representative of the album to us. In the next one we felt that Dan had some really nice imagery illustrating the "Muse" the way we envisioned her. We asked Dan to go back to the "Siren" version but to insert the new "Muse' image and voila, with some touch-ups, we had our cover.


    So there you have it. If the band or Dan sees this and squawks, I may have to take it down. The other versions were never intended for public consumption.
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  12. Joe BassPlayer

    Joe BassPlayer Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Sounds great Rick! Glad to hear that you guys are recording again. You need to drop a line in the Roscoe thread and let the guys know (that's where I first heard the older tracks). As I mentioned in some earlier conversations with you I was a big fan of Gentle Giant, Yes and Genesis (back in the day) and love the style of music that you guys write and record.
    Did you use any of your unique Roscoe's for the new recording?
    BassHappy likes this.
  13. Hey Jome

    Thanks for your post. Absolutely, I remember you are big fan - as I am - of eccentric rock. :bassist::bassist::bassist::bassist::bassist:

    This is actually the last Happy the Man record from back in 2004. We got the rights back and we are re-releasing it. Yes, as a matter of fact, this record is 100% the two Roscoes. As you know they are weirdos, as Keith made my stage bass and the twin in medium scale, and outfitted them with RMC Midi Systems. I had PRS #11 for over 20 years and when I had to retire it, I brought it to Keith when he was in Manhattan and he copied the neck for me precisely.

    BirdyCollage FINAL.png

    BirdyCollage FINAL-1.png


    I am proud of the fretless sounds I came up with programming the VBass on "The Muse Awakens" and "Slipstream". Also have a pretty nice upright sound on "Adrift". Also got what I felt were some nice round, deep warm tones along with edgy bite when the tune called for it. The Roscoes brought me the two-octave versatility I needed to duplicate my parts on all the records over the years, and to invent a few more tones.

    I just played on a couple of new tracks for the "Pedal Giant Animals" record. It's a joint project with a bunch of Frank from HTM's favorite players. I only got to play on two tracks with other bass players involved, but I had a blast. No release date on that one yet, but it's here:

    pedalgiantanimals.org » The Band
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  14. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    Congrats on the re-release!

    Your "fretless" tone through the V-Bass is great. It sounds 100% real. Ditto for your fretless sound on Leah Waybright's "Beauty Gone Wild" CD.
    BassHappy likes this.
  15. Hey Indie

    Thanks for weighing in and for the kind words. Yeah, I had both fretless sounds programmed originally with a lot more mwwaaaah - but when I played the sounds with the band it seemed a little out of place, a little extreme. I rounded out both sounds a little - and it seemed to dial in to a much better fit with the tunes. Even though it's not what you would call a modern tool these days - the VBass is extremely deep and versatile. You can squeeze pretty much any sound you can imagine out of it. It's not too hard to program when you get the hang of it - but it does take a lot of patience. Plus the instant recall is such a treat for organizing and punching in your sounds for "live" use.
    Indiedog likes this.
  16. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    That illustrates the old adage: What sounds good by itself doesn't always fit well in the mix.

    Being that I am messing around a lot with the fretless recently (and trying to control that classic fretless sound), I am intrigued with exactly what the V-Bass was doing when you dialed down the "mwwaaaah." What element of the sound is it altering to bring it up or down? It must have something to do with vibrato but what else?

    As far as the V-Bass not being a modern tool, as you know, many very old tools are still the go-to source for many players of today. It is not necessarily what is new but rather, what works.
    BassHappy likes this.
  17. Hey Indie

    As I mentioned it is a deep unit. It doesn't have most of the usual midi box adjustments, but most everything is based on "modeling". For example, if you set the body parameter to "acoustic" you have a number of parameter choices such as body size, body level, attack, sustain, resonance, and bottom. You can also designate pickup types, including piezos - and almost unlimited pickup positions using multiples. What this means is that you can electronically via modeling create a bass that really doesn't exist. That is what intrigued me the most.

    If you set it to "Vari-Bass" you have various body shapes you can designate such as solid, violin, semi-hollow and huge wood (no comments from the peanut gallery). Under "Vari Bass" you then can determine size, body, bottom, resonance and level. There are starting point presets for Vintage and standard P's and J's, Rick's, T-Birds, Active pickups, ViolinBasses and MusicMan.

    The fretless thing is actually one of the more straight forward settings. There are fretless presets and you toggle through them until you find one you like. Then you use the following parameters to dial in your "sound":

    Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 8.11.11 PM.png

    For me the tone, sensitivity and color made pretty dramatic changes and are interactive. I think on Muse I ended up using one of the Fretless sounds I liked least out of the box, but after messing with it I got it where it came alive for me.

    So yeah, it would be hard with a typical box to duplicate the modeling. Here are the amps modeled within the unit. Of course they can't mention the names of some of the amps due to trademark laws, but all of the usual suspects of the era are in there.

    Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 7.51.20 PM.png

    And here are the speaker and cabinet microphone options:

    Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 8.30.30 PM.png
    I am not a big effects guy, but there are pages and pages of effects available within the unit. Basically everything you have heard of. The big deal at the time, was guys would plug in and run through the presets and shrug their shoulders. The factory presets were very average and that is why the unit didn't really sell well. You had to spend some serious time with it to learn how to tame it.

    So for each segment of a song you could program the actual sound of the bass, the pickups, the pickup placement - as detailed as you liked - then pick the amp, the cabinet, the microphone, the mic placement and then save it, put it in order and recall it with a push of your foot. I love it, I had a field day with it. One of the things I loved the most was programming sounds but also programming volume changes. I have a volume pedal and use it a lot, but it was so much more accurate to program the volume setting in so you knew it was perfect. Dave did it too and it made our dynamics pretty breathtaking. Using your foot you had to guess, and the VBass took the guesswork out.
    Indiedog likes this.
  18. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    That helps me understand it better, Rick. Thank you. I have a fair bit of Roland synth gear so it all looks somewhat familiar to me. And yes, some of my synths have poor pre-sets that do not reflect the power of the instrument.
    BassHappy likes this.
  19. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    So glad you guys are back in it!
    BassHappy likes this.
  20. Hey thanks so much for the kind words, Roy!

    Really appreciated!
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 13, 2021

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