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A Dirty Dozen with NICK PETTY from THE HAPPYS – July 2022

| 19 July 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “The Happys are a Bay Area band composed of four degenerates playing surf-tinged alternative indie rock. The group’s latest album ADHD is out now. The ADHD cover image is a photo of frontman Nick Petty’s beloved father, San Francisco Firefighter Dennis Petty, who passed of cancer in August 2019. The LP was recorded at Donut Time Audio, and Prarie Sun (Tom Waits, Primus, Paul McCartney) with several tracks layered in the studio’s legendary “Waits Room.” Channeling classic rock, grunge, and surfy feel-good-vibes, San Francisco combo, The Happys acquired a fast-growing fanbase with their catchy rowdy live performances. Embodying a vulnerability, euphoria setting their honest painful feelings of addiction to a wildly joyful surf-grunge sound.” We get front man Nick to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

My recent album, ADHD is primarily based on my upbringing and how it was hard growing up with ADHD with the feeling of being less intelligent than people who are not struggling with ADHD and some of the side effects of those emotions while growing up. It was a kind of feeling like the grass was greener for them and you are unfortunately slower. In this album, there are elements of sadness as well as, euphoria from the loss of my father and best friend. But also a lot of sprinkled dramatic fiction and non-fiction satisfying stories. For me, a lot of this album was created around the time my Dad and close friend passed away and how my meds at the time, weren’t even close to helping me with my mental health. But for those who like drama or substance, I try to leave out all names.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Unfortunately, growing up I had a lot of angst and I enjoyed listening to a lot of music and was one of the “weirdos” who just gravitated to the different rhythms. Like how some people like cars, music seemed like a portal to another dimension for me. It gave me a platform where I felt I could be heard and be able to share a message always seemed very relatable and important to me for as long as I can remember.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I have had a lot of musical influences. I like, John Fogerty, Kurt Cobain a ton, Bradley Nowell, Brian Wilson, Marty Robbins, Paul McCartney, Atmosphere and Dave Grohl, for his longevity in the industry. I also like a lot of the positive messages in Reggae and pop bands that The Happys have played with recently too and some newer artists like Tame Impala. Shoutout to all the Bay Area and Nor Cal artists too including, Metallica, Grateful Dead, 2PAC, 24 Goldn, Cake, Hobo Johnson and the list goes on. So it’s so hard to say, but I feel like early grunge and rock and roll, like Nirvana and Bradley Nowell, spoke to me the most. Leaving off where they would be if they didn’t get cursed by drugs, mental health and other life challenges.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would say a collab that I’d like to work with would be someone like Eddie Vedder, Thom Yorke, or Tame Impala. I also feel like Kevin Richard Parker would be a great collab.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Consistent mild exercise always helps my mood so I really enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and skateboarding. I love spending time with family, my dog, hiking, painting, camping, and watching old movies from my childhood like with actors such as, Denzel Washington. I also like to study marketing to find what makes music get out there as well as, dig into various kinds of therapy and self examinations.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d say The Happys are a lot like the bands Nirvana and Sublime mixed with some traces of influence from country to hip-hop, but it is mainly rock and grudge. We once had one blog kind of shit talk us, but whatever, I won’t even mention the name. However, I find it weird when people are unable to don’t ignore stuff they don’t like, since I try not to promote negativity. Like if you don’t like a a popular restaurant, instead of not going back, people rather talk shit. What they don’t know is they are inadvertently giving me more attention and our band even with bad press.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

For practical reasons, while i like to rest my voice I also like to market our stuff. I find the band is more likely to be the ones able to keep playing late after shows when camping etc. My bassist Brett and our lead guitarist, Alex, both are good at cooking. And our drummer, Eli likes to practice a lot on downtime. If the party is lit though, I will definitely play a scene with the acoustic and we all like to ride around through different towns to catch the culture and vibe of each place.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Starstruck isn’t the exact word, but I was a touch nervous and exhilarated when James Hetfield talked to me a few years back at a event. We had a very personal conversation about a ton of shit that really moved me and reinstalled less doubt about music. Danny Way the skateboarder too has been a great friend and very pivotal in my motivation. It’s hard to complain about excuses standing in front of a guy who jumped over the Great Wall of China on a skateboard and also out of helicopters.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

For me, the best part of being a musician is meeting new people, seeing new places, having really crazy shows where I can inspire people, and/ or talk with people after shows who share with me how the music moved them. If I wasn’t a musician, I feel like I would still want to do something where I can help others, like a fireman, like my dad and grandfather were. Maybe even a therapist, as weird as it sounds, I got a ton out of helping people for my own mental health. Aside from that maybe I’d be a national trucker.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I guess I’ve always liked questions about life and philosophy such as, what’s wrong or right about the world or my life? I’ve been very grateful to those who’ve ask me questions about my music, what I write and what it means to get paid to play songs I write.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

If I could ever go back, I guess I would have changed by just working even harder and faster so that my dad could have been around to see some of the success I have achieved and where our band is now.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would’ve loved to be around during Nevermind and kicked around Cobain during the early crazy ass times then, or Sublime’s last album, Pet Sounds. Or even, Abbey Road too! Any of the timeless records!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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