Evan: That, and respect.
Paul: We feel pretty blessed to have Michael playing with us. In order to show him the respect that he's due I've got to be on top of my shit. I can't be playing the riff to "Smoke On The Water."
Michael: It's kind of a mutual admiration society.
Paul: It's really refreshing for us. It took a long time for me to understand the dynamics of the new line up. For the longest time I was just scratching my head because I had gotten what I'd wished for. I had gotten something I'd never heard before and then realized that I didn't understand it. I really had to expand my harmonic knowledge and my concept in order to be able to communicate with these guys.
What is the history of Sadhappy? How did you and Evan meet and what were your expectations?
Paul: At the time a mutual friend of ours, Adam Kasper, called us in on a recording session. I forget the studio's name.
Evan: It was Star Tracks.
Paul: We'd never met or played together although we'd heard about each other for years because we both went to high school in Olympia. We had friends saying, "Oh, you've got to meet this drummer," or, "You've got to meet this bass player." We never met until we finished college and we were at this recording session, and it was like love at first sight. My old band had just broken up, and his band had broken up.
photo by robert blaylock
Evan: Actually, we broke up after I started playing with you. The singer of my old band went on to form Truly. It's funny, I had tried calling Paul a few times over the years. I had heard about him forever but I had never played with him. Paul first heard about me when I wrecked my car--which is the cover of Live Before We Were Dead. He saw that picture in the Olympian. I don't know if my name stuck with him, but the image sure did.
That's a great picture!
Evan: It was...it...it was real.
Paul: We just decided to go from there. We thought: well, we don't have a full band but that shouldn't stop us from gigging; we don't have any songs but that shouldn't stop us from gigging; we don't know what we're doing but that shouldn't stop us from gigging.
No road map, just the desire.
Paul: Yeah, we just wanted to go out there and do it. We were a two-piece for about a year and a half.
That was in 1989?
Evan: Yeah. Our first show was at the Mural Amphitheater.
Paul: My band at the time was supposed to play but we broke up about a week before the show. Rather than tell anybody that, Evan and I just showed up.
Ha ha! We're the Good Ole Boys!
Paul: We're the Good Ole Blues Brothers Boys! We figured that they're either going to let us play or they won't. They let us play and the response was so good that we decided to keep doing it.
Evan: And looking for other people in the interim, but we never found a guitarist.
Paul: We tried out twenty-five to thirty guitar players and we couldn't find the right person with the right chemistry. I'd known Skerik through some friends I'd had at school. We ran into each other at a Living Colour concert. We were all so jazzed from the concert that we went and grabbed a half-rack and jammed. We blew until about 4am, and afterwards asked him right then and there if he wanted to join the band.
So we played with Skerik--and that ended back in '93. And a couple of years later we hooked up with Michael.
You released two demo cassettes as a duo: 1990's Sideways Laughing and '91's Spin Cycle. Skerik joined the band in 1991 and in '92 you released the widely acclaimed Depth Charge (your first full length).
Evan: Actually that was '91. The cassette came out in '91; the cd with three extra songs was released in '92.
The next album to come out was Live Before We Were Dead in '93, documenting the show at the Backstage in September of 1992. Then there was the 7", Wailingfuckingbassanddrumsandsax, released by Belltown Records in '93. And in '94 was The Good, the Bad...and the Scary. Your most recent release is 1996's Good Day Bad Dream--which is Michael's first recording with the band.
Evan: Yeah, Good, Bad, Scary... that one was outtakes and improv.
The time with Skerik seemed to be a very creative few years for Sadhappy. To me it seemed Skerik really completed the band by complementing your sound with his own unique approach to playing the sax. I haven't read a lot about why Skerik left.
Paul: We just burned out.
Evan: We played probably over a hundred shows. We were playing two, three times a week nonstop. There was a lot of pressure because there was a lot of label interest. I mean, we had about five contracts on the table that label people wanted us to sign. It just kind of...I dunno.
Paul: I think it's a just a classic case of too much too fast too young. We were young. None of us had any practice at being rock stars, we were just musicians. It got to be a circus of jumping through hoops for labels. "Hi, how are you? Love the omelet!" All this kind of shit. We just collectively burned out on all of it. We weren't communicating with each other. When you don't communicate you bottle things up and then they fester and that then turns into animosity.
Our relationship with Skerik is still good. We just played a party with him in December. So we do work with him on occasion.
There was a show at the O.K. for Endless Records' Complication One release party that saw you reunited with Skerik.
Evan: Yeah, did you go to that?
Yeah, back in April of '96. That was a great show. What did it feel like to be back playing with Skerik again?
Evan: Oh...it was awesome! Did you see when he jumped into my drum kit?
Yeah, and then the three of you went flying off the front of the stage together--right into me as a matter of fact!
Paul: Heh, heh...yeah, that little dive laid me up for a week!
The history of Sadhappy kind of overlaps because we've got Michael in the picture, but then we do a gig with Skerik and everyone's going, "Confound it man, stand still!"
Evan: Well, Sadhappy now is Evan, Paul and Michael. The next record is going to be with Michael. We've already started recording for it.
You played one song the other night at the O.K.: "High Ball." I believe that's also going to be the name of the new album?
Evan: Yeah, exactly. That one went over really well at the Sit 'n' Spin. We botched it at the O.K. It's a tough tune, especially for Paul and Michael.
Can you tell me the story of how you met up with Michael?
Paul: Our friend Anil Prasad was a big fan of the band and turned Michael onto our music. The way I remember it, Michael called us and we were just blown away that someone like him would want to jam with us.