There's one guy setting up drums… now, there's another – this one’s got a trombone, an acoustic guitar, and a synth-looking device. Another carries a keyboard and a trumpet, two more march on stage with their guitars, and another with his bass; they're plugging in amps and setting up pedals... lots of pedals. It's getting crowded on the stage and you’re wondering what the hell is going on, but before you can guess what they sound like they're already playing, and instead of feeling confused you're nodding your head.
At first you had wondered if the name of their band was some sort of political statement, but now you understand… it's their music; it’s Happy Anarchy.
While many musicians migrated to Brooklyn and Manhattan to cultivate their art, Happy Anarchy stayed true to their Staten Island roots and close to the things that inspired them to pursue their love for music. In 2004 they self-released their self-titled record.
Album in hand, H.A. and its original eight members diligently grew a music scene while playing shows at Martini Red, Staten Island’s most fertile venue for original music. Soon, opportunity was calling and for some the dream was too big – many of the original members no longer wanted to play ‘rock star.’ And, as the band began to head into a different direction, girlfriends became wives, jobs and family became fulltime propositions and soon eight became three: Joe Pecora (vocals and guitar), Tim Boylan (trombone and acoustic guitar), and Yuhei Yamanaka (guitar).
The three members struggled to finish new material, while keeping the momentum alive, occasionally playing shows, scraping for temporary fill-ins. The band could have called it quits and no one would’ve blamed them; almost a year passed without finding the right musicians, but then… late in 2006, the search was over. Pete Smith joined as the new drummer and brought in Jesse Blum to play trumpet and keys. It was this new lineup that redefined the sound of Happy Anarchy.
Happy Anarchy's newest album “Reset,” is an all encompassing audio experience of epic proportion. While nothing beats the experience of a live show, this is one album that captures that musical journey. It starts off with a great premise, and builds upon it from track 1 to track 14, the whole time challenging your ears to experience new levels of their open minded brand of rock.
There are those that love to hate Staten Island for it's lack of Subways and perceived lack of an 'indie rock scene,' but Happy Anarchy revels in being the underdog. More importantly, the music speaks for itself.
On the eve of Reset’s release, a line stretched outside of Sullivan Hall in New York City while Happy Anarchy performed to a sold out crowd of 350. Now, with Highlark Records handling everything business, the band is free to spread their version of musical anarchy to the rest of the world.
With a successful U.S. tour in the spring of 2008, a college radio campaign where Reset debuted at 190 on the overall CMJ charts, and growing publicity, Happy Anarchy returns this summer to their hometown borough for inspiration as they perform at the first music festival on Staten Island ever.