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About The Band...



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Happy Savage is a dynamic six-piece dance band playing a unique blend of funked-up blues, rock, reggae, worldbeat, and freestyle improvisation they call "organic groove music". Guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, and vocals create the Happy Savage sound. "Somewhere between psychedelic space jams, and rolling grooves, they have that Grateful Dead/Little Feat sound about them that makes you want to dance. Definitely a lot of fun and worth checking out." (Pat Ferris, hotbands.com)

The jamming side of Happy Savage is evident in live performances, such as their live CD, "The Ancient One". However, Happy Savage also has many great pop songs that work well as tight studio singles. Both live recordings and studio cuts are available on the Happy Savage website as free mp3s (www.happysavage.com). Two new live performances bring songwriting and jamming together, in live recordings of the powerful new songs "Fire From The Sky" and "The Secret".

Happy Savage has been popular at festivals emphasizing environmental and peace themes, such as Vashon Island Earth Fair, Oregon Country Fair, Seattle Peace Concerts, and Seattle Earth Day Celebration, because many Happy Savage songs have "environmentally friendly" lyrics. Guitarist Luke Painter, who writes these songs, says, "I don't imagine that I'm going to change the world, I just write songs about things that are on my mind, such as peace, love, and trees."

ORGANIC GROOVE MUSIC -- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
or·gan·ic or-'ga-nik adjective
: of, relating to, or derived from living organisms
2 : developing in the manner of a living plant or animal

1 groove grüv noun
(Middle English groof; akin to Old English grafan to dig)
1 : an enjoyable or exciting experience
2 : a pronounced enjoyable rhythm

2 groove verb
: to enjoy oneself intensely
2 : to interact harmoniously

mu·sic myü-zik noun
(Greek mousik any art presided over by the Muses, especially music)
1 : sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony
2 : an agreeable sound


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Happy Savage began in the early 1990s when guitarist and songwriter Luke Painter began jamming with bassist Larry Penoza. They played their first gig in 1996, at the Blue Moon in Seattle, with Jeff Fried on keys and Mark Drake on drums. The Happy Savage mix of open jams, dance grooves, and great original pop songs -- with themes of peace, love, and nature -- found itself at home in the Pacific Northwest. Happy Savage performed for about 2 years before teaming up with vocalist/songwriter Beth Collins, and percussionist Martin Goldstein. In 2001, Jeff Fried left Happy Savage to pursue other musical projects, and he was replaced by Bruce Johnston on keys and guitar. In 2002, Happy Savage began playing some shows without Beth Collins. Michelle Dedman took over as vocalist for Happy Savage, sharing lead vocals and harmonies with Luke Painter. Jennifer Anspach also joined the band as a vocalist in 2002.

Luke Painter (guitar, vocals) moved to Seattle from Texas, where he played gospel, reggae, and psychedelic rock, in the Austin music scene. Luke writes most of the original songs for the band. Mark Drake (drums) grew up with the rock and folk rock of the 60's and 70's and now spends much of his time playing jazz. He hosts a popular series of jazz house concerts in his Seattle home. Mark, Luke, and Michelle played together in the Michelle Dedman Quartet from 1994 to 1998.

Larry Penoza (bass) is a fan of Phish, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, and classic rock of the 70's. He played with Seattle blues band Stickshift Annie before joining Happy Savage fulltime. Percussionist Martin Goldstein's experience in the night clubs of Guadalajara provides a solid grounding for Latin grooves, evoking a sound at times reminiscent of Santana. Bruce Johnston is at home on both keyboards and guitar. He played with Seattle band Napier's Bones until they disbanded in 2000. Bruce slid right in to the hole left by Jeff Fried, but he is also adding his own powerful influence to the Happy Savage sound.

Michelle Dedman has been singing with Happy Savage from time to time since the band first began in 1996. Lately she has replaced Beth Collins as singer for Happy Savage. In her other life, Michelle leads a trio or quartet playing traditional jazz and swing. Reveiwers of her performances and recordings have described her as "the best jazz vocal discovery in years out of the Northwest", and "among the great women singers of the decade".

In addition to these core members, Happy Savage shows often include members of the Happy Savage extended musical family. Jennifer Anspach has been singing with Happy Savage since Spring of 2002, and is now a regular band member. Alex Anderson frequently joins Happy Savage on stage with his acoustic guitar, vocals, and original songs. Mike Saskor of Rai has often been a guest on guitar, and can be heard jamming on the live CD " The Ancient One". Dave Wyke, formerly of Napier's Bones and Rai, can also be heard on this live CD and on "Fire From The Sky". He has played many gigs with Happy Savage on drums, and sometimes steps out with his amazing vocals. This flexibilty reflects the spontaneous approach Happy Savage takes to music.

In the Summer of 2002, Happy Savage was privileged to perform with former Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten. This collaboration resulted in a CD single, "Funky Treehugger", available as a free mp3 on the Happy Savage website.

The first Happy Savage CD, "Treehugger", was released on April 22, 2000, soon followed by a live CD, "The Ancient One", in July of 2000. A new collection of live cuts was released in December 2001, featuring the reggae song "Fire From The Sky" as the title cut. Happy Savage can be found on the web at www.happysavage.com. The website includes photos, free mp3s, and the current performance schedule.

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Contact information:
Luke Painter: 360-970-1164 ~1250 NW 29th #11, Corvallis, OR 97330