Tag Archives: religion

Old Favorites through New Ears: The case of Black Happy

black-happy-pegheadBlack Happy was a band from northern Idaho, with some popularity in the early 1990s. Especially in northern Idaho, Moscow and the area more specifically. I must have drove my roommates in college completely insane with how much I listened to their CD Peghead. I listened to that thing over and over. When Black Happy broke up, I attended one of their last concerts, in Spokane I think (though it may have been Seattle after I moved there for grad school). They were even better live (not too many bands that can claim that), with people slam dancing pretty much the entire night. I went with a buddy who was significantly bigger (taller, stronger) than most and he got into the slam dancing. Maybe a little too much.

For me, the thing that made Black Happy distinct and special was the fast paced music, the fast lyrics, and the killer horn section that accompanied the more traditional guitar, bass, and drums.

I listened and listened to that CD, but never really listened to the lyrics. I recently pulled my CD out and gave it another “spin”, and listened a bit more carefully. Black Happy grew out of another band that was Christian metal. Not that I really knew that back when I was listening to Peghead so much. And maybe back then, in my college days, I really wouldn’t have cared.

I was more religious myself back then. I went to church regularly and even joined a Bible study group. However, with time, I just realized that, for me, religion held no answers. The answers I sought, to the big questions of the universe, always ended with “God” in religion, and that wasn’t satisfying. So, I moved on.

Today, I am a pretty liberal guy who isn’t at all religious. So, when I listen to the lyrics of songs like Bullmonkey, with their obvious religious and conservative undertones, my first reaction is┬ánegative. For example, Bullmonkey goes:

You think we’re livin’ in ’84
When you don’t know it’s sad and what’s more
Big Brother’s coming not blind or deaf
Didn’t you know he’s coming from the left

Clearly, they had some issues with liberal politics.

That said, when all is said and done, I can simply recognize the fact that these are some damn fine musicians, who played with more energy and passion than anyone in the top 40. Do I disagree with their politics, their world-view? Sure. But I can also just enjoy listening to some great music. Besides, I have more than enough songs in my playlist which represent the other side of the divide.