Happy Chichester

A talented singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Columbus, OH, Harold "Happy" Chichester has taken the long road to national recognition through a confusing zigzag of bands, collaborations, and guest appearances. Perhaps best known as the whirlwind leader behind Howlin' Maggie and for his wild bass playing in Royal Crescent Mob, Chichester has served as an honorary member of the Afghan Whigs, contributed to the Twilight Singers, and recorded with the enigmatic Shawn Smith. He's toured solo as Happy Chichester, moonlighted as a guest drummer for Umar Bin Hassan, played keyboards for the New Bomb Turks, and handled jazz drums for BalletMet in Columbus, OH. Constantly singing as a child, Chichester received the nickname "Happy" from his grandfather, and on his fifth birthday he was given his first guitar. By age nine he was studying drums and percussion; by 12 he was becoming proficient on guitar and piano listening to records by Elton John, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles. In 1987 he left behind a final year at Ohio State University's fine arts program to play bass in the pop-funk outfit Royal Crescent Mob. A strong live following led to a record deal with Sire, which produced two decent efforts, 1989's Spin the World and 1991's Midnight Rose's, but after six albums and weary label-hopping, the Mob called it quits in 1994. By then Chichester was writing original songs and mastering guitar, and within a year he formed Howlin' Maggie with Jerome Dillon (drums), Andy Harrison (guitar), and Jim Rico (bass). Signed to Columbia Records, the dynamic debut Honeysuckle Strange was released in 1996 to critical praise. The album yielded two unlikely hits, "Alcohol" and "I'm a Slut," which became favorite background songs for MTV and VH1 programming, and the charming single "Easy to Be Stupid" graced the nifty soundtrack for the Ted Demme film Beautiful Girls.

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