North Bay pop-punk group The Happys is a band that wears its emotions on its sleeve, singing about mental health and personal relationships with frank and amusing lyrics set against upbeat rhythms and shredding guitars.
Singer-songwriter and front man Nick Petty, a Marin County native, started the band as a positive outlet after a troubled youth that included depression, addiction and brief incarceration, and the band now features lead guitarist Alex Sanchez, bassist Brett Brazil and drummer Ben Moore.
Drawing musical inspiration from ‘90s alternative and 2000s pop-punk acts like Blink-182, The Happys lay out their issues on the fun, four-song EP, Bipolar, released in the summer of 2018. Now, the band has released new music video for the EP’s title track featuring the group running wild amidst the stunning scenery of the Ron Collins Art Gallery.
“‘Bipolar’ is a song written about a girl who I once liked who had bipolar disorder,” Petty says in a statement. “In hindsight, this song is based on the give-and-take nature of love. The song dives into personal struggles from my childhood with bipolar emotions and tendencies. I always want to empower people through my lyrics to never feel less than anyone else for struggling with their mental health and differences.”
Musically, “Bipolar” mixes lyrical paranoia and power-pop structures for surreal surf-rock aesthetic that the group matches with the music video’s visuals. The new video features Petty and the group playing on the grounds of the Ron Collins Art Gallery, a 13000-square-foot Petaluma chateau that Collins–a longtime board member of the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art–transformed into a three-story gallery space.
The band’s connection to Collins can be traced to the Marin nonprofit organization Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity, which Collins has long supported. The nonprofit helps homeless kids in Marin, and helped Petty through his own adolescent struggles. Through the nonprofit, Petty also met filmmaker Will Rushton, who shot the new music video.
The other songs on the Bipolar EP also feature mental-health subject matters. Opening track “Birdy” is about living with depression, while track two, “Cut the Rope,” examines elements in people’s lives that hold them back emotionally. The EP’s closer, “Manic,” is about being, well, manic. Despite the subject matter, the tempo on the EP stays pulsing with hints of heavy metal flair in the punk-rock revelry.
While the Bipolar EP came out two years ago now, the songs still hold meaning for Petty and for listeners who have been dealing with the emotional fallout of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“During these times, I want to help people to understand that it’s normal to feel weird and lost during this quarantine. While it will eventually pass, I truly believe that we can use this time to create something beautiful,” Petty says. “I get what it’s like to not be getting the necessary help while suffering from depression and anxiety. I am very lucky to have this musical outlet to help with my own issues and I want to spread the love and hope to anyone who will listen. I strive to entertain people and let people know it’s OK to be weird, it’s OK to be different.”
Watch the video for “Bipolar” below.