• Who: Happy Hour Band
• Players: Monica Shupp (vocals), Jerold Johnson (drums), Brian Papazian (guitar), David McNary (bass)
• What they play: Rock and roll cover songs
• Where they’re from: Sandusky, Ohio
• Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to go?
• WHAT: Happy Hour Band
• WHEN: 9:30 p.m. May 27
• WHERE: Beer Thirty, 212 Maple St., Port Clinton
• COST: Free
At some point during the mid-’80s with “Freedom Rock” compilation commercials and MTV hippie Randee of the Redwoods, the baby boomers music of the ‘60s and ‘70s became, if not hip, then at least not embarrassing again. The sentiment has seemingly never left, which over time has opened the doors for local cover bands to rock and roll all night and party everyday.
Leading the party for the past year is Sandusky’s The Happy Hour Band - Monica Shupp (vocals), Jerold Johnson (drums), Brian Papazian (guitar) and David McNary (bass) - which is scheduled to play May 27 at Beer Thirty in Port Clinton.
“I’ve been singing for over 20 years in mostly cover bands,” said Shupp, a 1987 Sandusky High School graduate. “Classic rock is probably the best variety you’re ever going to hear. A lot of music you listen to nowadays all sounds the same. Classic rock is the original rock. They weren’t afraid in the ‘60s and ‘70s to put a lot of changes in a song.”
Quickly the quartet’s focus has centered around material from Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Janis Joplin. In fact, Shupp said she does a killer a cappella version of “Mercedes Benz.” Then there’s that one Funkadelic song everybody has vaguely heard before.
“We play stuff that people aren’t used to hearing like ‘Maggot Brain,’” Shupp said. “Not many bands touch that. We like the flow of it. It starts off slow and easy listening, and it’s funny to see people who actually get up to slow dance to it and then they’re rocking out by the end of the song.”
Getting people rocking is something Shupp has done for decades, first as a cover band singer and more recently as a karaoke DJ-host. However, the latter gig kept her from experiencing the rush she loved so much playing with a live band, feeling the power of the live drums, the allure of the deep bass lines and the energy of the guitar. This led to her forming The Happy Hour Band and reconnecting with her former high school classmate Johnson. Today, the outfit plays a handful of dates a month throughout the area.
“We rock the house with our classic rock,” Shupp said. “People love the energy of the show, and they always come back for more. The first thing out of their mouth is, ‘When are you guys coming back?’”
So what exactly is their main appeal?
“I don’t see too many other bands doing Janis Joplin,” Shupp said. “I can do her voice. One of the things I get in feedback is my rendition of Stevie Nicks. I get a lot of that, being dead-on. Sometimes people will say ‘Oh my God, I had to look and see if that was the jukebox.’ I’d refer to myself as a ‘Gold Dust Woman.’ God bless Stevie Nicks, I love her.”
So is Shupp a gypsy at heart?
She laughed, “Probably, yeah.”
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