The Happy Clams, a collection of "hasn't beens" from Mudville, California (an area along the east bay ), are on the forefront of San Francisco's Eastbay Un-Pop Movement. The Clams will remain standard bearers of the movement as long as their music remains unpopular. As they are still beneath the notice of critics, it's likely that they will continue to fly the Un-Pop banner. This means that you, if you are a fan, are an Un-Popper by association. .
After the demise of Poor Impulse Control in 1997 Rawbird Leigh and Paul Pot joined forces with Gail Todd (bass player for Gail and the Fudgepackers and former DJ at KALX in Berkeley) to form the Happy Clams. They played a couple of years of gigs at parties, most notably a couple at the Temple Room of an Aleister Crowley group in Oakland and the very last Meadow Muffin in 2000. Unpopularity was rule. Playing a gig in San Jose they were asked if they knew any songs that people in the bar might know. Paul Pot said, "We know an Elvis song."
"What song?" it was asked.
"Do the Clam."
"I think you'd better get off the stage."
It continued on along those lines, during which time the bass player mysteriously disappeared. Trevor Wencil (now the drummer of Hijack the Disco) took up the bass role in 2002. The band played played a number of gigs, opening for The Cables featuring Mike Flinn. (see the poster gallery for dates of the shows). The bass player mysteriously disappeared.
Guy Michel, who Paul Pot met while playing open mics, joined the band in May 2003 at a show that was billed "In the Pink" at a coffee shop called A Cuppa Tea. There were to be a number of shows at A Cuppa Tea over the next couple of years. At each of the Cuppa Tea shows the band would give out a piece of ephemera. These never-to-be-seen-again items ranged from buttons to Xmas ornaments to hankies, all emblazoned with the Happy Clams logo! Some day they will actually be worth the time and materials used to make them.
In May 2005, the Happy Clams embarked upon the recording and production of their first CD under the watchful eye of Harlan Hollander. Things progressed. Things slowed. The watchful eye got sleepy. Years passed. Lines appeared on faces. The salmon disappeared. Still no meaningful contact with any lifeforms in the universe other than our own......... But hey, the CD is now near completion (we somehow managed to finish the project in less time than Guns and Roses). We looked around and discovered that yet another bass player had disappeared. Harlan Hollander's watchful eye reopened and he stepped into the breach to fill the void while a search took place. No stone was left unturned. No roadside ditch was left unexamined. The bay was dredged. Suspects were questioned.
In 2008, Gail Todd
returned to the Happy Clams. There is joy in Mudville.
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