‘Expect surprises and miracles’

By Colin Van Westen, Staff Writer

As the area rock tribute band, Hairball, prepares to return to the Clay County Fair and Events Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, the band has a simple message for its fans: “Expect surprises and miracles.”

“Sometimes, it comes down to a bottle of Jager and a dart board,” band member Happy said. “We are really putting on the smorgasbord concert we would like to see. The reality of it is that we are just fans like the people who come to see us. The experience is about more than just seeing the band.”

The band provides the audience with a retro glimpse of some of the most influential arena rock bands. Happy explained that they attempt to reconnect longtime fans and expose new fans to a time when rock was expressed through larger-than-life personalities, showmanship and attitude.

“I think cool is cool,” Happy said. “I think Elvis is going to be around for a long time. Anything that sets a standard and starts a movement has its place in history. I think the bands that we tip our hats to in the show will be around a lot longer than I will be. We represent a mystic period, preinternet and social media.

He added, “Hairball is for everybody and when we do our best work is when I look out and see an 8-year-old kid next to their parents and grandparents. They are singing “Sweet Child of Mine.” I see that every night we play and I am honored.”

As the band enters its 19th year of live performances, the lineup has only undergone a few changes. Happy said recently he has been investing more time in learning Queen songs and that much of the music which inspired him as child continues to resonate with the band and fans today.

“I was always a squirrelly kid that loved the physical aspects of the three chord,” Happy said. “One of the first songs I remember as a kid, ‘Pinball Wizard’ by The Who. I was drawn to the powerful chords. The sound of a guitar. That still remains and I will always come back to it. The music we portray is more of a fun, party atmosphere that existed in the heyday of MTV. People wanted to buy into that rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. It was a spirited time in music history.”

He added, “I am still just a rock ‘n’ roll kid and I still like those simple songs that I can move to. I just like getting up on stage and running around. Once we get doing the show, we just feed off the audience, so every song is my favorite. I think everyone should get the chance to perform a scissor kick during a rock ‘n’ roll show during their life.”

Tickets are available online at www.midwestix.com or by phone at 515-244-2771 for $23. Advance tickets may also be purchased at the Clay County Fair and Events Center for $23 and at the door for $28.