Happy said, at most shows, he feels a sense of unity with the audience, and among audience members. People have been known to drive several hours to see Hairball perform. Others come back for multiple concerts.
Happy became involved with Hairball after playing in a band in Atlanta. He was a member of Fozzy, a band led by pro wrestler Chris Jericho. Hairball started out as a "joke," in which band members dressed up like these old acts and played. Over time, though, the attitude changed. The band felt they had something special when they saw how much their audiences enjoyed being taken back to the era. The band was also simply having fun.
"It is rock and roll," Happy said. "Why overthink it?"
Evolution of the band included moving on from pyrotechnics consisting of "gun powder in a coffee can" and Halloween costumes, to thousands of dollars worth of firepower and custom outfits.
Happy was inspired to become a musician. As a teenager, he used to sneak into a nearby venue. He watched crews set up for shows. He was eager to hear Eddie Van Halen play whatever came across the guitarist's fingers.
"I just never forgot the teenage version of Happy who was so inspired (by these musicians)," Happy said. The experiences made him want to be acknowledged and earn the respect of his fellow guitar players.
"I think about that every time I pull into a town," Happy said.
He and the band have earned respect of those they emulate. At a concert in SIoux Falls, S.D., Hairball was joined by Gene Simmons of Kiss and Vince Neil of Motley Crue on stage. Happy also took the advice of those who have come before him.