Frank Wyatt
Gig Seeker Pro

Frank Wyatt

Felton, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1973 | INDIE

Felton, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1973
Band Rock Avant-garde




"Wyatt-Whitaker: Pedal Giant Animals"

Stan Whitaker and Frank Wyatt...two names that will forever be enshrined in progressive rock history as founding members of Happy the Man, one of the most beloved bands of the genre. While their main band is taking a little break from recording and touring, Whitaker and Wyatt have written and recorded Pedal Giant Animals, a little side project that has apparently been a few years in the works, with the help of bassist Peter Princiotto (However) and drummer Chris Mack (Illuvatar).

Given the pedigree of these musicians, it should come as no surprise that Pedal Giant Animals is one hell of a great listen. There's a little bit of everything here, from lush, symphonic prog rock numbers, to lite fusion, some quirky rock numbers, and a touch of bombast, providing plenty of variety for the listener. "Pink Sky" kicks things off in grand fashion, a nice melodic piece with a hint of HtM and early Genesis, led by Stan's emotional vocal, acoustic guitars, and Wyatt's piano and keyboards. This segues into the more aggressive and hard-hitting "Chapter Seven", a brooding rocker featuring Whitaker's snarling guitar licks and plenty of symphonic keyboards from Wyatt. "Love" is another pastoral sounding number, with Whitaker's vocals sounding very much like Peter Gabriel, and "Whole" is a lovely number sprinkled with Wyatt's gentle piano. Fans of the recent HtM album The Muse will love the jazzy fusion sounds of "Mists of Babylon", complete with plenty of roaring guitar work from Whitaker and Wyatt's squonking sax lines. The sax again comes back for an appearance on the atmospheric "The Leaf Clings...Quivers", which then leads into the lengthy and majestic piece "Turning My Head", punctuated by gorgeous piano and Whitaker's Pat Metheny-ish guitar leads. After the calming and almost new-age "Blue Sun" comes the quirky "Stumpy Shuffle", a return of a popular character from Happy the Man's past. This one speaks like vintage HtM, with lean and mean guitar licks, jazzy sax, and quirky rhythms from Mack and Princiotto. "Everything" is a gentle folk vocal number, and the 9-minute title track, with fun lyrics penned by Wyatt, again reminds of vintage HtM, and features Whitaker's melodic vocals soaring over layers of keyboards. The ending guitar solo from Stan drips with fire and technique, showing what an underrated talent he really is.

While the world waits for a follow-up to Happy the Man's The Muse, Frank Wyatt and Stan Whitaker have given us plenty to enjoy here with Pedal Giant Animals. With the CD's release date right before the holiday season, the two veterans couldn't have thought of a better present for the progressive rock faithful. Highly recommended!

- Sea of Tranquility ~ Pete Pardo

"Pedal Giant Animals"

Pedal Giant Animals is a project led by Stan Whitaker (guitar, bass, vocals and percussion) and Frank Wyatt (keyboards, saxes, flute and backing vocals), both founding members of Happy the Man. This detail is not essential because from the first notes of the first song the connection is evident. The duo gets help from Chris Mack (drums and percussion) on 9 tracks and from Peter Princiotto (bass) on 3 tracks.

The album has a little bit for everyone. You get instrumental tracks ("Chapter Seven" & "The Mists of Babylon" - just love the subtle middle eastern influence on this one), love ballads ("Love", "Whole" & "Blue Sun"), jazzy songs ("Turning my Head", where Whitaker synthesizes the sound of his guitar in a very Metheny-way) in a mix of electric and acoustic tracks, some of them with vocals. This not being the project of a full-blown band, my impression is that the music doesn't have the coherence and complexity of a Happy the Man album, but the CD is bound to like to every fan of the band, me included. The magic is still there, it just needs a little spark here and there. The duo of Whitaker/Wyatt still carries some punch and they are not afraid to use it.

The album has 11 tracks, clocking in at 53:11. It was written, produced and arranged by Wyatt/Whitaker and was self released in 2006. - Gnosis ~ Eddie Lascu

"Pedal Giant Animals"

Pedal Giant Animals (PGA) is a collaboration of two founding members of Happy The Man (HTM), Frank Wyatt and Stan Whitaker. According to the website, the CD consists of unreleased music the two have written over the years, and the desire to share it with all of us. The group also consists of bassist Peter Princiotto (However) and drummer Chris Mack (Illuvatar).

Opening with "Pink Sky" one is immediately struck by Stan's vocals. Although he has sung lead in HTM, his voice seems to have really developed, and sounds strong and confident. A Wyatt penned track, the sparse opening slowly builds into a more symphonic piece. Wyatt's piano rings throughout the track, and his playing throughout the disc does not always hit you over the head, but repeated listens show how big of a role the keyboards play. "Chapter Seven" features some heavier sounding guitar, and the riff reminds me King Crimson's "Frame By Frame".

PGA also leans heavily on acoustic numbers. One of the biggest surprises is the touching ballad "Love," one of the prettiest songs I have heard in some time. Stan's voice really shines on the softer material. "Everything" and "Whole" share a simplicity that proves less can truly be more. The instrumental "Blue Sun" is a pastoral arrangement of guitar and flute.

Whitaker cranks up is guitar on "The Mists Of Babylon," a slow heavy rocker with Wyatt's sax also joining in on the lead lines. "The Leaf Clings … Quivers" reminds me of the feel of However's Sudden Dusk album, and also shows a jazzier side to the band's music. Our old friend Stumpy from the HTM days returns in a bluesy/reggae form during "Stumpy Shuffle," with Wyatt's punchy sax again sharing lead with Whitaker's guitar. The bands signature track "Pedal Giant Animals" closes the disc, and harkens back to HTM, a true tour de force.

Pedal Giant Animals is a wonderful collection of songs that offers the listener everything from soft acoustic tracks to full blown progressive workouts. There are many moments that will remind you of Happy The Man, but PGA certainly does not follow any sort of blue print. The songs have an open feel, a lot of space, and a great flow. Frank and Stan have more in store for fans, check out the website for all the news: - Porter

"The Muse Awakens"

It’s been 25 years since the last release of new material from this legendary prog band, but it’s worth the wait. The compositions are by turns beautiful, melodic, grooving, emotive, and humorous. Between David Rosenthal’s synth and keyboard palette and Frank Wyatt’s saxophones (and keyboards), the orchestrations are lush and inventive. Is it “proggy”? Sure, but not “notey” – just excellent music from some great musicians.

ERNIE RIDEOUT - Keyboard Magazine~Ernie Rideout

"The Muse Awakens"

The Muse Awakens


After Happy The Man’s smashing show at the NEARfest 2000 the waiting for the proclaimed comeback-record The Muse Awakens began. This waiting is being rewarded now, because the 11 new tracks are full of the trademarks which typified the band so much: repetitive, slowly shifting patterns on divers instruments, lovely slurring Moog-solo’s with that characteristic tone-bending and the long lasting string-chords. It’s clear Happy The Man is going back to the intense progressive jazz-rock from Crafty Hands (1978), although the dreamlike spheres from the eponymous debut (1977) also gets a lot of space. The opening-track Contemporary Insanity is revealing in that matter; complex rhythms, with bumping baritone-saxophone swipes and screeching guitar- and synthesizer-solo’s. Lunch At The Psychedelicatessen, in which Frank Wyatt lets himself go in a lovely way on saxophones and other woodwinds, is also dominated by this kind of Gentle Giant-like riotousness. And Barking Spider is based on breaks in such a way, that the new drummer Joe Bergamini (from 4Front) can exhibit himself perfectly. The sphere-full side gets a chance in amongst others the title-track with Spyro Gyra-tinted, melodic clarinet-parts. Kindred Spirits is a beautiful piece, in which the echoing electric piano evokes exactly that kind of sphere which made The Moon, I Sing (from Crafty Hands) and the Twin Peaks-soundtrack so sensitive. But in these sensitive tracks there’s also a lot of progression and dynamic-difference, like the bombastic burp in Adrift, which is mostly dominated by a sultry saxophone. In the epic tracks complexity and serenity flow together constantly. For instance, Stepping Through Time combines a Camel-like flute in the intro with a splitting guitar-solo in the climax, which is being followed by a virtuoso keyboard-duel, one of the many passages in which David Rosenthal turns Kit Watkins into a very good memory effortlessly. This combination is also present in the closing couple Maui Sunset and Il Quinto Mare, which are being surrounded by see-sounds. They lead to the most sparkling part of the album, after which the band works musing (sic) and slowly toward the end in that typical Happy The Man-way. Finally, the vocal aspect in the key as the demo-LP 3rd : Better Late (recorded 1979, released 1983), comes to the front in Shadowlites only; in that track Stanley Whitaker’s slightly distorted voice colours the refrain in an almost commercial way. In the press-information Whitaker tells that there are already three new vocal compositions. This means that The Muse Awakens is not only a very strong return to the top of the progressive rock-front, but also a start of many more beautiful things.

- iO Pages~Rene Yedema

"Happy The Man Muse Awakens"

Happy The Man
Happy The Man "The Muse Awakens"
[693723405421] $14.99
Happy The Man "The Muse Awakens"

AT LONG LAST! The new studio album by America's legendary Happy the Man! Featuring three original members Frank Wyatt (saxes, keyboards, woodwinds), Rick Kennel (bass) and Stanley Whitaker (guitars and vocals) plus two newcomers - Dave Rosenthal (keyboards) and Joe Bergamini (drums). There are 11 tracks. Frank Wyatt wrote "Stepping Through Time", "Slipstream", and "Il Quinto Mare". Stanley Whitaker contributed "The Muse Awakens", "Lunch at the Psychedelicatessen", "Barking Spiders" , "Adrift", and "Shadowlites". The remaining three tracks are by new keyboardist Rosenthal. They are "Contemporary Insanity", "Maui Sunset" and "Kindred Spirits". For those who might say that Happy The Man just won't be Happy The Man without Kit Watkins (I was one of them) - let me assure you that David Rosenthal is more than up to the challenge. Not only is he an amazing player in his own right, he has SO closely copied both Watkins' compositional and distinctive playing styles that if I didn't know otherwise I would have sworn that it WAS Kit! New drummer Bergamini is also a good fit for the band and is an able replacement for departing Ron Riddle. The writing is great throughout and is purely & completely Happy The Man. It is as though they never left. It is as though it were 1979 and they were just continuing on as they should! A fantastic and highly recommended album!! - ZNR

"The Muse Awakens"

The return of Happy the Man makes for a whole lot of happy the prog fans. Way back in 1977, this band signed with Arista Records and released two albums which bombed commercially - remember this was the age of Night Fever, Night Fe-v-er! But later they achieved underground cult status. (For a more detailed report of this band's phoenix-like rising see our News Page from Week 44.)

The Muse Awakens follows Happy The Man's Crafty Hands almost as if the quarter-century between them didn't even happen. The notable differences, obviously aside from all new compositions, are in the modern production, and in the fact that the drummer and keyboardist are different. Original drummer Ron Riddle, who to my ears had a flair for the dramatic - kind a prog Keith Moon - has been replaced with the more conventional Joe Beramini. Conventional, but extremely accurate and dynamic. As for keys man David Rosenthal who eagerly stepped into the shoes of Kit Watkins, he seems to wear them with joy and ease. Stanley Whitaker's guitar has, unsurprisingly, been stripped of the 70's flange effect (except for one track). Also clear is that, like every mature guitarist who had a hand wrapped around a neck in 1981, he has absorbed some of the Holdsworth influence. Standing-wave-in-a-tube specialist Frank Wyatt pulls out both saxes (tenor and alto) as well as a clarinet and a flute in the first 3 tracks, playing counterpoint to the guitar & synth like the old days. Co-founder Rick Kennel's bass remains in its supporting role - no Jonas or Billy, he. There is even a 'token' vocal track, as there was on Crafty Hands.

Happy The Man has been called 'America's greatest prog band' by some, based on their original recordings. Personally I reserve that title for Kansas. But I will say this: I can only think of one other band that routinely handles odd time signatures with so much fluidity, that they feel like 4/4. (...That would be Gentle Giant.) What I mean by that is, while there are many bands that seem to insert licks into odd time signatures as a means of showing off, Happy The Man writes tracks that emerge as a whole, integrated composition - rhythm, melody and harmony all woven together. As a matter of fact, 4/4 is almost totally absent here. That's neither good nor bad, it just shows uncommon creativity.

So there you have it - If you like this band's old material, you will like this release as it is the same style. For those of you who have never heard Happy The Man, though, think of the Ozric Tentacles without the goofy, spacey vibe, Chick Corea's jazz concept, with a dash of Brand X spice.

Conclusion: 8 out of 10

Jeffrey E Terwilliger - The Dutch Progressive Rock Page

"The Muse Awakens"

Happy the Man | The Muse Awakens
Virtuoze progrock met wisselende uitwerking.
CD, Inside Out/SPV/Suburban
tekst: Eric Looge

Happy The Man maakt jazzy progrock en heeft eind jaren ’70 twee klassiekers gemaakt, Happy the Man en Crafty Hands. Dan split de band. Tot Happy The Man-meesterebrein Stan Whitaker zo’n vijf jaar geleden door enkele fans verteld wordt hoe geweldig zij de band vonden. Whitaker wordt weer enthousiast en roept de band weer bij elkaar. The Muse Awakens is hun eerste album in de nieuwe oude bezetting.

De instrumentale progrock (alleen ‘Shadowlites’ bevat vocalen) is muzikaal gezien erg afwisselend. Zo is het openingsnummer ‘Contemporary Insanity’ lekker up-tempo, virtuoos en vol ingenieuze maatwisselingen. ‘Stepping through Time’ heeft dezelfde eigenschappen. Het bewijst dat Happy The Man bestaat uit fantastische muzikanten. Helaas staan er ook wat minder pakkende tracks op de plaat. Deze vrijblijvend voortkabbelde nummers verworden door hun gezapigheid al snel tot achtergrondmuziek. ‘Kindred Spirits’ zou bijvoorbeeld de perfecte soundtrack zijn bij een documentaire over octopussen op National Geographic. ‘Lunch at The Psychedelicatessen’ zou prima dienst doen bij een stomme film waarin een maffiosi in een rokerige bar wordt versierd door een foute vrouw met een revolver in haar jarretels, terwijl ‘Slipstream’ doet denken aan een NET5 erotische film waarin dan weer net niets te zien is. Ik vraag me af of dit de uitwerking is die Happy The Man in gedachten heeft bij die nummers. De muziek zit razendknap in elkaar, maar toch dwingen dergelijke beelden zich direct aan je op als je deze muziek hoort: het grote nadeel van deze band die techniek boven liedjes verkiest. - Kinda Muzik

"Oblivion Sun live at Knitting Factory, NYC"

There are days when you feel utterly drained. Life has kicked your ass & the glass is four fifths empty. This was one of those days. Oblivion Sun cured all that with a blazing, remarkable performance in support of their self titled debut disc at the Knitting Factory on sucky old Leonard Street in NYC. The quintet took the stage a bit after 7:30 and opened with the appropriately titled Fanfare. Frank Wyatt sat behind his Kurzweil, his fingers triggering beauty and majesty as always. Chapter 7.1 was introduced by guitarist / vocalist Stanley Whitaker as an Oblivion Sun refit of Chapter 7 from the Pedal Giant Animals album he and Frank Wyatt released prior to this project. Next was a gem by keyboardist Bill Plummer - Noodlepoint - a very Happy The Man - esque number and great showcasing of the rhythm section of bassist Dave DeMarco and Iluvatar drummer Chris Mack. Speaking of Wyatt & Whitaker's former band, Happy The Man, a track from The Muse Awakens - Shadowlites was given the Oblivion Sun treatment. It may just be my perception, but Oblivion Sun seems to have an even more positive vibe than Happy The Man did. Great interaction and nothing but smiles all night. A very Crimsony guitar line by Whitaker drove No Surprises with pulsing bass by DeMarco. Wyatt's playful Catwalk had a swell vocal by Whitaker and fabulous, expansive chords. It's one of those songs you just don't want to end. Things took a turn for the funkier with Re: Bootsy with Wyatt adding tasty sax to the mix and Plummer using vintage sounds to bring the ear candy up a notch. Nice Whitaker vocals on another Pedal Giant Animals tune: Everything. A dog is admonished to Leave That Kitten Alone, Armone - a compelling reading of the old Happy The Man number heavily featuring Mack's percussive talents. Plummer introduced the final Pedal Giant Animals song to be covered - Mists Of Babylon. The Ride had some great Hendrix-y guitar from Whitaker and a bluesy vocal. Underwater we went with the moody Tales Of Young Whales, one of the strongest numbers in a very strong set. The Happy The Man-ish Golden Feast, another Wyatt composition, closed the set. An encore jam built into the HTM classic Carousel which grew and grew in intensity, threatening to spin out of control! It was a magical night. Whitaker & Wyatt have taken the very best elements of Happy The Man and brought in new musicians and new elements, creating exciting new music to be long treasured. Plummer, DeMarco, & Mack have much to say musically, and this quintet mesh in ways few bands do. It's also a great experience to see 5 guys loving what they do. If you've not heard the CD, get it! You'll not be disappointed. If Oblivion Sun get within 200 miles of you - BE THERE! This is the stuff of dreams, my friend.

John A. Wilcox - John Wilcox,

"Oblivion Sun"

Oblivion Sun
These are great times for the lovers of Happy The Man. The mother ship lies still due to logistic problems, indeed, yet Frank Wyatt and Stan Whitaker seem to be reborn. Not so long ago, in iO Pages number 71, we reviewed their Pedal Giant Animals, while Whitaker and his wife LeeAnne recently released the live cover-CD Under The Covers and are recording a duo-album with original compositions. And next they released the debut from their new band Oblivion Sun, which consists also of Bill Plummer (engineer from Happy The Man), Dave DeMarco and Chris Mack (Ilùvatar, Puppet Show). The album has a fine cadence, partly because of the even spreading of the compositions from Wyatt, Whitaker and Plummer. In Fanfare and Golden Feast saxophonist/keyboarder Wyatt probably stays the most close to the original sound of Happy The Man, although there have been elements added to the jumpy and elegant style which is comparable with Crafty Hands and the eponymous debut respectively, like the rough guitars and DeMarco’s solo bass-parts. Catwalk on the other hand is a parable-like song, comparable with the title track from Pedal Giant Animals. Whitaker’s The Ride and No Surprises also have those typical Happy The Man trademarks, but are more based on blues-rocking and even King Crimson-like guitar-riffs against a jazz-rock background. In the first mentioned track the David Jackson-tinted saxophone-playing and organ-eruptions even give it a kind of early seventies mood. His Chapter 7.1, nicely positioned as track 7, is a arrangement of Chapter Seven from Pedal Giant Animals; this version though is a lot more dynamic, while the emphasis has been shifted from the guitar-chords to Plummer’s keyboards. Finally, the compositions from the latter are best to be described as jazz-rock variations on Happy The Man. Just like in almost all the other pieces, he produces fantastic Moog-solo’s, which remind not only of Kit Watkins, but also of Jan Hammer and Manfred Mann. Next to that, Re: Bootsy (formerly titled amongst others as Mr. Biff) has that lovely funky sounding clavinet and highlight Tales Of Young Whales has the same symphonic grandeur as Crafty Hand’s Morning Sun. Meanwhile Oblivion Sun have started working on the successo and there is even talk of an European tour. This makes the man happy still.
Published in iO Pages number 77, December 2007. Website:
René Yedema
- Io Pages Rene Yedema



* Happy the Man (1977, re-issued 1999) Arista Records 4120
* Crafty Hands (1978, re-issued 1999) Arista Records 4191
* 3rd...Better Late (1982) Azimuth 1003
* Michael Zentner ~ Present Time (1983) Red Music (1994) Ozone
* Retrospective (1989) East Side Digital ESD 80292
* Beginnings (1990, archival recordings) Cunieform Records 55001
* Happy the Man Live (1990) Cuneiform 55014
* ~ Beauty Drifting (1996) Linden Music
* Death's Crown (1998) Cuneiform 55015
* The Muse Awakens (2004) InsideOut Germany SPV 085-40542 IOM 187
* Frank Wyatt ~ A Certain Whisper (2001) recordings
* Pedal Giant Animals (2006) Crafty Hands Music 83710127816
* Oblivion Sun (2007) ProPhase Music MVDA4648
* The High Places (2013) Prophase Music PMCD1301



As a music major at JMU I had the good fortune to meet Stan Whitaker and became part of what would be a fantastic musical journey that has lasted over four decades. "Born out of the intensely creative and artistic art rock and fusion movements of the seventies, Happy The Man is one of the most legendary progressive rock bands of all time. Although Happy The Man initially only released two official albums, their impact was strong enough to durably endear the group to a cult following that has been growing ever since, and eventually eight albums were recorded or compiled. With the passing of the years Happy The Man’s music has demonstrated a timeless quality which suggests that it was not only ahead of its time, it was also, in many ways, beyond this world."

My work with Happy The Man has led me to explore many aspects of the music business, my favorite of which has become the recording studio. Crafty Hands became the name for my own recording space in 1999 and it continues to evolve into a fully functional recording environment. Tracking for A Certain Whisper and the Pedal Giant Animals project as well as overdubs for Happy The Man's Muse Awakens. Oblivion Sun's The High Places was entirely recorded and mixed at Crafty Hands.

Oblivion Sun is: Frank Wyatt-composition, lyrics, keyboards, saxophones, flute and WX-5 wind controller. Stan Whitaker-composition, guitars, vocals. Bill Brasso-drums and percussion. David Hughes-bass and vocals. and

Happy The Man is: Frank Wyatt-composition, lyrics, keyboards, saxophones, flute and WX-5 wind controller. David Rosenthal-composition, Keyboards. Stan Whitaker-composition, guitars, vocals. Joe Bergamini-drums and percussion. Rick Kennell-bass.

The Pedal Giant Animals project is: Frank Wyatt-composition, lyrics, keyboards, saxophones, flute, WX-5 wind controller, vocals, engineer and producer. Stan Whitaker-composition, guitars, vocals, and producer. Pete Princiotto-bass. Chris Mack-drums and percussion.

Band Members