Party and dance band to play Oktoberfest
My Happy Pill, a seven-piece band that performs energetic dance music spanning from the 1970s through today, will perform Friday at the Chehalem Cultural Center during the Newberg Oktoberfest. It is their first time to perform in Newberg.
"We are excited to perform at this year's Oktoberfest celebration," band manager Valerie O'Keefe said. "We love doing what we do and can't wait to bring our special brand of 'happy-ness' to Newberg and meet new friends and fans."
My Happy Pill plays a high-energy mix of funk, pop, rock and soul with a twist blending vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. O'Keefe said they got their name from a conversation about prescription drugs and how it seemed that nowadays there is a pill for everything.
"It seems so many people seem to need some kind of drug to be happy," band leader Donovan Fraser said in an email. "While speaking about people taking pills for their ability to function or be happy, music was my happy pill and just like that, we realized that we had the name of this newly formed, unnamed band."
Fraser began playing guitar at the age of 13 after suffering an injury, leaving him unable to participate in sports for six months. He picked up his mother's guitar and taught himself to play, then formed his first band at age 15. In 2006, he left his career as a subcontractor in Florida and moved to Portland to become a full-time musician; in 2015 he formed My Happy Pill.
O'Keefe said that music is at the center of Donovan's soul and that is why he worked so hard to find the right people to play in the band.
"He wanted to find the best of the best," O'Keefe said "He handpicked his members and he waited until he had the band he wanted rather than just throw a band together. He waited for the right bass player, he waited for the right drummer."
The seven band members migrated to Portland from around the country and met in Portland before they formed the group. Drummer Kenny Davis grew up in a musical family in Reno and began performing at 3 years old. He learned to play the drums from his mother and later left a career to perform full time as a musician.
Lead singer and front man Bryan Podwys started in music at 9 years old. Bassist Juliet Terrill came to Portland from Texas and can play just about any instrument. The newest member, Adriel Camacho plays the keyboards and started playing at 12. He performed with his family for 15 years and returned to Portland to play with My Happy Pill.
"They all knew each other from being musicians working together in other projects and they all decided that they wanted to move forward in this type of a band," O'Keefe said.