POOR RICH ONES, "HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY"
Poor Rich Ones was formed way back in 1989, at Sandgotna secondary school in Loddefjord outside Bergen, when Willy Marhaug (later known as the solo artist William Hut) and Espen Mellingen (who would later play with Ai Phoenix and St. Thomas) were in a free minute at the local record store and discovered that they had a common interest in music. Willy played the guitar and Espen didn't play anything, but they just fired up and immediately started making their own songs. Espen proved to be a brilliant guitarist, and Willy had a vocal range that few can copy. There were lots of gigs and attention in the years that followed, including with the song "Mummy" from the debut album in 1996, and the group, which then also consisted of Tor Kristian Sørensen on bass and Bjarte Ludvigsen on drums, received the Spellemann prize for their second record, From The Makers Of Ozium . In the year 2000, their third and best album, Happy Happy Happy , was recorded in the legendary Studio Nova in Spydeberg outside Oslo with the then hot producer Mark Trombino, who around the same time was behind the breakthrough albums of both Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World. There was a record contract in America and lots of touring over there, but only a year after the release of Happy Happy Happy it suddenly ended, when Willy decided that the band should take a break, which with a few concert exceptions is still going on.
Reidar A. Eik (b. 1982) has previously written about St. Thomas in his Norwegian album classics book series.