Welcome WOTS listeners!

I can’t say I wasn’t prepared, but I can say I wasn’t really thinking of updating the band blog when this last wave of publicity came about. First, there was the surprise submission of our song “Screens” to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, and then the publication of The Zim’s WOTS – Word On the Street podcast interview.

 

2016 was a very busy year for music. With side projects, day jobs, and families I found myself doing a lot of solo work and rearranging songs to fit the available lineup of Troublefakers for any given date. It was very educational and I ended up expanding my horizons musically, socially, and professionally. It was both exciting and exhausting.

 

I tell The Zim in this interview that if you see me at a show as a spectator it’s because I worked very hard to overcome my social anxiety to do so. This was true in November when we recorded the interview and is still true – I mark events on Facebook as ‘interested’ and keep all the shows that come up I want to go to on a wall calendar at home so I can plan ahead – the catch-22 is that social media fuels the anxiety, while at the same time it is the source for learning where the music (safe) spaces are. I’m looking forward to going to even more shows this year for bands I know and ones I need to know. I’d love it if more people joined me in this!

Despite the scheduling challenges and learning more about my own music so I can play it solo, 2016 was a pretty easy year and I played out a lot more than in previous years (I’ve been fronting The Troublefakers since 2005). 2017 may be a little different since we’ll be doing more recording, but you’ll see me and my band in one form or another guaranteed. I’ll play solo shows on February 12 (Blue Moon) and 18 (Horseshoe Tavern), and my band will join me March 11 (Blue Moon).

We hope to see you at a show! Until then, many thanks to The Zim for the interview and all he’s done for Seattle’s music scene. Listen to the podcast by clicking on the screenshot above, then subscribe to Zim’s Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/thezim

Looking Forward to More Cool Stuff

WordPress did this thing for us that I’ve never seen before: It issued a report. How many posts, how many readers, where they came from – things like that. I laughed out loud at the amount of neglect I have given this poor blog. Man, when we have stuff to say it’s majestic! We just don’t say stuff that often, and WordPress’s creative reporting made that fact unintentionally hilarious to me. Yeah, I’m weird. It’s not that uncommon.

grumpys by melody

at Grumpy D’s Coffeehouse in Ballard November 28, 2015

So, I had this blog post all ready to share with you about how 2015 was really challenging personally due to a torn RC I may or may not have acquired while performing at Baz’s farewell show. I went on about my slow and painful recovery and the impact I thought it had on my year musically. If you really want to hear about that stuff I’m happy to share it with you, but what’s important is that I think I did pretty well anyway even though I had plenty to complain about. Instead, I’d like to thank a few people that really made a difference for us this year.

I didn’t have it in me to campaign as hard for bookings this year, but thanks to other bands that knew we were open to play, bookers who had heard good things about us, and our own Jeff Colchamiro, we stayed pretty busy. Jeff got us in the door at the Downtown Issaquah Association for their Wine Walk and Art Walk, and then later for Make Music Day and a spot at the legendary Issaquah Farmers Market. We landed multiple shows at The Central and Williams Ave Pub, and played a couple of new (to us) venues as well. New mama/Troublefaker Irene Peña also kept us active by getting our foot in the door for International Pop Overthrow Seattle, involving us in a tribute project for The Pandoras, and later introduced me to Industry Nights in the area. I don’t know how I would have made it through this year without them.

@musicbyirene HEY indeed! #troublefakers #tryinaintgoodenough #thepandoras #recording #punchitin #homestudio

A video posted by Wynne C Blue (@wynnecblue) on Sep 7, 2015 at 6:43pm PDT

 

There were number of things I wanted to do this year to get more shows and more people out to those shows. I finally started listening to advice about numbers, realized that Seattle is terrible to its artists, and started just doing what I love. I played a lot of Open Mic nights. I went to a a lot of rock shows and saw a lot of amazing and strange bands. I made new friends. The whole process scared the shit out of me but I had to figure out what kind of artist I am. What do I represent? Am I a hobbyist or a professional? How important is being famous? What is my definition of success?

I had a lot to think about. I decided to try playing a solo show, and, thanks to TBASA and Georgetown Music I played Acoustic Armageddon #17 in October. It freaked me out and I was worried I would embarrass myself but didn’t. Instead it opened some doors by making my availability more flexible. I can still play a show even if members of my band are unavailable. Hopefully that will be rare, but it keeps us in the game. It keeps us visible. It helps us reach more people and gain more fans.

Acoustic Armageddon 17 Oct2015

My first ever solo show October 17, 2015, at Georgetown Music. Photos by Rachel Mary Helen and Tim Basaraba.

Honestly, this seems like something I should already know how to do — and I’M JUST NOW GETTING IT. I am excited and embarrassed at the same time. People will get to see us in a whole new way on all kinds of stages. If you like the solo/duo act, you will be in for a treat when the band is at full power. It will be fantastic. I have been blessed with great friends and talented bandmates who have seen me this far in my journey. I am truly grateful for all of you. I look forward to 2016 and all the possibilities it contains.

A photo posted by Wynne C Blue (@wynnecblue) on Aug 31, 2015 at 12:31am PDT

Wynne C Blue on Instagram – Recording Day

On Sunday Donnie, Jeff, and I gathered at Ron’s Four Lumens Studio to record Caine, Rewind, Uninvited (with and without Prelude), and Confessions. All songs got recorded and we may have even written a new one during warm-up. Later this week we’ll meet up with Irene and record another layer of guitar and vocals to round out the sound.

Ron had a schedule set up for the day that would have had us wrapped up around 5pm and we pretty much stuck to it. My dad joined us briefly to meet my band and see how it was all done. He even stayed long enough to hear a couple of our run throughs and gave us all high marks.  Below is about ten seconds of Ron doing sound check for Donnie’s drums.

Setting up drums for #recording #troublefakers #qu16 #soundcheck #soundboards #rocknroll

A post shared by Wynne C Blue (@wynnecblue) on


We nailed Uninvited in the first two takes. “Oh! Better save that one…” said Ron.

One down, two-and-a-half to go! Better save… #recording #troublefakers #uninvited

A post shared by Wynne C Blue (@wynnecblue) on


It never fails – some takes get derailed when one of us either stop or hollers “@#!!” loud enough for a mic to pick up. I think during “Rewind” each of us took a turn doing that. Par for the course – I can’t think of anyone who gets every song perfect on the first try. If you are one of those people let me know and I will draw a picture of you for your wall. I don’t know why I would do that, but I’d still like to do something nice for you anyway. I’m more of a second-try person myself.

Donnie layin down some percussion #recording #troublefakers #rewindrewindrewind #drums

A post shared by Wynne C Blue (@wynnecblue) on


“Uninvited” consists of two parts: “Prelude” and “Uninvited.” “Prelude” is just what it says – a prelude to a more heart-pounding story. Ripped from the headlines or personal experience? I guess you’ll have to draw your own conclusions. We’re planning two versions of uninvited, one with and one without the prelude. We recorded “Prelude” separately for a number of reasons, a separate bass being only one of them.

Jeff tunes up before recording #prelude – the opening segment of #uninvited #recording #troublefakers #bass

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Cell phones were off for the duration of recording, so all these were posted during breaks or after we were done for the day. This shot was taken after I discovered my 10-second timer on my phone’s camera – a feature you’d think I already knew about after four years. It was taken as I counted the intro measures for “Caine.” I took several selfies at the mic during this session, and a few video clips as well, but this one is the only one I really like. Maybe it’s the light.


I don’t like pictures of myself. I just don’t. It’s the main reason I don’t post many candid shots and my online presences are full of images of my band mates and cats — I don’t look like my pictures at all, and it is rare that I like ones I don’t take myself. “Wynne, you need to update our online presences with new pictures,” Ron says. Yes, I know this. I have to be okay with how I look in them, though. Despite whatever talent I have musically, I will always be this way about pictures, and I will always envy those who are fine with having pictures taken of themselves. Maybe this will give you some insight on why every Monday I end up posting pictures on Instagram of Ron, Donnie, Irene, and Jeff instead of myself.

I did study photography in college, so my pictures don’t suck. Follow me on Instagram. I won’t disappoint.

Instagram <– doooo eeeeet.

Singles Sneak Peek: Caine

It’s been a long time comin’, but we are recording singles for Spring! Albums are great, but sometimes great ideas come piecemeal and not ten tracks at a time. More songs surface each week, but not all of them stick or develop into something iPod-worthy. Instead of waiting until we have an album’s worth of songs, or rushing ourselves into quantity over quality, singles are our weapon of choice. When we have enough we’ll do a fancy collection or something.

Mere days after I post this all five of us will be gathering at Four Lumens Studio to record “Caine,” “Uninvited,” and “Rewind.” I can’t give you any fancy music nerd details on how that’s going to happen other than we’ll probably set everybody up in various compartments of the studio, hit “record,” and have at it. It’ll be fun. My dad might be there. Or not. These things can’t be accurately predicted.

So… “Caine.” This song is an Americana groove I wrote in a key I happen to like. Ron will probably say “she means a key she can play without a capo,” which is probably true. I was inspired by an iconic conversation between Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta’s characters in Pulp Fiction. The details are pure improvisation and Go With The Flow I usually employ when writing lyrics. Ron, Jeff, Donnie, and Irene fleshed out the rest of the sound and here we are. The video is a pretty good take of the final arrangement for this composition but our recording will likely be cleaner, with a solid guitar solo and fuller drum sound.

In the same session we will also record “Rewind,” a three minute upbeat pop injection of OMGWTFBBQ!!!111 you might be able to add to your running playlist, and two versions of the creepy-yet-heart-pounding rock story we call “Uninvited.” If you’ve been to a recent show we have played at least two of these three songs live. If you haven’t, I guess we’ll have to remedy that somehow.

Where in the world will you be able to buy/download/hear these songs once they’re done and when? I’m giving us a week or two for post-production and mixing, then we’ll post links for each here and on our Facebook and ReverbNation pages. It probably won’t be before Easter. Does April 13 sound good to you? I think that might be doable.

Troublefakers 5.0

Oh hey there! Did you miss us? Well, stop it – we’re back and ready to fall off a few stages in 2015!

2015 marks our TENTH year of pretending to be pop-rock badasses for audiences all over Seattle. Last month we debuted our spanky-new bassist Jeff Colchamiro over at Hattie’s Hat in Ballard with the help of Irene Peña of They Go Pop! Joining us that night was Kubby Casual, Hattie’s Hat’s host and drummer for the Backdoor Trio that plays each month’s Songwriter Showcase.

Kubby stepped in when Donnie had the good fortune of getting tickets to see his alma mater go to the very first college football championship and see history in the making! The show had to go on, though, and we are very grateful KC was available and a quick study in Troublefakery goodness.

Jeff ramped up on most of our library at a rate that made our heads spin, going so far as to help us flesh out four new songs in the process. They were included in the set we played at Hattie’s, and will be part of our set list through the Summer. There are a LOT of songs in the making here, and I have a feeling we’ll be releasing a number of singles this year instead of going the album route.

If you went to Baz’s sendoff at The Mix, you met Irene – pretending to be me!

Irene, you made my night!

A post shared by Wynne C Blue (@wynnecblue) on

Irene’s assimilation came after Jeff’s, but she learned our songs just as fast (where do I find these amazing people?) After recording a demo with Ron at his Four Lumens studio, she put this out there and I couldn’t say no. It just wasn’t possible. I mean.. you saw the wig. It was FATE!

Irenes application

So now we are five. Me, Donnie, Ron, Jeff, and Irene are a band. I have no idea how all of us are going to fit on a single stage without a wardrobe malfunction or other catastrophe. You know, we’ll probably be fine – heaven knows how many times I’ve missed a high-velocity bass or guitar headstock by my face at any given show, and I know for sure that I’ve had a couple of close calls with the edge of a stage or two over the last ten years.

Just in case, though, we’ll be playing our next show on FRIDAY THE 13TH at The Central Saloon in Pioneer Square. Because thumbing our nose at the universe just isn’t enough to create some serious adventure. Nope nope nope.

centralsaloon-021315-518x800-web

It’s actually 207 1st Avenue S, but if you put the address on the flyer into your GPS you’ll still get there okay.

We’ll be in good company — The Black Tones will open the night with some fun & funky rock, and we’re super-excited to watch Torre‘s mix of eclectic alt-rock set once we’ve safely finished ours. Will we see you there? Heck, why not. You weren’t going out for Valentine’s Day brunch anyway.

Come to The Mix and Eat Cake

Has it been a month since we updated the blog? Whoops.

Okay, I’ll take the shame on this one – I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this whole “find a new bassist” thing on top of “promote upcoming shows as creatively as possible thing” and falling all over myself in the process. It’s been a challenge.

While we’re looking, though, we’re wrapping up business with Baz by getting ready for a big show at The Mix in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood! I really wanted to do some monster promo for this show. Much of it is coming right along, but the big challenge has been the flyer art. I did a sketch with some pencils, followed by Sharpies, and then ultimately I covered the whole thing in watercolor and ran it through PhotoShop, like so:facebook banner 1010

Despite my art distraction, I am very excited about this show. I am looking forward to playing on The Mix’s gigantic stage and playing an hour of some of our best songs (and a few that aren’t ours), I’m looking forward to hearing Irene Peña‘s solo set with her fancy loop board, I’m looking forward to Tobias The Owl’s new project Juniper Circus performing, and I’m looking forward to cake. Mmmm cake!

I want you to be excited about this show, too. Come celebrate with us by joining our Troublefaker sendoff for Barry on Friday, October 10 at The Mix! I’ll be giving away CD’s and some merchandise made special for the event, and we’ll be playing a longer-than-your-usual-bar-set just like real rock stars! Not convinced? Here’s where that pen and ink version of the flyer art went:

Group-Illo-BazSendoff-flyer

Upcoming Shows – The Search is ON!

We can’t keep it a secret any longer – the next two shows on our calendar are the last with our unmistakable bassman Barry “Baz” Markey. Baz was recruited by Ron in 2009 and reshaped our music into the rock-driven pop sound you know and love today. Five years, two full-length albums, and numerous live shows later, he’s ready to do something else and we wish him the best in his new projects. No matter where he goes he will be awesome and we are lucky to have had him as a Troublefaker all this time!

Oi! You know you love 'im.

Barry loving the camera at DennyFest 2010.

The next two shows will be Baz’s last with The Troublefakers, so if you haven’t had a chance to see us after all the pestering we do with flyers, emails, and social media — NOW is the time to make your plans, because the future is uncertain and this lineup is pretty darn awesome (if I do say so myself). When and where are these shows? Let me tell you what I know.

Friday, September 19 – The Central Saloon, Seattle, WA
We’ll be playing the opening slot in the lineup to kick the weekend off right! So far it’s us and Tacoma’s Champagne Sunday set to rock the stage. No baseball in town that night (I checked) and Friday Shows at The Central usually start at 9:30pm – plenty of time to get there and find parking.

Friday, October 10 – The Mix, Seattle (Georgetown), WA
This is Barry’s official sendoff show! We will be playing an extended set of songs from our catalog picked by Baz himself, and there will be cake and free stuff given away. The Mix has a big stage for us to freely rock out on, plenty of room to dance, and pinball. The opening act has not been confirmed yet, but when it is we’ll make sure our events are updated with their name and links to their tracks.

What happens next? Well, the search has already begun for a new bassist. If we could keep Baz we would, but we’ve already shaken hands on it and hugged it out. We’ve got an ad on ReverbNation and one on CraigsList that is getting some attention and we’re both nervous and excited to meet potential new Troublefakers. It won’t be an easy role to fill. You’ve gotta have energy. You’ve gotta have guts. You’ve gotta be able to play bass. It helps if you like video games and comic books, but that’s not required.