Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
In 2008, Trampled Under Foot won first place in the International Blues Challenge and Nick received the Albert King Award for “most promising” or “Best Guitarist”. Winning the International Blues Challenge with our family would be one of our crowning moments. It was a big payoff emotionally for us. We lost our father in 1999 to cancer and it was a big loss to our family so this was a win for him as well. Our parents competed in the Blues Challenge in the 90′s and didn’t make it past the finals in Kansas City so this was a win for the family name as well, and a win for Kansas City. We had so many people on their own come from Kansas City to support us. You wouldn’t believe the uproar when we won! Screaming loud applause. You could feel the intensity in the air! Directly after the competition, we were introduced to Ed Murphy from Notodden, the largest blues festival in Scandinavia. Ed really believed in us and invited us to Notodden in 2008. We had such a wonderful response Ed would bring us back again in 2009. That would be a success as well! We tour Norway two times a year and have so many great friends and fans there!
We also met Brian Slack from Canada who has had us to the Mont Tremblant Blues Festival, where we were voted “best newcomer” in 2008. We performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2009. We love touring and playing Canada. It’s a great place to visit. In 2008, we got to play a show with Koko Taylor in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This was special to us because her and her band enjoyed us a lot and we got to sit and talk with Koko Taylor for about an hour or so. She even gave Danielle her address to write and keep in touch.
So far in 2010, we headlined a night at the Blues from the Top Blues Festival in Winter Park Colorado. We had a great three week club tour of Norway, Sweden, and Poland; all great shows really getting to the fans. We also played the Sierre Blues Festival in Switzerland. We are just now leaving again for another two week Norway trip. We also will be making a third appearance to the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise in January where we plan to release our new record we are recording with Tony Braunegel as producer.
Many special shows have came from all of this exposure to the music industry. We continue to improve our music, our own instruments, and our business. Not very many bands are like us, or have been given the opportunities we have, so we work hard to make the most out of everything that comes our way.
We have done quite a bit over the last two years. We have been on our own and still have maintained a presence in U.S., Canada, Northern and Southern Europe. Now that we are signed to Intrepid Artists Booking Agency, we can get anywhere we are needed or wanted.
To learn more about Trampled Under Foot visit their website: www.tufkc.com
Nick Schnebelen has been playing guitar all of his life. Coming through over three generations of guitarists and musicians, in many ways, he is just another vessel for the spirit of music. Growing up in the blues scene of Kansas City, Nick knows many of the KC greats, those alive and those who’ve passed.
After cutting his teeth on guitar with father Bob Schnebelen, Nick moved out East in search of a new experience. Nick says,”Someone once told me, if you want to be known, you gotta be from somewhere else”. That stuck with him and led him to Philadelphia where he lived for nearly nine years. Hitting blues jams that very same week he landed East, he was playing shows the following week. Half a year later, at nineteen, he was playing most of the Blues and Rock clubs in New York City Manhattan in the Village. Nick, and friends Chris Schutz and Jesse Harris, and Justin DiFebbo formed the popular Philadelphia based Killing Floor later known as K-Floor. K-Floor brought high energy blues to an area where there wasn’t so much blues. This group was very successful up and down the East Coast for six years and got to open up for countless acts such as Johnny Winter (several times), Robin Trower, Robert Cray, Derek Trucks, George Thorogood, Steve Miller and James Brown.
For a short time Nick was a member of Buddahead, a New York City based Pop band and traveled all over the US for two years. Opening for Everlast on a national tour and getting to record with Jon Popper from Blues Traveler was just a few of the experiences they had. He received an excellent write-up in the New York Post for a performance opening for Everlast at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City in 2003.
Nick won the Albert King Award for most promising guitarist at the 2008 International Blues Challenge.
Kris Schnebelen - I have been a musician all my life. My parents were were in bands as long as I can remember. Before I could play baseball, I knew what a 1-4-5 was. Before I had a best friend, I could tell you the difference between a double shuffle and a 12/8. Music was always something that brought the family together as was a great strength for us during the hard times.
I received my first drum set when I was 12 years old but our first relationship was a short one. We moved from our anything but quiet house in the suburbs into a 3rd story apartment in a 4 story walk-up brownstone in midtown Kansas City. The drums went into storage and I rarely saw them except when I took the long trip down 4 flights of stairs only to have to pay to do laundry and would stare at the lonely instruments sitting ever so patiently under thier blankets and weep solemnly. The drum set is a unique instrument in that it requires a static situation to flourish. Ours was anything but that. I turned to visual art. When things were rough in the house, I could always just pick up my journal and hit the road. Art wasnt ever completely fulfilling for me but it would have to do for a while.
After a few more intense years I finally got into that static situation I was craving. My first set was a CB 700 5-piece I purchased from a friend of mine. I played on that set for a few years and bought my first real drumset. It was a cream colored late 80′s Pearl World Series that I still play today. Originally it was a 5 piece but after a criminal decided he or she wanted a 12″ tom out of my truck it was a 4 piece. I started practicing at around 18. At 19 I took lessions from a great drummer Sam Johnson Jr., the son of a great jazz drummer from the early days of music in Kansas City. After studing with him for a little over a year I changed living situations again and again was derailed but not for long this time. Shortly after that, around 2002, Danielle, Nick and I started talking about forming the band. Trampled Under Foot was to be the name and the rest is history. After doing a few tours with the family, Danielle and I moved to Philly in 2004 to start the band and have been playing full time ever since.
We moved back to Kansas City where things started to take off. Playing 5-8 shows a week for the next 2 years, I think we played every nook and cranny in the town and it was time to branch out. We toured regionally for a bit but once again things changed as they often do. In January of 2008 we won the International Blues Challenge and have been touring internationally for the last 3 years. Playing such festivals as Notodden in Norway, one of the largest blues festivals in Europe, Montreal Jazz Fest, one of the largest festivals in the world, the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, the pride of Roger Nabor and one of the top gigs in the blues scene.
The sky is the limit for Trampled Under Foot. In September 2010 we started a relationship with Intrepid Artists International, a great and well respected booking agency in the business. Our newest release titled the Wrong Side of the Blues is definately a step up and in the right direction. Produced by Tony Braunagel and engineered by Johnny Lee Schell, both industry pros with very creditable resumes more then a mile long. This was a very huge experence for me. I grew 10 years as a player during those sessions. Tony was a great influence on me and is a great instructor. Showing me parts and guiding me through the songs. Even taking the time to show me some techniques to take home and practice. These pros did not have to take us into thier arms and instruct us so. It was a great moment and one I’ll treasure for ever.
I have purchased 2 more kits int he recent years. A ’69 Ludwig Black Panther which I practice on and sounds great and a ’76 Ludwig Marine Pearl in 90% perfect condition.
I use only DW 9000 series stands and 5000 series highhat and bass drum pedal. I use all Sabian cymbols, 14″ aa highhats, 16″ Vault Crash, 18″ Evo Wakle 20″ Prototype ride
Damielle Schnebelen - There’s not a time in her life that Danielle doesn’t remember loving to perform. She’d sing for the family at holiday events and also took tap jazz and ballet for many years competing in numerous events. She also took band in middle school playing the tenor saxophone and enjoyed it quite a bit but was forced to quit when they moved to Kansas City and the new school did not offer band.
She comes from generations of singers. Her grandmother Evelyn Skinner was a big band singer. Her mother, Lisa Swedlund had taught her everything she knew growing up listening to all different kinds of music from the Everly Brothers to the B-52s. It wasn’t until she was 12 that she took to the stage for the first time singing Koko Taylor’s “Never Trust a Man” at a Blues for Schools program her parents were playing at Englewood Elementary. From then on, she knew music would be her passion for the rest of her life.
She began singing in coffeehouses and at open mic events around the age of 14 while jamming with her parents at clubs that would allow minors whenever she could. At the age of sixteen, she began singing lead in her father, Robert Schnebelen, band Little Eva and the Works until fall of 1998 when he became too sick to play. In March of 1999, she started her own band “Fresh Brew” with Kansas City music veterans Steve Gronemeyer, Steven Kicks, Chuck Payne and Terry Roney. They played all over Kansas City for four years and even represented Kansas City in the IBC.
It was during this time that she and her brothers Nick and Kris Schnebelen began talking about a family band and what it would take to make it happen. Not only would Kris and Danielle would have to move to Philadelphia where Nick was living, she‘d have to learn the bass guitar to keep it a family band. It took a few years of lessons and saving money before that could become reality.
When Fresh Brew disbanded in 2004, she was approached by guitarist John Brandsgard of “The Nortons”, another group of veterans including Dane Henningson, Randy Kassin, and Greg and Gharett Schaberg and was asked if she’d be interested in fronting them until she made the move to Philadelphia. The Nortons branched out a bit for Danielle’s style of traditional blues and incorporated more contemporary blues into her repertoire. What started as only 6 months turned into 2 years of touring the Midwest while practicing bass and occasionally playing shows with her brothers in Kansas City and Philadelphia.
Since then, TUF has continued to play the US as well as expanding into Canada and Europe to spread the word of the blues.