Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Trampled Under Foot

Written by  February 28, 2006

“My appeal is my soul. My music is my soul, my voice is my soul and I am so grateful that anyone enjoys or relates to or even likes to watch it, as long as it is respected as my soul” ……Danielle Schnebelen, Trampled Under Foot

Danielle Schnebelen is one of Kansas City’s musical treasures. Stephanie and I first heard her a few summers ago performing in the band “Fresh Brew.” We were hooked immediately. Our Sunday plans for the rest of the summer included relaxing afternoons enjoying Danielle’s voice. Danielle has received every possible kind of compliment from local publications, so I will sum them all up—the lady kicks ass. A voice like hers is not made; you have to be born with it. Imagine our disappointment when “Fresh Brew” was no longer performing at our Sunday hangout spot the following spring. Much to our delight we were treated to an occasional appearance by Danielle during the Sunday jams.

We were brokenhearted when we heard the news that Danielle was moving to the East Coast to perform with her brothers Nick and Kris. We found another band to listen to, but we still missed Danielle’s powerful vocals. We made it through most of the summer, and then got some great news. Danielle was coming back, and Nick and Kris were coming with her. To appreciate our excitement, you have to understand something--music is in the Schnebelen blood. Nick, Kris, and Danielle’s parents Lisa Swedlund and the late Robert Schnebelen, were part of a very popular blues band, “Little Eva & The Works,' in Kansas City during the early 1990's.

The first time we heard the band Trampled Under Foot we were totally blown away. Everything Danielle has in the voice department is equaled by Kris’s drumming and Nick’s guitar playing. To top it all off, both brothers are great vocalists too! Trampled Under Foot is a “must-not-miss” type of band. The on-stage chemistry between these siblings is unrivaled. With Kris’s drums and Danielle’s bass laying down a flawless rhythm section for Nick’s powerhouse guitar work, I dare you to sit still. Throw in the voices of all three in a harmony that only comes from sharing a bloodline and you have one of Kansas City’s top bands. If you get the chance to see Trampled Under Foot, run, do not walk, to see them.

Interview With Danielle Schnebelen

CC: What brought about your interest in music?
Danielle: We come from a long line of musicians. Our great aunt and uncle were in a mandolin/classical guitar ensemble in the 1910's and it filtered down, plus, our parents were both musicians as well. They ended up in many of the same bands; the most well known to be Little Eva & the Works, and they always held rehearsals at our house. Anyway, we were listening to Muddy Waters from the womb, I like to say. So not only was music in our blood, but blues ended up being the primary music around other than the Beatles, my personal favorite band, but Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Frank Zappa, and other great blues/rock bands blues was it.

CC: At what age did each of you begin your musical training?
Danielle: My musical 'training' began when I was about 10 and my father realized I had an interest in singing. I’d been taking dance lessons and continued that for many years, but it was realized around then that I liked to sing. They were having a rehearsal in the basement and I started singing to a Koko Taylor song called, “Never Trust a Man,” and my dad turned around and was like, 'Hey!'

CC: Who are your influences?
Danielle: My influences range pretty far. They started out obviously with Aretha Franklin and Koko Taylor, and Etta James, but since I've grown a little more, I've really branched out to Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf, and Ray Charles, but I've always stuck with Etta; she's definitely my favorite. As for bass players, I love Willie Dixon and James Jameson.

CC: Why did you choose the blues as your genre?
Danielle: Like I stated earlier, blues was from the beginning, I'm just lucky that the blues felt I deserved to tell my stories and those written before me.

CC: We know that you moved to the East Coast for a while to perform with your brothers. What brought you back?
Danielle: Brandon Hudspeth (shhhhhhh.........) [Brandon Hudspeth of the band Levee Town]

CC: Tell us what it means to be able to perform together.
Danielle: It is amazing, knowing these guys for so long, having the unexplainable bond with my brothers; forget the natural sibling quarrels, I can't explain it! I mean, I learned bass to play with them, I love it!

CC: Do you all get along as well as it seems you do?
Danielle: Refer to my previous answer!

CC: Do you intend to stay in the Kansas City area for the long term?
Danielle: I don't want to speak for the entire band, but I intend to play music and pay my bills; wherever it takes me from there is awesome.

CC: With a voice as strong as yours, do you have any formal voice training?
Danielle: I was in choir in middle and high school for a while in each school, but I was never entirely comfortable. Blues jams are a great way of formal training that they don't tell you about in middle school.

CC: All of the people we ride with love your music. To what do you attribute your appeal?
Danielle: My appeal is my soul. My music is my soul, my voice is my soul and I am so grateful that anyone enjoys or relates to or even likes to watch it, as long as it is respected as my soul.

CC: What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Danielle: Okay, here we go..... I was playing at the Grand Emporium, pretty early in my 'Rush Hour Rendezvous' days, with a full house, and I burped very loud into the mic during a pretty important line in a song. I tried to play it off, but the band laughed a little, God bless 'em, and I did see a few of the people up front jump and chuckle a little.

CC: Where can our readers find Trampled Under Foot playing this spring and summer?
Danielle: We have so many gigs coming up all over the country, we're trying to get a West Coast trip together this June, and really the most efficient way to find our gigs is by going to www.trampledunderfootkc.com. We are also on My Space under 'Trampled Under Foot.'

Story, interview and photos by Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson