TUF: blues runs in the family

Cole Komma

For the Kansas City, KS blues band, Trampled Under Foot, blues is a family affair. Winners of the 2008 International Blues Challenge, brothers Kris Schnebelen (drums) and Nick Schnebelen (guitar), and sister Danielle Schnebelen (bass) return to DG’s Taphouse for the second time this year on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.. 

Coming from a musically rich household, Danielle Schnebelen recalls family trips to downtown Kansas City to watch local blues acts. 

“It was our dad that would take us to the late night jam sets at Amazing Grace’s BBQ over in Kansas City, KS,” Schnebelen said. “Really just hearing the late night blues there was kind of our first exposure to live music.”

Schnebelen first played a tenor saxophone throughout elementary school before she began learning guitar and bass 

“When my brother, Nick, moved to Philadelphia he left me his red [Telecaster],” Schnebelen said. “And I just started messing around on it and learned some chords. I had been singing in coffeehouses with my father for a few years and after he passed away, that’s when I started playing guitar in public.” 

Playing at open mic nights and at coffeehouses helped shape Schnebelen’s stage presence and helped boost her confidence.

“[Those shows were] a huge key in learning how to get over my stage fright and getting comfortable, confident in my abilities to play in front of people. Because, mainly, people who go to open mics, they’re there to support people doing their thing,” Schnebelen said. “They are there to help people feel comfortable because they have the same anxieties because they’re getting ready to go play … it really helped me to develop the confidence and being comfortable with myself and my craft.”

After stints with numerous local bands including her mother and father’s band, Little Eva and the Works, and cover band Fresh Brew, the siblings began to talk of starting their own band.

“It was in ’04 when we were like ‘it’s like now or never’ we have to do it and quit talking about it or just not do it,” Schnebelen said. “We were like ‘dude we gotta do this.'”

The three Schnebelens gave notices of leave to their current bands and TUF was born.

Although their father Robert Schnebelen, was not alive to see the creation of TUF, Schnebelen believes he would have been proud. 

“I think he would be surprised that we haven’t killed each other yet,” Schnebelen said. “I think he’d be proud be proud of us for continuing a legacy of music.”

It was local music that introduced them to music, so according to Schnebelen, that is where the new talent in music resides. 

“It is incredibly important to care about your local scene. Without the local blues scene I wouldn’t have gotten into it,” Schnebelen said. “If you don’t support your local blues scene, then you take all the local scenes away. You don’t have up-and-comers. You don’t have any way to support the future of the blues. It’s an invaluable source of inspiration as well.”