Trapt In Success

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Despite ever-changing musical trends, heavy metal music has never really gone away. Hugely popular in the 70s and 80s, metal drifted out of favor somewhat in the 1990s.  However, towards the end of that decade, a new wave of bands began to emerge, playing a hard, pounding music which had little to do with the so-called “hair bands” of the 80s.  Groups like Korn, Godsmack and Papa Roach shook loudspeakers across the country and reawakened interest in hard rock with their “nu-metal” sound, which often incorporated elements of punk and rap music.

When Trapt plays at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz this Friday, you’ll feel the music through the soles of your boots.  This four-piece rocks as hard as anyone around.  The band has a local connection too, as three of the members hail from Los Gatos.

Trapt began life in the mid-1990s, when founding members Chris Brown (vocals and guitar) and Peter Charell (bass) were at high school.  They played cover versions of songs by bands that they liked, including Korn, Soundgarden and Metallica.  Their first gig was at a high school function, and spurred on by the audience’s response the band continued practicing.

By the following summer, lead guitarist Simon Ormandy had joined the band, and they had begun to write their own music.  In late 1997, the group recorded a self-produced CD of original songs to sell at local shows, including a regular gig at the Cactus Club in downtown San Jose.

In 1998, a crucial decision faced the members of Trapt.  Should they continue with the band or go off to college?  They had already opened for a couple of famous bands including Papa Roach, but should they take the gamble of making it in the music business?  For a while, they tried to have it both ways, playing central coast shows while attending colleges as far away as San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.  “Pete would drive down for rehearsals and gigs, and pick the drummer up on the way,” said Brown.  “We really believed in what we were doing.  We were just hanging on, trying to make something happen.”

And try they did.  Trapt entered every battle of the bands competition they could find, played showcases, recorded demos and sent them off to every label they could think of.  Then, after a show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, Immortal Records approached the band with talk of a signing.  Just when the members of Trapt had their hopes up, however, the label lost interest. 

This blow provided the impetus that the band members needed.  They dropped out of college and moved to LA.  “We’d come this far and it was like we all decided at the same time that music was what we were here to do,” said Brown.  “Nothing was going to stop us.”  There were still obstacles ahead, with personnel changes and a major label deal going sour, but in 2002 Trapt released their self-titled debut on Warner Brothers records.  With the single “Headstrong” from the album now a platinum seller, finally all the hard work is paying off and the members of Trapt are enjoying the success they deserve.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, February 19, 2004

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