Credit Crane Country Day School and music teacher Konrad Kono for honing Trixie Blue’s interest in 1980s pop music.
“I’ve been messing around with music forever,” explained Trixie, who drops her last name, Garnett, while making music. “I’ve always been playing instruments and singing, but it was Crane and Mr. Kono who really got me into doing stuff on stage, singing and learning to be crazy and loud on the ‘80s songs he taught us. That was my favorite part of going there.”
Props are also due to Detar Music, the boutique music studio that focuses on education, composition, recording, and production. Trixie joined Detar when she started ninth grade at San Marcos High on a mission to develop her singing and collaborate with other young artists. At 14, she was thrust into a starring role to cover for the lead singer of the Detar band SEVN at the Avocado Festival.
“It was a bunch of much older kids who were already established, so it was pretty cool,” Trixie recalled.
More intentional collaborations also happened quickly when Detar put together The Trixie Band, a five-piece outfit that played 1980s hits and alt rock songs at local festivals, which was followed by Superband, featuring three lead singers covering Jake Detar-created arrangements for ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” and the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” among other songs of the era at the Alcazar Theatre in Carpinteria on February 29, 2020.
That was just two weeks before concerns about COVID caused lockdowns in California and soon everywhere else. But the pandemic shutdown also provided the opportunity for Trixie to hunker down at home and focus on honing her skills and developing her songwriting.
“l started a few months into quarantine just doing piano lessons over FaceTime and that turned into Gus [Detar] teaching me how to write original stuff. I come in with an idea and some of the words, and the chords, but Gus puts it all together because he knows how to play every single instrument.”
As the pandemic closures continued into the summer, Trixie turned to woodshedding in the garage of her family’s home in San Roque, playing live for friends and neighbors every Sunday afternoon.
“I just plugged in and turned my amp up all the way and I was singing into a microphone,” she said. “It was pretty loud, so people didn’t even have to leave their houses to hear it, but they’d be walking their dogs and stop and listen for a while, and friends would drop by. It was great.”
Fast forward about a year, and the result of all of that hard work is a new six-song EP of originals that can be heard on SoundCloud and will form the basis of Trixie’s full band debut at SOhO on Monday, November 22. The half-dozen songs with such titles as “Broken,” “Blame,” “Mad,” and “Meant to Bleed” range from power ballads to crunchy 1980s-style rock with the vocals and her piano mixed way up. What links most of the lyrics is relationship struggles that has the now 17-year-old spitting venom and often dropping f-bombs on ex-friends and lovers.
“When I want to move on, if something has affected me badly, then I just try to write it out,” she explained. “It’s kind of like writing a letter and burning it, but I don’t burn it, I make a song, just to express those feelings and get it out of the way but make it sound pretty in the process. They’re songs, so I’m over-exaggerating at times, but that doesn’t make the way I felt any less real. It’s just teenager stuff. There have been positive experiences, but the negative things stick because they impact you more. And I’m sure those feelings of distress and sadness were amplified by lockdown. But screaming out my feelings helps.”
After the SOhO show, Trixie will turn her attention back toward the future and the music schools — including USC Thornton, Berklee, and CalArts — she’s applying to for next fall, with nary a liberal arts college among them.
“Music has always been fun, and I don’t want to do anything that’s not fun,” she said.
“Doing something that I enjoy forever like music, that’s the dream.”
Pop Notes: Acoustic Alchemy at SOhO
Acoustic music, or at least a surfeit of singer-songwriters, continues to show up at area venues this week beyond the J2B2 blast of bluegrass. Ojai-based duo Smitty & Julija — featuring Smitty West, the principal pianist for the Ventura Jazz Orchestra and the founder of Ojai Songwriters Anonymous, and Julija Zonic, a Croatian-born singer-songwriter who was a well-known young television and stage singer in the pre-war former Yugoslavia, bring close vocal harmonies and sensual interpretations of songs from the catalogue of the late Leonard Cohen as heard on their CD To Leonard With Love, to SOhO on Thursday, November 18…
Also at SOhO at noon on Saturday, November 20, is a double CD release party by the title of “Don’t Not Do It.” Jena Douglas’ rock-influenced power ballads album Hook Your Chin to a Star traces the American story of Mamaw, Douglas’ grandmother, from the luscious green hills of Kentucky to the dry desert of Arizona, and then finally Santa Barbara’s scenic coastal ambiance. Sherie Davis’ My Heart Returns to Me is also a personal document unveiling universal themes of life and death, cosmic and practical, and light and dark. Both artists worked with Robinson Eikenberry, the late producer whose influence still resonates four years after his death – the double-negative phrase for the show at SOhO is one of Robinson’s quotes…
On Wednesday, November 24, the music club also hosts its annual free Hansen Family & Friends songfest, a public party being produced for the first time since 2019. Friends that often include some famous names offer a song or two before the evening closes with a set from the Hansen Family Band that morphs into great cover songs for dancing your way into Thanksgiving Day.
Focus on Film: Montecito at the Movies
The village is represented in the realm of film for three straight nights this week, starting with the next installment of SBIFF Film Talk on Thursday, November 18, a virtual conversation with Christopher Lloyd. The 60-year veteran thespian whose memorable big-screen debut came back in 1975 in the Oscar-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest also starred as Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown in the three Back to the Future films (all co-written and directed by fellow Montecito resident Robert Zemeckis) and played “Reverend” Jim Ignatowski on the hit TV series Taxi. Still active at 83, Lloyd next appears in The Tender Bar, the coming-of-age drama directed by George Clooney due for release next month. Register at https://sbiff.org/filmtalk.
Reitman royalty reigns on Friday, November 19, opening night for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the long-awaited sequel to Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989), the most successful films in the long career of comedy king (and Montecito resident) Ivan Reitman, who teamed up with the late fellow village resident Tom Pollock to form The Montecito Picture Company in 1998. Reitman produced Afterlife, which was directed by his partially village-raised son Jason, whose previous credits include Thank You for Smoking (2005), Juno (2007), Up in the Air (2009), and Young Adult (2011). While not serving as the main stars, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts all reprised their roles for the new movie, which has already received a rave review from the New York Post. After four pandemic postponements, the film can be seen starting Friday at Fiesta 5.