This time last year, Grand Rapids hard rock band Trixy Tang had the biggest show of its career: opening for ’80s glam metal icons Warrant in Detroit.
It was a dream come true for lead singer/band founder Klay Fennema, and a huge gig for the still relatively new band.
It was also the first time the current lineup had ever played together onstage.
“Going out on that stage, opening for a band to a sold-out crowd that we all grew up listening to and admiring, and having never performed onstage together was absolutely exhilarating,” Fennema told Revue.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of that pivotal show and the birth of the band’s lineup, Trixy Tang will release its first EP on March 16 at The Stache, inside The Intersection.
“Releasing this EP is a milestone for not only myself in my career, but for us as a band,” Fennema said. “It feels so good to finally be able to create something as a whole after years of paying dues and trying to find the right group to do so.”
Fennema started Trixy Tang as a strictly cover band back in 2013, when he was just out of high school. Inspired by a talent show during his senior year, and taking heavy influence from the hard rock juggernauts of the ’80s — acts like Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy, Twisted Sister and others — Fennema struggled to keep a solid lineup together as Trixy Tang began to play out more and more.
“When I first began, my best friends were in my band and it seemed as though life couldn’t have gotten any better,” Fennema said. “However, everyone was in different positions in life and had different goals. Becoming a rock star sounds like a great idea to anyone, but putting forth the work of writing music, and being willing and ready to hit the road and sleep in a van at the drop of a hat is a whole other ball game.”
Playing nearly 48 weekends of the year, Fennema started recruiting other musicians from around the local scene to keep Trixy Tang on track. Eventually, the band solidified with the addition of guitarist Rey Hernandez, alongside scene veterans Kevin Turner on bass and Dan Premo on drums.
“The best way I can describe our musical style is simply having a good time,” Fennema said of the band’s own original songs. “There is so much to stress about nowadays. We like writing music about partying, letting loose on the weekend after a long week of work, letting your hair down and raising your glass. Good times is what we’re all about.”
Already beloved by fans, Trixy Tang was named one of the top cover bands in Revue’s own Best of the West readers’ poll last summer. Looking to expand on that success, the band set about recording its debut EP. At the recommendation of their good friends in fellow Grand Rapids hard rock band Wayland, Trixy headed down to Crosstrax Studio in Memphis to record with producer Justin Rimer.
“Wayland had just recorded their latest album Rinse and Repeat with Justin and had nothing but amazing things to say about him, and after our time spent in Memphis with Justin, we know absolutely why,” Fennema said. “He was such an incredible producer to work with. Not only did we feel so comfortable with him, he truly put his heart and soul into our songs, giving suggestions and putting his own spin on certain things which we couldn’t have appreciated enough.”
Trixy Tang will release the four-song EP, Summer Cruisin’, on March 16. The band already has a busy schedule for the rest of 2018, including a music video shoot set for this spring in Grand Haven, the release of a full-length album later this year, and tour dates slated all the way into 2019.
“Our main goal as a band is to be on the road full-time, performing as much as humanly possible and to continue to follow our dream as musicians, growing closer and closer as bandmates, brothers, and a musical family,” Fennema said. “No matter what, we all have such a passion for music and performing that as long as we are continuing to play, and endure new experiences and memories, that’s all we can truly ask for.”
Trixy Tang Sunday Cruisin’ EP Release
wsg. The Rockit King, Slumlord Radio
The Stache, 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
March 16, 7 p.m. doors, $10
sectionlive.com, (616) 451-8232