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Austin's premier ukulele/melodica, twisted covers, reworked originals, and jazz standards duo. You haven't heard Bang Bang until you've heard ToR do it.
Trace of Red was officially born on February 26, 2012 after many hours and days of agonizing over the perfect band name that wasn’t already in use. (We came up with 170 of them, and 100 were already being used.) The day after an impulse purchase of a pair of red Converse Chuck Taylors, and while at a bar downtown having beers, throwing darts, and discussing our favorite topic -- band names -- the name was uttered for the first time. We had been searching for one that fit with our music, which was very standards heavy at the time. Trace of Red was taken from a verse in Mack the Knife. It seemed very fitting given our material at the time, even though Mack the Knife wasn’t part of our set list. We were almost dumbfounded. Could we have actually come up with a real band name? What were we going to talk about after this? After a quick Internet search showed it wasn’t being used for anything, let alone a band’s name, it became ours for good. The first person we told was a friend of ours who come down to hang out with us for awhile, but oddly enough, the second person we told was none other than Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, who came up and introduced himself to us at one of our local hangouts later that evening.
Trace of Red may be relatively new, but it is a band that is over 25 years in the making. We were best friends in our last year of high school. We took voice lessons together the summer after we graduated. But when Pam moved away to go to college we lost touch with each other. (Hey, there wasn’t any email or texting or Facebook or unlimited long distance cellphone plans back then. You had to actually write letters.) We both wound up moving to different parts of the country, but after a quarter of a century we both found ourselves back in Austin.
We started out playing music in Micah’s living room, playing the instruments -- guitar, keyboard, and bass -- we had been playing for years. We would pick out songs that sounded good with Pam’s voice and play just for fun. We talked about joining a band, starting a band, playing as a duo, writing our own songs, but nothing very seriously. One of Micah’s friends asked him if he would be interested in playing upright bass in a band/project he was working. After listening to the details, it was suggested that Pam be part of it too. The project only made it through a couple of rehearsals, but it gave us a direction, and some ideas for songs.
A month or so later Micah attended the first open mic night being held at his favorite hangout. Much to Pam's surprise, he informed her that they would be playing at it next week. The venue was a place we usually walked to, and there was only a PA, no guitar or bass amps. At that time we had been working on songs with a keyboard and upright bass. We weren’t dragging those 9 blocks. Micah had recently bought a ukulele with the idea that maybe Pam would play it. We had worked up an arrangement of one of Micah’s old songs that sounded really cool on the ukulele, better than it did on the guitar. So two days before the open mic Micah relearned 5 of the songs we had been playing on the ukulele (and Pam relearned how to sing them with a ukulele playing). So, with less than a month of ukulele experience under Micah’s belt, and Pam with zero prior performances as a solo singer we played our first open mic set.
Our songs were fairly limited (and really short) in the beginning with only one person playing an instrument he wasn’t used to, but the range and tone of the ukulele fit perfectly with Pam’s voice. We felt like we needed to expand our sound. We had sort of a gypsy kind of sound going on, so Micah suggested that Pam take up the accordion. Pam was not too thrilled with that idea. The harmonica? Nope. So without telling her he ordered her a melodica. She played keyboards. She played oboe in college. Of course she’d be able to play it. A year later, and a nicer melodica, it became staple of the band’s sound. And Micah now actually admits that he is a ukulele player, and no longer says he just owns one. (He actually owns four.)