Chris Trapper Discusses Writing About ‘Tragedies & Triumphs’ in Song

The melodic storyteller is always on the road, but he is stopping particularly close to home next week for a City Winery NYC performance on February 22.

Chris Trapper’s solo material may be emotional, but his sensual style of lyrics touches a wide array of people. Trapper, most noted for his work with the melodic pop rock trio The Push Stars, has now spread his talents to his solo career. His last album, Cold Water Waltz, spawned some of his best work to date. Even though the album was a bit somber, Trapper is also known for his up-tempo material as well.

Splitting his time in Boston and his hometown of Buffalo, NY, Trapper is hitting the road again. At times, he plays on his own, while at other times he opens for such legends like Sammy Hagar, Rob Thomas, and Pat Benatar. I talk to the pop rock singer about touring, The Push Stars, and how family shapes his artistry. 

You’ve opened up for some of the greats. Sammy Hagar, Rob Thomas, and Pat Benatar. Who was your favorite to play with?

Each person is very different. Rob Thomas is more of a close friend now after knowing him for close to two decades. The Pat Benetar tour was more of full circle moment for me because when I was in high school, she was one of the number one stars in the whole country. There were nights when I was leaving the venues and I was driving my rental car behind her tour bus, it felt surreal. A lot of my musical goals and dreams started in high school… playing with Pat Benatar, it seemed like those dreams came to fruition.

I love Sammy Hagar – he’s so humble and welcoming. I am lucky to work with some of the greats. I have been super lucky that I met some great people. 

“Under Blue Stars” was your last single off your last album, Cold Water Waltz. What does the song mean to you?

We really didn’t do a radio campaign, although SiriusXM was playing it a lot. The single was pretty dark – I recorded it in 2020, when everything was shut down. The mood was pretty somber because it really wasn’t a good time to push a happy, bouncy single. 

Does touring get to be a bit lonely or do you bring your family out with you when you can?

I am pretty used to it now. I know how to stay mentally healthy usually. If I have a really long drive or day at the airport, I call friends. It can get isolating, but I have learned of what not to do over the years. I have two teenage boys now who have full social lives now, but they used to come on tour with me when they were younger. My wife comes out when I do my cruise show. 

How has family shaped your artistry – musically and lyrically?

I think I am always reporting what I am going through. I’ll write from both perspectives; I spend time with them and without them. As a songwriter, it’s almost like leaving diary entries open to the public.

My family is originally from Buffalo. I write about the tragedies and triumphs. Each time I come home things are a bit different; things change from the kids playing with dinosaurs to them now having posters on the wall of their favorite rappers. If you are a songwriter who tries to be honest about your work, you are going to talk about all your life experiences. 

What gets more received: your Push Stars material or your solo material?

Well, I write for both pretty much. I tell the stories of Dan and Ryan, my bandmates, as well. It gets more personal with my solo stuff. You go for moments when you reach for that human level. The Push Stars were a buzz band at one point when a lot of labels were looking at us. With the solo thing, I have had people come up to me and say that I was part of their life story. I love them both in different ways. I loved the comradeship in the band, though. 

Uptempo or ballads – which do you like to perform and why?

Ballads, because they’re tear jerkers – I think that’s usually my strengths. I throw the happy stuff in to show a contrast. The ballads are really mellow and that’s where people usually connect my story to their story. When I am on stage it’s always a pinch me moment. 

What’s next?

I am going on tour with Bob Schneider. We are going to do a show in Boston and New York City and a lot of shows on my own. I am working on a solo album. I have six or seven songs done. I have been working in different studios across the country with different producers, as well. It’s going to be more upbeat than my last record.