The members of Telling on Trixie really know how to rally their fans.
Last year, the New York City-based rock band had the songs ready for its second album, “Ugly, Broke and Sober,” but no money to record it.
“We had just played the self-titled album for a year and we were bored with the music,” said Derek Nicoletto, the group’s openly gay lead singer. “So we had heard of some of these fan-contribution models that artists were doing, like Jill Sobule and A Band With a Plan, where you basically give money and then you get something in return. We have a good fan base but we didn’t know if we had enough of a fan base to raise $20,000 just by saying we’ll give you some T-shirts and CDs if you give us money.”
It turns out they did.
The band created a password-protected area on its Web site and gave fans who donated more than $25 access to Nicoletto’s blog about making an indie album.
The fan support was so great that the band let supporters give their two cents about the direction the new album should take.
“They would be like, ‘Yes, yes, yes, do a cover song,’” Nicoletto said. “Then they made a bunch of horrible suggestions so it was never done. So I was like, ‘We will do a cover song but we’re going to surprise you with it.’”
The band eventually settled on Belinda Carlisle’s “Mad About You,” a more adventurous pick than what the fans had suggested.
“They wanted us to do Live, Matchbox 20 and Jimmy Eat World and I was like, ‘No,’” Nicoletto said. “They were like, ‘Do Black Crowes.’ I’m not going to do Black Crowes because people tell me I sound like Chris Robinson. We’re not going to do anyone who’s like us. We’d rather pick someone like Belinda Carlisle and mess her up a bit.”
Messing things up is second nature to Telling on Trixie. The group, along with out bassa-nova singer Avi Wisnia, is teaming up for a performance tomorrow at Fergie’s Pub — not the first time the two artists have joined forces to shake things up.
“We were both at South By Southwest and we were like, ‘Where are the queers?’” Nicoletto said. “My band had four shows and they’re all in the straight bars and mixed with all the guys walking around looking like dirty Jesus. Avi and I were like, ‘Where’s the gay night?’ We decided we were going to create this thing called the Bent Compass Festival at South By Southwest. We called Rain, which is the big gay bar there. We were like, ‘You have a stage and a disco ball, right? We could hook up a PA and do some sets?’ They were like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know why we never thought about doing that before.’ So we had our own gay night at South By Southwest. They told us we should do it more full-scale next year.”
If they return next year, Nicoletto might just have his kid in tow. The singer said having a partner and a child hasn’t yet limited his career fronting a rock band.
“My dad was a drummer and toured with a lot of bands,” he said. “They basically just threw me in the back seat and we traveled around with whoever they were touring with. That’s how it is in my house. When Ashton was six weeks old, Telling on Trixie opened for Travis Tritt on some Southern dates. We’re not country at all but they wanted some rockers to open so they could appeal to more people. We did some dates in Asheville, N.C., and Charleston, S.C. We were like, ‘We can just fly him down to Asheville and take him with us.’ We just did it as an experiment and now we just take him everywhere. I like throwing the baby in the backpack and going. That’s how I am. Now when the other guys start having their kids in my band, I don’t know how they will do. It is funny that it is the gay guy in the band that has the baby.”
Telling on Trixie performs at 9 p.m. May 2 at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom St. For more information, visit www.tellingontrixie.com or call (215) 928-8118.