Stremel grew up in Hays, Kansas, a small town in Kansas' western
flatlands. As a child, she played and sang along with her guitar-playing
father, whose favorite artists were Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
At 12, she got her first electric guitar and began playing songs
off of the radio and from her family’s record collections. One of
five children, she was always performing for her family. At 15,
she saw Joan Jett at the Ellis County fair and was inspired to form
her first garage band, performing hit songs at the skating rink
and school dances. The summer before her senior year of high school,
she moved to Kansas City and experienced an isolation that was no
doubt helpful in refining her songwriting abilities. At 19, she
started performing acoustic songs at the Lake of the Ozarks in central
Missouri and at the Big Bang Buffet in Kansas City. By this time,
her performance was comprised of half cover songs and half originals.
She was constantly writing, as she does today, keeping the guitar
by her bed in case she dreamed a song during the night.
At 21, she joined the Warrensburg, Missouri band Frogpond, playing
rhythm guitar and singing backing vocals. In 1996, the band went
on to record their album, "Count to Ten", produced by Everclear's
Art Alexakis. With a few minor alternative radio hits, Frogpond
toured all over the country, and Stremel came to be known for her
charismatic enthusiasm and interaction with the crowd (characterized
by her willingness to climb club rafters when a set reached climactic
heights). In the spring of 1997, she left Frogpond and formed her
own three-piece band, Exit 159, releasing a remarkable 7-song EP
before the end of the year, which yielded one regional radio hit.
With an outlet for her prolific songwriting, Stremel worked fast.
In early 1998, Exit released a 12-song LP filled with radio-ready
songs, two of which received a great deal of play on area alternative
stations. The band won the Kansas City/Lawrence area regional music
award, the Klammie, two years in a row, first for "Best New Band"
and, the second year, for "Band of the Year." Exit 159 continuously
built on a strong following, packing the toughest Kansas City houses
and touring the West Coast twice. In the fall of '99, the now-4-piece
band, featuring three songwriters with individual ambitions folded,
and Kristie went straight back into the studio to record as a solo
Kristie Stremel's solo material is a logical step forward from
the work that she did with Exit 159, emphasizing the growing sophistication
of her songwriting and delving more deeply into her personal struggles.
Her first demo is an acoustic set, featuring inspired backing by
drummer Beth Robinson, guitarist Chris Meck (formerly of Monkey
Boy) and bassist Jason Magierowski. The control exhibited in this
new music is a sign of the maturity of an exceptionally-talented
artist, and it offers listeners a glimpse of the versatility and
subtlety of Stremel's voice, which draws on both her country roots
and her rock background to offer an unusually soulful and personal
sound. Kristie Stremel's new work, "All I Really Want" (Slewfoot
Records), was released in September of 2001. Stremel and her band
are currently hard at work on the road and on the next record. More
info can be found at kristiestremel.com