Years before forming the Nairobi Trio, bassist Sean Daly and guitarist Eric Haar were members of the inimitable Flake.
In the '90s, they ruled the Warrensburg club scene and dominated the local record sales charts with one #315 single and three top 2000 hits.
Over the years, they had the privilege of sharing the stage with local superstars Ultraman, Slackjaw, Boy's Life and Cher U.K.
Then, in 1994, with the band poised for nothing less than world domination, Daly left Flake and dropped out of sight to complete his degree in radio and television broadcasting. (Yes, you can actually get a degree in radio.)
Though they were stunned by Daly's departure, these Warrensburg rockers had worked for years to reach mediocrity, and they weren't going down without a fight.
Re-tooled and re-energized, Flake emerged from the ashes in 1995 as Not A Step.
Eventually, success drained the passion that had fueled their rebellious teen anthems and some members found themselves trapped in their demanding roles.
This resulted in Not A Step disbanding in 1997.
Haar subsequently returned to his hometown of Kansas City for a two-year stint in The Keely Zoo.
Then, fate played its quirky hand.
Haar and Daly randomly bumped into each other at a seedy Kansas City bar in April 2000.
Since neither had a project on the horizon, the former band-mates decided to get together and do some "jamming."
Fueled by divergent musical tastes and a personal search for truth and meaning following the untimely re-emergence of singer Donny Osmond to the national spotlight, Haar and Daly began fashioning new material.
Unique textures and unusual rhythms blended with the "fist-in-the-air" power of hardcore anthems and moments of quiet, structured beauty segued into seamy chaos.
By June 2000, Daly and Haar had written 45 minutes worth of material and decided to move forward as a full-fledged band, but there was one small problem; they needed a drummer.
With a penchant for nepotism, Daly asked his sister, Samantha, a cop and highly accomplished trombone player, to join the band behind the skins.
She agreed even though she had never played drums before.
After three gut-wrenching months of songwriting and dozens of vials of mascara, Nairobi Trio was born.
Inspired by the success of teenybopper mall rocker Tiffany, Nairobi Trio began honing a unique sound that reflected their diverse influences while still paying a subtle tribute the great independent bands of the past.
In January 2001, the trio entered Guttersnipe Studio in Kansas City, MO, to record their debut EP "Accusatory Anthems."
Released on Feb. 15, 2001, the album went on to sell a record-setting four copies, while their hit single "New England Travels" sealed their place in recording history.
But the speed of their meteoric rise was matched only by the velocity of their fall from the pinnacle of obscurity.
Offstage, the picture-perfect Nairobi Trio was hiding a tumultuous private life: Haar was happily engaged to his longtime sweetheart, Daly was kept in perpetual fear by needy, screaming teenage girls constantly stalking him, and as the band's popularity waxed, Samantha couldn't get time off of work to make it to gigs.
Through the sheer force of will and the help of spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, Nairobi Trio made a painful decision that nearly spelled an end to their legacy: Samantha would have to go.
So, faced with the loss of Samantha, Haar and Daly bravely plodded along, auditioning drummer after drummer to no avail.
Finally, on a warm afternoon in the Fall of 2001, Daly got a promising phone call.
Three weeks later, the band returned triumphant with a new player behind the kit: Ben Embry, a veteran musician who had recently wrapped up a long stint with a Guided By Voices cover band in Lawrence.
Whole again, the Nairobi Trio fell into the grips of a songwriting frenzy that resulted in another trip to Guttersnipe Studio in February and the release of a new 5 song EP in May 2002.
"The Art of Self Loathing" promises to open a new chapter for the Nairobi Trio while redefining the Kansas City post-ironic folk-punk movement for the new millennium.