KRISTY JO "KJO" WINKLER
Vocals & Keyboards
Meet Kristy Jo "Kjo" Winkler, a visionary force in the music world as a founding member, lead singer, and keyboardist for The Trouble with Rose.
Drawing inspiration from legends like Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Jack White, PJ Harvey, and XTC, Kjo's eclectic musical influences have shaped her unique style. Her go-to albums include Skylarking by XTC, Hounds of Love by Kate Bush and Social Cues by Cage the Elephant.
After mastering the piano from an early age, she later embracing the drums, guitar, saxophone, keyboards, synthesizers, and the enigmatic theremin.
Kjo's musical journey has been an adventure of its own, performing jazz piano for tips and sharing her original compositions with crowds as massive as 30,000. She has had the honor of opening for iconic acts such as Foo Fighters, Godsmack, Kid Rock, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, and more.
Beyond the stage, Kjo thrives in a diverse range of roles, from a music industry consultant to a voiceover artist and substitute Pilates teacher. Her passions are boundless, as she finds joy in activities like driving motorcycles, embarking on adventures, exploring different cultures through international travel, horseback riding, photography, rescuing animals, gathering around bonfires, and relishing the scent of crackling wood.
Kjo's bandmates affectionately describe her as the love child of the North Star, the Little Engine That Could, and a badass frontperson – a testament to her unwavering determination and magnetic stage presence.
In her own words, Kjo encourages others to embrace their musical voice, proclaiming, "It's madness if someone says they cannot sing because they're not a singer. There is no secret formula to singing. The best way to be a singer is to sing. So let your voice soar and break free from any limiting definitions of what it means to be a singer."
Eric Benjamin is a lead guitarist and a founding member of The Trouble with Rose. Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, he originally auditioned for Certain Signals where he met bassist Frank Minor. The two remained together through a series of lead singers and drummers until The Trouble with Rose was formed.
His favorite musical artists are Russell Lissack of Bloc Party and Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey of Midnight Oil, and his go-to albums include Radiohead’s OK Computer and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fever to Tell. Outside of his work with the band, Eric is a husband, father and road cyclist (though he’ll be the first to admit he’s had slightly less time to cycle since he became a father), and his day job is as a computer programmer. He’s played the guitar for more than thirty years and hopes to one day play the drums, mandolin, or piano. If he could invite any five people over for dinner, he would pick Kurt Vonnegut, his first guitar hero Steve Clark, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and his great-great-grandfather Harry Benjamin.
Eric’s bandmates have described him as immensely talented, smart, and easy-going. He keeps begging for a microphone, but we won’t give him one.
In his own words: “Music is the great passion of my life. I love listening to it. I love seeing it live. I love playing it. I’m very lucky that I can appreciate it as a fan, play it as a fan, and create it when I feel the inspiration. It moves me at such a visceral level that it’s hard to describe.”
Engineer & Producer
Mike Fanuele is the engineer and producer for The Trouble with Rose. As owner of Lavabed Recording, he is a music producer with over 21 years of recording, mixing, and live-sound experience. He's worked with Gwen Stefani, Chainsmokers, Meghn Trainor, Mike Shinoda, Garbage and other gold and platinum records with numerous Grammy Award-winning artists.
Mike has played music for more than thirty years, and would love to time travel back see the Beatles live in concert. His musical influences are Pink Floyd, Elbow, the Beatles, PJ Harvey, Pedro the Lion and The Cure. Go-to albums include The Beatles Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Elbow’s The Seldom Seen Kid, Rocket From the Crypt’s Scream Dracula Scream and the Cure’s Standing On A Beach. His dream dinner party guests would include his father-in-law Al Lupejkis, Mozart, Jesus of Nazareth, Muhammad and Abraham Lincoln. If these people were busy, he’d settle for Ernest Hemingway, Leonardo da Vinci, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Paul McCartney and John Lennon (as a pair only). Outside of the band, his main hobbies are paying the bills and keeping his family alive.
Mike’s bandmates have described him as the “fifth Beatle,” a fantastic producer who is worth his weight in gold.
In his own words: “Rumor has it that The Trouble with Rose started after lead singer Kjo met Robert Johnson at the crossroads, and Mozart told them all of his secrets.”
Francis “Frank” Minor, also known as Frankie, The Lord Humongous and Big Guy, is a founding member of The Trouble with Rose and resident bassist.
His musical influences include Tony Levin, Pino Palladino, Bruce Foxton and James Jamerson (the bass legend who created the iconic opening lines for the Temptations’ “My Girl”), His go-to albums are Victor Wooten’s Show of Hands and the Dave Matthews Band’s Before These Crowded Streets. Though he identifies as the musician in the band with the least amount of experience, he’s played the bass for more than ten years, and would love to learn how to play the cello. By day he’s an attorney, analyst and teacher. His outside interests include ornithology, riding motorcycles, comic books, and superheroes. The jury’s still out on whether or not Frank is Batman, but it ultimately comes down to a question: Have you ever seen Frank and Batman in the same place at the same time?
Frank’s bandmates have described him as a street smart, gentle giant of a man with the chops of a real technician, and a lawyer with loads of street cred because he’s a super tall tattooed bald badass who likes long walks on the beach.
In his own words: “Be polite, and if you’re going to have an opinion, make sure it’s an informed one. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be decent and kind if the opportunity presents itself, and watch out for those weaker than you are.”
Justin Wilson has been the drummer for The Trouble with Rose since July 2023. He is dynamic drummer whose explosive beats and impeccable sense of rhythm have left an indelible mark on the music scene. Justin has emerged as a driving force behind several bands, including Gi9 and Taking Saturn.
Beyond his drumming talent, Justin is known for his humble demeanor and collaborative spirit. He approaches each musical endeavor with passion and professionalism, always striving to elevate the band’s sound and bring out the best in his fellow musicians.
Justins musical influences include Mike Portnoy, Carter Beauford, Danny Carey, Zac Farro, Abe Cunningham, and Jose Pasillas. When asked what his top 5 albums were, he concluded; S.C.I.E.N.C.E Incubus, White Pony Deftones, Mer De Noms APC, Hot Streak The Winery Dogs, Paramore Riot!. He described these albums as the most influential in his playing and what made him the drummer he is today.
Outside of the band, Justin is a Licensed Telecommunications Contactor, Network Engineer, and is a PC Building Enthusiast. He enjoys building the craziest of Modern PC builds for gamers. He also loves to create customized PC parts with RGB lighting with unique 3d printing designs. Justin is also an avid PC gamer and content creator.
Justin's bandmates have described him as the rhythmic heartbeat that binds the band together as a musical family with his infection and collaborative spirit.
In his own words: “I've always been drawn to the magic of rhythm, and drumming allows me to speak a language that goes beyond words.”
GENE SOARES: R.I.P. 2022
Gene Soares has been the drummer for The Trouble with Rose since late 2019, when Frank called him while on holiday with the news he was the chosen one. Because even guitarists need heros, we have Gene. He’s got a superpower that will leave you asking “what the f***?” A sample of former projects include Donaldson’s Run and The Musical Enrichment Society.
Musical influences include Phil Collins, Chester Thompson, Bill Bruford, Alan White, Neil Peart and John Bonham. When asked the top five albums he couldn’t live without he listed Genesis’ Seconds Out, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Animals, Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin IV, The Who’s Quadrophenia, Boston’s Boston and REM’s Life’s Rich Pageant (yeah, that’s more than five albums, but it was honestly a win getting him to narrow it down to just seven). Outside of the band, Gene is a construction company project manager, and his interests include photography, guns, travel, Ducati motorcycles and tinkering in his studio “Beat Lab.” Given the choice, he would invite Jesus of Nazareth, Paul the Apostle, Leonardo DaVinci, Steve Jobs, Keith Moon and John Bonham over for a dinner party.
Gene’s bandmates have described him as an obsessive craftsman and a rock-solid groove machine.
In his own words: “I’m an introvert and am usually happy quietly observing in social settings, but oddly, I love being on stage performing and enjoy the work required to get there.”