Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Trautmann started playing along to records when he was 11 or 12. “The KISS Halloween special was sort of like that moment of clarity that told me I wanted to be involved and I had to do this for a living,” he says. He began playing in punk bands in high school and eventually joined a group called the Miracle Workers, who were dedicated to reviving the first-generation punk of mid-’60s garage bands like the Sonics and the Count Five. After graduating in 1985 from Oregon Episcopal School, he followed the band to Los Angeles and played with it on several albums, in addition to touring the U.S. and Europe.
After Brant Bjork left Kyuss, Trautmann got the call from bandleader Josh Homme to come to the desert for an audition. Although he played with the group for two weeks, the gig eventually went to Alfredo Hernández, and Trautmann was heartbroken. Homme didn’t forget him, though; he called Trautmann again to play on half of 2000’s Rated R (Interscope), the second album by his new band, the Queens of the Stone Age, and Trautmann was a member of the touring group from June 1999 until September 2001.