Rick Wartell formed Trouble in 1978 during his high school years, as the sole guitarist and singer for the band, joined by bassist Mike DiPrima and drummer Mike Slopecki. Trouble played their first show that year at Gordon Technical Institute in Chicago.
After placing an ad in the Illinois Entertainer in 1981, Wartell revamped the line-up to include guitarist Bruce Franklin and vocalist Eric Wagner.
The rhythm section changed shortly thereafter with replacement bassist Tim (Ian) Brown, and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson joining Trouble’s ranks. Trouble then spent two years honing their skills and defining their signature sound, drawing from musical inspiration from the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Angel Witch, Lucifer’s Friend, Deep Purple, UFO, Uriah Heep, and NWOBM bands.
Armed and ready, the band played legendary Chicago rock clubs such as The Thirsty Whale, Haymakers, and The Rusty Nail during the early 1980s, however it was their live performance at the Deaf Club in Aurora, IL on February 5, 1983 that served as the turning point in their musical careers. That particular show was recorded and was gaining popularity in the underground tape trading scene, which led to Brian Slagel at Metal Blade Records signing the band to the label. Produced by Brian Slagel and Bill Metoyer, their eponymous debut Trouble (now referred to as Psalm 9) was released in 1984, featured 8 original Trouble songs, as well as a cover of “Tales of Brave Ulysses” by Cream. New bassist Sean McAllister (Witch Slayer) played on the album, contributing to it’s sheer heaviness.