“Everything comes from the songwriting center,” says Puzzle Tree Music owner Pete Droge.
That philosophy sums up his approach to a wealth of musical projects, from the seven albums he’s recorded over the past 17 years, to the commercials and films he’s scored, to the songs he’s licensed to Grey’s Anatomy and Toyota. Clients value Pete’s authentic, natural approach to music -- it’s what drew Cameron Crowe to request Pete write a song for his award-winning film Almost Famous, and why Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart collaborated with him on the main title theme to the Miramax movie Beautiful Girls.
Although he only first entered the world of writing music for advertising in mid-2007, Pete quickly amassed a stable of enthusiastic clients including T-Mobile, Qwest, Amica and London’s The Sunday Times. He’s also scored three feature films, as well as documentary shorts by up-and-coming filmmakers John Jeffcoat and Justin Mitchell. In his latest project, the feature documentary, A Lot Like You, Pete serves not only as composer, but also as one of the film’s producers. Twenty-four of the thirty-one cues that appear in the film have been compiled for a soundtrack album released on Pete's label Puzzle Tree Records.
Pete released his first album in 1994 after being signed to Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label. That album’s hit single, “If You Don’t Love Me (I’ll Kill Myself),” was picked up by the Farrelly Brothers for key placement in the movie Dumb & Dumber. Since then, he’s issued five more solo albums. The Thorns, Pete’s band with acclaimed songwriters Shawn Mullins and Matthew Sweet, released a rootsy self- titled disc on Columbia Records in 2003, and Pete co-wrote Mullins’ 2006 #1 AAA hit “Beautiful Wreck.” Pete’s latest project is The Droge & Summers Blend, a collaboration with his long time partner, Elaine Summers. The second of a series of EPs is expected to be released in the fall of 2011.
In addition, Pete has served as producer on four of his own albums as well as work by numerous others, most notably Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard. He’s mounted tours with Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Dixie Chicks, and appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Jon Stewart Show.
Puzzle Tree combines the professionalism, efficiency, and customization of a music production house with honest songwriting craftsmanship. It’s no accident that Pete and his producing and songwriting partner Elaine Summers set up Puzzle Tree Studio on a 10-acre parcel on a rural island outside Seattle. While Pete has licensed dozens of songs to television and movies over the years, Puzzle Tree is much more than a placement service. Organic music-making is the heart of the operation.
Puzzle Tree Music is not a one-size-fits-all sound factory. It’s about matching the client’s needs with the passion and experience of an expert, genuine, down-to-earth songwriter. When Pete Droge follows the muse, there’s a sense, as he sings in the song Toyota used in its all-new Sequoia campaign, of “goin’ whichever way the wind blows” -- to a natural place, where real music helps tell real stories.