And A with ] The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

[ Q

FYI: pop culture news

February 05, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,Sun Staff

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players is not just any old indie band.

Formed in Seattle four years ago, the art-rock trio is a family-style act: a mom (Tina, slides and fashion), a dad (Jason, piano, guitar and vocals) and their school-age daughter (Rachel, drums).

Since the group's inception, its quirky and smart multimedia performances, or more simply, slide shows set to original songs, have caught the eye of alt-hipsters around the country.

And recently, with the TFSP winning nods from a mainstream audience through media coverage on CNN Radio, NPR's Weekend Edition and Late Night With Conan O'Brien, its star seems to be rising even higher. They are at Recher Theatre tonight.

Between promoting the band, disciplining his dog for "going to the bathroom in the bathroom" and enduring an allergic coughing fit brought on by his neighbor's stinky cooking, Jason T. phoned LIVE from his New York City apartment to talk about the band's unique history and its promising future.

You relocated from Seattle to New York 18 months ago. Why?

We just needed the cultural enrichment. We needed a boost in our cultural reality. [New York City] is such an interesting place to be ... anything can happen.

So for those who don't know, what's your act all about?

Our concept is simple. We take old discarded slide collections from estate sales and rummage sales ... and turn the lives of anonymous deceased strangers, as told through their slide collections, into pop rock musical exposes.

Do you find it challenging to compose songs about the slide images?

Sometimes you see stuff and the slides are complete schlock and you don't know what to do. But sometimes the totally random stuff is both exciting and challenging.

What did you and Tina do for a living before the Players began?

We had a dog-walking / pet-sitting business in Seattle called the Dog Squad. We did that for 10 years ... and we made a living doing it. It was like 9-5 Monday through Friday and then on the weekends. It was very full time; there were no days off and my responsibilities kept me away from doing anything [else]. It was serious work. I'm not messing around here ... it took some serious skill.

So if you didn't have any time away from work, then how did the Players come about?

It was such a nutty job. But it gave us the space to be in, creatively, to be able to come up with a concept like the slideshow players.

How old was your daughter, Rachel, when she joined the band?

She was 6. She went to drum school, and she took lessons.

How does your tour schedule work with her schooling?

She goes to an alternative school in Seattle ... a couple of months a year. And then we do the curriculum that they give us the other months of the year ... when we're at home or on the road. She's in the fourth grade.

What is next for the group?

We just made a music video [to their song, "Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959"] that we feel really strongly about. We're going to push the video really hard. I have a plan of world domination that I mapped out on the back of a sheet of paper last week, so I'm going to make some phone calls and get this rolling.

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