"We are a conceptual art-rock-pop-music-multimedia spectacular unlike anything the city of Phoenix has ever seen before," says Jason Trachtenburg, singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist. "I'm not just saying that." Saying what, exactly?
"Here's the concept: The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players go to estate sales and yard sales, thrift shops, rummage sales, what have you," he explains. "We buy slide collections from anonymous deceased strangers -- or ADSs -- and we turn these slide collections into pop-rock musical exposés."
Through these weird, whimsical exposés, the trio Trachtenburg -- with wife Tina Piña Trachtenburg on carousel slide projector and 9-year-old daughter Rachel on drums -- takes audiences on a voyeuristic voyage through the 1950s, '60s and '70s, immortalizing people ("Fondue Friends in Switzerland"), places ("Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959") and some of recent history's most unfortunate fashions.
The Valley gets a glimpse this weekend, when "The '83 Suburban Tour Autumn '03" -- named for the family's 1983 GMC Suburban "tour bus" -- brings the band to Tempe.
And what a long, strange trip it is. "No subject matter is off limits for us," says Jason, whose imaginative interpretations don't stop at family photos.
"We also deal with internal government situations, 'cause we've been given internal government slides . . . as well as corporate slides from internal McDonald's corporate meetings."
Indeed, the centerpiece of the family's Bar/None Records debut -- Vintage Slide Collections From Seattle, Vol. I -- is a six-song "rock opera" based on slides from a 1977 McDonald's marketing meeting.
The traveling band's next stop? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, of course. "We always claim before the show, We're the greatest band ever.' By the end of the show, no one doubts it . . ." Jason insists. "We need to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."