by Steve "Tappy" Lanning

Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

Fri July 25

Aladdin Theater

Many child performers have captured the attention of the world. For example, the young prodigy Mozart, and an adolescent Michael Jackson both achieved great fame before ever hitting puberty. Now world, I'd like you to take a look at a new talented tot: one Rachel Trachtenburg.

Well, Rachel may not be the next Wolfgang Amadeus, or Wacko Jacko, but this ten-year-old drummer is in a great anti-folk, indie-vaudeville band. In fact, Rachel slaps skins with her parents, Jason and Tina, in the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. The Slideshow Players are a concept band. At shows, Jason plays keyboard and sings songs inspired by vintage slides, which Tina projects. All the while Rachel sits behind a mismatched drum kit keeping perfect time and supplying backing vocals.

Mom and Dad Trachtenberg came up with the concept after Jason had played in a number of unsuccessful rock bands in the Seattle area. Jason describes his experience: "I realized you could write the best songs in the world, and unless you have something to distinguish yourself, no one will ever listen to it." Thus, Jason decided to push the envelope. He began projecting comedic, retro slides at performances, and even put his daughter in the band.

The idea to stick Rachel on drums was also partly inspired by Portland music heroes Quasi. Jason, a fan of Sam Coomes' songwriting, saw the duet play in Seattle. He says that "Janet really steals the show," at their live performance.

While the Trachtenburg family is certainly atypical, Rachel does seem to be part of a loving environment. Jason and Tina have been together now for fifteen years. And although it might be rough being a child performer, it would be worse for Jason, as a musician, to be away from his wife and daughter for long periods of time.

Rachel seems to love touring and being on the road. However, her only rock star request has, so far, gone unfilled. But I'm not sure if even Led Zeppelin could get a "hotel swimming pool full of ice cream."