Tucker Rountree’s Total Slacker project has origins so closely tied to bands like DIIV and Beach Fossils that around 2009, both Cole from DIIV and Dustin from Beach Fossils did brief stints as live members of Total Slacker, and Rountree was also the original drummer in Beach Fossils. Previous versions of the band have had a more traditional rock band structure, with Rountree as the sole permanent band member, but on his fourth LP, ‘Extra Life,’ due May 27, Rountree plays every instrument himself.
Instead of staying in Brooklyn and making a living via touring like the path his friends took, when the Brooklyn DIY scene started to die down a bit, Rountree instead moved to Utah to work with his father, painting houses. With his father not being able to retire, Tucker felt a responsibility to help his father, who is also a musician, having played in a band called The Western Reflections in the 70s & 80s.
Somehow the experience of working manual labor for four years, a different kind of songwriting started to emerge, and slowly Tucker crafted ‘Extra Life’ during this time. The lyrics reflect this; in Dried Up Well he sings “this city’s like a dried up well, looks like this time its gonna hurt,” which describes Utah and other small town settings that have suffered economically and have lost sense of prosperity, with their main streets looking like ghost towns. Watch the video for Dried Up Well via YouTube below.
He also describes this paradigm shift he’s experienced; “The promise of the world is gold, whenever home in the world is sold, well be out here in the cold.” And again in the song Golden Home, he exclaims “You wouldn’t believe just how much that they have, when all they need is enough to get by, but then there’s more, people on the street, trying to find something to eat.”
‘Extra Life’ is both the confluence of a young man returning home from the big city, but also noticing how much humanity and the economy has been affected in recent years in very real terms. This is also relevant in his song Walk On Water; “I know there’s nothing new under the sun, but where we come from, I know I wanna see things like a child again, but where we come from.”