Story last updated at 6/10/2009 - 1:36 pm
JUNEAU - Jeff Tassin may not know when to quit. The award-winning composer is also a performer, producer, author and filmmaker. The self-proclaimed tech-head said that whatever the task, "if it has something to do with music, I can stick with it."
Tassin came from a musical family, his father a guitarist and his mother a pianist. When he was a teenager, they turned their living room into a recording studio, using couch cushions as baffles for their guitar amps. He landed his first recording contract with one of his high school bands when he was 16. The group had a couple of regional hits in the Seattle area.
In his early 20s, Tassin moved to Los Angeles. His current band was performing locally and touring, but he wanted to step away from that scene to work on his songwriting. In the early 70s, he disconnected himself from Los Angeles, escaped to Juneau and "rattled around" for a bit.
One night, while killing time waiting for a flight out of town, Tassin "accidentally stumbled into the Red Dog (Saloon)." While listening to the musician who was performing that day, Tassin picked up his mandolin and started playing to himself at his table. He ended up being invited on stage and played along for the rest of the set. The owner witnessed the performance and was impressed. That jam session led to nine summers of performing at the saloon.
In the early 80s, Tassin began working for the audio department of the local PBS station in Seattle. He composed soundtracks for various documentaries and other projects, three of which have won Emmy awards. He also won an international Telly award in 1995 for his work on "Bhutan: A Cultural Diary."
In addition to his work for PBS, Tassin has worked on several video projects of his own. One of his documentaries, "Phineas Poon, Live At the Red Dog Saloon," tells the story of "the illusive Phineas Poon," a Juneau musician also known as Tag Eckles.
Tassin is also a writer who has completed six novels, which he began writing about five years ago. Four of his novels are part of a science fiction series that he completed in just three months.
"I had meant to write my whole life and once I uncorked it, it just came flying out," Tassin said.
Tassin describes his musical playing style as "bluesy, funky, folky, pseudo-jazz, a snippet of country and R&B." He holds the titles of best all-time blues player, best all-time rock player and number two all-time best bass player at garageband.com.
Tassin has put out a number of solo albums. His most recent, finished just weeks ago, is an entire album dedicated to the bass guitar as the main instrument.
Tassin will return to Southeast for two live performances this week. He will play at 9 p.m. on June 10 at the Skagway Brewing Company. He will also return to Juneau for a performance at the Red Dog Saloon on June 12, time to be announced. For details, call 463-3658.
To experience Tassin's work, visit jefftassin.com.