Tractorbeam is The Disco Biscuits all instrumental band name for their secret shows. It was conceived as a different concert experience...something more akin to a DJ club set than a traditional rock concert. As Tractorbeam, The Disco Biscuits play completely instrumentally and reinvent their songs by removing the vocal sections.
The members of The Disco Biscuits met at the University of Pennsylvania and left before graduating. Once Brownstein joined the group, they began to play at college frat parties and bars throughout Pennsylvania. Disco Biscuit set-lists consist of mostly original songs that can be played inverted, unfinished, or "dyslexic." They played their first shows as the Disco Biscuits at Smokey Joe's Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania over the 4th of July weekend in 1995.
In 1999, the first Camp Bisco was held in Pennsylvania, which would grow to be their flagship festival, hosting such artists as Snoop Dogg, MSTRKRFT, The Roots, STS9, Thievery Corporation and Umphrey's McGee. In early 2000, Brownstein left the band. During this time Marc Brownstein played with other bands, one being Electron. For a few shows the band was dubbed the "Triscuits" due to their lack of skill and one member. During this time the band experimented with their sound by switching up the instrument line-up for many songs as well as inviting DJ Mauricio to a few shows including 04/15/2000 where "Crickets" was debuted. For awhile they also hired bassist Jordan Crisman. On July 12, 2000 at the Crowbar in State College, Pennsylvania, Jordan Crisman wrote the setlist for what turned out to be his last show with the Disco Biscuits. On that night the band announced that Brownstein was back in the band, stating simply that "There is no Disco Biscuits without Marc Brownstein." After another year on the East Coast, the band then relocated to Santa Cruz, California. Their 2002 album Señor Boombox charted on two Billboard Magazine entries — Top Electronic Albums at #13 and Top Independent Albums at #46.
In 2009 lighting designer Johnny R. Goode III joined the organization. A long time fan and friend to the band, Goode was previously lighting designer for Skydog Gypsy (Aucoin's former band).
Marc "Marn 3:16" helped create the HeadCount organization in 2004 when the Biscuits were not touring regularly, and was involved in every facet of the organization. Marc continues to be involved in all key decisions related to HeadCount and serves as a liaison with other HeadCount-affiliated artists.
In 2006 at Camp Bisco IV in Van Etten, New York, at the Skyetop Festival Ground, Altman left the band to attend medical school. In the following fall, Allen Aucoin, former drummer for bands Skydog Gypsy, Juiceman, and 922, was announced as Altman's replacement.
The band has toured nationally and performed at major music festivals such as Jam on the River, Bonnaroo, Gathering of the Vibes, All Good Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Jam Cruise, and Rothbury, among others.
In 2007, the band co-headlined the D.U.M.B. (Disco-Umphrey's McGee-Biscuits) tour with Umphrey's McGee.
The band has been in the studio for the past year changing gears a little, going in a pop direction. They have been drawing on influences from high profile hip hop Philly producers like Don Cheegro and Dirty Harry, who recently wrote beats for Ludacris, Fantasia, Chris Brown and Beanie Sigel. "We've been sitting in the throng of the hip hop community," said bassist Marc Brownstein. Their upcoming album is said to be mostly pop and hip hop oriented.
During live performances and interviews the band has released small amounts of information regarding the tour and release of their fifth studio album, Planet Anthem. The band plans on releasing two – three EPs before the March 16, 2010 release. Each EP will feature new tracks as well as unreleased material, remixes and video content.
On October 2, 2009 the band announced the release of "On Time," the first EP in the Planet Anthem cycle. The EP was released for sale at their merchandise table on October 9, and was celebrated with an EP release party show at The Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y. on October 11, 2009.