(Read all about the Trashmen after the video)
The Trashmen were a rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1962. The group's original lineup was Tony Andreason on lead guitar and vocals, Dal Winslow on guitar and vocals, Steve Wahrer on drums and vocals, and Bob Reed on bass guitar. The group played surf rock which included elements from garage rock. They have been described as being, along with Colorado-based band the Astronauts, "the premier landlocked Midwestern surf group of the '60s."
The Trashmen's biggest hit was 1963's "Surfin' Bird", which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the latter part of that year. The song was a combination of two R&B hits by the Rivingtons, "The Bird's the Word" and "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow". Early pressings of the single credit the Trashmen as composers, but following a threat from the Rivingtons' legal counsel, that group was subsequently credited as composers. The early single was credited solely to the drummer (and singer), Steve Wahrer. The song was later re-recorded by artists including the Ramones, the Cramps, Silverchair, the Psychotic Petunias, Pee-Wee Herman, Equipe 84, and the thrash metal band Sodom. It has been used in filmmaking and television productions, notably including Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, Vince Vaughn's "Fred Claus", John Waters' Pink Flamingos, Lyndall Hobbs's Back to the Beach (in which Pee-Wee Herman sang it), the soundtrack of the video game Battlefield Vietnam and David Frankel's "The Big Year" as the cellphone ringtone of Brad Harris (the character played by Jack Black) .
"Surfin' Bird" was the subject of the episode "I Dream of Jesus" of the television series Family Guy, sending the song to No. 8 on the iTunes Top 10 Rock songs chart and No. 50 on the UK Singles Chart in 2009. In 2010, a Facebook campaign was launched to send the song to No. 1 in the UK over the Christmas season; this was largely intended (as with Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name", in 2009) as a protest against the takeover of the Christmas No. 1 spot by The X Factor winner's song. The track debuted in the UK Top Ten for the first time on December 19, at No. 3.
The Trashmen went on to have other hit singles. In 1964, "Bird Dance Beat" reached No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and was a top 10 hit in Canada, and a hit in Brazil. Five other Trashmen singles charted. The group released a total of fourteen singles. A four-CD box set of their work was released by Sundazed Records.
The group disbanded in 1967 but reunited in the 1980s, playing together until the death of Steve Wahrer, of cancer, in 1989. Tony Andreason's brother Mark replaced Wahrer as drummer. Reed's son Robin joined as a touring member in 2009 on drums, filling in for Mark Andreason.
In 1999, the Trashmen played at the Las Vegas Grind and have played select gigs, including Chicago (July 2007), Spain (September 2007), Chicago (November 2007), Wisconsin, and Cleveland (March 2008). They toured Europe 2008 with gigs in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Austria. Following up again in 2010, they added Norway, Sweden and Finland to the mix.
The band recorded four tracks at Custom Recording Studios in Golden Valley, Minnesota, with longtime fan and acclaimed guitarist Deke Dickerson, for the Major Label record label, releasing a 7" 45 EP, I'm a Trashman, in March 2013. The band went back into retirement in 2016.