Local Current Blog

Ten things you should know about the Trashmen, Minneapolis garage rock legends

1. The Trashmen are a garage and surf rock group from Minneapolis that formed in 1962.

2. Their 1963 hit “Surfin’ Bird” reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 later that year. It has since been recorded by artists like the Ramones, the Cramps, Silverchair and Pee-Wee Herman. The song was used in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and on a Family Guy episode that launched it to number 8 on the iTunes Top 10 Rock songs chart in 2009.

3.  “Surfin’ Bird” was a mash-up of the songs “The Bird’s the Word” and “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” by R&B group the Rivingtons, who eventually caught on and ultimately received writing credits for the song.

4. Their lineup has changed over the years but stayed in the family: when drummer Steve Wahrer died of cancer in 1989, guitarist Tony Andreason’s brother Mark took his place.

5. The group have recently teamed up with singer-songwriter Deke Dickerson, an alt-country, blues and rock n’ roll artist originally from Missouri.

Joel Paterson via dekedickerson.com
Photo: Joel Paterson via dekedickerson.com

6. With Dickerson, the band recently released its first album in 25 years, Bringing Back The Trash. You’ve been hearing tracks from this album on the Current.

7. Artist and music critic Cub Koda argued the band shouldn’t be dismissed as one-hit wonders. “Unfairly depicted as a novelty act,” Koda wrote, “the Trashmen were in actuality a top-notch rock n’ roll combo, enormously popular on the teen-club circuit, playing primarily surf music to a landlocked Minnesota audience.”

8. The band plays all over: touring Europe and performing at fairs and festivals in the U.S. They performed with Dickerson at the Minnesota State Fair this past August.

9. Their logo has not changed since the ’60s, and it still looks awesome.

The Trashmen via allmusic.com

10. In 2010, Facebook campaigners tried to get “Surfin’ Bird” to the top of the United Kingdom charts over Christmas, selling 68,000 copies the week before Dec. 25. It came in third, behind Rihanna and Matt Cardle, the X Factor winner for that year.

Hailey Colwell is a journalism major at the University of Minnesota and a co-director of Theatre Corrobora.