The Trashmen are a rock and roll 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.
The Trashmen's biggest hit was 1963's "Surfin' Bird", which reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the later 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". The earliest 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, Pee-Wee Herman, Equipe 84, and the thrash metal band Sodom. It has been used in filmmaking and television productions including, most notably, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket; Vince Vaughn's "Fred Claus"; John Waters' Pink Flamingos; and the soundtrack to the video game Battlefield Vietnam.
More recently, the song was the subject of a 2008 episode of the animated series Family Guy, launching the song to #8 on the iTunes Top 10 Rock songs chart and #50 on the UK Singles Chart in 2009. Additionally, in 2010 a Facebook campaign was launched to get the song to #1 in the UK over Christmas; 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 #1 spot by The X Factor winner's song. The track debuted in the UK Top Ten for the first time, on 19 December, at #3.
The Trashmen went on to have other hit singles on the charts. In 1964, "Bird Dance Beat" reached #30 on the Billboard in the United States, as well as becoming a top 10 hit in Canada, and a hit in Brazil. Five other Trashmen singles charted, and overall the group released fourteen albums. A four CD box set of their work was released on Sundazed.
The group disbanded in 1967 but reunited in the 1980s, playing together until the death of Steve Wahrer, who died 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 2009 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.
After having toured extensively in Europe in 2009-2010, they also play selected dates and festivals in the United States.