Monday, October 26, 2009


Last Friday night was the night of The Trashmen concert at southpaw. As you may know, I went to high-school with the lead guitar and vocalist, Tony Andreason. He graduated a year ahead of me and the year after I graduated, 1962, they put out their most well-known album, Surfin' Bird with the hit of the same name.

What many people may not know is that The Trashmen put out a total of 14 albums and a four CD box set of their recordings will be coming out soon. When Surfin' Bird aired in an episode of Family Guy recently it went to #8 on iTunes Top Ten Rock Songs chart and even hit #50 on the British Top 100.

They have just returned from a European tour and were playing at southpaw which is within walking distance of where I live. Southpaw is kind of a throw-back rock club somewhat reminiscent of CBGB, but with cleaner bathrooms.


Headliners At That

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I ate at a nice restaurant just a block away (more on that later) and got here slightly before the doors opened. Once I charmed the doorman by telling him I played in the high school orchestra with Tony we were let in and got to pick primo seats at the bar. Actually, any seat would have been primo because it was primarily standing-room only.

Top Drawer Seating

The ambience of the bar was just up my alley too. Nothing fancy, but the drinks were reasonably priced even if the selection was somewhat limited.

Just The Basics

Tony stopped by to chat with us. The fellow next to him is Tony's brother, Mark. He took over the drums when Steve Wharer, the original drummer, died in 1989.

Mark And Tony With The Mysterious Chinese Woman

I thought it was kind of neat that they had a Family Guy pinball machine here and it was easy enough to get Tony to pose with me in front of it.

Bar Man And Tony

Obviously The Trashmen have some very loyal fans.

A Greater Love Hath No Man

The Hi-Risers started off the show.

The Hi-Risers

They were followed by The Neanderthals. I am not quite sure how their costumes reflect their name, especially the masks and the leis.

The Neanderthals

And then it was time for the headliners

The Trashmen

I thought Tony looked a bit like a younger Jack Nicholson

Here's Tony

All and all it was a great concert. All of the music was surf music, but of course, and The Trashmen pretty much focused on the material from their Surfin' Bird album. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

After the concert Tony stopped by for a drink and we had another pleasant chat. He still plays in Minneapolis, both with The Trashmen and in other groups. Next time I get back there I will have to get in touch with him to see if he is playing anywhere.

For a bit of trivia, the song Surfin' Bird was a combination of two songs by The Rivertons, The Bird's The Word and Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow. Originally The Trashmen were credited with being the composers of Surfin' Bird but after a bit of a legal hassle The Rivertons were given the credit.

It is kind of amazing that almost fifty years down the road Surfin' Bird remains so popular and, dare one say, almost iconic. It has been recorded by the Ramones, The Cramps, Silverchair, Pee-Wee Herman (but, of course) Equipe 84, and Sodom among others. It has also been used in several movies (Full Metal Jacket and Pink Flamingos to name a couple) and television shows. It is also featured in the soundtrack of the video game Battlefield Vietnam.

I am proud to say that I knew Tony way back when.


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