The Trash Can Sinatras are a band which formed in 1986 in Irvine, Scotland. The band consists of Francis Reader (vocals, guitar), Paul Livingston (guitar), John Douglas (guitar, vocals), Frank Divanna (bass), Stevie Mulhearn (keyboards) and Stephen Douglas (drums). The band has released five albums: “Cake” (1990), “I’ve Seen Everything” (1993), “A Happy Pocket” (1996), “Weightlifting” (2004) and “In the Music” (2010).

The Trashcan Sinatras were founded as a covers band. The band members knew each other from school or met through the club/pub music scene in Irvine. The band name was derived from a school music class, where students improvised on various ‘instruments’. After banging on some trash cans, someone mentioned Frank Sinatra and the band name was born. The original band members included Frank Reader (bass), Davy Hughes (guitar and vocals), George McDaid (guitar) and Paul Forde (drums). By late 1986/early 1987, the line-up had changed to include Paul Livingston (guitar), John Douglas (guitar) and Stephen Douglas (drums), along with Frank Reader moving to vocals and Davy Hughes to bass. While the band has included other members for short periods of time over the years, this is the line-up that would record the bulk of the Trashcan Sinatras’ music to date.

The band was spotted performing in a pub by Simon Dine in 1987 and quickly signed to Go! Discs. Using their signing advance, the band purchased a recording studio in Kilmarnock, naming it Shabby Road. Work began on their debut album, which was eventually released in 1990. Cake featured the band’s largest worldwide hit single, “Obscurity Knocks” as well as a couple other alternative music hits (“Only Tongue Can Tell” and “Circling the Circumference”). The band were often compared to The Smiths and the success of Cake in the United States, where it spent three months in the Billboard 200, led to extensive touring in both the UK and North America in support of the album.

The follow-up record, I’ve Seen Everything was released in 1993. The song “Hayfever” made an appearance on the MTV animated series, Beavis and Butt-head. The band released two singles (“Hayfever” and “I’ve Seen Everything”) and toured the UK, North America and Japan in support of the album.

The band’s third album A Happy Pocket followed in 1996. AHP was released in the UK and Japan, but was unavailable in the U.S. after the band’s American distributor declined to release the record. The band released four singles from AHP (“The Main Attraction”, “Twisted and Bent”, “How Can I Apply…?” and “To Sir, With Love”, a cover of the 1967 Lulu #1 hit). The Trashcans did not tour in North America, only the UK and Japan.

After their record company Go! Discs was acquired by Universal in 1996, the band was dropped from the label, and subsequently forced to sell their Shabby Road recording studio and declare bankruptcy. The Trashcans kept a low profile in the following years, not playing any concerts until early 1999 (in Japan and Ireland). The Japanese concerts occurred at the same time the band was recording a new single, “Snow” (a cover of the Randy Newman song), which was released by Sony Japan in December 1999.

In March 2000, the band set up camp in Hartford, Connecticut to record their fourth album. Between March and June, the band recorded around a dozen songs and played a handful of shows in the northeastern United States, their first shows in America since 1993. After returning to Scotland, the band decided to scrap the album as too dark and somber (a reflection of their struggles over the previous few years), also feeling that the song writing was not really finished.

The band only performed four concerts in in the UK in 2001, instead focusing on writing additional songs and recording demos for their fourth album. In March 2002, recording began at Riverside Studios in Glasgow. The band recorded a dozen songs on and off over the course of a year. In 2003, the band started to raise its profile by playing concerts and festivals in Scotland. They hired New York based record producer and musician Andy Chase (of the band Ivy) to mix the new album tracks, which was completed by the end of the year.

With a new album ready for release, the Trashcans stepped up their activity in 2004. The band played in Spain and London, before heading to the United States in March. They appeared on the Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show with Nic Harcourt in March, the day of their sold out show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles California (their first appearance on the west coast of the U.S. in 11 years). From there, the band headed off to Austin, Texas for five appearances at the South by Southwest music festival. The Trashcans garnered quite a bit of press and record label attention, which led to a licensing deal with New York based spinART Records.

The Trashcan Sinatras finally released their fourth album in August, 2004. Weightlifting was warmly received by critics and the band completed a 25 date U.S. and Canada tour in September and October 2004. They had follow up U.S. tours in December 2004 and in April and May 2005, while also extensively touring Scotland, England, Ireland, Japan and Australia during 2004-2006. The Weightlifting album included the song “All the Dark Horses”, which was featured prominently in the first episode of the ABC Family Channel series Wildfire.

The band’s fifth studio album, In the Music, was recorded with producer Andy Chase between November 2007 and February 2008, at Stratosphere Sound in New York and in Martha’s Vineyard. In July 2008, Carly Simon recorded backing vocals for the song “Should I Pray?”

A single, “Oranges and Apples”, was released as a download-only single on October 13, 2008. The song was inspired by Syd Barrett, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd. The single was released in connection with The City Wakes, a festival in tribute to Syd Barrett that took place in Cambridge and London in October, 2008.

The album was released (with bonus track “Astronomy”) in Japan on April 22, 2009 (on Victor Entertainment), in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2009 (on Lo-Five Records) and April 27, 2010 in North America (also on Lo-Five Records, with digital distribution by Ingrooves and physical distribution by Fontana Distribution). The North American release includes eight live bonus tracks, which are live acoustic recordings taken from the band’s November 2009 UK tour. Lo-Five also released a limited, numbered deluxe edition of the album in July 2009, which featured two additional bonus tracks (“I Can’t Stand Tomorrow” and “I Just Don’t Know How”) and an in-depth booklet of liner notes, photos and a listing of everyone who pre-ordered the release.

Edited by IRONICtypo on 22 Oct 2011, 03:46

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Formed in
  • 1986
Founded in
  • Irvine, Scotland

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