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, Scotland, 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 ("ISE") was released in 1993. The song "Hayfever" made an appearance on the MTV animated series "Beavis and Butthead". 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 ("AHP") followed in 1996. AHP was released in the UK in Japan, unavailable in the USA after the band's USA 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 Harpers Bizarre song), which was released by Sony Japan in December 1999.
In March 2000, the band set up camp in Hartford, CT 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 past few years), also feeling that the song writing wasn't 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 producer/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 influential Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show with Nic Harcourt in March, the day of their sold out show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles (their first appearance on the west coast of the USA in 11 years). From there, the band headed off to Austin, TX for five appearances at the massive South by Southwest music festival. The Trashcans garnered quite a bit of press (in fact, Billboard staffers named the Trashcans one of the top 10 acts at SXSW) and record label attention, which led to a licensing deal with New York City-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 US and Canada tour in September-October 2004. They had follow up USA tours in December 2004 and April-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 premier episode of the ABC Family Channel series Wildfire.
The band is currently completing their upcoming fifth album, titled "In the Music". Fourteen songs were recorded between November 15, 2007-December 8, 2007 with producer Andy Chase at Stratosphere Sound in New York City. This was followed up with recording sessions in Martha's Vineyard in January-February, 2008 and Stratosphere Sound in New York in March and May, 2008. In July, 2008, Carly Simon recorded backing vocals for the song "Should I Pray?". The album mixing is nearly complete and is expected to be mastered this fall and will include 11-13 songs. The band expects the album to be released in early 2009. "Oranges and Apples", which is a track from the album, is being released as a download single on October 13, 2008.
John Douglas wrote "Wild Mountainside", which was recorded by Eddi Reader (sister of Trashcan Sinatras lead singer Francis Reader) for her 2003 album "Eddi Reader Sings the Songs of Robert Burns." This song was later recorded by the Trashcans and released as an EP in 2005.
John Douglas wrote two songs, "Should I Pray?" and "Prisons", which appear on Eddi Reader's 2007 album "Peacetime". The Trashcans have also recorded these songs for their upcoming fifth album.
"Oranges and Apples", which is a track from the upcoming "In the Music" album, is being 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 is being released in connection with The City Wakes, a festival taking place in Cambridge and London in October, 2008. The festival is a tribute to Syd Barrett and intended to raise funds and awareness for mental health issues and the arts. The band is donating proceeds from the download to the Syd Barrett charitable trust.
Universal Records is planning a re-release of the band's back catalog for early 2009. This release will include the band's first three albums and b-sides and possibly "Weightlifting."
|US Modern Rock||UK Singles Chart|
|1990||"Only Tongue Can Tell"||#8||#77||Cake|
|1993||"Hayfever"||#11||#61||I've Seen Everything|
|UK Album Chart||US Billboard 200|
|1993||I've Seen Everything||#50|