Trashcan Sinatras

trashcan sinatras biography

The Trashcan Sinatras

Frank Reader (vocals), John Douglas (guitar), Paul Livingston (lead guitar), Stephen Douglas (drums), Stevie Mulhearn (keyboards), Frank DiVanna (bass-tour), Grant Wilson (bass-CD)

“The world would be a poorer place without the Trashcan Sinatras” – Billboard Magazine

The story of the Trashcan Sinatras is one of perseverance—that of the band, and that of its fans.  The group originally formed as a covers band in 1987 in Irvine, Scotland. Their debut, Cake, was released to critical acclaim in 1990, and spawned alternative and college radio hits “Obscurity Knocks” and “Only Tongue Can Tell.”  The more mature follow-up, 1993’s I’ve Seen Everything, received even stronger reviews, but in an era when grunge was all the rage, the Trashcans’ melodic gems were buried by the alt-rock sounds from Seattle.  Album number three, A Happy Pocket, was released in 1996 (but not in the USA, the band’s largest market) just before the demise of Go!Discs, and became the band’s final traditional-label release for quite some time.

An early belief in the value of the Internet, however, led to the creation of an official website, and the band’s heavily trafficked website,, helped unite the Trashcans’s global fan base, which stood devoted and zealous behind the group’s shift to independence.

The fan support would prove critical, as the Trashcans would enter their most trying times, including growing financial burdens, moving out of their Shabby Road Studios and an extended separation between band members.  Feeling an obligation to their partially-completed songs and inspired by their fan loyalty, the band pushed onward, writing new material and working to come together for performances in bars and at festivals in Scotland, London and the Far East.

Fans rallied for the release of copious demos, rarities and obscurities and the Trashcans responded with a number of free downloads and internet-only releases, including 2003’s double CD compilation, Zebra of the Family.  Few things are more precious to a dedicated music fan than tracks from their favorite group’s vault and the releases continued to ignite the band’s online following.

Preparing for the release of a new album, the Trashcans travelled to the United States in March, 2004. A session on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and sold out (in just two days) concert at the Troubadour in Hollywood, were followed by five appearances at the SXSW music festival.  Billboard commented on the band’s “dreamy melodies for a drizzly night,” with two of its staffers naming the band to their SXSW top 10, while USA Today named the Trashcans one of “10 bands you must hear right now!”

Out of this highly turbulent period came the Trashcan Sinatras’ long-awaited, deeply crafted fourth album, Weightlifting. The independently funded album was released in North America on August 31, 2004, to overwhelmingly positive reviews.  Praise flooded the music magazines: “[Weightlifting is] chock-full of well-textured pop reveries” (Rolling Stone); “Their songs are rife with inexplicable magic” (Filter); “A joyful and reflective string of smart, gentle pop songs” (The Onion); “Weightlifting [was] worth the fight” (Billboard); “A must-have gem” (Under the Radar); “[we have it in] heavy rotation” (Spin).

The Trashcans embarked on their first North American tour in over ten years, covering 26 dates, nearly as many in-store and radio appearances, and drew sold-out crowds, including New York City (Bowery Ballroom), San Francisco (Slim’s) and Hollywood, where they played three shows at the Troubadour in just two days.

March 2005 saw the U.S. release of the 21-track acoustic album Fez, recorded during the previous winter’s acoustic tour of the States and marked a return engagement at the SXSW music festival with a total of five appearances.  Rolling Stone‘s SXSW wrap-up named the Trashcan Sinatras “Best Party Band.”

Now in 2010, after more than two decades making music and twenty years after their debut release, the guys from Glasgow have finished recording their newest album, In the Music, to be released April 27. The album features a new collection of songs brimming with the band’s signature melodies and relaxed harmonies. The band recorded the album in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard with producer Andy Chase (Ivy) and were joined in the studio by long-time friends, bassist Grant Wilson, keyboardist Stevie Mulhearn and guitarist Jody Stoddart.

One very special guest, the iconic American singer-songwriter Carly Simon (who happens to be a neighbor of Chase), connected so strongly with “Should I Pray?” that she later added her own backing vocals in Martha’s Vineyard.  This tone of community and optimism runs deeply throughout the album, mirroring the positive life progressions of songwriters Frank Reader and Paul Livingston, both of whom recently married their American sweethearts and now reside in sunny southern California.  The connections run even deeper – the band’s other songwriter, John Douglas, has settled down in Glasgow with his long-time partner, well-known singer Eddi Reader (Frank’s sister).

The album itself could be read as a love letter to the unrelenting Trashcan supporters, comprised of countless music fans and industry veterans around the world.  Now, with the clouds parting and sun shining, it is time for the music community to again feel the warm sounds of their cherished Scottish-soulsters, and again lose themselves In the Music.

In the Music will be released in the U.S. on April 27 on Lo-Five Records through all major music retailers via Fontana Distribution and digital download sites via INgrooves.  The album release will be followed by a tour of the United States in June.