Description: Drummer, Vocalist, USA

Known For: Member of – “The Trashmen” who charted with “Surfin Bird”

Instruments: Drums

Music Styles: Rock

Location: United States of America

Date Born: 22nd November 1941
Location Born: United States of America

Date Died: 21st January 1989
Location Died: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America
Cause Of Death: Throat cancer

Website: History of Rock – The Trashmen

Other Links: See below:



Steve Wahrer

An American sixties drummer for group “The Trashmen”

He was a member of the Minneapolis rock & roll band, they evolved from Jim Thaxter & the Travelers, recording one single under that name “Sally Jo”/”Cyclone”.

The Trashmen are a rock 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.

“Surfin’ Bird”[edit]

The Trashmen’s biggest hit was 1963’s “Surfin’ Bird”,[1] which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the latter 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”. Early 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.[2] 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, the Psychotic Petunias, 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, Lyndall Hobbs’ Back to the Beach (where Pee-Wee Herman sang it) and the soundtrack to the video game Battlefield Vietnam.

“Surfin’ Bird” was the subject of the Family Guy episode “I Dream of Jesus”, launching the song to No. 8 on the iTunes Top 10 Rock songs chart and No. 50 on the UK Singles Chart in 2009. Additionally, in 2010, a Facebook campaign was launched to send the song to No. 1 in the UK over the Christmas season; 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 No. 1 spot by The X Factor winner’s song. The track debuted in the UK Top Ten for the first time, on December 19, at No. 3.

Later history

The Trashmen went on to have other hit singles. In 1964, “Bird Dance Beat” reached No. 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 singles. 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, 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.

As of 2013, they continue to tour extensively in Europe and Minnesota, they also play selected dates and festivals in the United States. The band recently recorded four tracks at Custom Recording Studios in Golden Valley, Minnesota, with longtime fan and acclaimed guitarist Deke Dickerson for the Major Label record label, releasing a 7″ 45 EP titled I’m a Trashman in March 2013.

Members included.

Tony Andreason (lead guitar)
Dan Winslow (guitar/ vocals)
Bob Reed (bass)
Steve Wahrer (drums/vocals)

The band were unfairly depicted as a novelty act, though the Trashmen were in actuality a top rock & roll group.

Steve Wahrer combined two songs by the Rivingtons “The Bird’s the Word” and “Pa Pa Ooh Mow Mow”, added freakish vocal effects and a pounding rhythm to the mix, and, by early 1964.

They disbanded in 1968. They re-formed in the mid ’80s and continued to play locally until Wahrer’s death.