Five Hungry Joes – A pictorial archive of the Trashcan Sinatras. Legendary Scottish Band

A Full Pocket

Here’s a wee visual history of A Full Pocket – the second of Craig McAllister’s books about the Trashcan Sinatras, this time focusing on third album, ‘A Happy Pocket’.

A definitive guide so to speak summed up by Craig as thus: akin to more than a fanzine but not quite a book. It’s A4. It’s set in the same font as the tracklisting on the album. It’s packed full of archival photographs and artefacts. And it features all 5 band members and the occasional outside influence talking about the album and its associated b-sides track by track, story by story.

Words by Craig. Spadework by yours truly – a privilege to have contributed.

You can read more about it here.

The majority of pages started off quite differently from the finished article…


The cover image, produced by Stephanie Gibson – who’s photographs appear in Craig’s, ‘The Perfect Reminder’ book – is a Cyanotype print which uses paper coated with light sensitive chemicals. It was then developed on her window ledge – magic, eh?

Beechams headache-free factory…

Neo-Acoustic Anyone?
August 14, 2016, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , ,

Don’t you just love music genres? Rock, Punk, Ska, Folk, Dance, Future Garage, Technical Death Metal and Neo-Acoustic?

I’m not really sure what ‘Neo-Acoustic’ means musically and it’s not a genre I’d associate with the Trashcan Sinatras, but it seemed to be on the agenda for this 1991 interview in Japanese rock magazine, ‘Crossbeat’.

Here’s Paul telling us what it all means…



The Boys Wonders
The Trash Can Sinatras

Making music on guitar is real.
Nothing beats a Rickenbacker.
The No.1 talented newcomers, comfortable under the shadow of the 1980’s Neo- acoustic scene

Somehow, there is a band that’s never been paid attention to properly, even though they have always been in the top 10 on the CMJ charts for the last 10 years. Even in their home country of Scotland they have been largely overlooked. The Trash Can Sinatras. You could say that they are the last remaining Neo-Acoustic band in existence, but their music is more than just a movement in the past. It has new potential for the future. Their debut album ‘Cake’ shows their genuine talent in the sound and the well thought out arrangement, even between each song. It has been almost a year since the first album was released but their talent still stands out. I personally put these guys in the top 3 rookie bands of last year. I would love them to be heard more among those who pursue real music. I hope they become popular, like The Railway Children after their success in England. Let’s listen to Paul Livingston telling us why “Neo-Acoustic isn’t just relaxing picnic music.”

Can you please tell us how the band came together?
There were different guys coming and going at first, but by 1988 I was doing covers with John, Frank and couple of other guys. We made demos, visited a few record companies and Go! Discs came and saw us when we were supporting The Lilac Time. We’ve all known each other since school, and often got together for drinks.

Is it true that you used to play Frank Sinatra, too?
That’s just a joke! (laughs) Although we did do some when we had just started out.

What does The Trash Can Sinatras mean?
This name was chosen before I joined. John was there when they decided on the name. I joined after so I can’t really explain it.

I love your debut album. It incorporates all the typical but wonderful Neo-acoustic sounds from the early ‘80s but with your own quality added to it. Were you inspired by those bands?
I don’t really like to say which bands I was inspired by. Besides, I don’t really have any. To be honest, I don’t like Aztec Camera. We are often compared to them, but the one similarity between us is that we both play the guitar and sing.

Well, that’s not what I was expecting to hear. I remember John saying he liked Aztec…?
I don’t know what everyone else says, but I don’t like them! I like The Smiths and the Cocteau Twins, but none of the others are any good at all. Lloyd Cole moved to Glasgow just so that he can pretend to be cool!


(Laughs) So what is your opinion of the guitar pop bands in the ‘80s?
I liked some of them, but I reckon most of them are crap! I do listen to the Stone Roses, but they are not enough to get me really hooked.

OK, then what was your purpose when making this album if your weren’t trying to encourage neo-acoustic to make a come-back to the music scene against this current dance music boom?
It’s not a big deal for us. We’ve never had any intention to do a specific thing. We just make music. We like to spend time in the studio. There’s nothing better than a Rickenbacker.

There are three people listed as producers on this album, the band, John Leckie and Roger Bechirian…
Yes, and I think that the album was good as a result. It shows us very well. Some songs are soft and melodic, some are a little harder. You need to listen to more than one song to understand us. You’ll know when you listen to the whole album. Those two have also been our drinking buddies. (laughs)

I noticed that you used the band name as a writing credit on the album….
It looks better that way, doesn’t it? After all, we are a band and we are all involved in making the music.

So nothing like Roddy Frame splitting to do his solo project, and not like the stand-out Morrissey/Marr combination. If we think recently, then more like Ride?
Yeah, we all get on really well, and we only think about music as a band. We’ve never thought about branching out into solo projects.

Would it be fair to say that your songs kind of seem to be about the conflict of becoming an adult?
Hmmmm, maybe …. No, on the surface it might seem like we’re writing about that feeling, but we don’t particularly follow any theme or philosophy. It changes with each song.

Thrupenny Tears seems to criticise the recent dance music scene…
Ah, that was just a little bit of mucking around. There’s not really any malice or harm intended. Some people write political lyrics, but we don’t try to do that. We don’t know enough about that field. Personally, I like Primal Scream. I don’t really know The Soup Dragons. In regards to recent house and dance music, I don’t listen to stuff that has no melody!

Did people around your age have any direct experiences with punk?
Some in the band did. George, John, Steve, those three were apparently really influenced by it. I think it was one of the reasons for starting the band. But me, not at all. I had no interest in it.

For example, Irish band Power or Dreams said this; “We want to be seen as a completely new generation of band. Don’t put us in the same basket as any previous Irish bands.” How do you feel about your own Scottish roots?
We’re not part of a music “scene” that comes out of Scotland, and we have never thought of ourselves as being part of any scene. It just so happens that at the moment we are doing this kind of music, and it just happens to be that we are from Scotland. Besides, there’s a very real chance that our music could change a lot from now, and I think that it would be a natural thing. There’s nothing particularly “Scottish” in our music.

crossbeat0591cSo there you have it. Neo-Acoustic explained. I don’t think I’m any the wiser to be honest. An interesting part of the article for me, however, was the little fact of the Trashcan’s being ever present in the CMJ’s Top Ten charts. Here’s the proof for the album, ‘Cake’ and also debut single, ‘Obscurity Knocks’…

crossbeat0591dcrossbeat0591e1991 Crossbeat Magazine, Japan.


We Come From This Town Up Here
April 6, 2014, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Press | Tags: , , ,

Number One was a British pop music weekly magazine which ran for around nine years, mostly during the 1980s, and was marketed as ‘The best weekly pop mag on earth!’

It’s not until you go back and read a magazine like this that you realise how utter shite it really was. The best weekly pop mag on earth? Yer arse.

So it was surprising to find a Trashcan interview in among all the garbage (pun intended) of the 1990s pop scene.

Here’s Paul extolling the wonders of his hometown of Irvine…

numberone13109013 October 1990 Number One Magazine

The World Isn’t Round…
March 18, 2013, 8:46 pm
Filed under: Press | Tags: , , ,

…it’s ‘Twisted and Bent’.

Here’s a small newspaper advert promoting the release of 7th single , ‘Twisted and Bent’. As well as promoting the single it also gives a wee plug to their tour in support of Ian McNabb and also the Phoenix Festival of that year.

Anyway, I’m off to explore Murphy’s law and the rules of Columbus – back soon.

twisted&bent_ad1996 Origin unknown

I Know That I’m Leaving My Best Friend
July 18, 2011, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Press | Tags: , , ,

Now, write it out a hundred times!

Ah, takes me back to my school days when I was chucked out of art class for allowing the word ‘fuck’ to pass through my lips. My teacher proceeded to give me a lecture on said word and gave me 100 lines as well – I wouldn’t have minded that much, but I was in 5th year at secondary school! Crazy hippy teacher!

Anyhow, here’s a small advert which appeared in the NME to promote 9th single, ‘To Sir, With Love’

December 1996 NME Magazine 

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