"Bangin' on a trash canYou've got music in your soul. You can feel the rhythm, see the crowd, and hear the notes play out even in the most deafening of distractions. But you've got a problem: you don't have any instruments. Maybe you lost yours, maybe there's no way to get them, or maybe, as is sadly often the case, you just can't afford it... either way, it doesn't matter. You can feel the music and you're not going to let something so simple as a lack of instruments stop you. Anything is possible if you have the ingenuity to do it. Pick up a trashcan, bang on the lid, and makes some drums. Pull together some shoestrings and make a guitar, and break off a lead pipe and make it into a trombone. Pretty soon, you've got yourself a Trash Can Band, and before long the music just flows out. Compare Everything Is an Instrument and Banging Pots and Pans.
Drummin' on a street light."
Drummin' on a street light."
— Doug, "One Little Voice"
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Anime & Manga
- In ''It's Always Fair Weather'', three buddies attach trash can lids to their left shoes and do a wonderful sort of pre-Stomp tap dance number.
- In the Gordon Korman book Bugs Potter LIVE at Nickaninny, the title character steals pots and pans from his family's campsite to make an impromptu drumset.
Live Action TV
- A few episodes of Home Improvement had a group of workers from a construction company come onto the Show Within a Show and talk about the weird things they do on the job (like cooking and hygiene). In their last few appearances, they made a band with instruments made mostly from power tools. They performed in their second-to-last appearance, and helped close the show in the finale.
- A Jug Band, as seen on The Muppet Show from time to time, as well as in Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas , is a specific type of Trash Can Band, consisting of a jug, a washboard and a washtub bass.
- On Glee, a power outage inspires the students to create music acoustically and they take it one step further, performing the number We Will Rock You using everything from trash cans to bottles to zips as their instruments.
- The Goodies: The boys form one in an attempt to relieve their boredom in "Holidays".
- Blue Man Group makes music out of unusual objects, like PVC pipes.
- Spike Jones' version of The William Tell Overture (also known as Feetlebaum) includes a section played entirely on kitchen implements.
- Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down on the Corner" is about a partial trash can band called Willy and the Poor Boys.
- The Junkestra is another truth in television example, using various "found objects".
- The Spinto Band have done a version of their song "Later On" entirely using kitchen implements and food.
- Non-musical example: for "Breaking the Girl", off of the Red Hot Chili Peppers album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The members went into a nearby dump and rounded up a bunch of trash cans and other garbage that they used as percussion in the song's breakdown.
- Though they otherwise use conventional rock instruments, the band Skeleton Key have a member who plays "junk percussion" on every song.
- The music video for the song "Troll Hammaren" by Finntroll shows the trolls playing weird, makeshift, "trollish" instruments which nonetheless deliver the sound of normal percussion and guitars.
- There is a band called the Trashcan Sinatras, although they do not play trashcans.
- The Duke Louis Sound has a cardboard box drum kit, and saucepan cymbals.
- Jazz drummer Frank "Josh" Billings, also known as "the Suitcase Drummer", was known for playing a suitcase with brown paper spread across the surface using kitchen utensils.
- This is how the joke Fake Band Impaled Northern Moonforest started out with members from Anal Cunt: they couldn't use instruments seeing as people were sleeping at the time.
- Phil Collins' drum rig was made up to look like this (or even was this) during the "Both Sides" tour, which had a "homeless/poor urban area" design to it.
- Chris Fehn and Shawn Crahan of Slipknot are known to do this, usually with baseball bats to drumcans.
- Disneyland's Trash Can Trio appear to be part of the regular janitorial staff until they suddenly launch into a performance.
- One of the drumkits you can purchase in the Rock Band games is the Warehouse Original Kit, a bunch of boxes, rusty cans and pipes put together. It's purely aesthetical, though.
- Cats Don't Dance has Danny pull together one of those to help the disillusioned animal actors get their spirit back. It eventually grows into a huge block party, with a montage of all the characters dancing or playing makeshift instruments.
- Doug, as per the above quote.
- Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Subverted by Rudy, who was shown with a monogrammed electric guitar in closeups, but a makeshift banjo in group shots.
- "Trashin' the Camp".
- The "Riff-Raff and the Catillac Cats" shorts on the syndicated Heathcliff cartoon arguably qualify.
- "I Ain't Got Rhythm" from Phineas and Ferb: The drummer of the band disavows his ability to drum even as he's unconsciously drumming on anything in sight.
- The Little Rascals did this, at least in Hanna-Barbera's animated series.
- Top Cat and his gang also have done this.
- Nature Cat and his friends resort to a rural variant when they ruin their real instruments shortly before a Battle of the Bands competition. They resort to using sticks, shells, a hollow log, pebbles and hollow reeds for improvised instruments.
- Steel drum bands play drums made from steel 55-gallon barrels.
- Calypso drums started out the same way.
- Jug band music is made with homely items found in any shotgun shack: the eponymous ceramic jug, an improvised bass made from a washtub and a broom handle, a washboard and thimble for rhythm, a pair of spoons, and possibly some simple actual instruments.
- The Landfill Harmonic
- Most kids who went to primary school in Australia had at least one day where they learned about "bush bands" and their instruments, which included the "tea-chest bass" and a kind of giant wooden cross with bottle caps nailed to it.
- That would be the "lagerphone". The "bush band" phenomenon is also found in England, under the name of "skiffle", and in America as "jug bands".
- In the United States (and possibly other countries) there are a rather large number of street-corner drummers who ply their trade using buckets and other random junk. They're usually very good.
- Some Industrial musicians use garbage as percussion (or, more commonly these days, samples thereof). Test Dept. and Einstürzende Neubauten are both good early examples who used things like springs, pipes, sheet metal and other metal-based rubbish as instruments.