Junk Yard Band

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Junk Yard Band
Origin Washington, D.C., USA
Genres Go-go
Years active 1980–present
Labels Def Jam
Members Buggs, Gene Pratt, KC, Mo Shorter, Wink-O, Daniel Baker, Demi-Doc, T-Bob, Dre Dog, Bruce Bailey, Dave Ellis aka 32, Plucky, Mike Strong, Blue Eye Darryl, Peetey, Black Pooh, Jason Lane<"The Music District". 1995. Directed by Susan Levitas. Distributed by California Newsreel, San Francisco. Video, color, 57 minutes.
Past members Heavy One, Shorty Pop, Lil Derrick,

The Junk Yard Band is a go-go band, founded in the early 1980s by children playing on improvised instruments. They are best known for their song, Sardines.


The band was formed in 1980 by children, ranging in age from 8 to 13, living in the Barry Farm government housing project in Washington, D.C.. They were inspired to play after witnessing the performances of local go-go bands in their neighborhood. Not having resources to purchase traditional instruments, the children instead scoured their neighborhood in search of objects that could emulate the sound of real instruments: hubcaps, plastic buckets, crates, cans, and discarded pots and pans. After a few informal performances in Barry Farm, the group was dubbed the "Junk Yard Band" by locals. This is perhaps a reference to the animated television program, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, whose band "The Junk Yard Gang" also performed on improvised instruments.

With go-go music gaining in popularity, and the band gaining local notoriety, the band began booking performances at schools, recreation centers, fundraisers, and government agencies. The band was often seen performing for tourists on the streets of Washington, D.C. This popularity led to appearances in a 1984 Cavalier Men's Store television advertisement, the 1983 film D.C. Cab and the 1988 film Tougher Than Leather with Run-D.M.C. It was this interaction with Run-D.M.C.'s DJ Run that led to an eventual recording contract with older brother Russell Simmons' Def Jam Recordings.

Recording career[edit]

DefJam released the band's song "Sardines" as a single in 1986. The song received considerable airplay, and the band embarked on a tour of the United States as an opening act for acts such as Guy, Salt-n-Pepa, Tupac Shakur, The Roots, and labelmates Beastie Boys and Slayer. No longer viewed simply as a novelty act, the group performed at such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center and the Apollo Theater.

The group signed with Street Records, a Motown Records subsidiary, in 1992.



Title Format Label Year
The Word / Sardines LP Def Jam 1986
Live at the Safari Club LP Street Records 1989
Don't Sleep On Us LP Street Records 1991
Creepin Thru Da Hoodz LP Street Records 1994
Reunion 95 LP Street Records 1996
Go Hard LP Street Records 1996
The Beginning / The End LP Liaison 1999

Singles and EPs[edit]

Title Format Label Year
Jigglin' Baby 12" EP Street Records
The Word/Sardines 12" EP Def Jam 1986
The Word/Sardines 7" single Def Jam 1986
Ruff It Off 12" EP Street Records 1992
Loose Booty/Let It Ride (Socket Beat) 12" EP Street Records 1994
The Rippa Medley/Ha Ha, Yuck Yuck Yuck Yah 12" EP Street Records 1995
Here Come The Freaks/Uh Oh 12" EP Street Records 1996
JY On The Rise (Wink & Dog)/Redrum 12" EP Street Records 1996
Tiddy Balls 12" EP Street Records 1996

Many bootleg tapes and cds of the band's live shows are in circulation. Although recordings exist from throughout the band's existence, recordings from the band's prime era (1987–1997) are the most sought-after.

External links[edit]