Trotsky Icepick

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Trotsky Icepick
Origin Los Angeles, United States
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1983–1994, 2011
Labels SST
Associated acts Danny and the The Doorknobs[1]
Past members Vitus Mataré (vocals, guitar)
Kjehl Johansen (guitar)
John Frank (drums)
Tom Hofer(bass)
Jamie Lennon (keyboards)
John Rosewall (bass)
Jason Kahn (drums)
John Talley-Jones (vocals)
John 'Skippy' Glogovac (drums)
Hunter Crowley (drums)
Mike Patton (bass)

Trotsky Icepick is an American indie rock band. Their active period was 1983 through 1994. During that time they released six albums, all on SST Records. Members included alumni from LA indie groups, The Last, Urinals (100 Flowers), Middle Class and Leaving Trains.[1][2]


  • The band name refers to the type of weapon used to murder Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was assassinated with an ice axe to the side of the head.
  • For their first albums (both entitled Poison Summer), they adhered to the concept that the name of the band would change with each new album while each record would bear the same title. With their third album ready for release the group finally bowed to record label pressure and permanently adopted Trotsky Icepick as a handle.
  • The group had performed for several years in L.A. area night clubs selecting a new moniker to go along with each performance. This made it extremely difficult for the group to build up any sort of following. It was at a Club Lingere show that the quartet was subjected to horrific levels of feedback on stage during a performance causing guitarist Vitus Mataré to quit, "Thanks for the Trotsky icepick, dude!" to the errant sound man. They picked this tag for the second Poison Summer LP.
  • For the Baby album, the band used "found materials," negatives of a chubby baby retrieved from a photomat dumpster for the sleeve artwork. The recordings are almost entirely live with a rather compelling garage tone. Although a lyric sheet wasn't included, it was available by sending a SASE to the band. This album also included what could have been their best-known song, "Barry Manilow." While the song itself had absolutely nothing to do with the hirsute schlockmeister, it berated those who took it upon themselves to dis this hapless pop star. The album cover and one particularly memorable bass line proved inspirational to the grunge rock band Nirvana in their subsequent Nevermind release.
  • In July 1989 during a brief California tour; one night had them headlining in Berkeley at Gilman Street, with Indian Bingo as support. The following night had them in San Francisco at The Covered Wagon with "support" bands Blood Circus and Les Thugs, two bands of Sub Pop fame. Both nights they covered and demolished Elvis "Burning Love" as a final encore.
  • There were two US tours by Trotsky Icepick sharing bills with Cracker, Sebadoh, Scrawl and Volcano Suns before band members went off in separate directions sometime after 1992.
  • After a lapse of 17 years, the band reunited in 2011 for a spate of shows in Southern California, including two opening slots for the Meat Puppets. The reformed band centered around a core lineup of Mataré, Johansen, Frank and Talley-Jones.



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, pp. 175-6

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