The Wallets

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The Wallets
Origin Minneapolis, United States
Genres Post-punk
Years active Early 1980s–1988
Labels Twin/Tone
Past members Steve Kramer
Erik Anderson
Jim Clifford
Rod Gordon
Max Ray

The Wallets were a band from the Twin Cities, who recorded on the local Twin/Tone Records label in the 1980s.


The Wallets were founded as an experimental group by accordionist Steve Kramer and managed by Bob Hest.[1]

The Allen Toussaint-produced debut album Take It was released in 1986, described by SPIN as urban soul and funk with "a Cajun smell to their work".[2] The album saw the band described as "art rockers who not only want to groove but know how to groove".[3]

Kramer decided to retire the band in Spring 1988, but waited until their final album, Body Talk, was released before announcing the split.[4] The Wallets performed their final show at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis on January 23, 1989.[5][6]

Kramer and Hest later formed an advertising agency, currently known as Hest & Kramer, Van House Weber,[7] noted for its use of music in television ads for clients such as Target Stores, MTV, Time Warner, and Buick.[8][9]

Kramer died in January 2013 at age 59.[10][11]

Musical style[edit]

The Star-Tribune summed the band's style up as a "mix of polka, rock, rhythm-and-blues, jazz and whimsy".[12]


The band received several Minnesota Music Awards ("Minnies"), with ten nominations in 1987.[13]




  • Catch a Falling Star (1983), Spiffola 333


  • "Night Before Christmas" (1983)
  • "Totally Nude" (1986)


  1. ^ Baenen, Jeff (1997) "Ex-band mates finf success in ad world", Reading Eagle, December 26, 1997, retrieved 2010-08-25
  2. ^ Stim, Rich (1987) "Wallets Take It", SPIN, July 1987, p. 26-7, retrieved 2010-08-25
  3. ^ "The Wallets Put Art Rock in the Pocket", San Jose Mercury News, November 16, 1986
  4. ^ "It's official: Wallets will fold as newest album is released", Star-Tribune, November 4, 1988
  5. ^ Bream, Jon (22 January 1989). "Wallets' Last Gig Will Reprise Many Memories". Minneapolis Star Tribune. 
  6. ^ Bream, Jon (24 January 1989). "Wallets Are at Their Zany, Brilliant Best in Farewell Show". Minneapolis Star Tribune. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Bream, Jon (1997) "Ex-Wallets finally get musical payoff - off the stage", Star-Tribune, August 24, 1997
  9. ^ Baenen, Jeff (1998) "The Beat Goes On--to TV Jingles; Advertising: Two rock band graduates make their past pay off in music for commercials", Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1988
  10. ^ Fischer, Reed (21 January 2013). "RIP Steve Kramer of the Wallets (1953-2013)". City Pages. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Tillotson, Kristin (21 January 2013). "Steve Kramer of the Wallets dead at 59". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Going-out-of-business party", Star-Tribune, December 29, 1988
  13. ^ "Nominees announced for state music awards", Star-Tribune, April 2, 1987

External links[edit]