The '60s novelty act Mr. Gasser & the Weirdos was led by none other than cult artist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, who is widely known around the world for his infamous "Rat Fink" character, who has graced numerous bits of merchandising over the years -- models, collecting cards, key chains, and t-shirts, among other items. Born on March 4, 1932, Roth developed a fascination at an early age with airplanes, fast cars, and scary monsters, which led to the youngster building things out of wood (his father was a cabinet maker who encouraged Roth to use his workshop). As a teenager, Roth's main interest became hot rods, as he majored in engineering in college and began working on cars. After a stint in the Air Force, Roth continued to rebuild cars, and supported himself by selling drawings and t-shirts of his original Rat Fink designs at races. By the early '60s, the Rat Fink phenomenon had spread to the mainstream, as mass produced model kits and shirts became all the rage with youngsters. It was around this time that Roth formed the band Mr. Gasser & the Weirdos, a whacky surf outfit that released a few recordings via Capitol Records -- 1963's Hot Rod Hootenanny, and a pair in 1964, Rods N' Ratfinks and Surfink!. In 1995, a 30-track career overview of Mr. Gasser & the Weirdos was issued, titled The Hot Rod Hootenanny: Rat Fink Collection.
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