- "His [Marty's] group, known as the Pinheads, was already set up. Nearby, Jennifer also waited, nervously checking her watch. As he [Marty] raced onto the stage, she let out a noisy sigh of relief and Marty winked at her. / A fat man, also glancing meaningfully at his watch, stared intently at Marty. / "Are you ready?" he asked coldly. / Marty nodded. His guitar, amp and microphone were already set up for him. Sitting quickly, Marty took a deep breath and tuned up in the shortest amount of time possible. Then, grasping the microphone, he looked toward the dance committee and spoke with a voice that rang with confidence. / "All right," he said. "We're the Pinheads, and we're gonna rock 'n' roll!" / The band kicked into a hot number, Marty's fingers dancing across the strings and frets in a complicated lead line. Keyboard, bass and drums followed, embellished his thematic figures, hit the rhythm harder, preparing for the transition into Marty's first variation. / "Fine," a metallic voice called out. "That's enough, thank you." / Marty could hardly believe his ears. In fact, he continued to play even as the rest of the Pinhead sound dribbled away into confused silence. / "Thank you," the fat man repeated. "May we hear the next group, please?" / Marty came down off the stage in a daze. Had he gone through an afternoon of hell for this?"
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 16 and 17)
The band was formed when the three original members, Marty, Lee, and Paul, were in elementary school.
In 1979, Douglas J. Needles moved to Hill Valley from Bakersville, and bought his way into the band with his his mother's money. Since Doug couldn't play his guitar and he was a showoff, Lee and Paul told Marty they didn't want him in the band. Doug overheard this and started his own band. This furthered Doug's grudge against Marty.
Bobby joined the band in 1985, after Marty got his truck, when the four of them went on a camping trip. In the original timeline, when Marty didn't own the truck, they took a bus to the campsite instead.
They auditioned for the Battle of the Bands on Friday, October 25, 1985 in front of three adults and one student in the Hill Valley High School gymnasium. Their audition song was a hard rock version of "The Power of Love", but the head judge told them to stop after playing just a short time, saying they were "too darn loud".
After failing the audition, his girlfriend Jennifer tried to convince Marty to send a tape of his band's music to a record company called R & G Records, but Marty doubted that he could take another rejection.
Behind the scenes
- The Pinheads were portrayed by Michael J. Fox (guitar), Paul Hanson (bass guitar, who was Fox's guitar coach for the movie and actually played Michael's guitar solo in this scene), Lee Brownfield and Robert DeLapp.
- The judge who stopped The Pinheads was played by Huey Lewis. This is ironic, since the song that The Pinheads were playing is a hard rock version of The Power of Love, a song released by Huey Lewis and the News.
- It has been theorized that Mr. Strickland shut the band down due to Marty's attitude. While he was not seen at the audition, and did not seem so petty as to intervene in an extracurricular activity such as this, he did make an earlier remark which shook Marty's self-confidence: "I saw your name on the list of auditions for the dance. Why even try? No McFly has ever amounted to anything in the history of Hill Valley."
- In a scene cut from the movie, but reinstated by George Gipe for the novelization, Marty was at the desk in his room after dinner, putting his band's tape cassette into a yellow envelope for mailing to R & G Records, but changing his mind and throwing it in the waste basket before going to bed. This explains the yellow envelope Marty was holding, and was prepared to mail, when he discovered that his living room had changed after returning to 1985.
- In the novelization, The Pinheads' audition takes place at Hill Valley's YMCA building rather than the school gymnasium.
- Back to the Future
- Back to the Future: The Animated Series
- Back to the Future: The Game
- Episode 3: "Citizen Brown" (Using Graffiti on a the wall leading out of the alley results in Marty spraying "Marty and The Pinheads".)
- Back to the Future (IDW Publishing)