Deep in the crevasses of Colorado, there was a cabin we all used to escape to. Although everytime we went, it was special, this day stuck with us forever..... Everything was fine until one of our buddies had to take a shit. He grunted and screamed for hours on end. When he wiped his ass he was amazed to see Banana peels. He died on the shitter that day, Thus Banana was created.....
Since that day, Banana has made it's mark on American and World music. They have been influence to some of the greatest musicians, young and old. Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers credits Banana with the maturation of their sound. "We had caught Banana on one of their early gigs in Milwaukee in 1994, I think it was around the time of 12 inches of it. We all really heard a sound that made us question what we were doing musically. We went into the studio and recorded 'One Hot Minute' the following year with a whole new perspective. It was great for us, Andy taught me to speak through my lyrics, and Jay really influenced Flea's playing."
Those praises from established acts like RHCP, Alice and Chains, Tonic, R Kelly, Blink 182, and Dixie Chicks, would make it seem like Banana had nothing but success. Though they reached that, not all was hunky dory with the trio from the Midwest. The history of Banana is laden with stories of drugs, alcohol, loose women, and most of all, poor hygiene. Here is the full story.
1994 marked the release of Banana's first album '12 Inches of It', which was released on Slick Willy Records and went Platinum in it's first year. They toured Europe for that album, and found huge success, despite the fact that they had to change the album title to '30.5cm of It' due to the Metric system. Andy Banana recalls that tour, "Shit man, we had a great time, 3 young dudes with success and nothing holding us back. Shit we would go out and get pounded every night, and all of us would wake up with 2 or 3 women each, EVERY NIGHT" Banana toured (see 1994 tour log) extensively, seeing parts of Europe for the first time. Later in August of that tour Banana hooked up with Twisted Sister on their 'We Still Do Exist'tour. Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider recalls that tour "Shit, those boys were none stop. Booze, drugs, ladies. Not to mention that they rocked hard. Our drummer (AJ Pero) was afaid to let Chad practice on his drums. That boy could slam, and our bassist (Mark 'The Animal' Mendoza) was just floored by Jay's natural ability"
After this, an extensive 3 month break was taken. In January of 1995, Banana headed to the studio to record there follow up to their platinum debut '12 Inches of it'. The album was recorded in England at the famous Abbey Road Studio. Michael Beinhorn came in to produce this album, fresh off of his success he had just had producing Soundgarden's 'Superunknown'. This album was titled 'Ripe for the Picking'. Beinhorn recalls the sessions, "After working with the Soundgarden, I thought I had seen it all. Shit Andy drank like a fish and couldn't tune his freakin guitar half the time. Dude take the money you earned from the first album and get rid of that damn 2x4 you call a guitar." After 4 months in the studio, 3 months in rehab (all the boys fell into the Black Tar Heroin pretty hard), August appeared to be the time for Banana to hit the road in support of 'Ripe for the Picking' on their 'Ripe and Alive' tour. Ex-girlfriend Faith recalls what happened "Jay was drunk 90% of the time, and could never keep his pants on. One night he was so drunk, a fan pulled down his boxers, he didn't know what to do, so he turned around and showed the crowd his enormous balls and swayed them to and fro. Disgusting I tell you, just plain sick"
Andy's Girlfriend at the time, Kim (one of the original rude girls) was also not amused by the bands antics. "Andy would come backstage after their set and just expect me to fondle him just like the girls that Chad, the little whore I might add, picked up. It was like 'Screw you Drew, you're to drunk to even get it up and you want sex, forget it."
1995 came and went, and the boys after the tour called it quits for a short time. They all needed a break. Chad Banana was the most distraught over the break up "Man I would lock myself up in my apartment, which is where we practiced, and I would think to myself "where did we go wrong, why the break up??" Andy remembers Chad losing it "The guy would not leave the apartment at all, shit he wouldn't leave the couch. He would order Pizza and sit on the couch all day and night. Hell he never even got up to pee. I remember coming to visit him one day and finding 3 2litre bottles of piss on the floor next to the couch" Jay Banana remebers it this way "It wasn't even a break up!! Chad was just so high at the end of the tour, that he misunderstood the whole thing that we were going back home to our girls for a few weeks, and we were going back in the studio. He couldn't get past not being on the road, well with the Band Sluts and all, who could blame him??"
In 1996, Chad spent the most of the year in Rehab for just about it all, drugs, alcohol, and sex addicition. Andy and Jay could not wait for Chad to get out, so they hit the studio again to record an EP titled "Slippin' Up". With Chad in Rehab, the boys turned to their old friend and confidant, Crispin Glover. "Man I was like, whoa, thanks man. I really wanted to help them out, I mean they always were like my friends and all, shit they helped me through so many of my times. I knew Chad the longest, hell he even wrote some of my lines for River's Edge, my personal favorite was 'Man I thought I would at least rate a Michelob". Damn Chad was funny. Wait what is this interview about??" Needless to say, Crispin's stint was short, and rather un-memorable, seeing as they did not tour behid the EP. The one single from that Album was 'She Never Had a Penis, But She's Willing to Try' just missed the American Top 40, due to it's racy lyrics. "I just couldn't play it on my show. Those guys were lude, and that I not what AT40 is all about. I've got standards you know", Casey Kasem shared with us. Despite the push from the commercial radio scene the song did see quite a success on the CMJ charts.
1997 brought Chad out of rehab and back to Banana. Jay recalls "I finally was able to convince Chad that we never broke up, it was just a break, but having him not fully schlossed helped." Chad recalls it diffently "Dammit, Jay and Andy make me out to be the drunk druggy of the band, Hey Jay, I'm not the one that fell off stage because he was too intoxicated to stand, and Andy how about 'Quief Man' you mean to tell me you were sober when you wrote that??" The feuding ended long enough to get into the studio and record their first full length album in 2 years 'Out Of Their Peels'. This time the band enlisted Rick Rubin to produce the album. "This was the first time we decided to record 'Burn Frosty Down' and 'The Bobbitt Song' and get them as a studio cut. Rick really helped us to fill out the vision that we had for the album, especially those two songs" stated Chad. 'Out Of Their Peels' was an instant success. Debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard Music Charts, it eventually went Double Platinum for the Boys. Jay Banana stated "The success of that album was huge for us, I just wish any of us still had the Platinum albums to prove it. We all pawned them for more drug money, I think Andy bought a killer bong with his money."
The tour that ensued after this album was a bit out of hand. This was 1997's 'Out of Their Peels' tour that toured the world and beyond. As with past tours (1997 tour schedule)Banana started the tour in Europe. 'That was a mistake' recalls Andy. 'Like a bunch of dumbasses, we thought that Amsterdamn would be the place to start the tour, wrong!! We ended up postponing the entire tour by three weeks because none of us, especially Chad, just couldn't push ourselves away from the tables at the hashbars. No, literally, we COULD NOT push ourselves away. Jay passed out a the table at least 15 minutes of every hour, it ruled!!' When the Bananager, Brian 'DJB' Emmit, finally was able to get the road crew to literally pull Jay and Andy from the hashbars, he found that he had 'lost' Chad. 'Dude, I couldn't find that little shit for life of me. I actually had the roadies lock Jay and Andy in the hotel for three days while I looked for Chad' recalls the Bananager. 'We finally found Chad in the Red Light District getting lovin' for Free 90 Free from the hookers. I guess that when you make it to the level of success that Banana reached, even the pros give it up to you. Especially with Chad's rep as a sex addict.' After the three week delay, the boys were off for the rest of the European leg of the tour. The rest went smoothly with only 5 arrests for the rest of the tour (2 arrests for Jay, drunk and disorderly and solicitation of a transvestite prostitute, 1 for Chad, attempting to smuggle Hilter's Brain out of Germany, and 2 for Andy, drunk and disorderly, and shitting in public).
'Getting out of Europe was good for us, we came back to the US in September to hook up with The Rolling Stones on their, I think it was called 'Bitches from Babylon 5' tour or something. I tell you, the Nick Jagger mother fucker really struts around funny like, what a freak, and their guitar player looks dead' recalls Jay. With the fact that the Stones were a rehabbed band, it made it difficult for the boys to 'get it on' while on the road. 'Man, it was like, hey guys, don't smoke that joint here, and don't shoot that heroin there, I mean we're a band dude, leave us alone' Chad recalls about touring with the Stones. One big problem with the tour was the lack of a Milwaukee date for the Banana Boys to be able to make a visit to the town that they contibuted so much to. Andy angrily thinks back to aspect of the tour 'I guess our hometown is not good enough for the Rolling Boners, what ever fools, fuck it if you think we are inviting you boys on tour with us ever again.' Bananager DJB was able to keep the arrests completely gone from the American Leg of the tour, but unable to stop Chad's Sex addiction. 'Dude, I would have to 'order out' for ladies for Chad all the time. I think it was November sometime, we were playing in Ft. Worth, Texas and Chad got the 'craving' for women. He asked me to 'order' the entire Dallas Cowboy Cheerleading squad. Fortunatley there were a few former cheerleaders whose careers led them into the direction Chad had hoped for, so I was able to get 5 of them to put their uniforms back on and visit Chad. Man was it wild to watch, I still have the videotape if you are interested in watching it. That video is better than 'SuperChick'. At the end of 1997, the Stones continued on with the tour but decided not to allow Banana to tour with them. Mick Jagger will never forget the tour 'Fuckin Jay never called me by the right name, it drove me nuts. And if Andy makes fun of my lips and strut one more time, I swear that fucker will get a fat lip himself. Chad, I never got to know Chad, he was always hanging with the ladies, although he did try to hump my leg one night when he was on X-tasy. God I miss Chad'
As after every tour, the boys took a break. This one lasted a year. The entire year of 1998 was nothing more than a 'tour' of sorts for the boys. 'We all made our ways in and out of just about every rehab facility in North America. I ended up moving back in with my parents to try to help me dry out.' Jay reminices sadly. 'I did't talk to them much during that time, we all needed to just be away from the bad influences we were on each other.'
In January of 1999, Andy rallied the troops one more time. 'I called the boys up in January and told them all that we should write some more epics for a new album. The hardest part of that was getting Jay out of his parents house. His mom always did his laundry and he didn't want to leave that. I guess it made him feel comfortable. I told him I would do his laundry if he just moved back to the Banana pad and get into the studio. I never did do his laudry and he spent all of his money on new boxers, he just never wanted to wash to old ones. Damn fool. 'During the months of January and February the boys wrote some new songs with the hopes of writing the next 'Fat Girls' or even 'Tough Times (on the shitter)', and they thought they might have. Chad tells the story.
'We thought we were going to write the most prolific album of our careers at this juncture, it turned out to be a miserble flop. We decided to self produce it, something we had not attempted to do since our debut '12 inches of it'. Andy and Jay kept fighting, shit it was worse than the stories of Sting and Stewart, I felt so much like Andy Sommers in the middle of all the fighting. Those two can be very hurtful sometimes.
The boys were asked by Rage Against the Machine to join them on tour. Rage was supporting their 'Battle of Los Angeles' Album, and Banana thought this would be a great opportunity for them to get back on the road after a year off. They played two shows with RATM before the arguing of Andy and Jay finally exploded to the point that Banana quit the tour. Jay tells his side'The fucker said he would wash my clothes, not once did he, never, it really pissed me off. And last of all Banana's make me puke, so stop putting them in my dressing room asshole'. Andy refused to comment on the whole thing stating that he just wanted to get drunk and forget it all.
This sent the band spiraling towards oblivion, leaving the record label with only one option for the final album to complete the contract. They were forced to assemble live tracks from previous tours. In 2000, Slick Willy Records released 'Ripe and Alive'. President of Slick Willy Records, Jim Blessington comments. 'It was sad to see the boys explode like that. We all used to live together at the Banana pad. We were like this close man, shared everything together. I never thought it would end this way. The only other time I got as angry with them as I did in 2000, was early on. They were practicing a cover of 'Breadfan' and they brought this no name guitar player in to join them. I was like, who is he, he will ruin your career. They did not listen to me, so I smashed a chair against the wall and left. But I digress. Anyway, I hated to release Ripe and Alive, but I had to get them out of contract, they were just costing me money'
Not much was heard of from the boys in the following years, only the typical tour of rehab.
Andy and Jay seem to have patched things up, but Chad has not been heard of since his last check in to the Betty Ford Clinic.
March 28th Chad gets out of rehab and the boys are getting back to their roots. Banana will play a free show at The Globe in their hometown of Milwaukee WI. They have gotten a great amount of support from bands they used to work with back in early 90's, and will be joined by them on stage. The bands include
True Heart Susie
Come down and show your support for Chad getting out of rehab, the show is free and so is the beer.