Banana Gun's Pot Shots and Misfires
See also: Eclecticism is The Elephant in the Room by Banana Gun
When I sat down over rounds of Stella Artois to talk about the new Banana Gun album The Elephant In the Room, with Kevin Loyd, Kyle Scarborough, Ian Breslin, Nic Dehaan, and Ross Troost, there were some stories that didn't get included in this week's New Times feature and some that will not go down here at the behest of our legal department. Fittingly, our annexed discussion here starts with one of the standout cuts, "Trouble."
Up on the Sun: I've gotta say that song "Trouble" was one of the songs that brought a wide grin to my face, how it goes from a rock song to this cranky Tom Waits track without warning.
Nic Dehaan: That's the one song on the record we have all our friends playing on the record.
Kevin Loyd: Future Loves Past just came back all hungover form San Diego and they sang background vocals. And we had Mikel Lander from the Sugar Thieves sing and play dobro on the end of that.
Kyle Scarborough: Didn't you pay Mikel in whiskey?
Loyd: No, he dug out a bottle of whiskey from his truck. Nothing like drinking whiskey on the rocks at 11:30 in the morning.
Where did you record the album?
Loyd: We went to Stem Recording. That's our producer Curtis Grippe's studio. He would start at 9 in the morning 'til 9 or 10 at night every day.
Scarborough: He got into more than we got into it. He's got so much patience.
Loyd: He had Thomas Laufenberg from Ghetto Cowgirl because he's really picky about guitars. He has really good ear about intonation, so he'd come in and they'd start on guitars; he'd tap Curtis on the shoulder and tell him, "Stop! Tune it again, "What's up with that G-string?"
Dehaan: A coach for the guitars. A guitar whisperer. Kevin and Curtis mixed the album together. When we had the meeting with Curtis before recording, I had to tell him that Kyle is at best emotional, at worst she's going to cry about every for the first couple of days, Kevin is a perfectionist, he's picky about everything...
Scarborough: And then Kevin missed the first day of recording!
Loyd: I had a little too much to drink the night before.
Scarborough: He sent me a picture of his puke. Then he calls all moaning, "I'm sick." I know you're sick. I saw your puke portrait.
Let's talk about another favorite track, "Blue Sky," which in the review of it I was writing in my head as I heard it the first time, sounded like the laid-back R&B folk groove, the kind John Mellencamp has been trying to write for the last 30 years and keeps missing.
Dehaan: The Coug! Tell him about last Friday night!
Ross Troost: Last Friday, when we were at the Phoenix Arts Council patio, we upset a guy in the audience in a Hawaiian shirt.
Deehan: A Hawaiian shirt that had pineapples on it! So he comes up to us and says, "I've got a little bit of advice for you. You guys are really good. But you're a little loud." Now, this is outdoors and planes are flying outside.
Troost: So he walks away after saying it was too loud and Kevin stands up and said something about the volume of his Hawaiian shirt so the guy starts walking back and he says "Do you know who the Coug is?" He called him the Coug!
Deehan: He said he was a roadie or stagehand for John Cougar Mellencamp.
Didn't he drop the "Cougar" bit in the '80s?
Deehan: Maybe around the same time John dropped him from the road crew. The Coug! Yeah!
What I like about your band is that you guys don't care what genre you do, or if something sounds weird like a barbershop quinet -- if it sounds good, you do it. So many bands just sideline whole worlds of music. Is there any kind of music you five disagree on?
Breslin: We've had conversation in this band about The Boss and not everyone likes the Boss. Me, I like the pre-Born in the USA stuff, then Ghost of Tom Joad and the Pete Seeger album...
I'm going to guess that as the sax player, Kyle, you aren't that crazy about the Boss because of that Clarence Clemons sound -- which was done to death in the '80s, that Saturday Night Live band sax screeching that just grates on your nerves.
Scarborough: Yeah, you don't have to have put all that sax in every two sections. But there are things I like that . . . Well, sometimes you want to shake somebody and say why don't you like Tomahawk?
Deehan: Sorry, I just don't.
Breslin: C'mon! There's nothing better than Mike Patton with a gas mask singing!
Deehan: I'm going to tell him that his guitar sounds like a bumblebee. Sorry.
Banana Gun is scheduled to perform Saturday, June 23, at the Sail Inn in Tempe.
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