By Rachel Ambelang
The band Black Bananas will release the LP album “Rad Times Express IV,” on Jan. 31.
Jennifer Herrema is the lead singer of the band and is responsible for bringing the members of Black Bananas together. In 1985, Herrema formed the band Royal Trux, whose sound she said was best described as alternative rock that almost sounded like the band was playing in slow motion. By the ’90s the band was creating songs that sounded more like the popular rock of the ’70s.
In 2001, Royal Trux split and, after putting out a few solo albums, Herrema formed a new band in 2004 with a few of the former Royal Trux members. Their new band was named RTX, and while the music still fell into the rock genre, the group tried to differentiate itself from Royal Trux. Daniel Gill, who handles public relations for Black Bananas, explained some of the identity troubles RTX had as a band.
“There were three albums and a number of 7”s under the name RTX, yet the band was always misunderstood as a continuation of Royal Trux,” Gill said.
This year, RTX changed its name to Black Bananas.
“Black Bananas are the same members as RTX but they have expanded and extended their musical vocabulary …so the name change makes sense on a few levels,” he said.
The band chose the name because of one of the band’s songs was titled “Black Bananas” on a previous album, “RaTX.”
The lyrics in the song “Black Bananas” explain the inspiration behind the band name and the new vibe the band Black Bananas is hoping to create through their music.
“I’m your garbage collector. I’ll turn your trash to gold. What you cast off is what I hold, end loafs of bread, black bananas and broken crackers,” the lyrics read.
Herrema said the lyrics had an important meaning for members of the band and that “Black Bananas” was an important song in the band’s history.
“[The song] kind of explained the idea of taking everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, and creating something entirely new out of all of those elements,” she said.
Gill describes the band’s sound as a unique mix of different genres. This is not out of the ordinary for Herrema or the other band members.
“[Herrema] defies and has always defied musical genres. Her music has always been a mash-up before there were ‘mash-ups’,” Gill said.
“I think the goal has always been to be inclusive yet totally exclusive and unique as far as the way the music sounds,” Gil continued.
Black Bananas is not necessarily looking for a big change in its audience or even a new beginning as a band, but there may be an interest in having the Black Bananas perform in Waco.
Gill said that the band is developing plans to travel to Texas in the future and that they have an interest in performing at the 2012 South by Southwest Music Festival.
Gill believes that this new sound and LP album will bring Black Bananas to the forefront both of the music industry and the lives of their listeners.
“I think the Black Bananas sound is the most forward-thinking, progressive, all-inclusive sound out there, and I believe it will influence a myriad of bands for a long time to come…. just as Royal Trux did,” Gill said.
Joshua Madden contributed to this article.