"They are the greatest band."
Sex Slaves on Banna Fish Zero

Banana Fish Zero are abuzz with Waste Rock. Their music is brilliant, hard and fast. This coupled with an insane sense of humor and lots of flesh makes their place on the NYCRNR compilation of tantamount importance. Go to the gigs, get the songs ... Thong sold separately!

On the road with BFZ

Rule number one
'How was the crowd?'

'The crowd was GREAT!' Hal had a great time! If there is one person in the crowd that likes you, and even if there is only one person in the crowd, the crowd was great!

BANANA FISH put out an album called Zero and it stuck. Everyone calls them Banana Fish Zero!

It started with an ad in the Voice:

John: (now John likes to talk about himself in the 3rd person! Strange man...) John was the bass player and the drum machine player and then John

Prince Hal: didn't you used to do a lot of work at your brother's?

John: Yeah, well, we did a lot of fighting ... Oh, Prince Hall came to all our shows and would stand up front and go, "Yeeeeaaaaaah!!!!!!!!" and every single band we played with was like, could we borrow that guy to be our fan? And I was like, "no, you can't!" So then one day my bass player went to tour with Sparkle Horse, opening up for Radio Head and we had tons of gigs and it was time to keep on rockin' so who better to ask than Prince Hall, who I grew up with.

Prince Hal: Well, you bumped into me in the street.

John: And I asked him, have you been playing bass? And Prince Hal says, 'Oh, yeah, playing all the time!' so I said, great, we got a gig next week, he's like 'yeah, just give me the CD.' Prince Hal shows up. Prince Hal hadn't played for years! But he's still Prince Hal.

PH: I had just recently taken my bass out of storage. I have been playing since I was a kid, but like when John asked me, I said 'it's on dude!' So like, I dusted off my bass. There was a lot of dust on it. I showed up and somehow,

Texas: He passed the audition!

John: Right, number one motto, No Musicians In This Band!

PH: so then I started to laugh.

John: He sucked good enough to be in our band.

PH: Our manager still has a photo on the refrigerator of our first gig together, at Bar 13, over by NYU. We made it through it somehow.

John: The crowd made it through it somehow. We were fine, it was them we were worried about.

PH: I dressed like Angus Young! I was really worried that the 'other' bass player was going to come back and that I would be out of the band. So I made sure that I registered BananaFishZero.com in my name. You know giving me a little negotiating power. So when the bass player came back I could say that's cool, you can get rid of me, but Yo, I've got Bananafishzero.com. They kept me, I don't know why, but, I'm happy to be here six years later!

John: Ah, we kept him 'cause he jiggles! We love things that jiggle! That's a fact. Prince Hal still jiggles.

PH: That's when Texas comes in.

John: How did you come in Tex?

Texas: I was touring around the city, as drummers will do when they are looking for a band. What happened was that I saw the ad in the Voice. I called up the ad and Prince Hal was on the other end saying 'I'm looking for someone who is dedicated.' I said, well, I live in an 8x12 rehearsal space with no bathroom and no windows, and he said, 'That's pretty dedicated to me. Why don't you come on down and audition?' It was a cold audition, I didn't have a cd, and luckily the songs are very similar to my style. I didn't really pass the audition, I had actually an audition gig. And luckily for me, the audience in Washington DC dug me enough to help me get into the band.

John: But I remember on the way back, he was like 'So, am I in the band?' and we were like 'I don't know.'

How was he dressed in the beginning?

John: in his underwear. And I think it was pretty early on that he took his dick out and hit it on the snare drum.

Texas: It's always a good tension breaker in rehearsal. When the guys are getting all uptight, and 'you didn't get this part' etc. I just take my dick out on the drum saying 'Order, order in the court!' It creates a light hearted atmosphere, you know...

(Major laughter all round)

So tell us about mooning 14th street? Did you moon them or did you whip it out?

Texas: Yeah, I just did a little moon! 'Cause we were on 14th Street for the Virgin Record store to launch the New York City Rock n Roll CD, and Jea (the Drive) was there standing on the table and I saw all these guys outside looking up her skirt, so I thought look at these bastards, I'll give them something to look at. I pulled out my hairy ass. All of a sudden there were no more of those guys there, there were 20 of these other guys with moustaches and they were all kind of feminine looking.

John: Feminine with a moustache?

Texas: I dunno.

John: I saw a lot of priests looking at you.

Texas: Yeah, all of a sudden I had a whole new male audience.

John: Were you dressed like a nun?

Texas: Oh, yes, I was dressed like a nun!

The worse thing that's ever happened to you?

John: The funniest thing that happened was when Texas first joined the band. Texas has a way of rubbing people the right way, or the wrong way. We were playing out in NJ at the Brighton Bar and the bartender was like freakin' Andre the Giant.

Texas: He was like a linebacker. Huge! He was about six foot and about 300 lbs.

PH: So Texas decides that, it like 2:30 in the morning and we're all a bit drunk and Texas doesn't want to drive drunk, which is sensible. So he asks for some water. And then, I was standing there watching this whole thing happen, Texas says, 'well can I get some coca-cola, I need the caffeine rush, I want to get back to the city,' and the guy is like, 'we don't serve non-alcoholic beverages after 2 am. Of course they don't serve anything after 2, but everyone was still getting drunk. Well, Texas headed towards this stair down, and reaches behind the bar and grabs the soda machine. He was going to help himself to some coke. The other guy grabs this arm and the two of them start, it was an arm wrestle. They were looking at each other right in the eye. Texas and this humongous dude going back and forth. I'm just standing there watching all this happen. Finally the booker and I jumped in...

Texas: yeah, he's a pretty big guy himself.

PH: Yeah, Jack from the Brighton Bar, a great guy and we kind of separate them. But as soon as we separate them, the bartender starts going ballistic. He's got the coke in his hand. Texas lost on that. But the bartender's still mad. He takes one of those metal shaker glasses and flings it right at Texas.

Texas: Well, that's because, once I had these two big guys in between me and this other guy, then I started going 'Ah, you fucking pussy! I'll kick your ass, you son of a bitch! You can't even serve me a coca-cola.'

PH: So this guy launches this metal shaker thing at Texas and it hits ME right in the head! So we start to drag Texas away from this guy to break this up before this blows up. When this guy grabs a whole jug of bleach and just wings it at Texas and sure enough it hit me right in the head! I still have those bleach stains right on my favorite shirt!

John: Meanwhile, I'm out in the car, waiting for everybody when the door flies open and this huge guy goes: where's that mutherfucker! When I heard that I knew, I just said to myself, Texas is fucked! There was only one mutherfucker in that bar and that's Texas and this guy wanted to kill him! So we had to smuggle Texas out in his drum kit. You know, put in him in his stand holder and walk him out.

John: We were out of there, we were running like chickens.

PH: I was busy talking the guy down, I was making friends with him.

Texas: the moral of the story is that about a month later we played there again and he was tending bar and I went up to him and was like: 'hey, dude, sorry I was drunk.' He was like, 'yeah, I was drunk too!' and he was buying me drinks for the rest of the night.

Texas: How about a John story, how about one of those?

John: No, that's law number five, no John Law stories.

PH: our second law is safety first. One time, we were in DC, we partied all night long, the sun rises up and all that stuff.

John: We rarely do that.

Texas: You mean that shiny thing up in the sky? I've heard that's pretty nice.

PH: I'm giving this guy a ride home in my red Jetta. I dunno, I had dreams of video games and things like that, Grand Theft Auto and all that and I wake up and my car - it's got the front wheels at the bottom of a flight of stairs and back wheels at the top of the flight of stairs, and I'm dead asleep at the wheel. I wake up and look out of the window and there's like all these mothers holding their babies and they're going, 'Prince Hal', no okay, they don't know my name... they go 'Sir, Dude, er, whatever, what are you doing here?' and I'm looking around and I'm trying to figure it out where is? And it's like Ohmygod, 'where' is like in the middle of a park in the middle of DC. In fact I don't know where the hell I am. And so one of these mothers came up to the window and says, 'I've figured a way for you to get out of the park,' and I go, 'that's my girl right there!' so I go, ChungChug, ChungChug, ChungChug down the flight of steps in my car, turn up this little pathway, drive up through this dog party that is going on in the middle of the park and finally exit and get home. I'm just so happy that I'm not locked up by now, and still playing in the band.

John & Texas:
Yeah, we are too!

John: Everybody knows how he got there but Prince Hal.

Prince Hal is like a dog that farts, you know, like when you rip a fart and there's a dog around, the dog farted? That's Prince Hal... when something's broken, Prince Hal broke it, when something smells, Prince Hal did it.

Texas: When somebody fucks up, it's Prince Hal.

PH: So now you think that I did do it.

Texas: And Prince Hal's motto is "sounded good to me!"

PH: what do you mean, dude? It sounded good! I had fun!

John: that's a classic Prince Hal is after a gig that sucked, 'Dude, I had sooo much fun, did you have fun?' me: 'No, I didn't have fun, you sucked!' (laughter all round) 'but, dude, I had sooo much fun!' 'Good, because we're glad you had fun, because nobody else had fun!'

Where do you all come from:

Texas: Brooklyn

PH: John & I were born in the city, but we grew up in Garrison, NY. I was like a little New Waver, listening to a lot of Smiths and the Cure. Then John's little brother decided he was going to take me under his wing and teach me really good rock. Then his older brother took us out to see Black Flag, took us out to see Bad Brains, the Circle Jerks, Murphy's Law, and that's like how it all started man, you know. That was when we were really young.

John: I remember when we used to play together, you used to do all this Frank Zappa shit

John: Hey, I have to return a favor right now, I'll ask the question, 'What do you guys think about the Sex Slaves?'

Everyone: oh, we love 'em. I love those guys! They are the 'Best', you know, in the 'World'! I LOVE Eric Sanchez who plays that guitar and sings!

Texas: did you hear the rumor going around, that I'm a worse drummer than Martie E of the Sex Slaves! If that's possible!

PH: Is that a rumor or a fact! Hahahahahahaha!

John: I think that was a press release!

PH: Well, that band's awesome.

John: The best band in the world! We love those guys!

PH: I just want to shout out to Del Cheetah, 'Big Titties?', one of my favorite songs of all time. Jay Bomb, 'yo'. He's a great bass player, Del Cheetah.

Texas: Is J Bomb in the Sex Slaves now? Haha!

John: Is he?

PH: For someone who is not the lead singer, he can take the stage. He played with Del Cheetah on Sweet Titties? This was a song they did before. Yeah, we're connoisseurs of the local scene. It's actually great, that's what I love about this scene, everyone's a connoisseur of this scene.

John: All jokes aside, this is a great group of people.

PH: I would start naming names, but the list would go on and on and on...

John: Everyone that's working on the NYC Rock n Roll album, doing a great job. Radical Records - fantastic.

PH: The CD rocks, man!

Texas: Yeah, and we'll all off to the South!

PH: A long time ago we did a gig with Honky Toast, back in the day. They blew me away. He was so awesome, and now Eric Toast is doing Pisser. Grounded is amazing.

John: We did a show up in Woodstock with about eight or nine bands (from the CD) and every one of those bands came up with their game flawless! That was really a great thing to see. Prince Hal and I were driving home and I said, ' what did you think of the show and he was like 'you know what I learned from the show? That we gotta go back and fucking practice' because everybody is practicing. I think right now, it is a real NY scene and that's what really fun about it. It's not an imported scene, it's homegrown. It's homegrown weed growing up in Manhattan. It is Primo Shit! I don't think there is one stinker on there... except for that three word band... er... Banana Fish Zero!

PH: Yeah! Those guys... they suck. Shout out to Frank Wood! Frank Wood Rules!

Texas: you never heard three ugly men make the worse noise in your life than Banana Fish Zero. It's the worst noise you ever heard!

PH: At this quiet moment I'd like to say 'Hi' to Slunt. I want to shout out to The Drive. I want to shout out to Bantam. I want to shout out to Peelander-Z. I want to shout out to I Love You. Pretty Suicide. J5S. Cosmic Kiwees, Mushroom Cloud Drive, baby.

PH: I like to shout out to my mom, my dad, my dog, Budweiser.

Together: Oh, fuck off!

John: This is the reason why Prince Hal's the kicking dog! Yeah, a few drinks and he's saying, 'I just got one thing to say.', have you ever heard him say that?

I've always been too drunk to notice.

John: so was he!

Texas: Basically it's like this: We pull into this town, right, we go in there. There's fucking Alman Bros. on the jukebox, and we go 'oh, shit! This is going to be a hard show.' What are we going to do? Let's open up with 'my, my, mimi' and kind of ease them into it. Texas comes out in the nun outfit, (I'm speaking about myself in the third person.) (Yeah, they do that, this band, ed) This guy, (John) comes out in his underwear, this guy is doing shots of Jack and singing Johnny Cash. By the time we get to the second song, everyone loves us already. The fucking bar is going, 'I love you guys!' Here are these country bumpkins loving us to death!

John: Cocksakie right? Well, I know why! You want me to explain why?

Texas: Yeah, go on...

John: Well, we walked in, and like you said, there's this Alman Brothers playing, this is biker bar to the max! There is a correctional facility next door, and so we walk in and first thing that I do is I look around and I'm like 'I've got my assed kicked in this place before!' and I haven't even been here before in my life! It's just very familiar... so the first thing I do is go around to all the biggest guys and say, 'Hey, man! What's happening. Great scene, we're going to play tonight, can I get you a drink? So I'm $200 dollars in the hole before we play... exactly, there you go... The big guys, they were great, they partied with us like mad! But, I really did spend my $200 up front!

Texas: And there's Hal singing Johnny Cash tunes.

John: Yeah! Shots and beers for all the big guys! And then we find out later that we didn't have to beer them up because they were all a bunch of queers on bikes in that place!

Oh, they'll kick your ass!

PH: I remember that bar.

Texas: Yeah, the toilet! Haha!

John: One thing about waiting for people's reactions, one thing that I think that we've learned that I think is super cool, is that when we go out of town, you get a little worried because we talk a lot of shit and we love pushing buttons, you know, and you've always gotta wonder if you're gonna get punched, but when we go out of town we get the greatest reactions from the people you'd least expect it from, you like see this guy coming up to you and you say, 'Okay, Prince Hal, pick me up when they knock me down,' and they say, 'I like that song about when you're singing about my mother!' and you're like, 'cool, nice, you're not gonna hit me are you?'

PH: I'm in love with your mother, man!

John: People talk shit about middle America, well, I think as soon as you are an hour outside NYC you're in middle America! And that's our shit, because when we are out in middle America, we get the most positive reaction. People want to get twisted, they want to talk shit, they want to do all this stuff. I think that's really exciting. There's hope!

PH: The only trick is you've got to play longer than 45 minutes. Out of town they like 2 sets. 'okay, you guys are going to play 4-5 hours, right?' Sure, we'll do the same set 4 times! At the end you'll really love us.

John: That's really funny, the drunker they get... at the end they are saying, 'wow, I know this song!' 'They must be really famous, I know this!'

Texas: That actually happened to us in Carlisle, PA. That's actually the home of Jim Thorpe. There's a big monument there. No shit. We went out there and there was this sixty year old cop eating diner and we had to set up right in front of these five people eating. And we're saying these people are going to be blasted out of their cheese burger and their macaroni and cheese. We set up and we blast it out some hard rockin' songs, and they came up and they clapping with they hands forward. They loved it! Like John said, it's when you least expect it.

PH: We are the least suspected!

John: The other day, we drove our truck up a sheet of ice so we go get a tow truck and when we come back there's like a whole bunch of cop cars and they've broken the window of the car, they've ransacked it, they've searched the entire vehicle and I don't know what they were looking for, because, I mean we're straight edged. So anyway, one of the troupers just couldn't stop talking about who's butt that was on the cover of our album, he wanted it so bad. I was like, dude, you smash my window and now you want a fucking free CD? And you're looking to bust me! You've' riffled through all my stuff, you didn't find anything and now you want a free CD. Wazamatterwitchoo anyway? Of course we gave him one, 'cause you know. He said, the singer is John Law. Hey, I'm John Law! Who are you guys? If you can't beat 'em join 'em.

Texas: And they're asking 'who's the nun?'

John: the first thing the guy says to me when we pulled up. It's true we crashed on this country road, the car's totaled, we got our load out of there as fast as we could, we were picked up by a hunter. So when we got back the first thing the cop says to me is, 'are you the driver?' and I'm like hesitant and say 'Yeah?' and he says, 'well, you guys are in a band, right?' and I'm like, 'er...' because you never tell a cop you're in a band, that's search & seizure right there! And he says, 'well, from that cd cover, I can tell ya, I don't know what kind of music you guys are playing, but, what's with the nun?' 'Oh, that's the drummer. Oh, by the way, did you find anything?' Yowch!

All: Yowch!

Pics by Lucky Lawler © 2004