BANANA BIRTHDAY BLOWOUT!
featuring Enuff Z’Nuff & Mike Tramp’s White Lion
Just when you thought you’d seen the last of C.C. Banana, here he is again!
Actually, nobody expected that they’d seen the last of him, but we like to be dramatic.
Anyhow, our good friend and 2003 Sludgeaholic of the Year is back to recount his escapades the night he showed up for the Tramp’s White Lion & Enuff Z’Nuff show at Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey. That also happened to be C.C.’s birthday, hence the title ‘Banana Birthday Blowout.’
Wait, that was March 15th! Which means this actually all occurred nearly a month to the date we’re posting it! Why did it take so long for us to put this up? ‘Cause we suck, that’s why. Well, that, and it took Banana nearly that long to remember everything that happened that night and to type this all up. Apparently it was a pretty wild night.
So here’s C.C. Banana’s very detailed recap of the night of March 15th, 2005. Enjoy!
The Ides of March!
It’s the day Julius Caesar was assassinated and the day Christopher Columbus returned safely to Spain after discovering America. More importantly, it is the day a certain yellow bundle of joy was delivered, draped in swaddling peel.
To celebrate this joyous occasion, C.C. Banana teamed up with legendary rockers Enuff Z’Nuff and Mike Tramp’s White Lion for the Banana Birthday Blowout! It was an evening of mirth, merriment and music hosted by the yellow fellow himself, and it all went down on March 15th at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ.
Upon arriving at the venue, I rendezvoused with drummer extraordinaire Troy Patrick Farrell! Not only does Troy pound the skins in this current incarnation of White Lion, he also chronicles their exploits via his very own Metal Sludge tour diary! Troy had been invaluable in helping to arrange this special event and was now kind enough to invite C.C. Banana onto the hallowed grounds of the bands’ tour bus! I slipped inside for some hurried hellos, and then I split for the club.
Dingbatz was absolutely packed this evening, a fairly remarkable achievement for a cold Tuesday in New Jersey. The club was so full, in fact, that C.C. Banana was actually denied admittance during opening acts John Monnecka and American Angel! Even the police and fire departments had arrived to ensure that the venue did not exceed capacity! Had I known that so many fans would turn out to celebrate my birthday, I’d surely have added a second stage at the local VFW or American Legion…
As it is, I was barely able to squeeze inside to catch a few minutes of my old friends Enuff Z’Nuff! Though my familiarity with the band extends embarrassingly little beyond having worked with them on the 2003 Metal Sludge Extravaganza Tour, I was yet again impressed and entranced by their well-crafted tunes.
As such, I made sure to congratulate founder and bassist Chip Z’Nuff for his milestone appearance on The Howard Stern Show the previous day. Howard had been a very early and influential supporter of Enuff Z’Nuff during their formative years and this had been Chip’s first appearance on the program in quite some time. To his credit, Chip did an exemplary job of bringing Howard up to speed on the band’s career and current situation, acknowledging the various speed bumps they’d encountered yet ultimately conveying an optimistic view of the future. Nice job, Mr. Z! I also made sure to thank Chip for performing at my official birthday celebration, although I got the impression that he had no idea what I was talking about…
It was also cool seeing Enuff Z’Nuff guitarist and touring vocalist John Monaco for the first time since he’d tackled me onstage during the aforementioned MSX Tour. Having long since resolved our well-documented disagreement (he thought it would be funny to tackle me; I disagreed), we had made tentative plans to commemorate my birthday by delivering a rock & roll duet of "Those Were the Days." Regrettably, tonight’s performance had left Monaco drained, exhausted and in no shape to perform any sort of encore. But he did assure me that we would indeed perform the song together someday and even gave me some nifty Enuff Z’Nuff guitar picks as a birthday present! All things considered, I was just happy that my former nemesis had gotten all dressed up for my party…
In addition to reacquainting myself with my fellow MSX survivors, I was introduced to current Enuff Z’Nuff drummer Erik Donner. Erik had previously drummed in Monaco’s solo band and has been doing a commendable job of filling in for an ailing Ricky Parent. Though Erik had been unaware that today was in fact C.C. Banana’s birthday, he nevertheless offered me the generous gift of a vintage David Lee Roth T-shirt! Just as soon as he was done wearing it, of course…
As a surprise bonus, I was also treated to a rare rock & roll reunion with Ricky Parent himself! Though the resilient Ricky has been laying low while on the road to recovery, he did make an unannounced appearance exclusively at the Banana Birthday Blowout! Here he is doing his very best Eddie Van Halen impression…
Finally it was time for guest of honor C.C. Banana to greet the fans and deliver my official birthday address! Compared to this time last year, I’m a little bit older, a little bit balder and probably about 7 pounds fatter. But none of Father Time’s questionable blessings were going to prevent me from making the most of this momentous occasion!
My auspicious arrival was heralded by a trio of hot chicks hurling confetti into the air and onto the crowd. Peeking out from behind the scenes, all I could see was an endless ocean of awaiting faces — literally hundreds of them, growing ripe with anticipation! As I revealed my presence and followed the rainbow paper trail out to center stage, I could actually hear the hushed whisper of my name spreading through the excited crowd! The faces of the faithful lit up upon beholding my yellow magnificence, indicating to me that there were more than a few Sludgeaholics in the audience tonight! Gazing upon their smiling visages, I ceremoniously removed the party blower from where it had been clenched between my teeth and addressed my loyal legions.
"HELLLLLLOOOOOO, CLIFTON NEW JERSEYYYYYYYYYYYY!"
The crowd cheered!
"MY NAME… IS… C… C… BANANA!"
The crowd cheered even louder!
"And today… March 15th… TODAY… is MY FREAKIN’ BIRTHDAAAAYYYYYYYY!"
And with that, the crowd went absolutely nuts.
Sure, they were probably drunk. And maybe a little agitated by how tightly they were packed. Still, a rave is a rave.
Man, I love this job!
Because the event schedule was running a little overtime, I kept my set short and cut right to the chase: In return for the assembled masses singing "Happy Birthday" to C.C. Banana, one of my lovely assistants would display an actual nipple! At least I was hoping so. Come to think of it, maybe I should have cleared that idea with the girls before making the announcement…
Nevertheless, immediately upon extending my impromptu offer I was wracked and rocked by a rough and raucous rendition of said beloved birthday ballad. Folks, you haven’t truly experienced this song until you’ve been serenaded by a motley assortment of bikers, chicks, aging rock fans and probably a few members of the local police and fire departments. All of whom took the news surprisingly well upon being informed that the promised glimpse of nipple would likely end up being a mere flash of cleavage. Yet as a precaution against potential disgruntled retaliation, I quickly scurried my assistants safely offstage before loudly proclaiming the impending return of Mike Tramp and the music of White Lion!
Personally, I have been a huge White Lion fan since my freshman year of college, when resident metal guy Bill Bennett loaned me his cassette of their major label debut. Oddly enough, Bill’s dorm room was shrouded in posters and pin-ups of nothing but such heavier metal legends as Metallica, Megadeth and Manowar, making this White Lion tape the true oddity of his collection. Yet for a more mainstream music maven like myself, the appeal of White Lion’s "Pride" album was at once immediate and intense. To this day I still harbor a special fondness for the song "Lady of the Valley," which at the time reminded me of a theater instructor upon whom I’d had a major crush…
Moments later, I was shaken from my collegiate reverie by the much-anticipated arrival of Mike Tramp and his white lion cubs! This ferocious fivesome would catapult the capacity crowd through a wilderness of White Lion classics, including such "Pride" standouts as "Hungry," "Wait," "Lonely Nights," "Tell Me" and the aforementioned song representative of my inappropriate obsession with Mrs. Robinson.
Also favorably received were such FM favorites as "Little Fighter," "Broken Heart" and "Love Don’t Come Easy," along with select album tracks like "Lights and Thunder" and "You’re All I Need." Impressively, Tramp and team even offered up the title track (along with as a few other choice cuts) from the very first White Lion album, Grand Slamm Records’ "Fight to Survive," before bringing it all home with their trademark cover of "Radar Love" and an interesting electric encore of "When the Children Cry." To be sure, after having waited over 15 years to experience this music performed live, tonight was a welcome birthday gift indeed.
Mike Tramp showing off his bulging Popeye muscle.
Chicks checking out Mike’s other bulge.
Due to the overwhelming congestion of the crowd this evening, I had elected to enjoy the 2-hour-plus performance from behind the stage, near the drum kit. This choice vantage point also situated me alongside a bevy of bountiful babes, a scenario which would normally bode well for a famous fruit like myself. Yet tonight none would have eyes for the bodacious birthday banana, their attention instead commanded by powerhouse percussionist Troy Patrick Farrell, the man who can pick up a chick with the flip of a stick!
As such, C.C. Banana resorted to finagling a few feminine favors in exchange for some festive freebies.
Sometime after the tick of 2:00 AM, it was time for the bands and the banana to mix and mingle. Photos were taken and autographs signed, many audience members informing me that they absolutely love Metal Sludge and read the site every day! Others approached simply to wish C.C. Banana a happy birthday, including suburban mistresses Miss Denise and Miss Deirdre, who offered to administer a bona fide birthday spanking!
Though I can’t quite confirm the occurrence, evidence suggests that a riot broke out as fans scrambled to grab the last of my Banana Birthday Blowout flyers! Seen here is J.C. Banana, the newest member of my support team Banana 7, desperately clinging to said souvenir! J.C. actually had to snatch this slippery specimen straight from the hands of Mike Tramp, who had just thoughtlessly scribbled his name all over it…
Ironically, Mike’s act of petit vandalism had actually sparked an inspired idea: In commemoration of this musical milestone, I would acquire autographs of the entire entourage — all upon my fantastic flyer! One of the first such acquisitions would be the John Hancock of John Monaco, who proceeded to use my banana as a backboard! Although personally, I think he was just trying to knock me over again…
Shortly thereafter, I was finally and formally introduced to Tramp bassist Claus Langeskov from Denmark. Claus was quick to point out the spelling of his first name to be "CLAUS," as in Santa, despite the fact that it is pronounced "KLAUS," as in Meine. Damn foreigners and their wacky names! Nevertheless, I thanked Claus for an excellent show and proceeded to tell him what I wanted for Christmas…
I also acquainted myself with Tramp guitarist Jamie Law. Since Jamie had neither Christmas nor birthday present to give me, I settled solely upon the souvenir of his signature. Hailing from Mike’s new homeland of Australia, Jamie too spoke with a funny foreign accent. Fortunately, years of watching "The Crocodile Hunter" on Animal Planet had prepared C.C. Banana for just such an occasion, enabling me to understand whatever it was Jamie was rambling on about…
Rounding out this international pride of lions was keyboardist Henning Wanner from Germany. Even though Henning was the only performer at the Banana Birthday Blowout not to pose for a photo or sign my flyer, he’s still okay in my book because he wears the top of his hair in one of those cool Qui-Gon Jinn / Jedi ponytail thingies…
My autograph odyssey nearing its conclusion, I at last set my sights upon the elusive Big Game: White Lion’s leonine leader, the marvelous Mike Tramp! Still seeking his paw print upon my precious paper, I slipped back onboard the bus for a final few moments with the mane man himself. As Mike magnanimously made his mark upon my magnificent memento, I thanked him for breathing new life into the legacy that is White Lion. I also gave him a copy of my BACKSTAGE BANANA video to enjoy with the rest of the den. In reciprocation, the feline frontman engulfed the fabulous fruit in a banana birthday bear hug! I bid Mike a fond farewell then retired to the Bananamobile, inadvertently absconding with a coveted Sharpie in the process…
Bitchin’ banana thanks go out to the ever-resourceful Troy Patrick Farrell, for not only being C.C. Banana’s definitive go-to guy but also for being the coolest damn 3-named fellow since Billy Dee Williams! For more fun with Troy and Tramp’s White Lion, be sure to check out Troy’s website and his Metal Sludge tour diary! Relish the roar, my blonde brother-in-arms!
Thanks also to banana buddy and Sludgette supreme DefLepChick! Not only was DLC responsible for taking many of the fine photos featured in the above article, she’d also agreed to accompany C.C. Banana onstage in exchange for a set-up with a certain sexy skinsman. Additional thanks to DefLepChick’s friend Laura for providing her own bounty of banana birthday images!
I’d also like to thank Mike Tramp’s right-hand gal Snuggles and her friend Angela for being my lovely ladies in waiting, even though neither ever displayed their glorious goodies. Pop on by the official Mike Tramp message board and be sure to tell them the Banana says hello!
My heartfelt gratitude also goes out to new recruit J.C. Banana for providing his invaluable assistance. J.C.’s primary responsibilities that evening were to photographically document my adventure and to ensure that Monaco didn’t tackle me. Happily, J.C. excelled in both.
Additional fruity kudos to Freddy, Sue and the spectacular staff at Dingbatz, for playing host to my birthday bonanza and for providing the requisite rock & roll resplendence!
Certainly, my sincerest thanks to the members of Enuff Z’Nuff and White Lion… er, Tramp’s White Lion… or is it Mike Tramp’s White Lion? Whatever it’s called these days, thanks for letting C.C. Banana piggyback my event upon yours. The Banana Birthday Blowout was a surprisingly life-affirming way of celebrating the fact that I am now one year closer to death! Considering that I normally spend my birthdays moping around the house, bemoaning the fact that I can no longer fit into my purple denim bellbottoms from 1993, I think I may have just found the perfect antidote to my annual birthday blues.
Although if I do anything like this again next year, I really must remember to shave. Nothing looks more ridiculous than a banana sporting peach fuzz…
Last but not least, much appreciation to the amazing Metal Sludge for hosting this virtual version of my Banana Birthday Blowout! As ever, I hope everyone enjoyed my latest banana shenanigans and I look forward to bringing you more in future. See you next time, gang!
Metal Sludge’s Most Bangable Fellow of 2004
BONUS: From Bret Michaels of Poison to Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, many rock luminaries were born on the Ides of March! Click HERE to learn who else is fortunate enough to share their birthday with C.C. Banana!
Well that was a nice trip back in time, sort of. But regardless of when it occured, it was still nice of C.C. to check in with us and to share his experiences with all the Sludgeaholics. It was almost like an alternate version of the Tramp’s White Lion Tour Diary!
Speaking of which, whatever happened to the tour diary? The tour’s been over for weeks and the diary last left off on March 12 at The House of Rock in White Marsh, Maryland. What gives?! TroyPatrickFarrell, please report to the principal’s office!
Sticking bananas in your tailpipe since 1998