Some things are so ridiculous that they can’t be taken seriously. Fortunately, that’s the whole point of the music produced by Go Banana Go!, the children’s music combo featuring two dads – an Emmy winning songwriter (Jim Roach) and a retired theoretical physicist (Brian Wecht). For Dark Side of the Banana, their second collection, they took their kids’ ideas and turned them into songs, sketches, and more. There’s even a phony movie trailer with an actual, authentic, recognizable voiceover artist (Ike Amadi).
I count myself as a Go Banana Go! aficionado, especially since we seem to share the same sensibilities. They have a song called “Opera Chicken,” whereas my former writing partner Jon Aubrey and I once recorded Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge” as performed by pigs. Speaking of Devo, J&B use that band’s techno-funk sound for “Parts of a Worm.” Go Banana Go! seems to be preparing for an old school, East Coast vs West Coast comedy throwdown with SiriusXM Kids Place Live favorite Parry Gripp, with tracks like “Never Take a Monkey to the Movies,” “Petting Zoo,” and the silly-but-authoritative parent anthem, “Weird Dad”:
When I was a kid I was into weird things
Like collecting rocks and The Lord of the Rings
I grew up and got married but I didn’t change
I may be a father but I’m still very strange
You would think that J&B quietly scratched memos and slunk off to concoct the songs for Dark Side of the Banana. Far, far from it! In fact, their kids often realized the “brilliance” of their notions and declared “this should be a song,” leaving the adults to fill in the blanks. “Chocolate on My Pants” came from such an edict, as did “Veggie Disco.” Their pandemic-adopted pet inspired “Doggo McFumbles,” is about a pooch who can sing and dance but won’t sit. Album-closer “Leave That Poor Dog Alone” could be “The Safety Dance,” but it’s more a plea to stop messing with the pets, for the sake of a parents’ sanity.
Dealing with children whose desires change like weathervanes delivers one of the collection’s standout tracks. Randy Kaplan devised a smart take on the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Uncle Dox transformed the Beastie Boys’ “Girls” into a preschool-appropriate “Squirrels.” Now Go Banana Go! took a child’s refusal to eat a previously-requested fruit into “Banana,” a parody of Toto’s “Rosanna” in the spirit of Weird Al Yankovic. It’s not legendary (yet), but wait until other seven-year-olds get ahold of the tune. They may go, literally, bananas. Plan accordingly.
Here is the video for their song, “Going to Bed”: