banana: electrical and not approved

by Art Chantry (

take a look. “the man” did not have a CLUE how to sell this thing. unbelievable. when i repeated “advertising makes it happen”, i sure didn’t mean advertising THIS stupid. makes ya wanna cry…. try to imagine a world where the velvets were totally brand new and unknown new band. the only thing they had as far as face recognition was andy warhol – the early andy who wasn’t yet quite a household name. combine that with a label that was based on the then fading fast folkie field trying to survive engulfed by a new underground hippie culture. they did the best they could while being run over by a bulldozer. verve was totally out of it’s league. nothing new for a record label.back then….this is just plain incompetent work. lazy, too….‎”they play funny instruments”…and, yes they do reference smoking it. just read the copy. “electrical banana, is going to be the very next thing…” …it’s like this serial killer is honing down on you and you try to make jokes to lighten the mood. or something like that….warhol still did the cover. were they EVER really “post-warhol?” … i think the great philosopher, carly simon, said it best – “these ARE the ‘good old days’…. i can guarantee you that there is nothing ‘tongue-in-cheek” about this ad. this was the original ad campaign when it was first released. if you ever bother to go back and look at old magazines from that era, you’ll quickly realize how different that world was. it all seems like snarky parody to our cynical weary minds now. but, i assure you, back then it was all very sincere….

---AC:oh, and i have to ad that the reason i noticed it was because warhol's face was on it. even back then i knew about warhol. and i was a dumb little kid. other than that, i didn't even understand what they were talking about. it totally shot past me. of course, now i can see the irony.

… i always marvel at old rolling stone, and evergreen and eye magazines (and their ilk). the “hip” magazines of the 60′s. reading them is like reading little children gossip about stuff they think is cool. it’s like the hipsters of today are so world weary and burned out and cynical that the progressive new revolutionary world presented in those old magazines seems like another planet. remember, we’ve gone through pushing almost 40 years of punk since this advert. when this record came out, there was no “punk” yet. the word was even ‘coined’ for almost another ten years. they didn’t have the reference point or even the vocabulary to describe this music. we really don’t see the world the same anymore at all. that world is so completely gone. we can’t even really imagine what it was like any more. i’m just old enough to have been there….

…sure, the helix was “cool” and the stone” was not. but, even if you read old helix’s, you see a rudinmentary and unsophistcated arrogance in the presentation that was rather blind-sdied and elitist. just like yuppies…. and’punk’ back then meant ‘homosexual prison sex slave” back then. the use of the term in music slowly found usage here and there. but it was legs macneil’s PUNK magazine that really launched it as a word to describe a musical genre. and that was (what?) 1976? ten years after this advert. of course, reading old issues of punk today is still nieve and silly. but, it was so completely different silly at the same time. it’s a real generational mind shift…. and that didn’t mean what we think it means today. calling a kid a punk was a real insult. think about it. it meant your were no better than jail meat….well, i gotta say, every single history i’ve read pretty much points out that dear sweet andy was ALWAYS about the money. hell, he used to be a graphic designer! a COMMERCIAL artist. those skills served him well from the gitgo!…

Read More: Harry Benson photograph. Jamie Wyeth, Bianca Jagger, Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol

…an old pal of mine (nathan gluck, rip) used to be andy’s in-house desinger/assistant in his old pre-factory days back in the 50′s. andy was no shrinking violet when it came to money. he was pretty much obsessed with getting as much as possible and holding on dearly to it. even the first silkscreen painting he made was dollar bills (aka,”money”)… i met him once, too. i came away thinking the guy wasn’t quite human any more….actually, andy was a REALLY good designer. there’s nothing in this ad that suggests warhol’s hand at all. nice joke, tho….

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