Banana’s Parlor Was a Place of Many Splendered Acquaintances

Banana’s Parlor was a place of many splendered acquaintances.

by Russell Buddy Helm copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

1972. As I walked out of Frank Zappa’s rehearsal in L.A., I remembered back six months, to what Roy, the original bass player with the Mothers, had said to us in the Grove.  We were standing around Banana’s parlor, looking out at that masterpiece of tropical scenery which was pretty much every street in the grove. For some reason, Roy was visiting.  All types of people would want to visit Bananas. She is  charming, beautiful, witty and savvy. Alice B Toklas with a great Caribbean groove.

“Frank made me do it.” Roy said with chagrin. I don’t remember what the deal was, maybe wearing a dress. I was young and it impressed me. I did not want to ever have to say that in my life.

I suspected that Fred Neil would come over to see Bananas in order to hide from people who were expecting him to ‘do something’. Maybe he was on his way down to the sailboats, he would just come in and sit, chat a little bit, enjoy her company. They were good friends. His easy smile would light up the room even more than the gorgeous sunlight seeping in through the glass jalousies. Once I was excited about a book that Danny and Charlie had been reading. Bethlehem Asylum was a very literary group. Jim’s expertise was superhero comix; Thor, Dr. Strange, Aquaman. ‘Operating Manual for Space Ship Earth’ was written by Buckminster Fuller, the prophet of the next age. I had just finished it, still stimulated by the concepts of a global perspective. Humans never used to think on a worldview. I handed the paperback to Fred, “Here. Read this. It’s about…everything.”

He took it like it was a lost object, examined it like it was from another dimension, flipped open the pages, then handed it back. “Too many big words.” he said mildly with his rich, deep and resonate tone. Books weren’t in the same league as Freddie’s voice.

by Russell Buddy Helm copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

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