Banana Handgun

TUPELO – With a name like Banana Handgun, you might expect a band full of young rock ‘n’ rollers. What you might not expect is the sound of a band that could’ve opened for Zeppelin back in ‘70.
With Banana Handgun, you get both.
Wes Sheffield, Luke Johnson, Rich Johnson and Dusty Thornton formed Banana Handgun only two months ago, but they’ve racked up a few accomplishments.
They established an identity – an old-school, rock ‘n’ roll-y blues band – and got a steady gig, performing at Old Venice on Thursday nights.
At the same time, though, the men insist – as their name implies – that they’re all about having fun.
“We try not to take ourselves too seriously, so (the name) keeps us in line,” Sheffield said.

The guys in Banana Handgun have been friends for a while but only started playing music together in early May.
“When we hang out, it’s like extended family,” Luke Johnson said. “You have to get to know each other before you can really jam.”
With influences ranging from rock and blues to jazz and gospel, Banana Handgun has spent some time getting to know its own sound.
Banana Handgun’s music sounds like a blend of blues and rock ‘n’ roll. The guys point to several different bands who’ve influenced them, from Zeppelin to the Jimi Hendrix Experience to The Doors, but they don’t want to sound like those bands.
“One of my biggest concerns is sounding like Luke Johnson,” Johnson said. “We’re just taking what (other bands) showed us…”
“And building on it,” Sheffield finished. “We play what we want to hear.”

World take-over
Banana Handgun has even surprised themselves with their own sound.
“We’ve recorded some live stuff,” Sheffield said. “We listened to it and said, man, this recording sounds like it’s 40 years old.”
The group hopes to record an EP or full-length album in the future. Right now the band is writing new material.
“We have a lot of fun playing together. The rate of which the writing happens just has to do with that,” Sheffield said.
So, where does Banana Handgun go from here?
“We would love to (take over the world), if we had the opportunity to do so,” Sheffield said. “I think that I’d kick myself if I didn’t take it.”
Johnson agreed, but was a little more Zen with his answer: “Happiness is the main thing.”

Check ‘em out
Who: Banana Handgun
When: 9 p.m. Thursdays
Where: Old Venice, Tupelo
Cost: Free
Info: (662) 840-6872

What’s in a name?
Banana Handgun got its name from a friend.
Wes Sheffield said a friend developed a skit about a bum in Memphis who robbed people with a banana instead of a handgun. The guys liked the phrase “banana handgun,” and it stuck.
“Everybody asks about it,” Sheffield said, “but it’s not easily forgotten.”

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

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