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The Electric Banana: The bar that Gave Punk a Chance

Half Life plays The Electric Banana in 1986.

The Electric Banana was the center of Pittsburgh’s Punk New Wave, and Metal scene for 20 years. It was a lab for new music that allowed untried bands to perform off-beat rock. The Banana’s willingness to give new bands a shot made it an important stop on the punk / new wave circuit. Many bands who went on to national punk fame played their first gigs at the Banana. The young touring bands that performed at the Banana include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, The Misfits, Hüsker Dü, Dead Milkmen, Butthole Surfers, Meat Puppets, the Leonards, Ian Dury and They Might Be Giants. Of the Pittsburgh bands who started their careers at the Banana were the Rave-Ups, the Cynics, Half-Life, the Affordable Floors, and The Five with Reid Paley.

The Electric Banana was housed in a two-story brick building at 3387 Bigelow the North Oakland section of Pittsburgh. Located on a hillside above the campuses of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University, the Electric Banana attracted punked out college students and Pittsburgh East Enders. They were willing subjects in the musical experiments that were conducted nightly at the Banana. Gambling three dollars on the cover charge, they took a chance that they might hear a challenging new band… read more >

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