A Band's Dissolve

Banana Blender Surprise calls it quits or do they?

"I can't do that for the rest of my life," adds Beebe. "I wouldn't survive. My voice wouldn't survive. My brain wouldn't survive. I think I'd go crazy."

Barker has a more philosophical take on the situation. For him, music could never be as important as medicine -- but he had to discover that for himself, going on the road to learn that the adolescent dream of being a rock star wasn't where his heart was at. "For me, these past two years have put everything in perspective," he says. "I knew I would go to med school. I knew I didn't want to be a professional musician. I wanted to be a doctor."

Still, none of the Bananas are writing off the band completely, even if none of them knows for certain when the band will perform next. Scheduling is the problem. With Barker in med school, Conrad Choucroun in college and Beebe on the road with the Ugly Americans, mutual open dates are going to be difficult to pin down. But Barker insists he wants to maintain a little rock and roll playfulness in his life. He says a professor has told him it's important not to allow medicine to consume your every waking hour. "You can take it with you," he quips.

Though few will argue that a great musical voice is being silenced with Banana Blender Surprise's hiatus, one could easily argue that the Houston scene's humor, perhaps even its performance-art, quotient will drop precipitously with the band's absence. After all, the Bananas have been known for, among other things, their Moon Pie carving contests, angry sarcasm (the band once played a string of Neil Diamond tunes at a Dallas club because the venue's operators treated the guys so shabbily) and willingness to scarf down junk food for your amusement -- and sometimes to puke it right back up. The guys never aspired to be more than entertaining. But to them, that's what pop music is about.

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