My sordid life as a rock idol – Bingo’s Banana Splits shocker
It’s been over 40 years since the smash sixties rock group The Banana Splits rocked the charts and the airwaves with their infectious fire station menagerie sound. But now, drummer Bingo has rocked the music establishment with his revelations about the band’s shocking, sordid, secret life.
“From the outside, we had it all,” said Bingo, speaking exclusively to The Daily Week. “Dune buggies, amusement park rides, and our very own rockin’ fire station. But behind the scene, Fleegle, Drooper, Snorky and myself were caught up in an insane whirlwind of custard pie orgies, and thousand-dollar, diamond-studded flea collars.”
For four simple animals, the meteoric rise to music stardom and the grind of TV and music production took a terrible toll. And, although they were idols for millions of teenage girls, two of the band members were tormented by a dark secret.
“One evening, Fleegle got the band together for a meeting. He revealed that he and Drooper were gay. We were so shocked, we fell over, bumped into each other, and fell over again, several times. Of course, these days, being gay is nothing, but back in the sixties, it was a big deal. All the women loved Drooper. They would throw their underwear at him. And those same women bought millions of records. The whole economy of the band was built on the sex appeal of that lovable lion. But for Drooper, the only sex appeal that mattered was Fleegle’s.”
“Of course, it was all hushed up. Fleeg and Droops would go out to dinner with a couple of girls on each arm. But let’s just say that, at the end of evening, the girls went home alone, and Drooper and Fleegle went home together.”
“Snorky and me accepted it, and it was all cool at first. But in the later years, Drooper and Fleegle were bickering all the time. It just got to be a drag.”
But the romantic rift that finally drove a wedge of wafer between the Banana Splits was over a woman.
“Snork was interested in Charlie, from the Sour Grapes. One day, he asked me to ask her out on his behalf. He couldn’t ask her in person since he could only speak in honks.
“I went to see Charlie and explained how Snork was interested in her. She said that she liked Snorky too. But as we talked, I could feel a chemistry between us. And I could see that she was also feeling it. The night of passion that followed was the most intense sexual roller coaster in my entire monkey life.
“As I left her place early the next morning, I felt racked with guilt. I decided I had to tell him what had happened. In hindsight, I was making a huge mistake. I figured he would be angry, but I had not guessed the power of his elephant range. He went totally berserk, tearing down walls and throwing PAs around the fire hall. I think he would have killed me if vets hadn’t arrived and shot him with tranquilizer darts. But he was an elephant, and they never forget.”
The band was still performing, but the old magic had gone. It was inevitable that, just months later, they would go their separate ways. For most, the breakup meant obscurity, although Snork reprised his keyboarding skills as Max Rebo, the blue elephant in Return of the Jedi, before dying of a heart attack in 1985.
As for Bingo, when he split from the Splits, he formed his own band, Bingo and the Monkees. But his old demons came along for the ride. “I am ashamed of my behavior towards them,” said Bingo. “I stole money and cigarettes from Davey Jones and Peter Tork, and I threw monkey poo at Mike Nesmith.” Although they were on the verge of a major TV and record deal, and Bingo had already penned “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarkson,” the other band members kicked out their star performer. Ironically, The Monkees would achieve TV and chart success without a monkey, replacing him with lookalike Micky Dolenz.