Cary LaScala has an enviable résumé as a drummer; he has toured and recorded with a variety of accomplished bands and artists, including Jackson United (Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters), Wild Party, and Casey Spooner (Fisherspooner). But his most recent band, Bloody Bananas, has LaScala stepping out from behind the kit to play the multifaceted role of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and front man.
“I’ve just always had the itch to do my own thing,” he says. “I think I have a lot to say, and I'm always coming up with different song ideas.” Those ideas have culminated into a well-crafted collection of tunes, featuring hummable melodies interwoven with guitar hooks set against, of course, LaScala’s signature drumming. When asked about the myriad of new roles he plays in his band, he claims, “It's strange to consider myself as a multi-instrumentalist… I'm self-taught on drums, guitar, bass, and as a vocalist, but don't claim to know what I'm doing or anything.”
Despite that admission, LaScala seems to have had no difficulty in sculpting the sound of Bloody Bananas, creating his own blend of indie pop and garage rock. Enlisting the help of producer Ethan Kaufmann (Wild Party, Paper Jackets), the Bloody Bananas debut record sounds like a band who has long since found its groove and settled into a sound uniquely their own.
Listening to Bloody Bananas immediately recalls the familiar sound of bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes while still feeling fresh, unique, and irresistibly catchy. “I feel lucky starting out playing drums years ago, because I can sort out the strumming on different guitar parts fairly quickly and easily,” he says. “I feel like I'm a good song listener and have always had the ability to pick a song apart and figure out why I either like or dislike certain sounds, rhythms, or melodies.”
While the melodies are catchy and the music infectious, a closer listen reveals a LaScala as a songwriter grappling with deeper material. When asked about his songs, LaScala notes, “My lyrics are usually serious, vulnerable, based around societal bullshit norms, and personal traumas. I try to conflict my sometimes sad and serious lyrics with catchy or poppy sounding chords and rhythms. I've always liked that juxtaposition.”
LaScala hails from The Bay Area, but has recently transplanted to Los Angeles, which is where Bloody Bananas now calls home. While LaScala recorded all of the parts himself, he has recently recruited a cast of experienced members to round out the lineup of the band for live shows and touring.
Mixed by veteran Los Angeles mix engineer Will Brierre (The Killers, Fleetwood Mac) and mastered by Steve Hall (Tom Petty, Green Day), the first Bloody Bananas’ single, Can’t Be For Real, embodies the band’s tight, polished yet visceral sound, and is set to drop in the spring of 2023 followed shortly thereafter by an EP release. A full-length release is expected the latter half of 2023.
Written by: J. Michael Smith