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Banana Thief

Gregory Page is everywhere. You can see this London transplant gigging or collaborating with Jane's Hands, Steve Poltz, Tristan Prettyman, Itai Faireman, and Susie Suh. If he's not onstage singing and strumming, he's behind a soundboard producing and recording. He has more than 20 albums out, from solo projects to compilations to his work with the Hatchet Brothers and the Rugburns. His music has been heard on the TV show Felicity and the movie The Big Empty.

Page's mother was a member of one of the first UK girl bands, the Beatchicks, who opened for two Beatle shows in Spain, 1965. "I was a small chap sitting on Paul McCartney's knee," says Page. "Mum knew all along I was going to grow up and become a musician." He studied classical guitar at London's Trinity College of Music.

"I am a full-time dreamer, and if dreams can come true then someday I hope to find myself in heaven playing music with my grandpa and John Lennon."

TRICKIEST MUSICAL PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"To find new ways to keep myself entertained. I enjoy hearing my voice for about an hour, then I get bored of it. I only play with myself -- which sounds suggestive -- but performing solo can be very rewarding. Especially when you don't have to split the pay at the end of the night with your guitarist who played solos through your special words."

INSTRUMENTS/EQUIPMENT USED?

"My pal Ed Douglas at the Double Eagle Music Store in Normal Heights found an old Mexican nylon string guitar in a back alley trash can. He gave it to me, and that evening I was eager to play it at an open-mike night. During my first tune I looked down to see a huge, hairy black spider crawling out of the sound hole -- I screamed like a little girl and the thing disappeared back into the guitar -- I sing through an old Shure bullet microphone, which adds a unique shitty quality to my voice. I also play a turn-of-the-century field pump organ, which adds to the religious experience."

BEST BRUSH WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS?

"During my tour of duty with the Rugburns our biggest groupie was Weird Al Yankovic. At the Troubadour in Los Angeles, before our show, I was talking to this beautiful girl at the bar when Weird Al came up and asked me for my autograph. I think I got laid that night."

WORST BRUSH WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS?

"At a Belly Up show, when I opened for Jerry Jeff Walker, the audience was very rude and they began to shout insults while I was singing. I drank a bottle of red wine onstage and played a ten-minute version of the slowest, saddest song I had written. [Later] I could hear Jerry's band rocking onstage, so I crept into his dressing room to borrow a bottle of his wine, and he walked out of the bathroom and caught me red handed and proceeded to yell and scream at me. I grabbed a banana from his fresh fruit bowl and shouted, 'Back off, Mr. Bojangles!' The security guys were cool about it, but I had to leave the building."

WORST ENCOUNTER WITH FANS?

"At one of my Lestat gigs, this very tall man walked up onto the stage while I was playing. It startled me at first because I could tell that he was high on something. I jokingly asked him if he wanted to make a special request and shook his hand; he mumbled something and then stood at attention in front of the room full of people. I politely asked him to get off the stage, but he just stood there like a statue. I said, 'Hey, buddy, see what that bronze plaque says on the wall? It says The Gregory Page Stage -- now get the fuck off my stage.' He was ushered out by Louie the sound man, and I believe he was arrested later for hassling people outside."

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Gregory Page is everywhere. You can see this London transplant gigging or collaborating with Jane's Hands, Steve Poltz, Tristan Prettyman, Itai Faireman, and Susie Suh. If he's not onstage singing and strumming, he's behind a soundboard producing and recording. He has more than 20 albums out, from solo projects to compilations to his work with the Hatchet Brothers and the Rugburns. His music has been heard on the TV show Felicity and the movie The Big Empty.

Page's mother was a member of one of the first UK girl bands, the Beatchicks, who opened for two Beatle shows in Spain, 1965. "I was a small chap sitting on Paul McCartney's knee," says Page. "Mum knew all along I was going to grow up and become a musician." He studied classical guitar at London's Trinity College of Music.

"I am a full-time dreamer, and if dreams can come true then someday I hope to find myself in heaven playing music with my grandpa and John Lennon."

TRICKIEST MUSICAL PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"To find new ways to keep myself entertained. I enjoy hearing my voice for about an hour, then I get bored of it. I only play with myself -- which sounds suggestive -- but performing solo can be very rewarding. Especially when you don't have to split the pay at the end of the night with your guitarist who played solos through your special words."

INSTRUMENTS/EQUIPMENT USED?

"My pal Ed Douglas at the Double Eagle Music Store in Normal Heights found an old Mexican nylon string guitar in a back alley trash can. He gave it to me, and that evening I was eager to play it at an open-mike night. During my first tune I looked down to see a huge, hairy black spider crawling out of the sound hole -- I screamed like a little girl and the thing disappeared back into the guitar -- I sing through an old Shure bullet microphone, which adds a unique shitty quality to my voice. I also play a turn-of-the-century field pump organ, which adds to the religious experience."

BEST BRUSH WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS?

"During my tour of duty with the Rugburns our biggest groupie was Weird Al Yankovic. At the Troubadour in Los Angeles, before our show, I was talking to this beautiful girl at the bar when Weird Al came up and asked me for my autograph. I think I got laid that night."

WORST BRUSH WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS?

"At a Belly Up show, when I opened for Jerry Jeff Walker, the audience was very rude and they began to shout insults while I was singing. I drank a bottle of red wine onstage and played a ten-minute version of the slowest, saddest song I had written. [Later] I could hear Jerry's band rocking onstage, so I crept into his dressing room to borrow a bottle of his wine, and he walked out of the bathroom and caught me red handed and proceeded to yell and scream at me. I grabbed a banana from his fresh fruit bowl and shouted, 'Back off, Mr. Bojangles!' The security guys were cool about it, but I had to leave the building."

WORST ENCOUNTER WITH FANS?

"At one of my Lestat gigs, this very tall man walked up onto the stage while I was playing. It startled me at first because I could tell that he was high on something. I jokingly asked him if he wanted to make a special request and shook his hand; he mumbled something and then stood at attention in front of the room full of people. I politely asked him to get off the stage, but he just stood there like a statue. I said, 'Hey, buddy, see what that bronze plaque says on the wall? It says The Gregory Page Stage -- now get the fuck off my stage.' He was ushered out by Louie the sound man, and I believe he was arrested later for hassling people outside."

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