From RTX to Black Bananas 

click to enlarge Peeled back: Former RTX members Jennifer Herrema and Brian McKinley are making a new beginning with Black Bananas. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Peeled back: Former RTX members Jennifer Herrema and Brian McKinley are making a new beginning with Black Bananas.

Jennifer Herrema may not have invented the rocker chic aesthetic, but girls all over the world have been trying to emulate her distinct style for 20 years.

The singer-songwriter, best known for heading experimental rock outfit Royal Trux (with then-boyfriend Neil Hagerty) from 1987-2001, has a new project, Black Bananas. The band opens for Kurt Vile at the Fillmore on Wednesday.

Black Bananas includes the same lineup as RTX, Herrema’s most recent hard-rock group, which, in the process of spending three years recording its fourth full-length release, had evolved and expanded its sound.  

So the band changed its name in a spur-of-the-moment decision.

“I was talking to Dan Koretzky over at [record label] Drag City and we were just like, laughing, ‘Oh, we put out another RTX record,’” Herrema says.

But they really didn’t, and the music was moving in a different direction. Herrema adds, “There’s just so many people that think they know what RTX sounds like, and I was just like, ‘ F--- it dude, let’s just change it [the name].’”

Immediately Koretzky suggested Black Bananas, the title of one of Herrema’s favorite RTX songs.

The “pretty spontaneous and organic decision” happened the day before Herrema’s team had to send out the artwork for the new LP.

“Rad Times Xpress IV” — the debut album for Herrema and her Black Bananas, with Brian McKinley on guitar, Kurt Midness on bass and synth, and Jaimo Welch on drums and sample — is decidedly groovier and more upbeat than previous projects.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” Herrema says. “It’s for people that listen to RTX and it’s got some RTX signature sounds — my vocals, Brian’s guitar playing — but we take it further, we’ve added a lot more sounds.”

Sounds like a fresh start for this bunch.


Kurt Vile with Black Bananas

Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

8 p.m. Wednesday


Contact: (415) 371-5500,

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