It's a well-known fact that pop art extraordinaire and iconic '60s figure Andy Warhol was a true master of reinterpreting the images and resources around him. From newspaper clippings to magazine headlines to something in his fridge, Warhol was king at flamboyantly reimagining the most mundane of objects into a colourful, eye-catching piece of art. But one piece of Warhol's work has never been traced back to an original source… until now.
As Dangerous Minds exclusively reports, D Generation and Danzig member Howie Pyro has finally revealed the true origin of the famous Warhol-created banana on The Velvet Underground's iconic debut record, The Velvet Underground & Nico, which coincidentally is enjoying its 50th anniversary this month.
The banana, which featured a (now-collector's-item) skin you could physically peel on its cover, was always a mystery to fans as they wondered where Warhol found the inspiration for what became such a strong symbol for The Velvet Underground over the years.
Pyro reveals in an op-ed that he accidentally stumbled upon the original banana in a junk shop "in the mid 80s" in the Lower East Side of New York City, only realising recently what it meant in punk and NYC history.
"There was one on Broadway that I had never seen before right down the street from Forbidden Planet and the greatest place ever, the mighty Strand Book Store. I went in and there was a lot of great stuff for me. I found some old records, a huge stash of outrageous and disgusting tabloid newspapers from the sixties which I kept buying there for a couple months afterward, and some cool old knick-knacks.
"I knocked into something on a crowded table full of junk and heard a big CLANG on the cement floor. I bent down to pick it up. It was one of those cheap triangular tin ashtrays that usually advertised car tires or something mundane. I picked it up (it was face down) and when I turned it over I was surprised to see…THE BANANA!!"
Images via Dangerous Minds/Howie Pyro
The banana was featured on an ad on a metal ashtray and has been in Pyro's possession for 30 years, but with Pyro's realisation, it finally solves the mystery of where Warhol found his The Velvet Underground & Nico inspiration.
Pyro says he's now moved the super rare cultural artifact to a secured storage facility.