Band Bio English

The roots of Banana Republic can be traced back to Indonesia, the archipelago where Marcel Heilijgers toured around. He returned to the Netherlands in 1988 and began the continuation of his former band in Eindhoven.

In the mid-1990s, Banana Republic gained popularity among students in North-Brabant. Their performances are characterised by their enthusiastic way of playing. When someone jokes they should have band T-shirts made, this results in the sales of more than three hundred T-shirts: “There I am, in a bar in Eindhoven, and it turns out that people are actually wearing our shirts!” What also became more remarkable were the promotion activities for performances. For instance, at one point a life-size announcement was shown on the grounds of the Eindhoven University of Technology. Consequently, the band was given the opportunity to introduce itself first in the city centre of Eindhoven, where they performed acoustically.  

In 1992 Marvin, who went to Indonesia, was replaced by Peter Scheren. Together with this new bassist, the band presented their first original songs to the public. Shortly after that, the band came up with the idea to record these songs in a professional studio. It is in March 1993 that the first original songs are recorded and distributed via the band’s own circuit. By then, the performances had become even more intense thanks to a professional PA system and light show. Banana Republic makes the crowd lose control, even through the smoke.

Early in 1995, Marcel Heilijgers, too, decides to go back to Indonesia. His place is taken by Jasper Pasveer, who is considered to be the perfect replacement because of his original guitar skills. The band then started to focus on their own repertoire. At the end of December 1995/January 1996, the band revisited the studio to record their album ‘Going Bananas’. (Some of the songs on this album can be found under music/mp3)    

At the end of 1996, Peter Scheren leaves for Israel. Now, you might begin to believe that being in Banana Republic means that emigration is inevitable…Fortunately, the band soon found a new bassist who is used to being on stage: It does not take long for René van der Muuren to adjust and so this ‘new Banana’ is soon goofing around on stage with the others.

In 1997/1998, the  band’s name starts to spread. Due to performances at festivals, among other things, Banana Republic’s original work is recognized more and more often by the crowd. 

In early 1999, yet another change occured. The guitar duo Jozef and Jasper decided to focus on their family. At that time, Banana founder Marcel Heilijgers had returned to the Netherlands because Indonesia was in turmoil, and he was welcomed back into ‘his’ Banana Republic with open arms. Jos van Schijndel, a skilled guitarist, was added to the band as well. He had seen Banana Republic perform before and was now given the chance to be ‘on’ stage instead of ‘in front of’ it. 

Partly due to Marcel Heilijgers’ return, the decision was made to renew the band’s repertoire, meaning that even more emphasis was put on their own work. Within a few weeks new songs were written. During the regional pop-prize event that was held in Veldhoven, it would become clear whether the band’s original work would be appreciated. At the time, the current band members had been together for only five weeks. Banana Republic got through to the semi-finals, which, however, had to be cancelled because the lead singer had already booked a holiday in South-America. Prior to the competition, the band thought that participating in the election rounds would be challenging enough…  

The band’s goal in 2001, which was to be achieved by performing regularly again, was to become widely known with their own written work. Unfortunately, the band could not perform in 2002, so the performances that had already been scheduled had to be cancelled. Around mid-2003, Banana Republic made up for this and performed in several places in North-Brabant. What especially made the first performance after one year of absence memorable was the (good) turnout of faithful fans. 

In 2004, Banana Republic performed some more in places that had become familiar to them. On Queen’s Day 2005, Banana Republic performed together with the band of former guitarist Jozef, ‘Koelcel’.

There are plans to get back to the studio at the end of this year. Most importantly, however, the band still has a lot of fun on and off stage, just as it did at the beginning in 1989. Throughout the years, the close bond between the band members has only become stronger!

Style of music: heavy guitar pop rock, from the seventies to the new Millennium, with a touch of Banana rock.