View Full Version : 10 Questions for Lowell Levinger

Mar-05-2010, 7:32am
10 Questions for Lowell Levinger

Dan Beimborn interviews Lowell Levinger, owner and operator of one of the hot vintage instruments spots on the web and a former rock and roll star, software developer

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Dan Hoover
Mar-05-2010, 8:03am
what a great way to start my morning,grabbed a cup of coffee,opened up the cafe,and boom..10 questions for Lowell Levinger...very interesting,what a great guy,always be Banana to me..thank's

Jim M.
Mar-05-2010, 8:56pm
That was a fun read. Banana's a great guy! He would bring his Loar and a bunch of other great instruments to Bay Area Co-Mando jams. His Loar was the first I got to play -- it has a really sweet tone, to my ear.

Bob DeVellis
Mar-06-2010, 9:03am
After corresponding with Banana several times about Howe Orme stuff, I had the pleasure of meeting him when NAMM's Museum of Making Music held a Howe-Orme exhibit several years ago in Carlsbad, CA. Lowell's and Rick Turner's instruments were the centerpieces of the exhibit and the two of them, Gregg Miner, and I played (well, I mostly faked it) a tune together at the opening ceremonies (where the San Diego Mandolin Orchestra also played). We believe that we were the first all-Howe-Orme ensemble to have performed in public in a century. Banana is a knowledgeable, generous, and talented guy and it was a real pleasure to get to hang with him for that brief time.

Mar-08-2010, 7:20am
That was a nice interview. And had I not had a mando at the time I would have been sorely tempted to buy the - now long sold - Cliff Sargent mando. The 00-18 looks good too. I do not understand why the Strad-O-Lin is not sold though.

I´ve got a CD with the "Peppermill Creek Rounders" (or so) that I like quite a bit. Banana Levinger surely has a good musical thing going. More power to people like him and may you enjoy being a grandpa for a long healthy time to come.

Rick Turner
Mar-11-2010, 12:15am
Hey, I resemble some of those remarks!

Banana, Michael Kane, and I all met at the Boston University freshman rally in the fall of 1962. We were the three guys who refused to wear those incredibly dumb freshman beanies, and we found one another almost instantly. Me, with my 1926 Martin 2-17 or my Fairbanks and Cole five string banjo on my back...to which I'd attached an early 1950s Plymouth hub cap as a resonator, Michael, on a music scholarship...hating marching with his French horn at football games, and Banana, then known as Lonnie, in the theater department. We discovered that all one had to do to take over a rehearsal room at the BU music school was to show up and occupy the room. Simple as that. And so we became...Banana and the Bunch, Old Time Music with...A-Peel... That upon discovering that Lowell/Lonnie's "real name" was Harmon N. Banana.

We wound up being sort of the mascots of the previous generation of Boston/Cambridge folkies...Keith and Rooney, the Charles River Valley Boys, and the Kweskin Jug Band. We were a few years younger and definitely a bit more psychedelic, but they, and the very generous Betsy Siggins, took to us as the next generation of folk weirdos. Our heroes were more the likes of the Holy Modal Rounders...and then the Stones and Beatles hit. I wound up going out on the road and recording with Ian and Sylvia, and Banana and Jesse, Jerry, Joe, and Jim (!) founded the Youngbloods.

Banana and I are still best of friends...

And every few years, there's an original Banana and the Bunch reunion. We're overdue...

Rick Turner
Mar-11-2010, 12:19am
OH, apropos of Bob's remarks...

There is no thrill...absolutely no thrill that beats ducking under a velvet rope at a museum, a pair of scissors or a knife in your hand, and liberating some precious instruments from right off the wall of a beautifully presented exhibit. We're talking dropping from a rope into Topcapi here.

Banana and I got to do that on the night Bob references..

Of course the irony was that we were liberating our own instruments!

Jun-13-2010, 6:35pm
Wow! What a great read! How did I miss this? I really enjoyed the stories and insights from Banana. I am still a Youngbloods fan. ;)


Apr-20-2011, 11:24pm
Found this great interview via a circuitous route that passed through a youtube video of "Hippie From Olema," then to "On Sir Francis Drake," on which the uploader credited guitarist Lowell Levinger. I had never seen that name before, figured it had to be Banana, a quick google turned up this article (Scott is very good at getting Mandolin Café hits to float to the top), and here I am. This interview was a revelation in so many ways. Good going, Dan! And thanks to Banana for all his contributions to the music I love.

Jim Garber
Apr-21-2011, 10:44am
Excellent trip thru memory lane, even it they weren't my memories-- very exciting life this Banana fellow has had. Thanks for all that!

May-02-2011, 9:53am
This article inspired me to do a little research about The Youngbloods, one of my favorite bands from the 60s (and which I was fortunate to see even just once, in 1971, with Banana and his impossibly huge hair, and a great show it was), and found this 10-part series of interviews with Jesse Colin Young. I've only seen two so far, but I intend to make time for the whole series soon.

Jesse Colin Young Interview Series by LivingLegendsMusic

Kerry Krishna
Nov-08-2012, 5:21am
Granpa Banana, the Howe and Orme rosewood that you have belonged to me for about 8 years. If you are interested , I can tell you the full history of it, as I told to the owner before you (I think it wasn't you?) kerrykrishna@yahoo.ca

Mandolin Cafe
Mar-05-2018, 10:03am
Noting the anniversary of this fine interview produced by Dan Beimborn in 2010.

Mandolin Cafe
Mar-05-2019, 7:52am
Noting today's anniversary of this fine interview conducted for us by Dan Beimborn.