A.J. Confessore: 1969-2012

Anthony J. Confessore, better known to legions of heavy metal fans as bizarre fringe character C.C. Banana, died today at his New Jersey home of an apparent suicide. He was forty-three.

According to friends, Confessore had been struggling financially as of late, having invested greatly in a rock tribute album saluting plus-size women. The album, entitled Whole Lotta Love, features an array of ’80s rockers performing songs such as “Baby Got Back” and “Unskinny Bop.”

Whole Lotta Love was not proving as successful as Confessore hoped it would be, leaving him in the red. Matters became more dire when the Garden State native lost the home he shared with his mother; originally reported to be a foreclosure, several people close to the situation have come forward to explain that the house was actually sold without A.J.’s consent by other family members who were concerned for the elder Confessore’s own financial comfort.

Early this morning, Confessore posted a final statement to his Facebook page, which read in part: “Xanadu has been breached, my friends. Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the vultures and jackals. No more past. No more future. Both have been taken away…It took just one year of Hell to undo a lifetime of hope. I am too lost to be found and too broken to be fixed. Let the Monday morning quarterbacking begin…”

Hailing from Nutley, New Jersey, Anthony J. Confessore was a dedicated heavy metal fanatic whose keen sense of humor birthed one of the genre’s most smirk-inducing characters, that of C.C. Banana. Conjured up in 2001 while en route to a Poison concert, the fruit-based mascot was initially created as a mockery of Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille’s decision to start charging fans (via sandwich board) for autographs, pictures, and handshakes.

“At some point [during that car ride] we began discussing the nonsense with C.C.,” Confessore later explained to Metal Sludge. “Apparently C.C. stands for ‘Currency Challenged?’ I looked in the back seat, and saw an enormous yellow fruit staring back at me. ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if I wore the banana suit to the Poison concert?’ Lightbulbs go off over our heads. ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if the banana had a sign, asking people to pay him for his autograph and pictures and stuff?’ Illumination with a brightness equivalent to the entire Poison stage lighting truss fills the car.”

DeVille and Confessore eventually crossed paths that night. Although the guitarist was initially perplexed by his fruit-based counterpart, DeVille eventually gave his blessing, peeking into Confessore’s face hole to say, “You’re pretty smart. I can tell.”

C.C. Banana would become something of a fixture at Tri-State area rock events in the early Aughts, teasing/snagging photo ops with such acts as Kiss, Jani Lane, Quiet Riot, and Twisted Sister. Outside of the hair n’ leather set, Confessore managed to get audiences with such pop culture luminaries as George Lucas and the late Gary Coleman (the Banana engaged Coleman in a lengthy, enlightening conversation about “Robotech”).

A graduate of NYU, A.J. Confessore went by “Tony” with many of his friends and was well-liked for his warmth, humor, and charm. As C.C. Banana, Confessore injected a great sense of mirth into a hoary old scene that otherwise seems to have difficulty laughing at itself. It’s so tragic that such mirth apparently vanished from his own life. The world’s missing someone hilarious now. We’ll never forget him, though, or his thousand-watt grin.

Rats off to ya, Banana Man.

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25 responses to “A.J. Confessore: 1969-2012”

  1. DefLepChick says :

    His home was not foreclosed on. His home was not lost due to financial difficulties, but because his half-sisters and nephew took control of his and his mother’s home and sold it out from under him

  2. jamesgreenejr says :

    Thanks for the clarification. I will edit the post accordingly.

  3. Anonymous says :

    AJ wasn’t foreclosed upon. His family are the ones who were tearing him out of the only home he ever knew, not a bank.

  4. Laura Quiles says :

    I am a long time friend of Tony’s, having met him in 1987, and I was very closely involved with this situation. As others have said, his sisters and nephew made the decision to sell his mother’s home. But the further truth of this matter was that his mom was near to penniless and mentally no longer able to take care of her affairs. She needed the money from the sale of her home so thshower family could take care of her and so that she could live out the remainder of her days with some modicum of comfort. Tony himself didn’t have a dime to his name, having never saved any money in his life and having spent practically every cent he earned on comics, toys and other collectibles. He had filled his mother’s house with stuff to the point that she couldn’t safely live there anymore. I know, were he alive to respond to this, he would deny every word I just said but it’s the truth. Tony was one of my oldest and dearest friends but, sadly, the guy lacked a fundimental understanding of how life works and it put him completely at odds with his family, and it left him utterly unprepared to deal with the situation he found himself in. I, like many of his friends, am completely devastated.

  5. Gilda Caserta says :

    @Laura and everyone: I can attest to what you have said via my own experience with him and through other friends who supported him during this time. I’m just as devastated at this news.

  6. AnnMarie Tornabene says :

    Laura – I think I knew you and yes, what you have said is the truth. I, too have known him for over 20 years and there is a lot of things that many here do not know about the situation.

  7. REA says :

    Thank you Laura for your statement. I too have known him for a long time and can verify every word of what you said.

  8. jamesgreenejr says :

    Thanks to everyone for chiming in here. My original source was but an acquaintance of A.J.’s and not privy to all the details. Another insider e-mailed me earlier in the day to confirm what you’ve all outlined here. Heartbreaking stuff, but I truly appreciate learning the facts. May your friend rest in peace.

  9. Anonymous says :

    Agreeing completely with Laura: AJ was forever a little boy in many ways, and as such sort of “failed to thrive” in the adult world of day-to day drudgery. But his wit and joy were apparent, he just didn’t have what it takes to survive in ths world, unfortunately. :(

  10. Laura Quiles says :

    Just chiming in to reiterate what anonymous said: Tony was a person of wit and joy, even if this past year destroyed that in him. It is that aspect of him that I will strive to hold onto in my memories, not his failings. I hope he has found his peace.

  11. jdk says :

    I met Tony back in 1986 he was “the kid w the bike” as he was somtimes called. Despite situations he would face he was a very postive person which is why this is so shocking

    Found on you tube a mash video of the song “The Touch” from original 1985 film Transformers w vid clips from the new My Little Pony Friendship is magic

    Its called Dare Mare
    I can safely say,He would have loved it

    And maybe he’s with Gary Coleman now

  12. candye kane says :

    I saw AJ at my show at BB Kings in NYC last summer. I put him on the guest list because he was too broke to buy a ticket. He told me that night he was going to end his life and that his home was being sold from under him. He didnt tell me all the details. I spoke to him at length and told him that there is always something good that comes from change – and that even tragedy can open the door to something better. I am a cancer survivor and AJ knew that about me. He really seemed to appreciate my words and said “thank you candye for taking the time to talk to me.” He was so sweet and it broke my heart to think of him being so hopeless. Of course, I was on the compilation cd Whole Lotta Love, that he put out. I never knew that he was spending his own money on this project. What a sad ending to a life. He was so talented and so sweet. I wonder why his family couldnt have given him a few thousand from the sale of the house so he could get his own apartment? this whole story breaks my heart.

  13. Dovey says :

    First of all, RIP to this man, a friend of many so it seems…condolences to his family…those who care, and to his friends! ~Quoting “Laura Quiles” Tony himself didn’t have a dime to his name, having never saved any money in his life and having spent practically every cent he earned on comics, toys and other collectibles.” You may be amazed at the price these collectibles may fetch in an auction or sale of some sort.

  14. Laura Quiles says :

    Responding to candye Kane: his family DID offer AJ money to help him move, most recently they offered him 10 thousand dollars. He always refused their money, saying that he wanted nothing from them. There was only one thing he wanted and that was to be allowed to stay in his mother’s house for the rest of his life. If his family could have given him that, they probably would have, but they’re not wealthy people and they had to think of their aged, ailing mother. Unfortunately, that scenario was simple intolerable to AJ.

  15. Jean W. King says :

    I did not know Mr. Confessore, but I sure wish I did just judging by everyone’s very lovely comments here. It is a very sad thing for his so-called “family” to have done what they have done to this fine man. I’m sorry to say this now, but they clearly are not human. Anthony J. Confessore truly was! Rest In Peace Anthony.

  16. Laura Quiles says :

    Responding to Dovey: yes indeed, there was a lot of value contained in Tony’s collectibles. Unfortunately, liquidating that value is not a quick process. It took Tony and me working four solid weekends in a row, and two months of selling on eBay to earn 5k. This wasn’t to earn money to help Tony move, mind you, it was to earn money to hire a lawyer to try to block the sale of the home. And the lawyers told Tony – it was going to take upwards of 15K to fight that fight with no promise of success. After months of daily work on this project, I had to bail out…it was too much for me to take on, on top of my own full time job and life in general. Tony tried to keep it up on his own but without a running car it proved to much for him too.

  17. LizzyJ says :

    You were a true friend to him Laura. Peace be with you. RIP CC.

  18. Laura Quiles says :

    Thanks Lizzy

  19. grischat says :

    I also know that while AJ was the kindest soul on the planet, what Laura says is true… the despair he felt at being unprepared to deal with life and the real world, was just too much for his fragile soul…

  20. Greg says :

    Everything that has come out the last few days, honestly, I feel more sorry for his family than I do AJ. They are the ones that deserve our sympathy, not him…just my opinion of course..

  21. Lisa S says :

    I first met Tony in 1998 at a Philadelphia KISS Expo. This is before the “CC Banana” idea started. He introduced himself to me and was so friendly. After that, he always remembered me every time he saw me at a KISS expo and took the time to say “hi” and chit chat. I was never really a close friend, but I consider him to be a friend due to his warmth and friendly personality. I, for one, plan to go to his memorial service today. Not only because it’s Tony, but because I knew so many of his friends who tried to talk sense into him, and I really want to support them. This is really just so sad.

  22. Gordon G.G. Gebert says :

    Just saw the sad news today. Tony was a very cool, fun guy. Most of the time I saw him in the banana suit which always put a smile on my face along with a chuckle. So sorry to hear of his situation and the path he chose. My condolences to all he left behind.

  23. Tammi says :

    I just saw a program (7-13-12) on National Geographic Explorer, which featured him in the beginning scene. They also dedicated the hour long show to him. What a nice way to honor a fine man.

  24. celisasings says :

    I just ran across this post when I googled AJ’s name; I was fortunate enough to work with AJ on the Whole Lotta Love tribute, and I got to know him over the course of the few years it took to get it off the ground. He gave me an opportunity and I am forever grateful for his work – it is a shame he isn’t here to keep standing strong with the fatties, geeks, rockers, and weirdos (among others who were touched by his unique persona and

    This is a beautiful tribute. I know I’m a little late to the party BUT I thought I’d say I’m thinking of AJ today, and I know he’s with all of us who loved him. I’m a better person for having known and worked with AJ. Goddess bless him – I know he’s at peace now…

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