This is the title track of the eleventh studio album by American Rock musician Patti Smith. Recorded throughout 2011 at New York's Electric Lady Studios, it was produced by Smith along with core band members Lenny Kaye (guitar), Jay Dee Daugherty (drums), and Tony Shanahan (bass and keyboards). Banga was released on June 1, 2012 on Columbia Records.
The song title is a reference to Pontius Pilate's dog in Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov's satirical novel The Master And Margarita, and is all about loyalty. "That dog was loyal for 2,000 years on the edge of heaven while Pilate was waiting for Jesus Christ to speak to him," Smith explained to UK newspaper The Sun. "The dog didn't run around heaven looking for bones. He sat at his master's feet. I thought that is true loyalty and used it as a fun metaphor for all the loyalty I've experienced."
Another song to be inspired by The Master And Margarita
is The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil
." Mick Jagger's girlfriend at the time Marianne Faithfull had given him the book.
The song features some guitar work by Smith's friend, Johnny Depp. The punk rock godmother hooked up with the actor in Puerto Rico while he was filming Run Diary and she asked him to help her create a demo for "Banga." His guitar line opens the final mix. "Johnny leads the charge for Banga. At the top of the song, it's all me and him!," she told The Sun.
Asked at a playback for the record why she named the album after a dog," Smith replied rhetorically. "I dunno. I like dogs. I can't really have one in New York, so I compensated by naming my album after a dog."
This has one or two more chords than an average Patti Smith tune. The punk godmother told Spinner: "When I write songs myself, they're usually one or two chords. "Banga" has maybe three. I'm very limited as a guitar player. I can only play a handful of chords so all of my songs are very simple and direct."
Regarding the cut's lyrical content, Smith told Spinner: "The song doesn't really have any specific meaning. It's just a happy battle cry. A unification song, you know? 'Banga.' Love and loyalty between me and my band, between us and the people."