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Green Jellÿ (pronounced "green jello") was formed in 1981 in Kenmore, NY by founding member Bill Manspeaker. Originally named Green Jellö, the band changed its name due to legal pressure from the owners of the Jell-O trademark, Kraft Foods, who claimed that it was an infringement of their trademark. Throughout the early 80’s, Green Jellÿ performed throughout NY, opening for bands like The Ramones and New York Dolls. Their reputation for over-the-top live performances and food-hurling audiences got them banned from most local venues.
After finding local success, many of the members relocated to Hollywood, CA where they quickly became a fixture of the underground scene. Green Jellÿ then struck up an instant friendship with GWAR bonding with their mutual love of costumes and onstage antics. By this time, the band consisted of usually 20 members including new characters such as "Shitman" (a giant, walking corn-filled poop monster), "Cowgod", "Rock n Roll Pumpkin", and "Satan's Ham." At one point even Danny Carey and Maynard James Keenan of Tool made the Green Jellÿ roster.
In 1992, Zoo Entertainment, a subsidiary of BMG, released Green Jellÿ’s “Cereal Killer,” an all video album including MTV hit, “The Three Little Pigs.” The following year, Zoo released an audio version of the album called, “Cereal Killer Soundtrack.” This album went gold in the US, and sold nearly 2.5 million units worldwide. The success led BMG to open Green Jellÿ studios in Hollywood, where the band recorded Grammy nominated, “333.” “333” includes “The Bear Song” from the Farrelly Brothers’ film, Dumb and Dumber.
In the following years, Green Jellÿ continued to break the mold as they wrote the first ever video game soundtrack for Acclaim Entertainment video game, Spider Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage. Although they never officially broke up, band members went their separate ways until early 2008 when they reemerged for a US tour supporting a re-release of the Cereal Killer and 333 video/albums on DVD.
After performing over 125 shows last year, all of them rife with the comedic and animated goodness that made Green Jellÿ a household name, the band is now preparing for another US tour starting in June 2009 to support their newest record “Musick To Insult Your Intelligence By”. This tour which will be bigger, better and fatter than ever promises to be more along the lines of a traveling Mardi Gras parade; with enough costumes and enough foodstuff to make Anthony Bourdain’s mouth water.
Posted: Sep 29th 2009
Green Jelly Wikipedia info:
Green Jellÿ (pronounced "green jello") is a Grammy-nominated American comedy rock band formed in 1981. Originally named Green Jellö, the band changed its name due to legal pressure from the owners of the Jell-O trademark, Kraft Foods, who claimed that it was an infringement of their trademark. Despite the spelling difference, the new name and the old are pronounced identically.
Green Jellÿ formed in 1981 as Green Jellö, a four piece comedy-punk band, in Kenmore, New York. It was founded by Bill Manspeaker and Joe Cannizzaro. They began the band with the idea of starting "The World's Worst Band". The name, which was suggested by a friend of the band, was chosen because lime-flavored Jell-O was allegedly the worst Jell-O flavor, and Manspeaker believed this also reflected the band's talents. The band began playing punk shows aroundBuffalo, New York, and were notorious for their onstage antics and live theatrics. The band was so technically inept at playing their instruments that Cannizzaro (then playing bass) had to color-code the frets so that he could memorize bass lines by color.
Early career (1981–1984)
The group was soon banned from local Buffalo, New York music club McVans for an act that included smashing televisions on stage with a sledgehammer. They temporarily changed their name to AJP (American Jell-O Party), copying the Sex Pistols' trick of changing their name to "SPOTS" (Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly) in order to play shows in places where they were banned. This proved successful, and they got back into McVans only to repeat their violent conduct and be banned once again. Following this, the name was changed back to Green Jellö.
One of the band's early shows was held in a Masonic Temple in Kenmore. Local teenage jockthugs in the rowdy audience broke into the venue's kitchen mid-concert and found a full case of ice cream sandwiches, which they proceeded to throw at the band and all over the stage. By the end of the night the stage was ruined and Green Jellö had to reimburse the venue for damages.
Another early gig at a local YMCA also ended in the band having to pay for clean-up—this time for spilling a large amount of fake blood on the carpets. The band then got the reputation as a "food-throwing rock band", and the audience members started bringing their own actual green Jell-O specifically to throw at the band. Later in their career, it would not be unusual to see fans showing up with garbage bags filled with green Jell-O, pudding, whipped cream, or anything messy to throw at the stage and at the band.
They then managed to find a good friend in local punk club (The Continental) owner Bud Burke. Burke let the Jell-O guys play the club on a regular basis and the shows got even wilder. Inversion boots, wheel of torture, whippings and a whole night of Zeppelin tunes played horribly were not uncommon. The audience loved them and the shows were packed.
In 1984 Green Jellö opened for the Ramones at a Buffalo State College summertime outdoor free concert, and the band (who as the opening act had their equipment set up in front of the Ramones' gear) were pelted by the audience with the usual Jell-O, whipped cream and pudding. In the end, not only were Green Jellö in a mess, but so too was the Ramones' equipment. Years later in an interview with New York Rockermagazine, Joey Ramone singled out Green Jellö as the worst (and messiest) band to ever open for the Ramones with Green Jellö taking this as the highest praise.
They also opened up for New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders under the name "Kenmore Dolls". Johnny did not have much to say about the show except "What the hell is a Kenmore Doll?"
Let It Be (1984–1987)
In 1984 Green Jellö released Let It Be, an 8 song 7-inch 45 EP, on their own label, American Jello Parti Productions, Inc. The cover artwork (designed by Manspeaker) was a parody of The Beatles' Let It Be album cover. Recorded in Bill's bedroom and at a local band rehearsal hall, the album featured the theme song "Green Jellö Theme Song" (the band's initial manifesto/call to arms), as well as early songs "I've Got Poo-Poo On My Shoe" (later "Shitman"), "Whip Me Teenage Babe" (later "House Me Teenage Rave"), "Hill, Hill", "Do the Howie" (a song about the bumbling rent-a-cop at the band's high school alma mater, Kenmore West High School, sung to the tune of Van McCoy's "The Hustle"), the one-second long "Icrog", "The Ice Cream Song", and "I'll Buy You Any Major Appliance You Want Baby, Ooo Ooo".
Let It Be was limited to a release of 500 and only released locally. The first 100 copies were housed in a deluxe hand-glued hard-cardboard picture sleeve, with front color photo (printed on real photographic paper by Manspeaker). Later picture sleeves were simply a green tinted photocopy of the original cardboard sleeve. The original hard-cardboard sleeves are now highly sought after by collectors.
The record also included a multi-panel lyric sheet (designed by Manspeaker). The back cover of the picture sleeve features an actual endorsement from Kiss member Paul Stanley, whom Green Jellö had met during that time. The Let It Be EP was also given away at a record release party in which fans had to climb a "Green Jellö Tree" in front of the club to claim a free record. The band actually taped a large amount of 45s up in the tree in the front of the club. The band's high propensity for absurd, illogical stunts such as this soon became the norm.
Around this time, Green Jellö started turning up for gigs in multiple stretch limos. The band just thought it was an absurd, funny thing for an admittedly horrible band to do. Other weird things Green Jellö used to do on stage during early Buffalo shows included making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on their chests, and ironing clothes on stage while singing.
The band began to get more and more (faux) outrageous onstage, eventually involving fake torture, whipping and women. Often the band would play new songs, so that the audience would not know how bad they were messing up. Crazy stage names were adopted, multiple members joined, and in 1987 Green Jellö appeared on the TV show The Gong Show. Trying hard to sound bad, the band was "gonged" quickly, but had achieved its goal of national TV exposure.
Road to success (1987–1991)
After the local success in Buffalo, many of the members relocated to Hollywood, California. In 1987, while working at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard, they reformed the band, and quickly became a fixture in the Hollywood underground scene. In 1988, Bill and the band metGWAR, and an instant friendship was formed over their mutual love of costumes and props. After the initial meeting, Green Jellö decided to ditch their uncomfortable and dangerous papier maché/chicken wire costume heads in favor of the more user friendly foam rubber heads that GWAR had been making. They garbage picked cushions from abandoned Hollywood couches and carved their new characters such as "Shitman" (a giant, walking corn-filled poop monster), "Cowgod", "Rock n Roll Pumpkin", and "Satan's Ham". The band's live show became an over-the-top adventure in absurdity, now consisting of usually 20 members onstage.
In 1989, Green Jellö released its second album, Triple Live Möther Gööse at Budokan, on February 29 Records, which was recorded in a garage in about the same amount of time it takes to play it. A rare video was also released for this album with music videos for each song. It featured a much more defined sound, as well as far better production and songwriting. The band began to tighten up musically, enlisting drummer Danny Carey (later in Tool), as well as bassist Bill Tutton (King Dot), guitarists Marc Levinthal (Pippi Rockstocking), Steven Shenar (Sven Seven), C.J. Buscaglia (Jesus Quisp) and Bernie Peaks (Bernie Vicious), along with bassist Rootin' Bloomquist. The band also had 6 vocalists, including Bill Manspeaker (Moronic Dictator, Shitman, Marshall "Duh" Staxxx), Joe Cannizzaro (Dunderhead), Keith Matherne (Keni Logginz), Gary Helsinger (Hotsy Menshot, Piñata Head), Greg Reynard (Reason Clean, Toucan Son of Sam) and Maynard James Keenan (Billy Bob). The band also had two female backup singers/floor tom drummers, Kim O'Donnell (Sadistica), and Caroline Jester (Jella Tin). Kim O'Donnell also designed and created all the artwork, covers, comics, and logos for the band.
Cereal Killer (1991–1993)
In 1991, the band approached BMG subsidiary label Zoo Entertainment, and claiming they were the "World's First Video Only Band," offered to make the entire project (all music, videos, artwork, etc.) entirely on their own for the unheard-of sum of $50,000. Zoo signed them on the spot. The only problem was, it had been a bluff, and the band had never made a "video album" before. After buying a video camera, some wood and some lights, the band set out to learn on the job, and in Fall 1992 delivered their third album, the long-form video-only Cereal Killer.Consisting of music videos for each song, as well as a behind-the-scenes feature, the video album slowly gained a reputation in the underground (although it would eventually go on to sell over 100,000 copies). Their break came when a radio station in Seattle, Washington,The X KXRX, played "Three Little Pigs" as a joke, but instead the station's phones lit up and it became a local hit. This caused Zoo to issue the EP Green Jellö SUXX, consisting of four songs from Cereal Killer, which in turn led to the "The Three Little Pigs" becoming a hit on The Box (A pay-per-play cable-TV jukebox network). By early 1993, the song was gaining airplay around the country, and after appearing on MTVHeadbanger's Ball, everything exploded. MTV added the video and the full-length audio album Cereal Killer Soundtrack was finally released in April 1993.
The video for "The Three Little Pigs" was directed by Fred Stuhr (who also directed Tool's "Sober" video), and it featured a claymationrendition of the classic fairy tale with modern twists, such as pot-smoking pigs, an appearance by Rambo, and a Harley Davidson-riding wolf. The video was an instant hit on MTV and was #17 for most of the summer of 1993 in the US, receiving both an MTV music award and Billboard music award nomination. Meanwhile in the song entered the UK Singles Chart at its peak position of #5. As a result of the "The Three Little Pigs" video, the Cereal Killer Soundtrack album went gold in the US, New Zealand, and Canada, as well as platinum in Australia, eventually selling over 2½-million units worldwide. Green Jellö spent almost a year touring the US and Europe in support of the Cereal Killer Soundtrack. In 1993 they released the single "Electric Harley House (Of Love)", the video featured Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley fromKISS and also featured some of the band in KISS-inspired costumes. Later in 1993, Green Jellÿ released a single that was not to be included on any of their full-length albums: a duet with Hulk Hogan performing Gary Glitter's "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)", which scored them a third Top 40 hit in the UK.
333 and late career (1994–1995)
In 1994, Green Jellÿ began a joint venture with $4 million from their parent company, BMG music, to open Green Jellÿ Studios, an audio and visual production house on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. The production house made music videos for other artists, as well as production pieces for TV and film. It was here that Green Jellÿ recorded and filmed their 4th album, 333. Focusing more on the musical side, and even featuring non-comedy songs, the album was a more eclectic gathering, ranging from thrash metal to grunge rock to dance music. Due to problems with the record company and virtually no promotion, the album failed to make waves. The long form video for the album was never properly released, and is extremely hard to find. The album spawned "The Bear Song" which appears in the Farrelly Brothers film Dumb and Dumber, but failed to chart. Though the new video album was never properly released, it did receive a 1995 Grammy nomination for best long-form video.
Also in 1994, the band provided the first-ever video game soundtrack for the Acclaim Entertainment video game Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage, based on the popular Marvel Comics characters. Due to the state of video game music technology at that time, the soundtrack was not recorded music, but a computerized rendition of the songs. Portions of the sound track also made an appearance inMaximum Carnage's sequel, Spider-Man & Venom: Separation Anxiety. In the same year, Green Jellÿ appeared as themselves in an episode of the Fantastic Four animated series called "Super Skrull", in which The Thing records a music video for a song about his catch phrase -- "It's Clobberin' Time".
In 1995, the band recorded an album's worth of brand-new material for Zoo Entertainment, but due to the poor sales of 333 and ongoing problems with the struggling label which would eventually lead to it being merged with Volcano Entertainment in 1996, the album was not released. However, this material would be released 14 years later in the form of Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By.
Although Green Jellÿ never officially broke up, the members of the band's core Cereal Killer/333 lineup (with the exception of Manspeaker) would gradually start to go their separate ways after this point.
Green Jellÿ also released a cover of "Born to Be Wild" in 1995, for a movie soundtrack of the same name.
Reunion and new album (2008–2009)
On February 19, 2008, music news website Blabbermouth.net announced that Green Jellÿ was reuniting and that a possible U.S. tour was in the works. Tourdates are listed at their MySpace page. The band also re-released the Cereal Killer and 333 video/albums on a self-produced DVD with Originology Records, which were only sold at their concerts.
In late August, the band announced via their Myspace page that they would again be going on tour in the Fall. Several "new" songs became available via their Myspace page, as well as information on a new Green Jellö DVD and CD.
Green Jelly finally released Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By on October 13, 2009. The album was actually a collection of the "lost demos" from 1995 for the band's 3rd album before being dropped by Zoo Entertainment, and was pulled from a DAT safety that Gary Helsinger had kept. It features the same lineup as Cereal Killer and 333 except for C.J. Buscaglia and Roy Staley (replaced by Rob Brown), who had already left the band at the time of recording.
As of April 2010, the latest incarnation of the band includes Bill Manspeaker, his son Damien Hellion, Mike Odd of Rosemary's Billygoat, Aaron Cohen and Rosanna Dittrich of Radioactive Chicken Heads, Tony Ferro (aka TonyTV) and LA musician/artist Ego Plum. .
Parental Advisory Tour (2010–present)
On March 25, 2010, Green Jelly embarked on the Parental Advisory Tour with headliners Nashville Pussy and the cult comedy metal bandPsychostick. The tour ended in Phoenix, Arizona on May 30, 2010. On June 26, 2010 Green Jelly played the "American Skate Fest" in Rutland, Ohio with headliners GWAR. Then the band played four shows on the Vans Warped Tour on the Old School stage.
At the height of the band's fame, Green Jellö was plagued by multiple lawsuits. In 1992, they were sued by Kraft Foods for trademarkinfringement. Due to the name "Jellö", and more so the band slogan "GREEN JELLÖ SUCKS!", the band were forced to change their name to Green Jellÿ, with an umlaut over the Y. This umlaut, according to the band, "changed the 'Y' sound to an 'O' sound". The band was forced to re-release their album and long form video, as well as change all merchandise carrying the "Jellö" name.
Later in 1992, Green Jellÿ was sued by the Kellogg Company for trademark infringement of their Toucan Sam character, as well as others. The cover of Cereal Killer (both album and video) depicted "Toucan Son of Sam" the "Cereal Killer" that kills other cereal characters, such asSnap, Crackle and Pop, the Trix Rabbit, and Lucky the Leprechaun in extremely gruesome fashion. The band were forced to change the cover art (originally depicting Toucan Son of Sam), as well as place a white box in the center of the new cover which stated "Not affiliated with or endorsed by Kraft/General Foods". Additionally, the band was forced to remove the music video for the song "Cereal Killer" from the long form home video release. On the album 333, Toucan Son of Sam is referred to as "Pelican Son of Sam", and "Pelican Pete" at subsequent stage shows.
In 1993, Green Jellÿ was also sued by the management of Metallica for partial use of their song "Enter Sandman" in the song "Electric Harley House (Of Love)". The bass and rhythm guitars in the solo section of the song play a riff close to that of "Enter Sandman", and even though the band mentions it in lyric immediately after the riff, the band was forced to remove the part from the later CD versions of Cereal Killer and pull the music video from MTV.
Life after Jellÿ
Connection with Tool