|Origin||Buffalo, New York|
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Years active||1981–1995, 2008–present|
Green Jellÿ (/ /, green Jell-O) is an American comedy rock band formed in 1981. Originally named Green Jellö, the band changed its name due to legal pressure from Kraft Foods Inc., the owners of the Jell-O brand, who claimed that it was an infringement of their trademark. Despite the spelling difference, the new and old names are pronounced identically.
Known for sophomoric humor, theatrical performances, and intentionally crude musicianship, Green Jellÿ has had hundreds of members during its existence, with vocalist Bill Manspeaker the only consistent member throughout. Notable past members include future Tool members Danny Carey and Maynard James Keenan, who were both in Green Jellÿ during the early 1990s.
To date, the band has released five studio albums: Triple Live Möther Gööse at Budokan (1989), Cereal Killer Soundtrack (1993), 333 (1994), Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By (2009), and Garbage Band Kids (2021). They are best known for their 1992 hit "Three Little Pigs", which was adapted from the fairy tale.
Bill Manspeaker, a resident of Hollywood, California, formed Green Jellÿ in 1981 as Green Jellö, a four-piece comedy-punk band. As most of the band's members were poor musicians at the time, they billed themselves as "The World's Worst Band" and emphasized bizarre theatrics, power chords, and self-deprecating humor. The name, which was suggested by a friend, was chosen because the band members felt lime-flavored Jell-O was the worst Jell-O flavor, and Manspeaker believed this also reflected the band's talents.
Green Jellö began playing punk shows around Buffalo, New York, and became notorious for their onstage antics and live theatrics. They were musical novices to the degree that the bassist had to color-code the frets on his bass guitar so that he could memorize finger placement by color.
Let It Be (1984–1987)
In 1984, Green Jellö released Let It Be, an 8-song 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 Manspeaker's bedroom and at a local band rehearsal hall, the album featured the "Green Jellö Theme Song" as well as early songs such as "I've Got Poo-Poo on My Shoe" (later called "Shitman"), "Whip Me Teenage Babe" (later renamed "House Me Teenage Rave"), "Hill, Hill", "Do the Howie", the one-second "Icrog", "The Ice Cream Song", and "I'll Buy You Any Major Appliance You Want Baby, Ooo Ooo".
Triple Live Möther Gööse at Budokan (1987–1991)
After 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, Manspeaker and the band met Gwar, and an instant friendship was formed over their mutual love of costumes and props.
In 1989, Green Jellö released their second album, Triple Live Möther Gööse at Budokan, on February 29 Records, which was recorded in a garage with producer Sylvia Massy. The band began to tighten up musically, enlisting drummer Danny Carey (who went on to play with Tool), bassists Bill Tutton (King Dot) and Rootin' Bloomquist, and guitarists Marc Levinthal (Pippi Rockstocking), Steven Shenar (Sven Seven), C.J. Buscaglia (Jesus Quisp), and Bernie Peaks (Bernie Vicious). They also had seven 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). O'Donnell also designed and created all the artwork, covers, comics, and logos for the band.
Cereal Killer (1991–1993)
In 1991, Green Jellö approached BMG subsidiary label Zoo Entertainment, and claiming they were the "world's first video-only band", offered to create an entire project (music, videos, artwork, etc.) entirely on their own for the unheard-of sum of $50,000. Zoo signed them on the spot. In the fall of 1992, they delivered their third album, Cereal Killer, again produced by Sylvia Massy, recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California. The album came with a long-form video release 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, and 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 "Three Little Pigs" becoming a hit on The Box. Following the success of the song, the band issued the full-length studio album Cereal Killer Soundtrack in March 1993. This was their first release under the name Green Jellÿ, after a trademark dispute with Kraft Foods Inc. over their original moniker Green Jellö.
The video for "Three Little Pigs" was directed by Fred Stuhr (who also directed Tool's "Sober" video), and it featured a claymation rendition 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 No. 17 for most of the summer of 1993 in the US, receiving both an MTV music award and Billboard music award nomination. Meanwhile, the song entered the UK Singles Chart at a peak position of No. 5. As a result of the "Three Little Pigs" video, Cereal Killer Soundtrack went gold in the US, New Zealand, and Canada, as well as platinum in Australia, eventually selling over 14 million copies worldwide. Green Jellö spent almost a year touring the US and Europe in support of the album. In 1993, they released the single "Electric Harley House (of Love)", with the video featuring Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley from KISS. Later the same year, the band released a single that was not to be included on any of their full-length albums: a collaboration 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.
In 1994, Green Jellÿ began a joint venture worth $4 million from their parent company, BMG Music, to open Green Jellÿ Studios, an audiovisual production house on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. The establishment made music videos for other artists, as well as pieces for television and film. It was here that the band recorded and filmed their fourth 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 record failed to make waves. The long-form video for the album was never properly released, and is extremely hard to find. The release spawned the hit "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, Green Jellÿ wrote and produced the soundtrack for the Acclaim Entertainment video game Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage. Due to the state of video-game music technology at that time, the soundtrack was not recorded music but rather a computerized rendition of the songs. Portions of the soundtrack also made an appearance in the Maximum Carnage sequel, Spider-Man & Venom: Separation Anxiety. In the same year, Green Jellÿ appeared as themselves in an episode of the Fantastic Four animated series titled "Super Skrull", in which The Thing records a music video for a song about his catchphrase "It's Clobberin' Time!"
In 1995, Green Jellÿ recorded an album's worth of brand-new material for Zoo Entertainment, but due to 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 came out 14 years later in the form of Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By. The same year, they also released a cover of "Born to Be Wild" for a movie soundtrack of the same name.
Although Green Jellÿ never officially broke up, the members of the band's core Cereal Killer/333 lineup (with the exception of Manspeaker) gradually started going their separate ways afterwards.
Reunion and Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By (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. 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.
Green Jellÿ finally released Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By on October 13, 2009. 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.
Touring and new releases (2010–present)
Green Jellÿ played several tour dates in 2010–12.
Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015, the band released a DVD on December 1, 2016, titled GREEN JELLO Suxx Live: An Experience in Ridiculousness (later retitled Green Jellÿ Suxx Live: An Experience in Ridiculousness). Toronto filmmaker Rob Gabriele toured with and documented the band and their antics while onstage. They toured throughout 2017 in support of the film and its soundtrack. In 2018, The Official Soundtrack of the Documentary Green Jellÿ Suxx Live was released via Enjoy the Ride Records.
In 2017, Green Jellÿ released a new music video and single, "Fr3tö F33t". In 2019, they released another single, titled "Silence of the Sponge", a macabre parody of the theme to SpongeBob SquarePants.
Green Jellÿ's fifth studio album, their first in twelve years, titled Garbage Band Kids, was released on June 11, 2021, on Cleopatra Records.
At the height of the band's fame, Green Jellö was plagued by multiple lawsuits. In 1992, they were sued by Kraft Foods Inc. for trademark infringement of the name Jell-O; they 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 albums and long-form videos, 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 music video for "Cereal Killer" depicted 'Toucan Son of Sam', the 'Cereal Killer', killing other cereal characters, such as Snap, Crackle and Pop, the Trix Rabbit, and Lucky the Leprechaun, in a gruesome fashion. The band was forced to change the cover art (originally depicting Toucan Son of Sam). Additionally, they were forced to remove the music video for "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 single "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 a lyric immediately after the riff, they were forced to remove the part from the later CD versions of Cereal Killer and pull the music video from MTV.
Since its inception, the band has seen a high turnover of musicians, with Manspeaker being the sole consistent member.
- Bill Manspeaker – vocals (1981–1995, 2008–present)
Notable former members
- Scott Rozell – bass (1981–1995)
- C.J. Buscaglia – guitar, vocals (1989–1995)
- Maynard James Keenan – backing vocals, guitar (1990–1993)
- Danny Carey – drums (1989–1994)
- Triple Live Möther Gööse at Budokan (1989)
- Cereal Killer Soundtrack (1993)
- 333 (1994)
- Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By (2009)
- Garbage Band Kids (2021)
- The Official Soundtrack of the Documentary Green Jellÿ Suxx Live (2018)
- "Three Little Pigs" (1992)
- "Anarchy in the U.K." (1993)
- "Electric Harley House (of Love)" (1993)
- "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" (1993)
- "House Me Teenage Rave" (1993)
- "Three Little Pigs" (1993 re-release)
- "The Bear Song" (1994)
- "Slave Boy" (1994)
- "Fr3tö F33t" (2017)
- "Khaos: Destroyer of the Universe" (2017)
- "Trumpty Dumpty" (2017)
- "Carnage Rules" (2018)
- "Green Jellÿ Xmas" (2018)
- "Silence of the Sponge" (2019)
- "Seeing Snakes/Green Jellÿ" split (2019)
- Green Jelly Biography, Retrieved from Billboard.com, September 14, 2017
- Green Jelly Currently Has 781 Active Members. Let Us Explain, Brett Callwood, Retrieved from LAWeekly.com, December 30, 2017
- "WATCH: Maynard James Keenan and Danny Carey Reunite With Green Jelly Live For "Three Little Pigs"". music.mxdwn.com. May 12, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
- Green Jelly Billboard Chart History, Retrieved from Billboard.com, September 25, 2017
- Huey, Steve. Biography of Green Jelly at AllMusic. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "Green Jellÿ Biography". ihategreenjelly.com. 2008. Archived from the original on February 10, 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "Green Jellö's Early History". musicismyweapon.com. 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "Green Jellÿ Billboard Information". Billboard. 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "British Chart History". polyhex.com. 2008. Archived from the original on March 10, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "The 1995 Grammy's (Awards and Nominations)". rockonthenet.com. 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "Cart Queries". GamePro. No. 66. IDG. January 1995. p. 12.
- "GREEN JELLŸ Reunites, Plans U.S. Tour". Blabbermouth.net. February 19, 2008. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- "Green Jelly plot VHS live release". loudersound.com. March 10, 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- "Punk Metal Pranksters GREEN JELLŸ Return With Fifth Studio Album, 'Garbage Band Kids'". Blabbermouth.net. April 15, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2021.