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Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on May 11th, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 10 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 17, Issue 10

Green Jellÿ's Bill Manspeaker talks about being a dad, franchising his band, and how to be the best at being the worst

By DAVID MINSKY

If you ever feel like you don’t have any talent, consider Green Jellÿ (pronounced green jello). In the late 1980s, Bill Manspeaker drove from Buffalo, New York, to Los Angeles for an appearance on The Gong Show, and set out to prove that you can still be the best at being the worst. 

The Gong Show was a comedic amateur talent show with a panel of celebrity judges that featured performers of absurd skill and awarded worthless prizes. 


OBEY THE COW GOD
Since the 1980s, Bill Manspeaker and Green Jellÿ have been setting out to be the “best at being the worst” band in the history of the world.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

For their performance, Green Jellÿ won a “year’s worth” of Turtle Wax. 

As the band’s lyricist, Manspeaker went on to achieve nominal success and a cult following with Green Jellÿ’s 1992 album, Cereal Killer, and heavy metal hit single, “Three Little Pigs.” 

Originally named Green Jello, the band dropped the name following a trademark complaint from Kraft Foods. They’re known for their comedic heavy metal music, lyrics with absurd references to pop culture, and paper mache stage costumes of charicaturized farm animals, described by Manspeaker as a “punk rock puppet show.” 

Manspeaker has continued to tour with the band since 2008. Green Jellÿ holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest band in rock and roll history with 660 members, according to Manspeaker. That number includes members across the world who join him in various venues to sing back-up to his irreverent hard rock songs. He’s coming to O’Sullivan’s Pub in Santa Maria with the band on May 14.

The Sun spoke with Manspeaker about touring, maintaining a family life, and how he makes a career out of being the best at being the worst. 

Sun: How do you have the largest band in the world? It sounds like you franchise the band.

Bill Manspeaker: That’s exactly what I call it—the franchise band members. Not only do I put the fans of the band as musicians, but I can also make them as the characters. It’s a show about everybody. No two shows are the same. What I do is let each group of players make their own individual merchandise. I allow them to keep all the money that they make and whatever they can’t sell in those three days, I buy back from them and sell it on Facebook as exclusive stuff. I have this access to 30,000 Green Jellÿ fans and I speak to them on a daily basis just right off of Facebook. I book all my shows through them. I find all my bands through them. Basically, Facebook is my job. I book my own shows, I sell my own stuff, I decide what plane I get on, I decided who’s going to play in the band. For the first time I got control of it. What used to take an entire record company to control, I do now in my hand on my little handheld computer. 

Sun: I understand that you tour a lot. What’s your schedule like?

BM: Every weekend I’ll hop on the airplane in Burbank, which is next to where I live in Hollywood. I fly out of Bob Hope Airport every Thursday and I fly to a new state. Let’s say that I fly to New York, and then I play Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and then I hop on the plane and fly out. I’m home Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. 

Ready to rock
Green Jellÿ by Bill Manspeaker performs live on May 14 at 8 p.m. at O’Sullivan’s Pub, 633 E. Main St., Santa Maria. Cover is $12, must be 21 years or older to attend.

Sun: How do you manage family life with a frequent travel schedule?

BM: I have a 21-year-old son whose idea it was to start the band again. He goes on tour with me, plus my wife, and my 2-year-old son. Last week we flew to Pittsburg. We’re flying there and the plane starts on fire. We got to make an emergency landing in Denver, except for there’s a huge storm coming through. So we’re riding through this storm in our plane with one engine, and the pilot goes, “Don’t be alarmed if there’s emergency vehicles waiting for us when we land.” So all of the sudden we cut through all of the clouds and the runway’s inches away from us and sure enough, fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars, are all chasing the plane. And I’m videotaping this and posting it on Facebook. Then we got stranded in Denver and I figured a way to get us to Pittsburgh. By the time we landed, it was 12:40 a.m. and we were supposed to play at midnight. We hopped in the car, raced to the show, and we got there at 1 a.m. Everybody waited.

Sun: Was Green Jellÿ created as an antithesis of the pop music industry and did its success change you?

BM: I view myself exactly the same as I always was. I don’t know how much of it was making fun of the record industry; it was more just to make fun of being the best at being the worst. 

David Minsky will sing, dance, and pray to the cow god at the Green Jellÿ show. Contact him at dminsky@santamariasun.com.










Weekly Poll
What type of vegetable would you grow in a free community garden?

Brussel Sprouts, they are the best.
Broccoli because it can go with any meal.
Tomatoes, although I think those are technically a fruit.
French fries!

| Poll Results






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