It had to happen: a rock band so plugged into the video age that it doesn’t even bother to make CDs. Devised for home use only, Green Jellö exists exclusively on videotape.
Imagine the Mothers of Invention minus Frank Zappa’s musical sophistication but with his fondness for decadent humor cubed. Make it all visual, and it’s the recipe for Green Jellö. Billed by its label, Zoo Entertainment, as ”the world’s first video-only band,” the 10-member Hollywood troupe’s debut videocassette, Cereal Killer, is a determinedly unslick and defiantly dumb hour-long romp.
It’s clear that mere audio cannot do Green Jellö justice. Using homemade rubber costumes, the group creates such memorable characters as Toucan Son-of-Sam and S—man, who makes Howard Stern’s Fartman look like Pat Boone. In one of its funniest bits, Green Jellö transplants the Sex Pistols’ classic ”Anarchy in the U.K.” to Bedrock, where a mohawked Fred tone bellows, ”I wanna destroy Mr. Slate!”
From its earliest gigs, including an appearance on The Gong Show in 1987, the band was determined to demonstrate its visual weirdness. Before the taping, host Chuck Barris outlined a pratfall he wanted the band members to do if they got gonged. Their reaction, remembers Jellö mastermind Bill Manspeaker: ”What do you mean if we get gonged?”
The band subsequently built a following with its elaborate stage show. When offered the video gig, Manspeaker says, the group purchased ”a used lighting rig, a used Betacam and a big pile of wood” and set to work. The fruits of its labors can also be seen on Jellö’s upcoming tour. ”We’ve got this huge stage set that starts off in Bedrock,” Manspeaker says, ”where Betty’s working in a porno theater.” Yabba dabba don’t.