Music & Film Cross-Over: Green Jelly Interview
A while ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the members of the legendary band Green Jelly, Matt Groopie. I had originally planned on speaking with Matt about the small Canadian tour that Green Jelly had taken in the beginning of May, but my plans changed quickly after experiencing what I considered to be one of the most
A while ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the members of the legendary band Green Jelly, Matt Groopie. I had originally planned on speaking with Matt about the small Canadian tour that Green Jelly had taken in the beginning of May, but my plans changed quickly after experiencing what I considered to be one of the most entertaining live shows I had ever seen. That being said, I should make it clear that I’ve been to hundreds of shows and concerts. It became clear to me that this one of the many bands who made themselves so well known in the underground world on their own terms, something I can closely relate to.
Green Jelly was the first band to release a video-only album in 1992, the “Cereal Killer” album was released as a long-form video, consisting of music videos for each song as well as a behind-the-scenes feature. The video album gained a heavy reputation in the underground film and music world and eventually went on to sell over 100,000 copies.
Best Long-Form Video
Green Jelly is a band that has made waves in both the film and music world, and in 1995, the band received a Grammy nomination for Best Long-Form Video for the album 333, specifically for their video of The Bear Song which appears in the Farrelly Brothers film Dumb and Dumber.
In fact, Green Jelly was the first band to publicly release a video tape before releasing the companion soundtrack album because they were known mostly for their videos. Directed and produced by music and film enthusiast, Rob Gabriele, the film is unlike many band released tapes. This movie does not focus primarily on the concerts themselves, it features all the raw behind the scenes action of a no-budget tour with the band and all those lovely people who follow, including the proud wives of the band members. It includes candid interviews with the band, fans and promoters, as well as a four-day interview with the man himself, Bill Manspeaker.
On May 5th 2016, I decided to check out one of Green Jelly’s shows on their Southern Canadian Tour, in Oshawa, Ontario. And I have never had such an amazing time at a local show! To say that these guys are are anything less than entertaining would be an insult to the art of both film and music. They had an amazing energy, and involved the audience so much so that they compelled them to join the band in a live puppet show; providing fans with homemade masks to dance in.
Having witnessed a show live, I can tell you that seeing them play and interact with the crowd, was like watching a movie on its own. Such an intensely vibrant energy that takes every sense of yourself and puts you onto another universe. It was just announced that the band Green Jelly will be opening up for the Insane Clown Posse on June 30th in Toronto, Canada at the ever popular Opera House, Canadian band member Matt Groopie gave me the low-down while I had the pleasure of interviewing him.
Lexy: How’s the tour going so far?
Matt: So far we’re two nights in and both have been sold out, amazing crowds. The band sounds great and Bill Manspeaker is in full form on this tour. We’ve had some great guests out too, lots former members have been in the house for these gigs. It truly feels like a family on this tour.
Lexy: That’s really awesome, what guests have been out so far?
Matt: Well, Matt Frasor joined us in Hamilton, as well we had Brian Fowlie another former Member in the house there. Last night Bill brought his son Chaos on stage during “Rock and roll pumpkin”, pacifier and all. He sang the song with the baby in his arms. It was a special moment for sure.
Lexy: That’s incredible, I know what you mean by truly feeling like a family! I’m curious, you guys tend to keep yourselves fairly busy, I know last year you played a ton of shows internationally, when do you guys find the time to write new music?
Matt: Bill is always on tour. There is no corner of the universe he hasn’t played. There is a new unreleased “lost” Green Jelly album from the 80s set to be released some time in the near future.
Lexy: Great, I’m really looking forward to hearing it. I personally work in film, and I was wondering how video has impacted the band in recent years?
Matt: Video has been instrumental in this band – especially the early claymation videos. It was what got the band nominated for a Grammy in the 90s, and made them a household name thanks to heavy AirPlay on MTV. We are currently producing a documentary about the band which should come out sometime in the next 30 years, haha.
Lexy: Well, here’s hoping that fans will see some new documentary footage sometime sooner than later!
It’s safe to say to that video did not kill these radio stars, because Green Jelly was never really a hit on the radio waves anyways!
What are your thoughts about the cross-over between music and film?
“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.” Read the Letter of Solidarity here. Make a donation to the legal fund here.