San Franciscan Power Pop
band founded by childhood friends, vocalist/drummer/multi-instrumentalist Andy Sturmer and keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. in 1990, from the ashes of Alternative Rock 1980s
band Beatnick Beatch. The group image was decidedly retro, a deliberately kitschy, brightly colorful, psychedelic look with gaudy bellbottoms, Dr. Seuss hats, frilly shirts, lollipops and umbrellas, a Flanderization of The Beatles
' Yellow Submarine
-style fashions meeting a Hanna-Barbera
cartoon come to life.
Musically, the band drew from many '60s
, particularly in regards to catchy, sunny, singalong pop with playful, intelligent (and often lyrically dissonant
) lyrics. Elements of Queen
, The Beatles
, The Beach Boys
, the Zombies, The Monkees
, The Banana Splits
, Electric Light Orchestra
, Badfinger, Supertramp
shaped the style of the bandnote
, they had their own distinctive style, one which influenced countless Power Pop
group following their demise in 1994. Their arrangements were meticulously detailed, and their songs had a tendency to stick in your head
long after you've heard them.
Though the band failed to get much success in a mainstream way in the era of Grunge
, and they only produced two albums in their short lifetime. They are known for one hit
, the Partridge Family
-like "Baby's Coming Back", promoted by a HannaBarbera-produced Animated Music Video
- Andy Sturmer - vocals, drums, keyboards, guitar
- Roger Manning - keyboards, vocals
- Jason Falkner - guitars, bass, vocals (1989-1992)
- Tim Smith — bass, vocals (1992-1994)
A whole bunch of other session musicians contributed to Bellybutton
, while on Split Milk
the band were joined by guitarists Lyle Workman, Jon Brion (who also handled some of the arrangements) and bassist Tom Wolk.
- Bellybutton (1990)
- Spilt Milk (1993)
Jellyfish provides examples of the following tropes:
- Band of Relatives: Roger and Chris Manning were in the original lineup, though only Roger got to record with the band.
- Creative Differences: What ended the band.
- Epic Rocking: "Ignorance Is Bliss", written for a Nintendo tribute album.
- Genre Roulette
- Hurricane of Puns: Clever wordplay galore, courtesy of Andy Sturmer's lyrics.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: "He's My Best Friend" describes the protagonist's private parts.
- Name's the Same: A different Roger Manning is an alternative folk singer from New York. Hence Jellyfish-Roger crediting himself as his full name, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., to avoid confusion.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Bedspring Kiss"; "Now She Knows She's Wrong"
- Nice Hat: In their "The King Is Half Undressed" video.
- Reclusive Artist: Andy Sturmer.
- Revolving Door Band: Andy Sturmer and Roger Manning were the only two members to stay the course of the band. Interestingly enough, they were the defacto leaders of the band.
- They Also Did: Sturmer has gone on to produce and write for Puffy Ami Yumi (who covered Jellyfish's "Joining a Fan Club"), and scored soundtracks for Teen Titans, Ben10, My Friends Tigger And Pooh, Kick Buttowski and Fish Hooks.
- Roger Manning has worked as a session musician with Air, Beck, Morrissey, Glen Campbell and Blink-182 (he plays the piano and synth during the bridge of "All the Small Things"). He was also in the band Imperial Drag, who released one album.
- Original guitarist Jason Falkner guested on a Paul McCartney album, and recorded two instrumental Beatles lullaby tribute albums under the banner of ''Bedtime With The Beatles".
- Latter-period guitarist Eric Dover has played guitar and sung in Slash's Snakepit, and more recently was a guitarist for Alice Cooper.