90s Rating: 9/10
2020 Rating: 7/10
Right now, I feel we could use a good laugh, so for this week’s flashback to the ‘90s, I thought I’d revisit Cereal Killer Soundtrack from comedy punk/metal band Green Jellÿ (originally Green Jellö, but changed after being sued by Kraft Foods). I have fond memories of my high school English teacher showing the music video for “Three Little Pigs” in class. At the time, it was the heaviest song I had ever heard, but it made me laugh, and it didn’t scare me like most metal bands back then. I immediately went home and downloaded individual tracks from the album off LimeWire (infecting the family computer in the process). Still,I had never really listened to the album in its entirety until now.
Cereal Killer was initially released in 1992 on VHS as a collection of music videos starring frontman Bill Manspeaker in various costumes dancing in front of a green screen with busty women in eyeball braziers hopping up and down while playing floor toms like miscellaneous members of Slipknot. The soundtrack to that hour-long tape was dropped the following year, with a few noticeable edits.
The most unfortunate edit is on the title track “Cereal Killer,” due to yet another lawsuit from a food company. After being sued by the Kellogg Company, Green Jellÿ had to remove the original verses where “Toucan Son of Sam” kills other cereal mascots like the Trix Rabbit, a drunk Lucky Charms Leprechaun, and Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Regardless, it remains a thrilling thrash song, with Manspeaker hitting some Judas Priest operatic falsettos.
There’s a surprising amount of variety on this album. “Trippin’ On XTC” is a psychedelic number with a funky bassline and heavy use of a wah-pedal on the guitar. “Electric Harley House (Of Love)” parodies bands like Motörhead and KISS, and lampoons Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” in the lyrics. “Anarchy in Bedrock” rips-off Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK,” replacing the lyrics with references to the Flinstones. For a band whose motto is “Green Jellÿ sucks,” they have a lot of ripping solos.
Green Jellÿ actually has a big connection to Tool: their drummer Danny Carey went on to join Tool later on. Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has guest vocals on “Three Little Pigs,” but you’d never recognize his voice because he sings “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin” in such a high pitch.
Manspeaker pays tribute to GWAR in “Obey the Cowgod.” singing “We live in a country where there is no, there’s no Beefcake the Mighty!” Michael Bishop, who originally played bass as Beefcake but now fronts GWAR as Blothar the Berserker, showed Green Jellÿ how to make costumes out of foam rubber instead of papier-mâché and wires.
Aside from the hits mentioned above, there’s a handful that aren’t so great. “House Me Teenage Rave (originally Whip Me Teenage Babe)” has a basic electro-house beat and an uncomfortably overly-sexual dialogue between two horny teenagers. “Misadventures of Shitman” is a testament to the band’s juvenile and scatological humour, and the music video will make you gag. Songs like “Rock-n-Roll Pumpkihn” and “Flight Of The Skajaquada” are just filler and don’t reach the comedic heights as the other songs.
Green Jellÿ is essentially a band to watch live or in their music videos. Without the visual component, a lot of their songs don’t have as much impact. In “Obey the Cowgod,” Manspeaker tells everyone to “Get on your knees,” which would work in a live setting, but not on record.
Overall, this album wasn’t as incredible as I remembered it, but there’s still some great bangers on this that will never get old. I will always enjoy a band with a sense of humour, and it’s thanks to bands like Green Jellÿ, among others, that we can head bang and giggle simultaneously.
Written by Chris
*Edited by Dominic Abate