There's never been a huge a market for heavy metal music videos. Praise is far and few between, and they don't garner awards like pop music videos, clips like Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," which won seven MTV Video Music Awards in 2010, and even grabbed a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.
But that's not to say that there isn't a wealth of great vids out there: Miss May I recently premiered a new music video for their song "Hey Mister," an anthem of crunching, dueling guitars and extreme double bass (a talented drummer gets my vote every time), and it got me thinking about my favorite metal videos. Top contenders? In This Moments' "Gun Show," Pantera's "I'm Broken" and Slipknot's "Duality." Raw metal at its finest hour, accompanied by stunning visuals.
And after wasting several of my own hours browsing through heavy metal videos (and daydreaming about hot-ass Maria Brink), I started thinking about some of the first heavy music videos that appeared on the scene. MTV took the airwaves in 1981, which made me think about one of my favorite bands from that year, Green Jellÿ.
For those of you who haven't heard of Green Jellÿ, well, they are the shit. I was introduced to them by my boyfriend, who was completely aghast that I had not heard of them. I wasn't too impressed by his first selection, a ditty called "Little Pig, Little Pig." I wasn't really sure if it was intended to be serious or aggressively awful. But after discovering that they had once been nominated for a Grammy for best long-form video, I was curious enough to start researching their shenanigans.
So if you haven't checked them out, I highlight recommend it. If at the very least for a great laugh and look at young, comedic metal.
Back in the '80s, Green Jellÿ (then known as Green Jellö before Kraft foods got up their asses) were rising in the ranks of hard music, opening up for the Ramones and New York Dolls, and were even endorsed by Paul Stanley of KISS their on their first album release, 1984's Let It Be. (Cheeky, no? The Replacements issued their own Let it Be the same year.) It didn't take long for the comedy rock band's reputation for over-the-top performances and food-hurling audiences to earn them bans from venues nationwide. They moved to L.A., where they were befriended by GWAR (a firm indication of what kind of band Green Jellÿ is).
The lineup was always fluctuating, and at any given time the line-up consisted of about 20 members. For a second, Danny Carey and Maynard James Keenan of Tool even rounded out the roster. In fact, catch one of Maynard's antics with his "not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin" in "Little Pig, Little Pig." This video was directed in 1993 by Fred Stuhr, who also directed Tool's "Sober" video.
This band thrived on chaos; heavy metal's source of all power. They had ridiculous antics, like cooking or ironing on stage while head-banging and wearing paper mache/chicken-wire costume heads. It was an adventure in absurdity, and crowds loved every minute of it. They released rare videos with their albums in the mid to late '80s, and in 1991 made a goal to become the world's first video-only band. They even created the world's first-ever video game soundtrack for Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage in 1994. Part of the earliest heavy metal video revolution? That they were.
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And they're still rockin' out til this day. In fact, in 2009 they released new songs on their Myspace, and in 2010 embarked on a tour with Nashville Pussy and cult comedy metal band Psychostick, and later in the year with GWAR. But one of the things that really fascinates me about Green Jelly is that even with all their history, their current projects are just as intriguing.
Members have gone on to keep up the impressive work. Joe Cannizzaro became a videographer for Dreamworks, Bill Manspeaker owned a drug-laden nightclub, and Kim O'Donnell became a visual effect artists for movies like X-Men and Con Air.
My my, how far Green Jelly has come from their home-made, loft-shot, food-oozing music videos.