Interview: Gary Helsinger, Green Jelly

"We suck," say Green Jelly. But nobody's this good at being this bad. Inspired lunacy. No sacred cow is left unruffled, with the more risible excesses of metal, hardcore and techno/rave being mercilessly sent up in flames. Now, the more po-faced of us might fret into our mugs of warm milk. A shame, really, as the trainspotter disease has no known cure.

Anyway, I hooked up with one of the group of 20, vocalist Gary Helsinger (aka Hotsy Menshot, Piñata Head, Ho Si Min Chy) over in Holly-weird.

Gazza, some people are dismissing you for being a chew-it-up-spit-it-out novelty act.

"There's a lot of joke bands out there where it's like one joke," he says. "Until you see our show, it's hard to realise just who we are. OK, I hate to tell you this - it's gonna seem hypocritical - but DJ, who writes most of the songs, is a great musician. And most of our guys can play. It's just that we don't let 'em."

What some people fail to realise is that GJ have been around since 1981 using 74 poor damned souls in the process. Their new CD, Cereal Killer, is out and out. Whilst the single Three Little Pigs, a gloriously twisted satire, with a killer hardcore metal soundtrack, crashed straight into the UK charts at Numero 5. However, it was the Cereal Killer video that really made things happen.

"We got signed by telling a record company that we were gonna make this electrifying video album. We figured out we could do it for $60,000 - a fortune for us! And they said 'Yes."

Said record company only agreed because of the band's latant lie about being experienced video makers.

"We thought, should we tell them that we're lying or should we take the money? So we went back to our house and we drank beer for 4 months! The record company started pestering us for a return on their investment. We had such a cool concept, man. The concept was 'We'd better finish this or they're gonna break our legs!"

All manner of visual absurdity is on the video, including vats of shit made from dog food and human-sized puppet characters built out of foam and rubber latex.

"We'd go out and pick up couch cushions off the street and sculpt them into foam rubber heads, and stick them on our heads, which is, if you think about it, which we didn't, not very bright 'cos some cat pissed on it. That's why they were thrown away. And somebody's butt had been on that cushion for at least 10 years!"

Wanna know more? Go buy the product and don't miss the show, schmuck!

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
August, 1993
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