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Jellyfish

San Francisco-based power pop outfit Jellyfish only released two full-length albums during their early-'90s heydays, but the group's immaculately crafted pop/rock songs and unapologetic penchant for all things retro helped throw some much needed light on what was becoming at the time a very crowded pop underground. Like their closest contemporaries the Posies, the Wondermints, and Redd Kross, Jellyfish drew from the same well as bands like Badfinger, XTC, Cheap Trick, the Move, Big Star, and the Zombies, crafting occasionally complex, impossibly catchy tunes that cast an alternative pop/rock shadow on the radio hits of the previous three decades.

Formed around the talents of former Beatnik Beatch members singer/songwriter/drummer Andy Sturmer and keyboard player/multi-instrumentalist Roger Manning, as well as former Three O'Clock singer/songwriter/guitarist Jason Falkner, and with Manning's brother Chris joining the group on bass for live shows, Jellyfish came to fruition in 1990 with the release of Bellybutton. The debut album yielded the band's biggest hit, "Baby's Coming Back," as well as a string of solid singles ("The King Is Half-Undressed," "That Is Why," "I Wanna Stay Home," and "Now She Knows She's Wrong") that earned the group a devoted yet decidedly cult following. Both Falkner and Chris Manning left the fold after the Bellybutton tour, the latter blaming a distaste for life on the road and the former unhappy with his role as just a guitar player. Sturmer and Manning spent the next two years holed up in the studio with a rotating cast of musicians who included bassist Tim Smith and multi-instrumentalist/producer Jon Brion to record Jellyfish's sophomore effort, Spilt Milk. Released in 1993, Milk was a far more elaborate affair than its predecessor, echoing the studio mastery of the Beach Boys ("Hush," "Ghost at Number One"), the guitar-heavy onslaught of Kiss and Queen ("Joining a Fan Club," "All is Forgiven"), and the psychedelic pop of the Beatles ("Bye, Bye, Bye," "Brighter Day") with impressive acumen. The band endured a year of touring (with the help of Smith and guitarist/singer Eric Dover) before calling it quits at the end of 1994.

Despite the group's relatively short career, the members of Jellyfish managed to influence a host of likeminded artists, including the Merrymakers, the Hutchinsons, the Excentrics, and Ben Folds Five, as well as secure for themselves the same kind of cult status bestowed upon so many of their heroes. Andy Sturmer became a highly sought-after producer and composer, working with everyone from the Black Crowes to Ozzy Osbourne to Japanese pop superstars Puffy AmiYumi; Roger Manning joined up with Eric Dover to form the retro-glam rock outfit Imperial Drag, formed Moog Cookbook with Los Angeles-based musician and producer Brian Kehew, toured and recorded with Beck, and released a pair of solo albums; and Jason Falkner formed the likeminded power pop act the Grays with Jon Brion, worked with fellow pop crooner Eric Matthews, and released a string of excellent solo albums. In 2002, Not Lame released Fan Club, a truly "fan-oriented" limited-edition box set that included four discs of unreleased Jellyfish material (demos, rehearsals, compilation tracks, live recordings, etc.) and memorabilia, put together with the assistance of all of the group's members and their soundman, Shalom Aberle. It was a fitting eulogy made for fans by a band full of longtime fans of bands. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Time for a Jellyfish Reunion Tour!
Not nearly as good as Badfinger... . covers never are but ok.
It's better when badfinger sings it.
13xicat
Bellybutton was the greatest! That is why on 1060 kukq 1991. Thanks Andy
jpe213
Jellyfish is probably one of the best bands the world has ever seen. Such a deep and complex sound. Spilt Milk is by far one of the best albums ever to be recorded. Would give my soul to have been able to have seen them live but I was only 14 in 93 and never knew if they came to Dallas back then. I probably left either Spilt Milk Or Belly in my cd player for over a year without much change. Hope they get together and play a gig soon.
beth8560
one of the best bands I saw play live - on the grass at some hotel in Sacramento - I thought they were genius - I'll always be a jellyhead :)
Is there a "love" option? Tunesmiths!
1st time i seen them was at the stone Pony in Asbury park. I loved them. Im with you guys, would love to see therm get back together. If the fish are reading, dont wait too long, cause if you do, then you cant. remember: Life is what happands when your making other plans Lennon 1980
ronkarmax
Saw these guys in SF with an old girlfriend back in the day. She's dead now.
Producers were awesome!
I would put the producers in the same music but they are from completely different time frames.
Really? You're going to compare The Producers to Jellyfish? The P's were fun, but simplistic. Jellyfish has such a complex, layered sound that I often wondered how they could possibly play live. I like the P's, but would never, ever call them rivals to Jellyfish.
sistaflave
Best Power Pop band? Close. Jellyfish's bassist Tim Smith played five years earlier for a band called "The Producers" and are their rivals in regards to catchy pop tunes. Remember "She Sheila"?
tullydesign
Any other "pwer pop" band pale to Jellyfish's brillance. Manning/Stur m e r seemed to completely embrace their love of a variety of music styles and regurgitate it back in their own blend of popular music. So talented and original, they were ahead of their time. The music that they created is wonderful and timeless. Their fans are still growing in numbers and we dream of a reunion. They could make a lot of people sooo happy!
They were so ahead of their time. What's NOT to love about them? I saw them live in 1993/5 in Milwaukee and was fantastic.
Another band for the "Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect" file! Badfinger,To d d R.,City Boy and add Jellyfish. Expertly crafted Power Pop. If you like XTC Squeeze Crowded House The Move 10cc-- run to Amazon or whoever and buy now! Beyond Great. Stunningly Flooring effect. Split is my fav but Belly is a must have too. Can listen to them until people break my Stereo. Not convinced, go to YouTube and watch them.
saw these guys at the station in orlando early 90s wwwwwwwwwwww w w w w w w w w w o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w
Fantastic band!!! The best of the 90's.
nicojaw
all four members of this band were taught by my HS music teacher
A "musical Where's Waldo". Hilarious.
The what-ifs attached to these guys are heart breaking. I've really liked the projects the members went on to do, but they're only methadone. For years it's been fun to see where and when they pop-up. It's almost a musical, "Where's Waldo." I'm not sure of the what's and why's of their implosion but I do wonder what their 3rd album would have been like. Then again, how do you follow up, Spilt Milk?
Check out LEO....Andy Sturmer Side project...ve r y cool. Roger Manning's Solo stuff is cool also.
polly88
this is a great band! get back together you all!
you all...i hear ya...and your preaching to the choir...+)ab
LOVE JELLYFISH STYLE
meems68
I would love to have these guys back together - it's so rare these days to find an artist or group who's CDs I can to wear out.
It's a shame the early 90's didn't know what to do with this amazing band. Sure they were sometimes a dead ringer for Queen... but that's certainly no easy feat. In fact, if there is ever a Queen reunion, Andy Sturmer get's my vote to play the part of Freddy
Jellyfish: the greatest unknown band of all time. TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!
dcarr5
I would love a Jellyfish reunion!!! both discs still stand the test of time!! Great music
dalastar
"Say a prayer for a fallen star."
They did more on 2 albums than most bands do with a dozen. Roger and Andy need to try it one more time. Please.
i really wish they would regroup. i love them. i was super bummed when they broke up.
Andy Sturmer is my Uncle.

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