Jessie Goodson, Campus Carrier News Editor
“If the Beatles and Queen had a baby, and that baby was raised by The Beach Boys, that baby would be Jellyfish,” a wise friend once told me.
Jellyfish, a power pop band from San Francisco, was formed in 1989 by Andy Sturmer and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. Sturmer and Manning were both a part of a band called Beatnik Beatch, where Sturmer occasionally sang lead vocals and played the drums and Manning played keyboard.
Jellyfish began when the two were encouraged to write their own music aside from Beatnik Beatch. They began recording demos at Sturmer’s home and in janitor closets. The two of them usually played all of the instruments, occasionally calling in others to lay down parts when they needed them. These demos eventually became the beginning of Jellyfish’s first album, “Bellybutton.”
Sturmer and Manning presented many of these songs to Beatnik Beatch, but the band was never interested in doing them. Many outside record labels were very interested in the demos the two had been recording, and sort of went to war with each other.
One of the record label meetings was held at an aquarium, which is where the idea to call the band “Jellyfish” came along. They later signed to Charisma Records, which at the time was a division of Virgin Records and later became EMI. So many people just knew Jellyfish would be the next big band in music, and a departure from hair metal.
I think it’s also important to note the rumor about the day Jellyfish was signed by Charisma. Apparently, another band was turned down- said to be very distant and angsty, and the label decided to go with the more colorful, child-like charisma that is Jellyfish. The band that was turned down, was Nirvana.
In 1992, Jellyfish began recording “Spilt Milk,” their second and last EP. This album seems to be the favorite among fans, rightfully so. The album has never been explicitly called a concept album (non-stop album that usually tells a story from beginning to end), but it does things that resemble one. It is said to represent a dream, beginning and ending the same way. The beginning of the album is like going to sleep, everything in the middle is the dream, and the ending is waking up, even including an alarm sound.
“Spilt Milk” has something for everyone: a lullabye (“Hush”), a hard rock song (“Joining a Fan Club”), a children’s song (“Sebrina”), a pop song (“New Mistake”), an acoustic power ballad (“Glutton of Sympathy”), a grunge song (“Ghost at Number One”), a polka song (“Bye Bye Bye”), a shoegaze song (“All is Forgiven”) and a jazz-like song (“Russian Hill”). So no matter what kind of music you’re in to, give this album a listen.
Jellyfish broke up not long after “Spilt Milk” was done with its tour, and the members went their separate ways and did many different things. Many of you have probably seen
After Jellyfish, Sturmer stayed pretty hidden away, recording things from home, and not having much of an online presence at all. He has famously written and recorded the theme music for Teen Titans, Batman Brave and the Bold, Ben10 and a number of songs for Looney Toons and Winnie and Pooh.
The album has gained a large cult following, and is considered legendary. Its techniques have been studied over and over and will probably continue to become popular. So do yourself a favor and join the fan club (like the songs says) and listen to Jellyfish.