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Warped Tour darlings Cobra Starship discusses side projects and fanny packs, while the hidden history of Green Jellÿ is revealed 

Cobra Starship combines '80s new wave influences and funky fashion with quirky dance moves and plenty of irony. Formed in 2005 by former Midtown frontman Gabe Saporta to record the title song for the movie Snakes on a Plane, the quintet signed to rocker Pete Wentz's vanity label DecayDance. Two eminently danceable albums later, Cobra Starship has proven that it's no one-hit wonder: 2008's Really Really Ridiculously Good-Looking Tour, which the band headlined, sold out every single date. B-Sides caught up with guitarist Ryland Blackinton about the band, his side project This Is Ivy League, and, perhaps most important, the best '80s fashion trend: the fanny pack.

B-Sides: I was at the show you guys played in St. Louis in February. And it was a whole slew of age groups — I mean, it was moms and dads and little kids who were, like, six years old. You guys must really dig how widespread the love is, huh? I mean, could you even imagine something like that?

Ryland Blackinton: No, but you know, it's really interesting how it happened. I mean, we didn't expect it to, but we're happy that it has. A lot of parents are coming and stuff, and college kids... it's cool. A lot of people like to work out to it, too, which is interesting to me.

Well, it's peppy, it's upbeat! My mom loves you guys. Actually, my mom really loves This Is Ivy League.

Oh? That's so cool!

Yeah, she said, "This reminds me of Simon & Garfunkel, and it's so awesome, it's like the '60s all over again!"

Yeah, that's so cool. We love the '60s.

But it's so different from Cobra Starship. Is it a nice change or do you find it difficult to switch gears?

No, it's easy to switch gears really, because I consider all of it pop music, you know, both bands. Catchy hooks and nice choruses and things, that's what I'm interested in. Obviously the Ivy League stuff is more of a throwback to what I like from the '60s, whereas Cobra Starship is more like the stuff that I liked in the '80s, '90s and the Y2K, you know what I'm sayin'?

In an early interview with MTV, Gabe said that he is Cobra Starship. Is it more of a collaboration now?

Over these last few years, you know, we've worked hard and stuff, and we've gone out ten months of the year, and we've shown our dedication to the band, and we've become more of a real band now, definitely.

My final question is very serious: When can we expect to see the Cobra Starship fanny pack?

Well, you throw an idea like that out there, I mean, someone else is gonna do it if we don't do it soon. So it's gonna happen soon. We're totally on it.— Anna Genoese

Cobra Starship performs at Warped Tour, noon, Tuesday, July 1. Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 14141 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights. $31.20 in advance, $35 day of show. 314-298-9944.

You Ready for this Jellÿ?
In 1993, millions of Generation Xers watched three claymation pigs escape from the torment of a big, bad claymation wolf, as they sang "Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!" during breaks between copyright-free "Smoke on the Water" riffs. The chorus of Green Jellÿ's "Three Little Pigs" is unlikely to qualify as a great moment in rock history, but it's hardly insignificant. Not only did that swine-sung hook help the band sell 2.5 million copies of the album Cereal Killer Soundtrack, it was also the first time Tool/A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan's vocals were heard on the radio; Maynard's humorously operatic falsetto acted as the voice of the porky trio. As Green Jellÿ's reunion tour makes its way to our city, B-Sides would like to inform you of three more things you may not know about the band.

Green Jellÿ has been around since 1981. The band originally terrorized the Buffalo, New York, music scene as Green Jellö, with the intention of being "The World's Worst Band." During early shows, band members drew attention away from their clumsy musicianship with live shenanigans that landed somewhere between performance art and immature debauchery. Television smashing, food fights and fake blood were standard parts of the group's routine, leading it to be banned from almost every venue in Buffalo. The pinacle of Green Jellÿ's shock-rock days was an appearance on The Gong Show, where the band performed for 41 seconds before the gong was struck.

Green Jellÿ has been sued quite a few times. Kraft Foods notoriously pressed charges against the group for using the word "Jello" in their name without permission (perhaps they were particularly irked by pre-show chants of "Green Jellö Sucks"). The band changed their name to Green Jellÿ, opting for an umlaut, they said, so the pronunciation would stay the same. Kelloggs also sued the band for its gruesome Cereal Killer album cover, on which a multicolored bird named "Toucan Son Of Sam" is depicted as a nose-following murderer and surrounded by the corpses of Snap, Crackle and other pop-culture breakfast icons. Metallica even got in on the Green Jellÿ lawsuit action, claiming that a section of "Electric Harley House Of Love" ripped off "Enter Sandman." The band had a tough defense, as the next lyric after the questionable riff is "Come on, boys, I know you think it's Metallica."

Green Jellÿ has featured more than 200 band members. Jellÿ is ultimately the brainchild of Bill Manspeaker (stage name: Moronic Dictator), and he has enough ex-bandmates to form two intramural softball leages — and still have some leftover folks to run the concession stand. Most former members of "The World's Worst Band" are no longer involved in music (surprise!), but future Tool drummer Danny Carey was once in Green Jellÿ. Manspeaker has run an audio/video production house in Hollywood for over a decade, producing videos for the likes of Gwar, "Weird Al" Yankovic and Kiss.— Ryan Wasoba

7 p.m. Thursday, June 26. Pop's, 1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois. $15. 618-274-6720.

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