Biography by Steve Huey & Greg Prato
Jellyfish seemingly had all the right ingredients for success -- catchy, melodic pop songs squarely in the Beatles/Squeeze mold, plus strong kitsch appeal in its retro sound and wildly colorful, clashing wardrobe. Founding members Andy Sturmer (drums, vocals) and Roger Manning (keyboards) previously played in the pop/rock quartet Beatnik Beatch; after that group called it quits, the Jellyfish lineup was rounded out with guitarist Jason Falkner and bassist Chris Manning, brother of Roger. Bellybutton, the group's well-received 1990 debut, produced a minor chart single in "Baby's Coming Back," but nothing made a major impact. The follow-up, Spilt Milk, followed the same style, adding more intricate arrangements and harmonies. Despite it being another stellar collection of tasty power pop, the album failed to live up to lofty expectations, and the band split up after an ensuing supporting tour wrapped up.
In the wake of their breakup, the former bandmembers turned up on different projects -- including former bassist Tim Smith's outfit the Umajets, a pair of bands that include Roger Manning, Imperial Drag, and the Moog Cookbook, while Jason Falkner has issued a pair of critically acclaimed solo releases, very much in the style of his former band (Sturmer has appeared to have turned his back on performing and has produced such acts as the Merrymakers and Puffy). Although their career was short, a slew of Jellyfish-influenced bands began to crop up in their wake -- including the aforementioned Merrymakers, Ben Folds Five, the Hutchinsons, and the Excentrics, among others. A 14-track collection of Jellyfish's best-known material (as well as a smattering of rare live tracks) (Greatest) was issued in 1999.
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