Interview With CJ From The Jellys

This interview was done at the Jellys recent gig at the barfly in Camden on 9th Septmber 1997.

We'd like to ask you about the breakup of Honeycrack. We've heard several conflicting stories, and we'd like to hear from you exactly what happened.

Basically, we'd had the single out called Anyway, and we'd toured and then we'd had a couple of months off and in that couple of months, I wrote a shitload of songs and I helped out another band called the Hormones in January and after that I demoed up the songs I'd written, but they weren't songs I'd written for Honeycrack though, they were songs I'd written for a three piece sort of punk pop band and Willie had been working on stuff and the rest of the guys had been working on stuff and none of us wanted to go back to doing the Honeycrack thing, you know. I'm much happier doing the Jellys thing. I'm more in control and I'm singing about stuff I love, my dogs and ice cream and chocolate. That's why. We're still completely amicable, we're all still friends, we just couldn't stay in Honeycrack. We all had tons of ideas and they weren't for Honeycrack.

Are you still in contact with them?

the Bugs and I know they've done some gigs, but I don't know what they're doing at the moment. Willie's off doing whatever he does. And that's it basically. And I've had the Jellys since the beginning of the year.

Have you got big plans for them?

Yeah. We're called the Jellys cos it's my smallest dog's favourite sweets, jelly sweets. Basically, ok, all the songs are about something which means a lot to me - about my dogs, or some of them are about my girlfriend or about chocolate or ice cream. One of them's about an alien I once knew. Like all the things which mean something to me. Like with Honeycrack there were 5 individuals, lots of songwriters and lots of songs which didn't mean shit to me.

Yeah, they seemed quite political to me

Well the political stance wasn't me cos I don't give a shit about politics and the country's fucked, it doesn't matter who's in charge.

So did you vote in the last election?

Well, no. The world's fucked. Everything's fucked. The whole human race is fucked as far as I can see - there's nothing you can do about it and we're on our way to extinction and it doesn't matter. It's too late. It's too late to save the planet. I worry more about wildlife and animals more than I have ever or will ever worry about humans cos we're dumb and we're stupid and we're greedy. There's people starving and there's no need for it with the amount of money and food in the world and it's all power and greed. I've got strong opinions about the way the world is, but the Jellys isn't about that, it's about aving agood time. I write about things I love. There are songs about things I hate, but they're done in such a nice way that someone would think I like drugs and people who drink too much but I can't stand them. I don't mind people who drink, it's just people who shouldn't drink too much cos they turn into like, a twat. You know, they get violent, they get racist and stuff like that just when they're pissed. But the Jellys is just 2 and a half/3 minute songs, fast pop songs. We're a punk-pop band and at the moment we haven't got a deal. We've got our own E.P. coming out in October and it's financed by ourselves. We all travel together in the same transit van, we all sleep on floors when we're doing gigs and it's really enjoyable. This time last year I was in Japan, staying in five star hotels. I was having a good time, but this is more enjoyable. I know when I start properly touring with the Jellys, it's gonna be a hundred times better cos we wear eyeliner and stupid ties and greasepaint and we have a much better time. There's only three egos in this band. It's easier.

Did you find it a weird experience supporting the Wildhearts, you know, a band you'd been in?

No, not at all because they've changed so much. When the band supported the Wildhearts, it wasn't the Wildhearts I remember. To me, the Wildhearts were always a punk rock band. It was good hearing the old songs, but that was three years ago, and I've done a lot since then. It was yesterday and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I mean, we were the only punk rock band on the stage that night. Well, there were three different bands on that stage. I think you're going to see three different bands tonight. Which is good - it'd be horrible if you saw three bands the same. It was good playing in a big hall and it was good playing to people who had probably seen me a hundred times before in different bands.

Do you feel the Jellys is a natural progression from your other bands?

I always wanted to be in a band like this. You see my favourite band is the descendents who are an american hardcore band and they're basically speeded up punk rock - rock n' roll pop just speeded up and that's what the Jellys are doing and I should've been in the Jellys when I was 16 but I didn't, you know. It's almost regression. Like I've saved the best 'til last. And the Jellys is my last band. I've got other things to do, and so I've saved the best 'til last. This will be the punkiest band I've ever been in, the fastest, poppiest, most rock n' roll and glamorous band I've ever been in.

Is it frustrating having to start again right from the very bottom?

Well, I've got a tiny head start on someone who's never, say, released an album or never done anything. Even though right now we're kipping on floors and driving a transit van, I can still cut a lot of corners. But I'm not! But when the time comes, I will cut corners. People will listen to the Jellys, purely because of the history of the band, and I've used that to a point, but I haven't used it like I did when I was out of the Wildhearts to get Honeycrack started. It's a different thing. Honeycrack walked straight into a deal, but the Jellys are taking their time.

So are you aiming for an indie label, or a major label?

I'd prefer a major label to tell the truth. More money. More touring. Bigger. I wanna do things really big. The whole makeup of the band - we've got about six different images and to do the whole thing properly it has to be financed properly. I want to make the most outrageous videos ever made and I want to put on the most outrageous stage shows ever done. If we're signed to a major we can do that. An indie would be a lukewarm version of the Grand Plan! And I want to help animals as well and I want to do it on a big, big scale. The only way I can do that is if the band is hugely successful. I've got a better chance if the band is on a major. I can do benefit shows for the RSPCA, World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace and stuff like that. It means more to me.

Have you had any label interest?

Yeah, but at the moment I just want the band to progress naturally at our pace. I mean I'm writing songs for the second album now and we haven't even recorded the first album. I'm that far ahead. It's like, if I write the third album by the end of the year, then I can forget about the songwriting and I'll just have a good time. When we go in to record our first album, we can record two albums. Then we can have a great time, and tour more. All we wanna do is tour. And we're having a great time. I've got no money! But there have been times in my life when I've had money, I've been on Top of the Pops and I've had a really crap time. And this time round it's great. We're a three piece band - just bass, drums, guitars and vocals and that's all we're gonna be. There's no plans to get other members in the band. There's plans to get all my pets to duet with us. I've got my budgie, my dogs, my chinchilla. They're gonna be used on the album, cos there's songs about them and I want them to be heard. The whole Jellys wouldn't have been around if it wasn't for my love of my "family" - most of my family are pets! And that's what the whole Jellys thing's about. You'll see! And that's why I want a major deal - to make people aware of what's going on. Cos as much as there's human suffering, there's no need for it. But animals are the sort that could be totally wiped out. I treat my pets better than most of the people I know. My mum's got two of my dogs at the moment at she doesn't want to give them back cos she's looking after them. I've got one at my place, and I've got my chinchilla and my budgie. My folks treat my smallest dogs, Chewie and Squirt like their granddaughters. That love of animals is given to me by my folks. That's what the Jellys is about. It's nothing serious. I'm not gonna harp on about politics or the state of people or the world. It's about things I like. I wanna give love, enjoyment and the best way to make people enjoy themselves is by singing about things that you enjoy and make you happy, and that's what the band's about.

We noticed you have a song called Strawberry Ice Cream - that's my favourite flavour as well!

I can't stand it! Basically, I asked my girlfriend what her favourite Ice cream was. I knew she'd say chocolate - our favourite flavour's chocolate. But we like strawberries and Strawberry Ice Cream sounds much nicer than Chocolate Ice Cream as a rhyme and I don't particularly like strawberry ice cream that much. I mean, I've got a punk chinchilla, my little Squirt, which is about my smallest dog Squirt, I got a song about my mate's fat cat, called "Fat Cat" and there's one about my budgie and there's songs about sunshine and songs about curry and rice. It's all about songs that make me happy, and that make other people happy. It's good.

One thing I'm particularly interested in is how a lot of people in the rock scene at the moment feel about dance music, things like the Spawn soundtrack. I wondered how you feel about that, and if you had any of your tracks remixed which ones would they be?

There's one song on that Spawn soundtrack which I think is amazing -Incubus with DJ Greyboy. It's the only good song on there. And then there's the very last track which goes "an ay ay ay ay oy oy oy" But Incubus that's amazing. Because it sounds like Bad Brains. But the rest of it is a load of old bollocks. It's absolute crap. I think if people are going to remix something, you know, remix a good song. Don't remix a crap song, cos a crap song is still a crap song, it doesn't matter who's remixed it. I would have my songs remixed by a DJ but I'd have the best DJ in town. I wouldn't go to Donald Duck! That's my views on it. But Incubus and DJ Greyboy's stunning. And that's a great song. And to me that's the only song on there. A lot of my favourite bands are, like Pigeonhed, are like ambient, rock, punk, they mix it all together and I like a lot of alternative. I would have something remixed but I'd have to be so in control of it. My brother's a big dance fan and he tapes me all the stuff so I'm kind of up on the dance scene but right now I want songs that sound as punk rock as possible, but the American side of punk rock, not the British. All my favourite bands are American. There's one English band that I truly love and that's the Cardiacs. I've liked them for about ten years. They're my favourite ever British band. They're out there on their own. But this dance thing, I don't think dance and rock go too well together. I'd rather write a dance song than use one of my songs. I'd rather sit down and scratch out a dance song about strawberry ice cream. There's an acid called Strawberry, they'd probably think it was about that!

This interview will eventually end up on the net, and we wondered whether you think the internet is a good thing or not?

I haven't got a computer, but we've got a website set up now. It's only just being set up now, but it's looking really good. But I think it's exciting and it's the future and it's something I've got to learn about cos one day my kids are gonna come home and ask questions about it and I don't want to be [....]. But if I had the money to buy a computer, I'd buy a car. I'd buy a chihuahua and I'd buy a llama. And pigs as well! I might even have cows cos I want to start an animal sanctuary. Hopefully I'll earn enough money with the Jellys to start my own animal sanctuary. And that's what I wanna do. So the computer thing will happen in about ten years time. Once I've done all my other stuff, and I've got a free afternoon I'll go and buy a computer. I love technology, I love gadgets. I think technology should be used to make people better. I think most of it is used to take something from you. It does my head in but I'm not scared of it. I'm not one of those people that like retro. I don't live in the past. It's been and gone. I'm not harking back to the sixties. I was just born in the sixties, I was a kid in the seventies. We're living in the nineties, we're approaching the millenium and I welcome it with open arms cos you don't know what's around the corner.

Have you got any plans for a new years party in 1999?

I hate Christmas, I hate New Years Eve. To me it's the worst time of the year cos everything stops and people get really lazy, they drink too much and eat too much. And me being a musician, I can eat as much as I want and drink as much as I want any day of the year and I don't stop working over Christmas just so I can get out of my head - I can get out of my head tonight, tomorrow night or any night after that. I don't believe in God, but my mum's really religious, so Christmas is a massive thing for her. Most people use Christmas as an excuse to do things I can do any time of the year. It's good for children, but it's the worst time of year for dogs cos so many people buy dogs and then abandon them afterwards. For me that's heartbreaking. And it's at that time of year when a lot of animals suffer. I just celebrate with my family, I prefer it that way. It, for me, has always been too over the top. It scares me sometimes cos there's so many pissed people around. There's always some struggle. I like to spend it with my dogs, my girlfriend. I always get really paranoid around lots of drunk people. And I eat well, my folks are really good cooks and I live close to them and I had the best meal of the year last night. The last time I had one of my mum's curries. I have curry for Christmas. I can't stand Roast dinner. The only way you can make roast dinners taste nice is by putting loads of salt and pepper and gravy on it. I had curried mackerel for Christmas this year. And it's really cold here! I want the sunshine! I'll move to the Seychelles: better drugs, better Marijuana and the people are nicer as well. The water's better, the beaches are better, the fruit's better. I'd love to live in England when it's sunny, so I'd be here for about a week of the year. For me, it's bearable when it's sunny, it's just when it gets cold and people get those fucking miserable faces in London. I don't live here now, but in winter, it's unbearable. People look so sour and miserable. And they're the same who complain in summer when it's too hot. London's so grey in Winter so I wrote a song called feels like sunshine which I wrote last Christmas. That's a Christmas song about me wishing it was sunny again. It's all about how cold it is. Some people think it's about prozac!

Yeah, some people think the name Jellys is about tamazapam

Well, when they see the logo which is a crucified Jelly Baby then they suddenly understand that it's not a drugs reference. I don't smoke much now, but I used to smoke a lot of Marijuana. Tamazapam's a tranquilizer? The Jellys is about waking up, getting up and having a good time.

Thanks for your time