- Dead Neds: Okilly Dokilly prepare for their alley fight with Doctor Colossus.
'It's difficult to fight in a sweater," muses Head Ned, frontman of Ned Flanders dress-alike metalcore band Okilly Dokilly.
The singer is taking a moment to contemplate the question of how his band would fare in an admittedly unlikely alley fight with the similarly Simpsons-obsessed Aussie band Doctor Colossus.
Back in 2015, before either band had released a full-length album, the comparatively brawny Melbourne trio uploaded a track called "Stupid Sexy Flanders," its title a disparaging reference to Homer Simpson's all-too-neighborly bête noire.
Just days earlier, Okilly Dokilly had uploaded a track of its own that culminates in Head Ned roaring "stupid sexy Flanders" at the top of his lungs.
Was it coincidence ... or something more nefarious?
"I think they recorded theirs first, but we were the first at the starting line when it came to releasing it," admits Head Ned, whose real name remains a closely guarded secret. "As for meeting up in an alley, we would have the advantage of being five people instead of a trio. But we are all Flanders, so I don't think that would help much. We'd probably get pretty ruined."
Either way, the gimmicky Phoenix band's ungodly homage to Homer's devoutly Christian neighbor has met with unexpected success: Their "White Wine Spritzer" video recently surpassed 2 million views, while their debut album, Howdilly Doodilly, has racked up considerable national press. We caught up with Head Ned to find out how, and why, all this came about.
Indy: I'm sure you're aware that you're coming to a town that lives in the shadows of Ted Haggard's New Life Church. Are there any other religious destinations you'll be visiting on this pilgrimage?
Head Ned: Yeah, it'll be interesting. We'll be coming there straight from Utah, so we'll see how we feel after a day in that state. But it looks like we'll be mostly playing to heathens the rest of the tour.
I notice that a number of tracks on your debut album have fairly prominent keyboards, which is pretty unusual for a metalcore band. When it comes to previous bands, has that been your chosen genre?
No, absolutely not. Every band that I've ever played in previously has been compared to Weezer. We're all mostly from an indie alternative-rock background. But we're also fans of metal, so this was started as a side-project to experiment with trying to do something heavier. But as much as I try to get away from the Weezer comparisons, somebody left a comment on YouTube a while back saying "Sounds like Weezer got kicked in the balls."
Wouldn't that make your voice higher?
I guess so. But after getting compared to Weezer all the time, I've tried to branch out and get really far away from that. But I can't escape.
No one ever can. So another incongruity: Don't you think the band members with beards kind of mess up the whole Ned Flanders concept? Can't those guys shave?
Well, right now, pretty much everybody is in on the moustache, except for our drummer. He's the only one with a full beard. We go with the story that he's the most grizzled and hardcore of the Neds. Maybe the Ned who got left to fend for himself for a while.
So what's the real story?
The real story is that his wife actually won't let him shave it. She's just a big fan of the beard. So the poor guy has to decide whether to go full-Ned and put his marriage at risk.
And finally, the lyrics to songs like "Donut Hell" and "Sacrifice" don't exactly convey the piety of a true Ned Flanders. Are you at all worried that, in the afterlife, you may find that there's a vengeful God without a sense of humor?
You know, maybe there is a little bit of worry there. But we've got 38 shows ahead of us, and it would be kind of hard to stop the freight train that is Okilly Dokilly. So if that freight train is heading downstairs, then we're in for some trouble.