Okilly Dokilly exploits the abrasive sonic elements of sludge metal, akin to early Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains, but eschews dark, gloomy lyrics in favor of quotes from nearby, overly friendly Flanders. It turns out that a “Simpsons” metal band can indeed garner a large and devoted fanbase, and no one is more surprised than the lead singer himself, Head Ned.
“When we started the band, we didn’t expect to have a huge following,” says Head Ned, who co-founded the quintet in 2015. But less than a week after Okilly Dokilly released demo tracks on Bandcamp which the same year, the tracks garnered around a million streams, and the band’s newly created Facebook page amassed 25,000 fans.
The concept of Okilly Dokilly started out as a gag. Head Ned wanted to form a metal band, but under the guise of something more playful and totally different from the brutal trappings of the genre. The band’s latest album, “Howdilly Twodilly,” the sequel to 2016’s debut album “Howdilly Doodilly,” is a testament to how this offbeat juxtaposition comes together seamlessly. The 11 songs on the disc are full of references and sayings of the God-loving character of the “Simpsons”, but they paint Flanders in a very different light.
“One thing I look for when I find quotes is if Ned Flanders says something out of context, how heavy metal is that?” Chief Ned said. To find quotes for the new record, Head Ned went back and watched the first 10 seasons of the long-running anime series before writing the songs.
An example is the song “When the Comet Gets Here”, a nod to a Season 6 episode in which Flanders hides in his homemade bomb shelter after learning that a comet is about to hit. decimate Springfield. The shelter becomes overcrowded when more townspeople find out about its existence. After being named by Homer to leave due to overcapacity, Flanders happily agrees to leave and tells his son Todd to “shoot daddy if he tries to come back”. Okilly Dokilly twisted the quote in a way that makes Flanders look a whole lot more menacing.
Complementing the music, the band’s total dedication to watching the role. The five members, including drummer Dread Ned, guitarist Shred Ned, bassist Bed Ned and keyboardist Zed Ned, the characteristic Flanders green sweater, bright pink polo shirt, round glasses and, of course, his neatly trimmed mustache on stage. At the shows, their fans often rise to the occasion and wear the same costume. Okilly Dokilly calls these superfans “Bonus Neds”.
“We did a UK tour last year, and in London we had 25 people all dressed as Ned Flanders,” says Head Ned. “The mosh pit was a thick green tint, and a group of fans had a hard time telling who was in the group and who was just a fan dressed as Ned Flanders!”
Okilly Dokilly also caught the attention of “Simpsons” producers, who featured the band’s video for “White Wine Spritzer” in the credits of last Sunday’s episode. Once the band completes the US leg of their tour, Okilly Dokilly will travel halfway around the world to gain more fans.
“We might be thinking of going to Australia because there’s another ‘Simpsons’ themed band, Dr. Colossus, that we’d like to tour with,” says Head Ned. “That’s our goal – to take ‘Howdilly Twodilly’ and get it out there as far as we can.”
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