If you think you know Springfield’s cheeriest neighbor, Ned Flanders, think again. Self-described as the world’s first “nedal” band, Okilly Dokilly, brings a new dimension to the lovable character known for sipping the occasional wine spritzer. The living incarnate of Flanders—times five—the band members are known only as Head Ned, Bled Ned, Red Ned, Thread Ned, and Stead Ned.
Adorning green sweaters, mustaches, and the trademark Ned Flanders glasses, Okilly Dokilly drops guttural howls over wild synths—dedicating themselves and their music to the owner of The Leftorium, the very best neighborino.
Oh, and if you don’t want to join the Nedal army—keep your bitter Homer attitude at home because these Neds ain’t slowin’ their stride for “Nothing At All.” We chatted with ringleader Head Ned over the phone and this is what we got.
Metal meets Ned Flanders
Head Ned: Essentially it’s the irony of it. Our drummer and I were joking around and coming up with cute names for a really heavy band. You just picture a band like Metalica coming out on the stage with fire and smoke everywhere, but their name is Friendly Young Men or something stupid like that. So we came up with Okilly Dokilly—a hardcore band named Okilly Dokilly, come on. Then we were like, “What if we dressed up like Ned Flanders on top of it and played death metal?” We started figuring out what it would take to get there. Usually when bands come up with crazy ideas like this the “how” starts presenting a bunch of roadblocks, but we saw it was actually very plausible. I worked for a clothing store, so I could get the sweatshirts. We knew enough people that played instruments and liked The Simpsons, so we figured we’d give it a shot. We thought it would be hilarious.
How many band members are left-handed?
HN: Our merch booth is called The Leftorium, and two of our band members actually are left handed. I’m left handed and our synth player, Red Ned, is too. The other three guys that actually hold instruments are right handed, so on-stage it looks like we are all right handed.
Who are the Neds?
HN: We didn’t want to put our real names out there because this band is something we all just want to have fun with. We came up with two or three names that rhymed with Ned pretty quickly, but then I was like, “Crap, I have to do this with all of them—and they have to make sense.” We ended up making it work.
I’m Head Ned because obviously I’m the front man of the band as well as the band manager. I answer all of the band emails, and I write all of the songs. Red Ned was easy enough because he has red hair. Stead Ned got his name because he’s our rhythm guitarist, but he also grew into that name because he’s always on time for practice, he always brings what he needs to bring—he’s very reliable. Thread Ned, our bassist, outside of the group always dressed nicer than anyone else because he was a desk manager at a hotel, so he always came to practice in nice suits and slacks. Our drummer, Bled Ned, got his name because he drums so hard that he gets blisters.
At a previous show, he had white drumheads, and he smashed his knuckle, which caused him to bleed all over the place. For the next few shows, he had splatters of blood all over his white drum set—it was pretty cool.
The Simpsons bond
HN: Back when our drummer and I started hanging out, we bonded because we would always drop a Simpsons or Futurama quote. We realized we were both way into cartoons, so this idea just kind of came naturally. When it came down to finding more people, I wanted this project to be fun so I contacted some friends of mine. Our synth player wasn’t even that into metal, and even he was like, “A synth? How’s that going to work out?” But he’s a huge Simpson’s fan, so we told him to make it work however he could. It worked out really well. Our guitarist, Stead Ned, is probably the biggest Simpsons fan—by a hair. We went to a Simpson’s trivia night and he barely beat me out. All of the band members pretty much grew up on it, so when I pitched this idea, they all thought it was awesome.
An All-Natural Ned Flanders
HN: I think I actually would be Ned Flanders. The band is kind of a joke on to myself because I look enough like him to pull it off, and that was one of the reasons we moved forward with this project. It wasn’t hard for me to grow a mustache and I’m already left handed. Outside of being in a Ned Flanders metal band, I generally live a pretty boring life. I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t dress like a typical metal guy.
“Even the smallest quotes can be turned into a song”
HN: It takes me about an hour or so to research every song. The first songs I wrote were pretty easy because I went to more of the well-known quotes like, “It feels like I’m wearing nothing at all.” Because The Simpsons catalog is so huge, I guarantee there are so many quotes that I haven’t found yet, and because so much of it isn’t readily available online there is a ton of stuff buried in the complete Simpsons DVD collection the band has. Even the smallest quotes can be turned into a song. There’s one thing Ned Flanders says, “The last thing I bought for a woman is a coffin.” That’s an entire song for us. The episode “Hurricane Neddy” is one of my favorites and we have three songs just from that episode.
Although Ned Flanders is covered in a sweater and all of this friendly stuff, deep down in his core, he is angry, bitter, and wants to scream in a metal band.
They have an entire song of just left handed puns
HN: There’s one song where I pulled a couple lines and I added some lyrics, but that’s the only song I did that for. On our song, “Leftorium,” the entire song is just left handed puns. Most of our songs are comprised of just me finding a quote then finding more Ned Flanders quotes or using part of a conversation with other closely related characters. We have a song where Rod picks up cuss words from Homer and says, “I don’t want any damn vegetables,” and “Hell no.” That’s basically the entire song. It can get repetitive, but so does pop music (laughs).
On living up to Ned’s grueling exercise regiment
HN: Our shows are basically workouts (laughs). We do a lot of jumping around in full sweaters and what not. Other than that, there’s a bunch of gym equipment right by where we practice, but we haven’t actually touched it. We did a photo shoot a while back, and there is a GIF online of us lifting all of that exercise equipment. So I guess I lied—we touched it once.
Ned Flanders is an angry SOB
HN: The main story we are trying to portray is the fan fiction we wrote. Although Ned Flanders is covered in a sweater and all of this friendly stuff, deep down in his core, he is angry, bitter, and wants to scream in a metal band. We want to show the world what we think is at the core of Ned Flanders, which is hatred. It’s this weird narrative that we’ve written and now we’re also living (laughs).
They’re inspired by a Japanese J-pop death metal band
HN: It’s all over the place. There’s a crazy Japanese metal band called Maximum The Hormone. They’re a big influence in this project because they go from the friendliest J-pop, like super high-pitched and friendly, to the deepest and scariest death metal you can imagine in one song. That was a massive influence for us because there are many songs where we try to assume the friendly nature of Ned Flanders through music. You know, nice harmonies—it sounds pleasant. Then it just dips into death and doom and all of that stuff. I used to listen to a lot of Austrian Death Machine, which is all Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes. I’ll listen to anything from August Burns Red to hardcore bands, to old school metal bands, and indie pop—you name it. It’s all across the board for me.
On Homer Haters
HN: So many people show up with their Simpson’s tattoos and weird Japanese shirts that they got online from some weird Ebay order—it’s hilarious. In August, when we put our stuff online and we went viral we started getting messages so quickly that we couldn’t respond to all of them right away. Days later, I saw that we got a message from a guy in Argentina at about 3 or 4 in the morning that actually spammed us with a chain of messages. They were like, “Hey.” Next message, “How’s it goin’?” Next message, “Hey, you guys are great.” Next message, “I’m your biggest fan. Please talk to me.” Next message, “Please. Please talk to me.” Mind you, this was all within the same six minutes and there were also emojis of dogs sent with these messages. The last message says, “F*** you stupid.” Now that’s our ultimate insult. If someone is screwing around at practice, we look that Ned square in the eye and say, “F*** you stupid” (laughs).
When we started, our goal was just to get the demos done, get press shots taken, and to put them online. We had to do all of that a month before our first show. Then all of a sudden, 1,000 people said that they were coming to this venue that fits roughly 100 people.
Another great story, someone wrote us an essay, it had to be at least 800 words, detailing how awful we are. It was hilarious. It actually plays into what we are trying to do because we are dressed like Ned Flanders and hating on us is exactly what Homer would do. We call our haters “Homers” (laughs). I guess the argument is people think we “use Ned to get famous.” In reality, we just thought the whole concept was funny, and it just caught on.
On wine spritzers
HN: At our last show I actually ordered a white wine spritzer and drank it on stage. They aren’t very good. The bartender also gave me a pretty strange look when I ordered it because I wasn’t wearing my Ned Flanders stuff. I basically just looked like a weird guy with a mustache at a metal show ordering a white wine spritzer. I don’t think I’ll do that at future shows though—it’s pretty gross.
Top song to perform
HN: Probably “Nothing At All” off of our demos because it’s one of the more recognized Flanders quotes. From our unreleased stuff, the song “Flander Doodles.” It’s a goofy title and it’s a really goofy song, but it’s really heavy and really fun to play.
“We want to keep making sure that this project stays fun”
HN: When we started, our goal was just to get the demos done, get press shots taken, and to put them online. We had to do all of that a month before our first show. Then all of a sudden, 1,000 people said that they were coming to this venue that fits roughly 100 people. The goal of getting 20 people to show up was then overshot by miles and miles and miles. I think our goal now has two parts. First, we’re trying to sit down and record an album. We want to get that out in early 2016. Second, we want to keep making sure that this project stays fun. As the band gets bigger, it becomes a whole lot of work to keep it going, which is fine. Sometimes we just have to stop and remind ourselves that the entire point of this project was to do something that was fun for us. So far, we’ve managed to keep it that way.
Do you think Flanders would be flattered?
HN: Absolutely not (laughs).
HN: We’re just going to buckle down and focus on recording. We got all of this attention when we only had four demos recorded, so we’d like to actually get into a studio and record them. From there we’ll look at going on the road and touring. We’ll probably put a couple quick trips to California and New Mexico on our radar soon too.