Bootleg City, Music
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Bootleg City: Jellyfish

According to an article I found on Magnet magazine’s website, Jellyfish’s lead singer, Andy Sturmer, wasn’t afraid to sting people. “I was told that Jellyfish would be an equal three-piece, with us writing and playing everything,” said the band’s original guitarist, Jason Falkner. “That turned out to be a total joke. I felt like I was duped.” And keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr., whose 2006 song “You Were Right” will never leave your brain once you let it inside, had this to say: “Except for Andy, we all speak to one another. Some of us make music together. But nobody is interested in working with Andy in a personal or creative capacity. It would serve no purpose, but I don’t say that with any animosity or sadness.”

Yeah, but it’s still sad, because the band’s second and final album, 1993’s Spilt Milk (an appropriate title, it seems), left me wanting more. Then again, a smart band is supposed to leave its fans wanting more.

Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Andy Sturmer, Chris Manning, and Jason Falkner, circa 1990

After Jellyfish split up in ’94, Sturmer turned his attention to writing and producing, notably for the Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi, whose 2006 song “Call Me What You Like” will also take up permanent residence in your brain unless you close the borders right this instant. He’s also the composer of theme songs for Cartoon Network shows like Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Teen Titans, and he performs the theme song for Transformers Animated.

The tracks below come from a bootleg called “Live Milk,” and the portion of the boot taken from Westwood One’s In Concert: New Rock program includes commercials at the end of each segment, including one narrated by Tom Selleck. TV theme songs … TV stars … see where I’m going with this? If you have a favorite theme song in your collection that isn’t already available on one of those “All-Time Best TV Theme Songs” CD collections, and you wouldn’t mind contributing it to a future edition of Bootleg City, please e-mail me an MP3 file. One reader has already sent me J.D. Souther’s first-season theme song for the late-’80s Richard Lewis-Jamie Lee Curtis sitcom Anything But Love, and I have Ariel Ryder and Narada Michael Walden’s “Gimme a Sign,” from the late-’90s Eric Close-Dennis Haysbert sci-fi romance Now and Again, to add to the pile. It doesn’t matter if your MP3 file was converted from a cassette you placed in your boombox and then directed toward your TV, which was my preferred method during adolescence — the bootleggier the better.

2 Meter Sessies, the Netherlands, 3/10/93
The Ghost at Number One

Triple J Radio, Australia, 9/21/93
I Can Hear the Grass Grow
The Ghost at Number One
That Is Why

The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, California, 4/4/93; broadcast on Westwood One’s In Concert: New Rock the week of 7/19/93
That Is Why/New Mistake/Joining a Fan Club
I Wanna Stay Home/The Ghost at Number One/The Man I Used to Be
Baby’s Coming Back/The King Is Half-Undressed/No Matter What