Interview: Okilly Dokilly’s Head Ned talks 2020 tour and travel advice from The Simpsons

These hidden musicians started in 2015, and have only gained in popularity since first donning a polo, sweater and a home-grown moustache to become Ned Flanders. Ahead of their Australian and New Zealand tour early next year, we got a chance to speak with the mysterious Head Ned, the unknown assailant and mastermind behind Simpscene Nedal band Okilly Dokilly.

Between juggling tours around the globe, raising Rod and Todd, and managing the Leftorium we got to learn about what a dang diddly journey it’s been for the band.

Howdilly doodily, you’re speaking with Head Ned!

Good afternoon! I believe it is your time.

Sure is… I’m in the studio at the moment as well working on a track we’re hoping to release in time for the tour [in Australia] next year.

Any hints or sneak peaks on the new track?

The only thing I can say is the quote, because most of our of our tracks are based on direct Ned quotes as you might know, and the Ned quote for this song is where Ned says “And let’s not forget the humane but determined boys over at the slaughterhouse”. So the song is probably going to be called “Slaughterhouse”.

Well, I hope we get to hear it next year. So, what inspired you guys to become “the Ned”?

It started right from the band name actually. Our original drummer, Bled Ned and I, had this running joke of trying to come up with the absolute worst name in the world for a death metal band. You know, a band walks out on stage and says “Hi, we’re the Rainbow Friends” or something like that.

So one of the names was Okilly Dokilly, and one of the guys said what if the lead singer dressed like Ned Flanders, and then we thought what if we all dress like Ned Flanders. Once we realised we could call it Nedal, and that we could have Kill twice in the name, and he [Bled Ned] had a pink V guitar in his garage for some unknown reason I think fate kind of stepped in and made us go forward with the band.

In previous interviews you’ve mentioned and talked about Nedal and the Simpscene. Is the Simpscene actually a thing of its own?

The Simpscene is kind of just something we said jokingly. I talked about Bartcore and stuff like that. It wasn’t until we’d joked about it a little bit that we discovered Dr Colossus, who are the band we’re going to be touring with – also a Simpsons themed doom metal band. Other than those two I haven’t really encountered many Simpsons metal bands. We have toured with a couple themed bands like Mac Sabbath, which are Black Sabbath covers with McDonalds characters and things like that.

Maybe your work will inspire other bands to come forward and appreciate the Simpsons like you have.

Hopefully, we could definitely use some openers.

I grew up with The Simpsons as a kid. We all did. How do you feel about the Simpsons show now versus what it was like five or even ten years ago?

I mean it’s definitely different now. Every one of our shows tends to be like a tiny Simpsons convention. I’ve chatted with lots of people who pick generally Season One up to Ten as being their favourite golden age of The Simpsons. There are a couple people now who say they don’t watch it as much anymore. As for me, I’m definitely a bigger fan of the earlier seasons of the show. Like Season Six through to Eight, some of my favourite episodes land in there. But, I still watch the show and when the current episodes come out I still jump to watch an episode.

What was it like to be featured on The Simpsons?

That was completely unreal. We got an email about two months ahead that was just completely surprising. It was from The Simpsons team saying that wanted to put the music video on air. I didn’t really believe it. I didn’t think it was gonna happen. Honestly, we thought we’d have maybe one or two shows at a bar and have a good time and when it went a bit more viral we thought we were going to get a cease and desist letter for sure.

But, it’s gone in the complete opposite direction. To have them reach out, and when it aired in April – we were still in disbelief. To see a music video that we made end up on a Simpsons episode and be cemented in the history of the show is completely unreal and totally humbling. It’s a thousand times beyond what I ever expected when I put on a polo and a sweater and decided I’d grow a moustache and yell at people for fun.

So do you ever dress as Ned Flanders outside of the band?

A couple times I’ve dressed as Ned Flanders at comicons and similar events. With all the festivals that go on with people in their big costumes you actually don’t stand out very much as Ned Flanders. I end up just looking like a lost dad. For the most part we save our Ned stuff for the shows which actually makes our non-show stuff strange because then we’re just five guys with moustaches who walk into a breakfast joint or something and you get even weirder looks.

So I guess that’s really a requirement then to be a part of band? You have to be able to grow a moustache.

Yeah, in a way. I’ve never made it a harsh requirement. It’s never really been written in the rules of Okilly Dokilly. But, its highly encouraged. On our recent tour our tour manager jumped in with us to play a couple songs on our set and completely unprovoked he shaved his beard down to a moustache. We never required it of him; he just went for it.

Good on him. Would it to be forward then to ask, have you ever picked up dressed as Ned Flanders?

Oh, no not really. At the current moment everyone in the band has their own Maud or Edna.

(Laughs) Fair enough. So is it true then that no one knows your true identity, or that of the other Neds?

It’s true. It would be not terribly difficult to find out some of the members. But we’ve also kept our real identities kinda’ hidden in a way just to keep the authentic Nedliness there.

Is it true you’re the only remaining original member?

Yeah, when it started it was just a couple friends of mine who were oddly enough agreeable to dressing up as Ned Flanders and playing heavy metal. Then when the opportunity to tour came up, a couple of them had just bought homes or had kids so we had some touring members. They toured for a bit then a lot of the original members at that point of the first couple tours just couldn’t do it anymore.

Busy having their own Rod and Todds

Yeah! Life stuff kind of jumped in.

Speaking of touring, you’re coming to Australia in 2020. What are you most excited about? Is this your first time? Give us the details.

Yeah, so it’ll be my first time. It’ll be the first time for the band in Australia. I’m very interested to see how the shows are, what the fans are like and what it’s like talking to them. One thing that seems to be a consistent, and we’ve toured around the US and UK and whatnot, is just the appreciation for The Simpsons that we find at every show. Other than that I’ve been told that there are ginormous spiders and things I can’t wait to encounter.

The funny thing it’s the giant spiders that are the least scary. It’s the tiny ones that are usually the most poisonous so there’s that to look forward to.

Oh boy, alright. I mean other than that I don’t have a lot of preconceived notions of Australia. Everything I’ve learnt is from the Bart vs. Australia episode which I’m sure is entirely satire.

Oh, it’s 100% accurate. And you mentioned you toured the UK. Where else has the band travelled around the world?

Mostly we’ve toured in the United Staes, we’ve toured in Canada. In about two weeks we’re hopping on a plane and we’re doing a full European tour. We’ll be over to Germany, a couple festivals there, and the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France. Then of course Australia and we’ll be off to New Zealand after that as well.

Okilly Dokilly will tour Australia and New Zealand across February 2020. For their full tour schedule, more information and tickets head to their Offical Website.

11th February | The Zoo – Brisbane, QLD
12th February | The Basement – Canberra, ACT
13th February | Cambridge Hotel – Newcastle, NSW
14th February | Crowbar – Sydney, NSW
15th February | The Corner Hotel – Melbourne, VIC
17th February | Whammy Bar – Auckland, NZ
18th February | San Fran – Wellington, NZ

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