The members of the Arizona "Nedal" band Okilly Dokilly including (left to right), guitarist Led Ned, bass player Bloodshed Ned, lead singer Head Ned, synth player Zed Ned and drummer Dread Ned are on their final tour. The group's second to last stop happens Friday at Three Links.Kevin LeGore
Like many great joke ideas, Okilly Dokilly is one that just got way out of hand, and now the punchline is coming soon.
The Phoenix group's inspiration is Ned Flanders, the cheerful, hokey and fervently devout Christian resident of Evergreen Terrace who lives next door to Springfield's most famous family on The Simpsons. Okilly Dokilly worships Flanders with its "Nedal" (Ned+metal) approach to music the way that groups like Venom and Gorgorth worship Satan.
They dress like Ned, and they talk like Ned. They've even grown "cookie dusters" on their faces, but they sure don't sing like Ned even if the words they sing come directly from him.
"Our shows are kind of a whirlwind of things," says lead singer Head Ned (who would only identify himself as such for the entire interview). "It's a whirlwind of heavy music and Simpsons references. We're playing metal songs, and there's a mosh pit in the middle and we stop for a very Simpsons specific joke. We throw an inflatable donut into the crowd and have the audience destroy it, and we have a T-shirt cannon with 'RIP Maude [Flanders]' written on it."
This year, however, marks Okilly Dokilly's seventh and final time on the road as the group prepares to hang up their forest green sweaters and pink Polo shirts for an "indefinite hiatus," according to the band's website. Okilly Dokilly's penultimate, sold-out show will happen Friday at Three Links in Deep Ellum with the mathcore metal comedy band Steaksauce Machine.
"I'm trading the Ned mustache for a dad mustache," Head Ned says. "I've got a 1-and-a-half-year-old who's next in the line of Nedsentia. So we're taking a little break."
Okilly Dokilly did its first show in September 2016 in an 80-person space in Phoenix called Trunk Space that attracted a crowd of over 100. Videos and photos of the Ned Flanders band's show went viral and earned them an invitation to tour with the "drive-thru metal" group Mac Sabbath and the heavy metal mariachi band Metalachi.
Months later, Okilly Dokilly graduated to headlining its own tours across America and the globe, two top selling albums and even an appearance on The Simpsons where the group's first music "White Wine Spritzer" (a reference to Ned's drink order during a road trip with Homer that leads the two down a drunken road of debauchery and dumb mistakes) aired during an episode's closing credits in 2019.
"We're having fans reach out from Germany of all places, and the UK has been asking us to go over there and New Zealand where The Simpsons is wildly popular," Head Ned says. "Even in this farewell tour, we've been asking who's been to the show for the first time and 90 percent are there for the first time."
Friday's show at Three Links marks Okilly Dokilly's third appearance in Dallas, the first two happened at the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, since rebranded as Amplified, and Trees just across the street from Three Links.
"The first time we played at the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill there was a tornado warning that day," Head Ned says. "I remember the first experience in Dallas and it was an outdoor show, the only outdoor show on the tour."
The band decided to make this year's tour the last for the foreseeable future and not just because some are starting to raise little Neddys of their own.
"One thing we never wanted to do is milk Okilly Dokilly for all its worth," Head Ned says. "It's a funny idea and the last thing we want to be 10 years down the line is getting people coming to our shows and rattling off the same Ned jokes. A lot of fans asked us to come to places and wanted to come see us. It's disappointing that they couldn't come see us, but this is something we wanted to be special."
Even though Okilly Dokilly has been the main focus for the group's members, Head Ned says they explore other musical concepts both serious and silly. So it's possible they may rejoin down the road or come up with another joke band that can't be contained.
"We've always joked about doing a King of the Hill band called Propane & Discomfort or a Futurama band called Bite My Shiny Death Metal," Head Ned says. "There's been plenty of jokes but nothing serious, but that's how Okilly Dokilly started. It's just a joke, and now we've toured several different continents."
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune,Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.