Home Read Now Hear This: Man or Astro-Man? | Space 1991

Now Hear This: Man or Astro-Man? | Space 1991

The spaced-out surf-rockers blast off again after two decades in cryogenic slumber.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Interstellar indie-rock vets Man Or Astro-Man? are back with a new EP featuring two great new songs: The poppy, danceable and new-wavey Tenth Planet and heavy, surfy instrumental Space 1991. The EP also opens with a short atmospheric track titled Memory Machine.

“Over the last few years, we’ve put together a ton of new recordings and also we’ve also always had this endlessly bubbling vat of material that has been waiting to be curated and cataloged,” say the band. “This new single is the first bit of all this crap. Much to the detriment of our sanity, we probably toured more than any band in the 1990s and we were constantly on the road for a decade. This was mostly due to us just being punk rock kids from Alabama who wanted to go absolutely anywhere we could. We never imagined we would get to travel to nearly 50 countries and meet so many amazing people over the years. Anyway, while on those travels, we did a ton of studio and radio sessions that we plan on getting out at some point, including the eight BBC Peel Sessions we did. This Space 1991 single sort of bridges the gap between all the old and new crap. Basically, it’s our very own take on the whole right-before-having-a-midlife-crisis-space-rock genre that all the kids are so crazy about these days.”

Man or Astro-man? recorded 10 albums between 1993 and 2001 (including the tour-only release A Spectrum of Finite Scale), as well as two CD EPs and a plethora of singles and contributions to various artists compilation albums. Many of the singles were available on multiple colors of vinyl, some with as many as six variations (see Inside the Head of… Mr. Atom). Their 2001 release Beyond The Black Hole was a remixed version of one of their earlier albums What Remains Inside A Black Hole.

When the band was not in the recording studio, they were usually on the road, gigging almost constantly. Their live shows were notable for their sci-fi theatrics: all members of the band dressed in space age jumpsuits, and often included elaborate sci-fi set pieces.

Although they often receive credit for the theme song to Space Ghost Coast to Coast, it was actually recorded by Sonny Sharrock. The confusion arises because they recorded the show’s closing theme and some new interstitial music which all first appeared in the 1997 season, as well as an alternate opening theme that appeared once, but not the more familiar theme song. Also, after his departure from the band in 1998, guitarist/vocalist Star Crunch (aka Brian Causey) would go on to compose and perform the theme song for the popular Nickelodeon TV series The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron.

Eventually, the constant workload of recording and touring caught up with them, and, after the tour for A Spectrum Of Infinite Scale ended in 2001, the band began a long hiatus. On June 12, 2006, the band’s label announced that Man or Astro-man? would perform for the first time since 2001 at the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago. They took the stage during the time slot in between Scratch Acid and Big Black on the second day of the three-day festival. The complete original lineup played, and the tesla coil was brought up on stage at the end of the set. The 45-minute show ended with Birdstuff giving away most of his drumset to stunned audience members. In preparation for the reunion show, the band played in Birmingham. This show featured Birdstuff, Coco the Electric Monkey Wizard, Star Crunch and Dr. Deleto. Additionally, Captain Zeno performed on one song, resulting in a five-piece Man or Astroman? performance. These were the first shows since 1998 to feature the original lineup.”