Man or Astroman?

Man or Astroman? is a surf rock group from the 90s.  True to their name, the group is wholly dedicated to marrying punk rock/new wave sounds to science fiction themes, audio samples, obscure electronic devices (such as theremins and tesla coils) in over-the-top live performances.

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In its standard form, the band generally consists of Star Crunch (aka Brian Causey) on guitar and sometimes vocals, Birdstuff (aka Brian Teasley) on drums, and Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard (Robert DelBueno) on bass guitar and electronics.  Over the years, however, the line-up has changed and the band actually sent both Alpha and Gamma Man or Astroman? Clone groups out on tour.

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They are super cool, super talented, and super out there.  Check out their website, and go see them on your for an out of this world, super sonic experience!

 

Ripped

 

 

RIPPED: Expressions from the Underground, explores the art and influence of punk rock on design and culture. Curated by Cesar Padilla, artist, musician, collector, punk rock enthusiast, and co-owner of CHERRY (one of the best vintage stores in NYC).   What started off as a book has expanded into an exhibition opening this week at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum in Los Angeles.  RIPPED includes 150 band T-shirts, photographs, posters, and related ephemera from the punk, post-punk and indie rock eras.  Should be good …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quincy – Next Stop, Nowhere

 

 

Quincy: You’re not blaming what happened to that girl on music?

Dr. Hanover: Don’t underestimate this particular kind of music, Quince. You tell a kid, a vulnerable kid, over and over again that life isn’t worth living, that violence is its own reward and you add to it the kind of intensity that this music has, and you just might convince her.

This is the sort of amazing dialogue that fills the now infamous punk rock episode of Quincy M.E. titled “Next Stop, Nowhere.”  Aired in 1982, the show portrays punk rock as music so dangerous and nihilistic that it can kill!  The story begins at “Ground Zero,” the local punk club, when Hardin, a sweet suburban girl, meets her punk rock friend looking way too “normal.”   Luckily, her BFPF (Best Female Punk Friend) Starrett saves the day with some black lipstick, pale cheeks, tattoos and piercings. You need some punkin’ up!”

 

Once the girls are all “punked up” and ready to go, they hit the floor just in time to see their favorite band, Mayhem, hit the stage with their awesome punk lyrical talent –“Get a job from the man, blow his brains out if you can!”  A whole lot of slam dancing ensues, and by the end of it Hardin’s boyfriend has received an ice pick to the neck!  He lies unnoticed by the unfeeling, uncaring punks colliding around him, while Hardin screams in agony, but alas, it is too late.  She is devastated, and Quincy is positively baffled.  So of course, the best thing to do is check out the scene of the crime himself, and experience the punk culture at Ground Zero.
“All I know is whoever killed him was listening to words that literally cried out for blood!”  After his night at the club, the doctor is convinced that punk music was the cause of the young boy’s death!
Host: You aren’t seriously saying that music can kill, are you Doctor?

Quincy: Yes I am! I believe that the music I heard is a killer. It’s a killer of hope. It’s a killer of spirit. The music I heard said that life is cheap and murder and suicide is okay!

And so it is.  Punk rock and evil thoughts are behind the boy’s murder, and so much more ill behavior that is revealed as the show goes on and on and one, moving nowhere at the same time.  Quincy’y big words of wisdom as the credits begint to roll, “Why would anyone wanna listen to music that makes you hate, when you can listen to music that makes you love?”  So true, so true.

 

 

Bad Brains: a Band in D.C.

 

Whether you love Bad Brains or you’ve never heard of them, their story is worth listening to.  Lucky for all of us, it was edited down by Mandy Stein and Benjamin Logan into a perfect documentary titled Bad Brains: a Band in D.C.

The doc begins by bringing us back to the mid-1970s, when the group (four black teenagers from Washington, D.C.) met in middle school. In the beginning, the boys were mostly into jazz-fusion (playing under the name Mind Power) — bassist Darryl Jenifer says he used to write fan-club letters to Stanley Clarke of Return to Forever — but they soon turned to the faster, edgier sounds of punk rock.  The music/movement provided the perfect expression of their energy and angst.  And because of their jazz training, they were the tightest band on the scene, capable of playing the most complicated of parts at breakneck speed.  In a sea of white teenagers playing punk rock with no musical training, Bad Brains were awe-inspiring.

Then, they saw Bob Marley in concert in the late 70s/early 80s and delved deep into reggae music and the Rastafari movement.  They might have been unique to the scene before, but after this awakening Bad Brains melded punk and reggae into an innovative style that has yet to be copied.  Their shows were always amazing because you never quite knew what you were going to get. The clips below are both from their famed 1982 performance at CBGB …

With a cult following, and seemingly limitless talent you might ask what went wrong?  There were a few things along the way, including some organizational challenges, publicity issues, and the increasing insanity of frontman H.R.  You can see it all in the movie.  Bad Brains is revered as one of the greatest (punk) bands ever, whose influence can be heard in groups like the Beastie Boys, No Doubt, Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction and countless more, yet so many people don’t know of them … Bad Brains: a Band in D.C. tells their story in the most amazing way.  It’s a must see!

 

The Cramps

The Cramps are the greatest rock n’ roll band of all time (maybe you’ve heard me say that before, though!).  The band was started in 1976 by Lux Interior and Poison Ivy.  They played alongside Patti Smith, the Ramones, and the Talking Heads as a part of the CBGB/Max’s Kansas City first wave of punk rock scene.  The Cramps represent the coolest, and most bizarro mix of rockabilly, horror, 50s kitsch, and teenage fun (everything that rock n’ roll is supposed to be about Bono!).  Who else would play a concert at a mental institution?!  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the greatest band in rock n’ roll history … The Cramps!

… and why aren’t these guys in the Hall of Fame?!

Who Needs Yanni When You’ve Got Johnny? Richman That Is

I think it is totally safe to say that there is no other artist out there like Jonathan Richman. While a great deal of his songs about dancing, UFOs, martians, or the old corner store can seem embarrassing or just plain goofy, he is considered by many to be an absolute genius.  His music is simply impossible to listen to without breaking into a smile, and in concert his sweet presence and heartfelt performances are sure to nudge sensitivity and sheer joy out of even the most hardened, cynical punk or hipster.  Everyone needs a bit of that in their life, don’t they?

Massachusetts-bred Richman has been making music since the early ’70s. Co-founder of the legendary Modern Lovers (1970-74), a band credited with creating the sounds that led to a great deal of the punk rocknew wavealternative and indie rock music of later decades (during the Sex Pistols first rehearsal they played a Modern Lovers’ song, Road Runner), Richman has an impressive 22 full-length records to his credit (not to mention his treetop musical interludes in There’s Something About Mary).  He’s a magical being who sings in five languages, dances without shame, and is determined to make music quiet enough to never “hurt a baby’s ears.”  He was a geek who reveled in his geekness long before it became cool to do so.

Is he crazy?  You be the judge.  But what does it really matter anyway …

 

Fun Time with Aye Jay

There is an entire genre of activity books, and then there are Aye Jay’s activity books. Filled with connect the dots, coloring pages, and word searches, these titles will provide you with a musical education and hours of entertainment at the same time.  With pages that prompt you to “draw yourself as a member of devo,” color in a portrait of Easy-E, and “connect the moles to find out who this member of Motorhead is,” these books are simply incredible.

I’m not sure if they are necessary perfect for a young child, but I do think that anyone over the age of 13 with any sort of an interest in alternative culture or music will appreciate these incredible creations!

Click here to see them all on Amazon.com