The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 6, 1996 - 13
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Man or Astroman? That is the question.
Band makes Earth appearance
Man or Astroman? lands in Pontiac for Saturday show
By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
Wacky theatrical bands have an odd tendency to veil their
real selves behind their stage personas. From the Residents to
Gwar, you tend to not see the art school graduate behind the
mask. Case in point, an interview that two members of Man
or Astroman? had with The Michigan Daily this week from
"one of those weird alternate reality
rconspiracy America's that doesn't real-
ly exist," at least according to pure-cus- P R
sion guy Birdstuff
A definite lack of breaking character
developed during the interview. "My Saturday
Earth name is --, but we cannot have clut
that printed because you know how
these things go. Besides various acronymed government type
organizations, we can't have my Earth mother find out about
these kind of things," Birdstuff said.
Man or Astroman? is fairly different as far as bands subli-
*mated to their alter egos go. They play an astrometrically
influenced brand of largely instrumental surf music that,
while accommodating to their space alien pose, isn't as obvi-
ously connected as heavy metal is to foam latex. Their rela-
tively recent attachment to Touch and Go is a move toward
rock stardom of a similar vein, though.
"We've never had the trust or respect for any Earth organi-
zation or record label, although Touch and Go comes about
as close as any Earth-affiliated organization," Birdstuff
explained. "But we've never signed a contract, especially not
in our cold, glow in the dark alien blood ..."
In other words, it's not exclusive. Since the release of the
band's latest album, "Experiment Zero," Man or Astroman?
has released two 7-inches on other labels, including a break-
through in packaging with an origami spaceship "complete
with badly translated Japanese to English instructions ... and
inspired from the Little Caesar's commercial," Birdstuff said.
The band's art has altered in the transition toward Touch
and Go as well. "We moved more from the 2-D realm to the
3-D realm," Birdstuff said'. We used to be somewhat static as
our cartoon selves and images displayed, but we kind of
broke into Radio Shack one night and decided the wave of the
future was indeed three dimensions. And it's just tougher. We
wanted to be all tough like a Tar record, cuz we're on Touch
and Go now, and you have to be all aggro and stuff."
Well, that's where Man or Astroman? is going, but where
do they come from ?
"Two of us originated from Grid Sector 23-B, one of us
got built on the way and one of us is a
V i E W nomadic space mercenary and three of us
crash landed in the great heart of Dixie
Man or and formed together a coalition amongst
Astroman? the trailer parks and rednecks to sonically
oors open at 9 p.m. battle the uncultured, then we had to even-
Cargo's in Pontiac tually escape the great Alabama forcefield
and venture over into northern Georgia
but ere shunned there, and had to go underground. Literally.
Not only do we get free rent but Atlanta gets a subway sys-
tem when we're done," Birdstuff explained. Obviously some
manner of truth is contained in that, but who is to say which
parts are real?
The band isn't truly mad. Maybe. Birdstuff admitted: "I'm
talking from a food court pay phone and anytime I mention
anything about being from outer space all the people in lines
for the phone give me a very strange look."
That, at least, shows some amount of grounding. But on
the other hand, when bassist Coco the Electronic Monkey
Wizard was asked about why they cover the songs they do, he
replied: "It has nothing to do with the music as far as wow,
we like that song, or wow, that's a cool band or this or that. It
has to do with all audio you guys record on vinyl and CD and
tape and 8-track emits certain beat frequency oscillations and
the reason we use Earth covers at all is every once in a while
we'll need a specific frequency we can find in one of these
for our own research work, of course. So by covering one of
these songs it puts it that easily at our disposal and we can be
doing continuous lab work while we're on stage without you
even realizing it while we're doing covers."
It's all very complicated. Your best bet at understanding is
probably to go see them tomorrow. Maybe then you can
answer the question "Man or Astroman?"
The University of Michigan
School of Music
Sunday, December 8
Michael Udow, director
. Steve Reich: Drumming
McIntosh Theatre, 4 p.m.
McIntosh Theatre, 8 p.m.
Michigan Chamber Players
Anton Nel and Louis Nagel. piano; Leone Buyse, flute; Harry
Sargous, oboe; Fred Ormand, clarinet; Corbin Wagner, horn;
Richard Beene, bassoon; Paul Kantor, violin; Anthony Elliott,
. Liszt: Reminiscences de Don Juan
" Brahms: Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor
. Nielsen: Wind Quintet
Recital Hall, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, December 10
University Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras
with Chamber Choir and University Choir
Kenneth Kiesler, Pier Calabria, conductors
. Berlioz: "Royal Hunt and Storm" from The Trojans
" Faure: Pelles et Melisande; Suite, Op. 80
. Humperdinck: Overture to Hansel and Gretel
. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe: Suite no. 2
Hill Auditorium. 8 p.m.
19 , I
repople. realmusic, A. g p .
" " phone: 663.5800
1140 south university (above goodtime charleys), AA L
fri. & sat.: 9:00,-11:00p
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