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Music / Man or Astro-man?

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The band's most notable lineup in the mid-90's. From left to right: Star Crunch, Birdstuff, Dexter X, and Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard.

Man or Astro-man? are a mostly instrumental band from Auburn, Alabama, known for combining the surf-rock style of the early sixties with various samples of old, kitschy sci-fi movies, with a decided punk edge that has become more prominent over time. They're also known for covering Mystery Science Theater 3000's "love theme". Their connection to the show runs fairly deep, as many of the aforementioned samples of kitsch sci-fi come from movies that were riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Joel Hodgson has done pyrotechnics for the band's stage shows. The main members of the band go by Star Crunch (guitar, and vocals when those come up), Birdstuff (drums), and Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard (bass & electronics). Other members have joined and left the band over the years, most prominently guitarists Dexter X and Dr. Deleto.

Main Albums

  • Is it....Man, or Astro-man? (1993)
  • Destroy All Astro-men! (1994) (a compilation of several early EPs)
  • Project Infinity (1995)
  • Live Transmissions from Uranus (1995) (Live Album)
  • Intravenous Television Continuum (1996)
  • Experiment Zero (1996)
  • Made From Technetium (1997)
  • EEVIAC Operational Index and Reference Guide, Including Other Modern Computational Devices (1999)
  • A Spectrum of Infinite Scale (2000)
  • A Spectrum of Finite Scale (2001) (only sold on tour)
  • Defcon 5…4…3…2…1 (2013)

Tropes or Astro-Tropes?

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Birdstuff goes completely insane when seen performing in concert and in the band's few music videos.
  • Anonymous Band: None of them are credited by their real names. In fact, you've got to dig to discover who's who.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Averted; the members stay fairly deliberately anonymous, so if one needs to leave, the band doesn't fall apart.
    • Taken up to eleven when they attempted to do The Band Minus The Band. In 1998 and 1999, the group gathered several musical friends together into two cover bands (one all-female) who went on tour, playing the group's music and claiming to be "clones" of the original Man or Astro-man?. One of the female Astromen has since graduated to the actual band's lineup under the name of Avona Nova.
  • Cover Version: Several, from Echo & the Bunnymen to David Byrne to Dick Dale.
  • Educational Song: They've covered "Interplanet Janet" from Schoolhouse Rock!.
  • Genre Throwback: After a series of increasingly experimental and abstract albums, their latest one is a return to their Made From Technetium style.
  • Hidden Track: Several, most of which are several minutes of silence followed by a brief joke.
  • Long-Runners: They've been touring and putting out albums since the early '90s.
  • Machine Monotone: When they have vocals, they often try to evoke this or Creepy Monotone.
  • Miniscule Rocking: A number of their songs fall short of two minutes.
  • New Sound Album: "Made from Technetium" was a darker and grittier album compared to their previous works, and their last three albums have each been more abstract than the last.
  • Sampling: Of old sci-fi.
  • Self-Titled Album: Is it....Man, or Astro-man?