Welcome to my Astro-Man archive

This site is meant to be a visual archive of every variation of every Man... or Astro-Man? 7" single ever released. Most of what you'll see here comes from my personal collection. As information pours in I will post it, so please comment if you think you have something to add. I have no intention of posting MP3s here. I'm sure you can find the music elsewhere. This is just an attempt to collect information about the band's prolific creation of singles into one spot. If you can get past the fact that I rarely clean my scanner, I think you'll enjoy what you find here.

Use the Table of Contents on the sidebar if you are looking for details on a specific 7".


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Possession by Remote Control



Possession by Remote Control was the debut release from Man... or Astro-man?. It was released by Homo Habilis Records (HH 701) in 1992. Homo Habilis was run by Jason Russell, a musician who would later join the band as Captain Zeno and would also play for the Teenage Cavemen and the Quadrajets. The picture sleeve cover is a single sheet of heavy stock paper folded in half. It was designed by by Graham Sanford. The MOAM? logo used on the label, and the Homo Habilis logo (and the postcard and the Insect Siren ad you'll see below) were designed by Stuart Ellis (A.K.A. "The Lounge Lizard"). The cover is silk screened on every surface. Here is what the inside cover looks like when it is fully opened:


The general consensus is that 800 of these were pressed on clear blue vinyl. Here is a scan of the record:


That was the only color commercially available, but there were a handful also made on a mottled, slightly purple-colored vinyl--the result of the pressing plant doing a run of marroonish vinyl records just prior to stamping out these. It is said that 6 of these were made, with a slightly different cover. Brad Lynham, who at one point ran a website that inspired this blog, was kind enough to lend me a few scans that he was able to procure. Here is a scan of the ultra-rare purple-ish record:


And here is a scan of the alternate cover that was made to house the six copies pressed on purple:


Notice that there isn't much of a difference between this alt-cover and the real thing. The only change I can spot is the omission of the record name across the bottom.

The alien-holding-a-guitar graphic on the front cover was a cleverly shopped image of a space man taken from the lobby card for a 1957 sci-fi film called Invasion of the Saucer-Men. In the original image the alien was holding some sort of a space tool. Here is a picture of the lobby card for comparison:


A recent message from Birdstuff gives us some context for the live band photo on the back cover. He wrote:

"That back cover photo is from Sluggos in Pensacola on a bill we played with the Woggles. I think it was the night Coco met Suzanne Somers of Three's Company fame. Also, I know Adios Jonny Bravo was part the first ever session that was intended for the first album which we had intended to put out ourselves before Estrus called--that stuff is on that cassette tape you sometimes see floating around. It has some older versions of the songs, but I don't know which are old and which appear in the first record. The debut album was going to be called Supersonic Toothbrush Helmet which was the name of the 2nd single. Coco used to have a space helmet with a giant toothbrush that spun around on it and I think that is where the name comes from. That said, Is it...Man or Astro-Man? was a much better and more iconic title for the first record and I'm glad we changed the name to that."

There were also several possible inserts for this one. Not every record got an insert, some only got one and others were stuffed full. One was an ad for the Estrus Records crust club--most likely inserted with the copies sold after the band signed to Estrus. Another was an ad for Homo Habilis Records. The HHR ad heavily promoted a single by the band Insect Syren, and also made reference to a MOAM?/Woggles split record that never actually happened. Here is a scan of these two inserts:

Design by Stuart Ellis (A.K.A. "The Lounge Lizard")

There were also some copies distributed with multiple copies of this rather garish bumper sticker (is that comic sans?!):


And finally, as this was a single that Estrus started to distribute as they were pimping the first MOAM? LP, here is an Estrus postcard announcing the first full-length:

Design by Stuart Ellis (A.K.A. "The Lounge Lizard")
Now, I don't think any copies of the 7" came with all of the inserts mentioned above. Depending on when and where you got your copy, the inserts varied. My copy didn't have any--and this was completely normal. I think . . .

This was the world's introduction to the original four Astro-Men: Birdstuff, Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard, Dr. Delete and his Invisible Vaportron, and Starcrunch. This recording also featured the organ stylings of the mysterious Grand Master Useless on one track.

The title is explained on the back cover, which reads:

"Transmissions are coming through! TV's are everywhere. You're supposed to watch them. You must watch them. Spewing their enchanting radiation on our children, there's no turning back. They're here to stay for the glazed eyes of generations to come. But their influence extends beyond the family room. They're affecting our young people in all ways. As seen here on this record, Man or Astro-Man? are captive slaves to the idiot tube. Completely enraptured by the uncompromising rays, they have become mindless teens playing the music that the cable god orders them to. And now with the channel changer, sometimes called a flipper or zapper, all hope is lost for the boys. Possession by Remote Control is the music of zombies controlled by distant and unknown broadcasting centers. In no case has anyone ever spent such a gross waste of time on a device such as television. But just wait until they get a satellite dish!"

Thanks to Brad Lynham and Benjamin Brinkman for contributing to this post.

10 comments:

  1. The first 5 or so were opaque purple wax due to the factory's previous run of another title in red. Super rare.

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  2. That is absolutely correct. I've seen one.

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  3. The purple one also had a slightly different sleeve from the regular release, and I heard 6 copies like this. Sadly I don't have one.

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  4. Thanks for putting me on the trail, guys. I think we've got everything posted now. Unless . . .

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  5. Just checked my two copies of "Possession". Both are the blue wax, but the one I found about ten years back for a mere $10.00 has multiple copies of the same bumper sticker and two copies of an Estrus postcard advertising the "Is it.." LP.

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  6. Insect Siren predate Quadrajets and was fronted by Chet Weiss...

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  7. Quality website mate, hoping they come back to the UK soon. Love the Astro collectibles, was an MOAM record shop display on eBay last week, missed a bid :(

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  8. The label is one of my three logo designs for them (initially used on a poster for a gig with the Woggles and the Mortals at the Chukker on 10/23/92); cover logo is someone else's adaptation thereof.

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  9. The cover for that single was by Graham Sanford. The record label and label logo - as well as that postcard and the Insect Siren ad) - were designed by me - Stuart Ellis (A.K.A. "The Lounge Lizard").

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    1. Awesome! thanks for chiming in Stuart. I'll add the info to the post!

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