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".

Monday, September 29, 2014

Intergalactic Fruit Meteor

Picture saved from an eBay listing

It's no secret that the early 1990s were an prolific time for the guys in Man... or Astro-Man?. It seemed like every time I went to a record store there was another 7" single in the "New Releases" section. As bountiful as their recorded output was, their early focus on merchandising was equally prolific. I'd heard of, and had been able to track down, custom packaged drinking straws, lava rocks, dryer lint, and even light switch plates. I'd also heard rumors of MOAM?-branded hatchets customized and then returned to an area Walmart to be sold to unsuspecting rural folks. My knowledge and understanding of early collectibles and ephemera was written up a number of years ago and posted HERE. I had not, however, heard that the band also spent at least one winter schlepping holiday fruit cake. That was until one came up for sale on eBay in March of 2013. I didn't win the auction. It ended up selling for the paltry sum of $45.44 -- which was more than I was comfortable spending on a twenty year-old tin of Christmas fruitcake. I did learn later, though, that several of the people who contribute to this site also bid on it. All of us lost. If we had had the sense to coordinate our efforts we could currently be taking turns displaying the damn thing in our respective dens. 

The artwork looks to have been taken from a late-1950s novelty 7" attributed to the Hal Bradley Orchestra. Here's a picture of the record cover:

The internet being what it is, of course the song has made its way to YouTube.

Here are a few more pictures of the meteor that I saved from the eBay listing. The thing was still (mostly) sealed:

The first I heard of the fruit cake was through long-time astro-pundit Henry Owings. He mentioned the fruitcake in a set of liner notes that he wrote for the reissue of the Your Weight on the Moon 10" record. The label ended up going a different direction with the reissue, scrapping much of what the band wanted to do with it. Owings posted his would-be liner notes HERE. In speaking specifically about late 1993, he had this to say about astro-swag:

" . . .fall of 1993. Birdstuff and I had become quick pen pals in those halcyon pre-internet days where stamps on postcards announcing tour dates were king and our early hang times were spent hovering over the merch table after their sets. Birdstuff would routinely push Astroman?’s newest sellable gimmick on me. Whether it was Astro-Teethpaste (read: a push-tube of Crest), Galactic Fruit Meteors (read: a standard issue fruit cake) or Space Dust (read: dryer lint) they all had an ersatz Man…or Astroman? sticker slapped on it and made their own….and available for only five bucks!"

An old, 4-page Astro-office newsletter set the price a little higher, and confirmed the timeline that Owings set out. We can date the newsletter partly because it used the old Moores Mill Road address, and partly because of its content. Here's a picture of the heading from the front of the newsletter:

 The next page is significant because it lists descriptions and prices of Astro merch available at the time -- stickers for 50 cents, customized toothpaste for $3, and dryer lint for those willing to send the band a SASE.

The more informative part, though, is the "Near Future" section. We know that this dates to mid-1993 because it lists the Kill Geeksville split 7" (called Kill Squaresville here) as coming out soon. It lists, among other things, an aborted 10" release through Sympathy Records and a $4 MOAM? Ray Gun set to come out in January of 1994. This is the first I've heard about a ray gun -- I would be interested to know if they ever made/sold them.

As the "Near Future" section spilled on to the next page, there are two things that stand out to me. The first is the description of the Intergalactic Fruit Meteor that is the subject of this post. It looks like it sold originally for $15. The second is the planned split 7" with the Woggles that was slated to be released by Homo Habilis Records but that never ended up coming out. Here's a cropped image of what I'm describing:

The fruitcake that came up for auction on eBay listed the Woggles as the intended recipients. From what I can tell, the cakes were customized by the band at the time of purchase -- which leads me to believe that the one pictured above was gifted at one point to a member of the Woggles. The only person I know that owned one was Henry Owings. He remembers his own reading "To: Henry" on the front, so this seems to be the way it was done. He also remembers his eventually smelling so bad that he saw no other option than to throw it away.

Still, as this one was labeled "to: the Woggles / from: Man... or Astro-Man?" this represents the closest that the two bands ever came to putting out a split single. Something to think about.

NOTE: All of these pictures came from internet sources. The fruitcake pictures themselves came from an eBay auction. The newsletter pictures came from Facebook photos wherein the band was tagged. I didn't take the pictures, and I don't have any of this stuff in my personal collection.

If you have clearer photos of any of this, or would be willing to scan copies from your collection of old newsletters/mail order catalogs/ etc., please get into contact with me through the sidebar. I would love to clear up any hearsay and share what you have with those who would love to see it.

Thanks --James 


  1. Geez, I wish the guys had contacted me when the Homo Habilis split was orphaned. But they had years to bug me about releasing something on Imaginary Records and never did. Of course, I didn't have any of the connections re: distribution that would have made the release practical, but Imaginary is still (somewhat vaguely) in existence, so the title would still be somewhat available...

  2. Nice detective work. Two more never released titles. I wonder if the Sympathy release became "Your Weight on the Moon."

    Speaking of, what did the band intend for the reissue? I heard some very different background information from the label...

    1. Yeah, I've heard a few stories as well. I know that the band was behind it initially, but by the time it was released they didn't have much control anymore.

      I heard at least one band member refer to it as a bootleg, which is never a good thing. Hopefully any money that was made was split up reasonably.

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