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".

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Man... or Astro-Man? Ray Gun

One of the pieces of early Astro-Man memorabilia that has long eluded me (and continues to do so) was the fabled MOAM? Ray Gun. I had heard of these being produced and sold, but was never able to find anyone who had one. In fact, the only thing that made me think it was more than just a rumor was a single sentence in an old newsletter from around '93:

Well, wonder no more.

In September of 2015 an eBay auction popped up from a seller in Bellingham, Washington unloading a fruitcake/meteor. Given the address of the seller and the rarity of the item (and the fact that the "to:" field on the fruitcake was made out to 'Estrus'), I had a pretty good idea that the seller was Dave Crider.

As I rushed to explain the pending expense to my wife, the auction ended early. My suspicions about the seller were confirmed in the months prior as I was contacted by another active MOAM? collector -- a guy known to me only as Jarrid Clinkinbeard. As it turns out, Clinkinbeard had bought the fruitcake in the eBay auction and asked Crider if he had anything else he wanted to unload. He ended up buying the fruitcake, the ray-gun, a survival kit, a yo-yo, some Space Dust and toothpaste in a single lot. This is the kind of Astro score that many of us dream about.

Clinkinbeard was gracious enough to snap a few pictures for me. As such, we have a better idea of what was being sold. Here's a photo of the back of the Ray Gun:

We see that it's a Chinese-made noise maker called the Shark Gun, distributed in the US by a company in Delaware called Midwestern Home Products INC. We also know that it makes eight different "space sounds" that promise to reveal the enemy, and that the volume is described as "Extremely Large." I'm not entirely sure what sharks and outer space have in common, but maybe this is something that's lost in the translation.

That other big reveal is how small it is. Here's a photo of the packaged Ray Gun next to a standard 7" single:

It looks to be slightly larger that key chain sized, and a bubble in the packaging looks like the guns are sometimes packaged with a key ring. The standard packaging is augmented by a slipped in, black and white variation of the cover art for the Supersonic Toothbrush Helmet 7" single. The artwork for the single was created by Rowan Moore, and the record came out on the Canadian label Lance Rock Records in 1993 (catalog number LRR 008).

And with that, we get a better understanding of the marketing juggernaut behind the Man... or Astro-Man? merch table in the early 1990s.

Many thanks to Jarrid Clinkinbeard for contacting me about this, and for being willing to snap a few photos for the blog.

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