Brian Teasley of Man or Astro-Man? on Sci-Fi Shtick and That "Crazy" Eastside Records Gig
Like certain cosmological phenomena streaking through the infinite heavens above, a chance to see Man of Astro-man? pulling a live gig in Phoenix is a rare occurance. It wasn't always that way; the science fiction-obsessed surf-rock space oddities used to set course for renowned local rock bars like Boston's (now as defunct as the shuttle program) with great regularity during their heyday in the heart of the 1990s.
Billions Surf rock space oddities Man or Astro-Man? will touch down tonight at Crescent Ballroom.
Then the jumpsuit-clad band went their separate ways for the better part of a decade before relaunching in 2010, leaving their fervent fanbase here in Arizona with nothing but old flyers and memories of a legendarily crazy and packed concert in the parking lot of Eastside Records' original Tempe location in 1995. That all changes tonight, when Man of Astro-man? touches down at Crescent Ballroom as a part of the second night of Du Hot Club De Bizarre.
It's been more than 12 years since the band last performed in the Valley back in September 2000 at Nita's Hideaway in Tempe, which -- in a nice bit of synchronicity -- was owned by Crescent proprietor Charlie Levy.
Up on the Sun recently got a chance to speak with Man or Astro-man? guitarist/vocalist Brian Teasley, also known by his stage name "Birdstuff," about memories of past concerts in Phoenix, their latest album, working with the always-colorful Steve Albini, and being on infamous rock label Touch and Go Records.
Teasley also mentioned how the band still rocks matching jumpsuits, dispenses audio clips from schlock sci-fi between surf anthems and power chords, and -- naturally -- is looking forward to their return to the Valley.
"Phoenix is one of those cities where we've just had an affinity with," Teasley says. "Hopefully some old school Eastside folks will come and we'll get to hang out."
Get ready for blast-off.
Up on the Sun: Exactly 20 solar cycles have passed since Man or Astro-Man's first album in 1993. What's been your favorite moment?
Brian Teasley: I hate to pick. There's so many amazing ones, so many awful ones. It's like that after playing in a band for this long. I think getting to meet and have mutual admiration for all these famous bands, like getting to tour with The Cramps or hang out with The B-52s or have the guys from Devo get their copies of your band's record signed by you. Weird little things like that, where your heroes acknowledge you to some degree, are probably what stands out most.
We've definitely had strange experiences too, but that just comes with the sheer voluminous amount of touring that we did. I think we toured more than any band in the '90s, or at least I've never met or heard anyone that toured more than we did, unless it was some Grand Ole Opry kind of show.
Speaking of which, you played Phoenix many times, including gigs at the old Boston's that involved a Tesla coil.
Yeah, we had a Tesla coil. Wait, which one was the place where they did, like, Planet of the Apes style, where they kept the underage behind the fence or something? Was that Nita's Hideaway or was that Boston's? Those bars were always fun places to play.
My favorite show that we ever did in Phoenix was when it was like 120 zillion degrees in the parking lot of Eastside Records [in the mid-1990s] and hundreds of kids showed up and it was so crazy, so much fun. It was like pass-out-from-heat-exhaustion kind of hot, but that was probably my favorite thing we did there.
Next: Wild times at Eastside Record's biggest and craziest gig of local legend.