Send In the Clones

Man . . . or Astroman? reproduces the new-fashioned way

R: Has there been any curiosity from the mainstream geneticist community regarding your research?

C: We've talked with them a little bit. They're, of course, very interested because we're much further along than they are. We've got a little more at our disposal, being from outer space and having advanced technology, but we've clued them in to a few things. There are some similarities, but there's a lot of differences between the cloning of an astroman and cloning Earth-based life forms. There's far more genes involved with an astroman, but the sequence is a lot simpler. So once you get the general sequence going, it moves along a lot quicker. We're moderately into sharing our technology as long as it doesn't affect our end goal in any adverse way.

R: And that goal is . . .
C: Well, we're taking over the planet, as does any good alien, right? I mean, you've seen all your movies and stuff. That's the end goal; this is just one cog in the master plan.

R: I understand that you're also distributing astromen DNA to the public that will, with proper incubation, produce yet more astroclones.

C: We figure that's a good way to spread MoA; it's a lot more convenient to mail somebody a set of DNA than to have the original band show up for in-stores and radio appearances. The incubation process is a little bit tricky; we'll probably have some information out soon on how to build your own astro-incubator, 'cause, you know, they're hard to find right now. It's a pretty finite resource at this time, but we'll be disseminating those plans as well. But if one can get their hands on astroman DNA, do so. It doesn't go bad; it's got a shelf life well beyond a human's average life span. So as long as you're still around, the DNA is good. You can hang on to it indefinitely until incubation, but once incubation starts, you don't wanna disturb it. I would imagine that within the next five, 10 years, you'll be able to find those incubators used pretty cheap.

R: [shiver]
The Man . . . or Astroman Clone Tour Alpha is scheduled to hit Boston's in Tempe on Saturday, June 20. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Monsters Can Be Fun (Just Ask Your 5-Year-Old)
A long time ago, 1977 to be exact, two brothers by the names of Jad and David Fair formed a noisy, experimental punk outfit called Half Japanese. Half Japanese later became, without the advantage of fame or mainstream acceptance, one of the most influential American punk bands, a name dropped by such alterna-luminaries as Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and R.E.M. David left the band in 1986 to pursue family interests while Jad continued on with a revolving roster of musicians.

Now the brothers have united once more, but this is no Half Japanese. Jad and David (with help from David's kindergarten-age son, Robinson) recorded a disc entitled Monster Songs for Children, A-Z, released on Kill Rock Stars. The recording is a collection of dark, spasmodic blues progressions overlayed by David's resonating baritone, singing about, well, monsters. One for each letter of the alphabet. Young Robinson introduces each song with a description of the monster and accompanies his father on several tracks. It's a brilliantly compelling recording, despite the similarity of many tracks; there's a cheerfully morbid energy that pulses through the recording, an eccentric sacrifice of cool for the sake of naivete.

When I e-mailed David about the impetus for the recording and the intentions behind it, he sent the following response. (I wish my Dad had been this cool.)

"I work at a library and see what is available for children to listen to. Most of it seems a little too tame, boring and packaged. We just wanted to offer an alternative. If you're a child and you enjoy listening to Raffi, then I hope you have a big pile of Raffi CDs and have a great day. But suppose you're a child and you're scared of Shari Lewis. Maybe you would have more fun singing about Frankenstein. It's just something different.

"Plus, when I got the idea for this, my son was really interested in drawing monsters and learning about Bigfoot and stuff, so I thought he'd like these songs. I don't think the songs are particularly scary; they're more like fun-scary. Instilling fear is the polar opposite of what we had in mind, but I don't imagine this CD will do much to dispel fear. I suppose it's more like a roller-coaster ride. Maybe it's fun and scary when it's going on, and maybe you're glad to get off when it's over, and hopefully as soon as it ends you can't wait to get back on again." (Kill Rock Stars, 120 NE State #418, Olympia, WA 98501)

Martyrs for the Sake of Art
Joan of Arc has never been a normal band. Anyone who caught its show last Friday at Stinkweeds can attest to that fact. The translation of its songs from studio to stage is a feat in itself, as JoA blends electronics, acoustics and schizophrenic timing changes into a montage that can only be described as art.

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