I am unwavering in my conviction that Auto-Tune will somehow bring about the destruction of civilization as we know it. And yet… I’ll always have a soft spot for early 80s talkbox/vocoder robot vocals. This morning I’m grinding my beans to Michael Jonzun and his band of space cowboy brothers, The Jonzun Crew.
Left: Michael Jonzun in Manhattan, 1983, photographed by Janette Beckman. Right: LP cover art for Jonzun Crew’s single, “Space is the Place”.
The Boston-based band’s sci-fi theatrics borrowed heavily from the likes of Sun Ra and Parliament, but their electro-funk/hip-hop sound was something quite different. Jonzun Crew had several releases on Tommy Boy between ’81 and ’85. For the most part, their over-the-top costumes kept them sidelined as a novelty act. Eventually, tragically, Michael and his brother Maurice embraced the dark side of the Force, ending their epic space adventure to become executive producers for the likes of New Edition and New Kids on the Block. (Actually, if you click below, you can watch a Jonzun Crew video that includes footage of baby Bobby Brown pop-and-locking for his lamé-clad uncles.)