Better Than Coffee: The Jonzun Crew

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.)

6 Responses to “Better Than Coffee: The Jonzun Crew”

  1. R. Says:

    Oh yeah. I had never heard of them but I’m glad that you remedied that, Mer.

  2. tyhiliet Says:

    I really dont know why, but this gave me the chukles. thanks Mer.
    electro boogie quite a way to start a morning.

  3. Tequila Says:

    “…to become executive producers for the likes of New Edition and New Kids on the Block…”

    So THIS is who we have to blame.

    Still as much as the novelty factor kept em back it’s clear they had fun with it cause Space really IS the place. A shame they were forced to hang it up and give us some of the worst music humanity ever created.

    Still the pure awesome of Space Cowboy almost nullifies that. Someone needs to bring this track back dammit…I keep thinking how cool this would sound with David Bowie singing the somewhat high pitched vocal parts.

    Howdy-Hey-Hey!….you really can’t beat that. It even has yodeling!!!

    Thank you for this Mer. Seriously.

  4. What's in a name anyways? Says:

    Mer my inter-crush on you continues… Everyone knows space cowboys don’t grow mustaches. If the rest of the crew already has one, it’s their problem if they’re killed by the auto-tune robots. A clean shaven face and having two Octaver pedals hidden in your platform boots is really the only way to survive an electro boogie encounter.

  5. Binnorie Says:

    This post reminded me of Boys Don’t Cry. Must be the cowboy reference…

  6. Nadya Says:

    Mer, this was awesome. I love you. Seriously.