The 11 Greatest Science Fiction-Themed Bands

Illustration for article titled The 11 Greatest Science Fiction-Themed Bands

So many musicians are fans of science fiction it can be hard to keep track. But there are bands that take it a step further — bands that actually consist of aliens, robots, time travelers and other creatures. Here are 11 bands that don’t just like scifi, they are scifi.

1) Man or Astro-Man

After four aliens arrived in a small Alabama town in the early ‘90s, they quickly concluded the best way to perform their research on Earthlings would be to pose as musicians and tour. Thus Star Crunch, Birdstuff and Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard became the punk-surf group Man or Astro-Man, churned out several awesome albums, covered the MSt3K theme song, made the Space Ghost Coast to Coast closing theme, and more. The band often used clips from old scifi movies in their songs and on stage, where they frequently also had a live Tesla coil. The band is so scifi they actually cloned themselves — one set as females — and all three bands went on tour simultaneously. Man or Astro-Man went into hibernation in 2001, but have recently resurfaced with a new lbum titled Defcon 5…4…3…2…1…

2) Daft Punk

French electronica musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter were originally humans, but after an explosion in their recording studio on September 9th, 1999, at 9:09 am, they awoke to find they had turned into robots. Since then, they have actually never appeared in their human forms, so it’s obviously true. Besides composing the soundtrack for and appearing in Tron: Legacy, Daft Punk turned their 2001 album Discovery into a feature-length anime titled Interstella 5555: Secret of the Solar Star System, animated and directed by anime legend Leiji Mastumoto (of Starblazers/Space Battleship Yamato and Captain Harlock fame), and which you absoluely need to watch if you haven't seen it.

3) Gwar

Since the dawn of time, there existed the Scumdogs of the Universe. As you might guess, these Scumdogs were not known for their kindness or conviviality, and were eventually banished to Earth for their cosmic crimes, where they slumbered underground. Now they have awoken, and have decided to play the most brutal metal possible until they finally get around to destroying not just Earth but all of reality. Gwar is led by Oderus Ungerus on vocals, Balsac “The Jaws of Death” on guitar, Beefcake the Mighty on bass, and Jizmak Da Gusha on drums, and have released such albums as We Kill Everything and This Toilet Earth. To date, they remain the only band whose guitarist has a scrotum for a face, with the possible exception of Coldplay.

4) Sun Ra

The jazz musician Sun Ra came from Saturn and was of the “Angel Race.” Somewhat confusingly, he also said that he was transported to Saturn in 1936 or 1937 during about of meditation. His quote:

“… my whole body changed into something else. I could see through myself. And I went up … I wasn't in human form … I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn … theyteleported me and I was down on [a] stage with them. They wanted to talk with me. They had one little antenna on each ear. A little antenna over each eye. They talked to me. They told me to stop [attending college] because there was going to be great trouble in schools … the world was going into complete chaos … I would speak [through music], and the world would listen. That's what they told me.


And he did! He was a poet and a philospher, preaching peace and cosmic awareness, all while he innovated jazz with the use of two basses, electric keyboards, and more. He and his immense, ever-changing band would usually play in scifi and/or Egyptian costumes. He died in 1993, just a year before the movie Stargate came out. Coincidence?! Probably.

5) Warp 11

Born in 2324, Captain Karl Miller was kicked out of Starfleet because of a penchant for Orion Slave Girls and S&M. He was movingnback into his parents house “when his shuttle encountered an inverse tachyon quantum distortion subspace rift field thing and traveled back to 1999." He then immediately formed the band Warp 11 with fellow Starfleet officers and time travelers Chief Engineer Brian Moor, Chief Science Officer Kiki Stockhammer and Chief Medical Officer Jeff Hewitt. Warp 11 loves three things: sex, Star Trek, and rock and roll, and they’ve combined all three in their music, which includes such albums as Boldly Go Down on Me and Borgasm. Comedy Central’s Roast of William Shatner featured Warp 11’s “Everything I Do I Do with William Shatner” for obvious reasons.

6) Kiss

Are they aliens? Spirits? Something else? A combination? All we know for sure is that Kiss’ massive, inexplicable success is clearly due to some kind of extranormal phenomenon because while their rock songs are incredibly simple and often sound alike, Kiss have sold over 40 million albums. Perhaps the Demon, the Catman, the Starchild and Space Ace would best be described as live-action comic book characters, which would explain why the band members starred in some many comics over the years, beginning with a 1977 appearance in Howard the Duck. Because their stage personas are superheroes (vaguely), the band have never shied away from revealing their alter egos — or selling merchandise with their name on it to their massive legion of fans.

7) Dr. Octagon

Dr. Octagon is a rapper who — you know, I’m not going to describe him any better than Wikipedia can:

Dr. Octagon is described as having yellow eyes, green skin, and a pink-and-white Afro. Further tracks detail a list of services offered by Octagon, who claims to treat chimpanzee acne sex moosebumps, and relocate saliva glands.[2] Octagon is described as being incompetent, as many of his surgery patients die as he conducts his rounds. Octagon also pretends to be a gynecologist and often engages in sexual intercourse with female patients and nurses. Octagon's uncle, Mr. Gerbik, is described as being half shark, having the skin of an alligator, and is 208 years old. Dr. Octagon's 7XL is not yet invented.

This is only a hint of the insanity that is Dr. Octagon’s life musical career, which spans two albums titled Dr. Octagonacologist and The Return of Dr. Octagon. I highly recommend reading the rest here, but if you need the short version, he was killed by a villain named Dr. Dooom, resurrected with a blood sacrifice, created an album that destroyed society, was imprisoned in a spaceship and then clone by an evil gorilla who sent them to Earth so he could take over the world. And then Dr. Dooom killed him again.

8) Compressorhead

Compressorhead is a band of robots, but not like Daft Punk are robots. These are more specific robots who have to be programmed to play music. But when they do, they’re pretty goddamned awesome. Fingers has 78 fingers with which to play guitar, Stickboy has four arms which which to play the drums, and Bones… well, Bones just plays bass really well. Compressorhead plays covers of heavy metal hits like “Ace of Spades” and “TNT” and as you can see in the above video, they are also programmed to rock the fuck out. Like all great bands, if you want them to perform, you have to agree to their rider.

9) The Aquabats

Unlike Kiss, the Aquabats are definitely superheroes who fight monsters and villains alike as they tour (these monsters and villains often stop by their concerts, which makes things very convenient). Led by MC Bat Commander, the group consists of Crash McLarson, Jimmy the Robot, Ricky Fitness and Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk, and plays rock-surf music with hints of New Wave. Since their concerts often involve super-powered fights, it made perfect sense to film their heroics and package them to the youths of America as The Aquabats! Super Show!, currently airing on The Hub.

10) Peelander-Z

Hailing from the Z area of planet Peelander, Peelander Z is an ostensibly Japanese rock band that actually formed in New York. Much like the Power Rangers, the band consists of Peelanders Red, Yellow, Green, Pink and Black, and wear appropriately color-coded costumes on stage. They’re also prone to jumping off said stage, running headfirst into bowling pins, hitting each other with chairs, and wrestling themselves or anyone who gets too close. The band did have a Peelander Blue, but he left in 2008 to return to planet Peelander, as P-King was retiring and Blue was the Prince of Peelander, obviously.

11) Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Davd Bowie didn’t just compose the album Ziggy Stardust and the Spider from Mars; for a chunk of time in the ‘70s, he actually toured as Ziggy in America, the UK and Japan, with his backing band as the Spiders. Anyone who has listened to the album knows how Ziggy’s story goes — he’s a rock and roll messiah sent to Earth by aliens, who want to bring a message of peace and love to humanity. Unfortunately, Ziggy is ultimately killed by his fame, his fans, and the excesses of rock. In reality, Bowie “killed” Ziggy Stardust on July 3rd, 1973 at the end of his last concert on the UK tour, announcing “the last show that we'll ever do.“ Many people thought this meant Bowie was retiring permanently, not just retiring the character of Ziggy Stardust, and Bowie was happy not to clarify. As Ziggy’s self-titled song concludes so aptly, “He took it all too far / but boy could he play guitar.”



Ehem! GORILLAZ should be on your list.