We’re proud to announce that ASTRA is now an Ambassador for @OrangeAmps! Our bass player Stuart Sclater will be using the AD200B MK3 Head in the studio and on the road. Orange is a legendary company! Check them out at www.orangeamps.com!
Be sure to keep an eye out for the new special edition, one-off issue of Shindig! magazine focusing on the history of cosmic music and featuring an interview with Richard Vaughan of ASTRA!
Here is a write-up of the issue borrowed from the Shindig! website:
The Shindig! Guide To Spacerock
This special edition of Shindig! explores spacerock’s peculiar mix of heavy riffs and electronics through the age of the space race, the resulting sci-fi explosion and the mind-expanding influences of the acid-fried ‘60s and beyond.
We trace spacerock back to its roots with the soundtracks of the ’50s, including Louis and Bebe Barron’s FORBIDDEN PLANET, through to the incredible work of JOE MEEK on ‘Telstar’. In addition, we will cover the social and cultural context of the moon landings, sci-fi literature and the spaced-out cinema that shaped the end of the ’60s. In this environment came early spacerock efforts from THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, PINK FLOYD and THE BYRDS.
One band arrived at the close of the decade to define the genre – HAWKWIND. Just as influential in their own idiosyncratic way were GONG with their Radio Gnome trilogy. Several artists pursued the electronic side of spacerock, such as SILVER APPLES and FIFTY FOOT HOSE, whilst the BBC RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP added a distinct Britishness to proceedings. The Germans also produced their own unique contributions to the idiom with AMON DÜÜL II, NEU and ASH RA TEMPEL. At the close of the ’70s several artists such as CHROME utilised the punk spirit to reinvigorate spacerock.
The magazine will take the genre through the ’80s and ’90s with HERE AND NOW and OZRIC TENTACLES and the cross-pollination of the indie scene with SPACEMEN 3 and LOOP. Taking things up to the present day and proving the genre is still in rude health are the likes of ASTRA, THE HEADS and WHITE HILLS. There will also be numerous diversions through key spacerock obscurities as well as articles from the likes of Johnny Truck, Patrick Lundborg, Ian Abrahams and Rich Deakin.
We will be playing with Nik Turner's Space Ritual (ex Hawkwind) at The Casbah in San Diego on Friday, November 15th. Our friends JOY will be opening the show and visuals/projections will be brought to you by Operation: MINDBLOW! This will be a good one, see you there!
It is with sadness in our hearts that we must say goodbye and announce the departure of drummer David Hurley from ASTRA. He has been with the band from the beginning and is one of the founding members. His unique style of playing helped form and shape the ASTRA sound and he was also an integral part of the writing of both of our albums. Unfortunately for us, the road of life is taking Dave in a new direction away from the band. He is an amazing drummer and a close friend and he will be missed. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors, wherever they may lead.
This is by no means the end for ASTRA. We would like to give a warm welcome to our long time friend and our new drummer, Paul Marrone. Paul is a fantastic drummer and fellow long-haired freak that we have had the pleasure of watching in several great bands (Radio Moscow, JOY, Psicomagia) over the past year and he was our ideal choice. While Dave will be missed, we know that Paul will add his own, new uniqueness to our sound and we are beyond excited to be working with him. Rehearsals are going great! We'll be ready to play shows again shortly and more importantly continue the writing for our third album!
Roadburn has just announced the debut album from Paul's band Psicomagia in which ASTRA's own Brian Ellis plays saxophone. Check out the news and great promo video.
New ASTRA-naut t-shirt designed by the one and only David V. D'Andrea. We should be getting some more of these soon and as soon as we do we'll be setting up an online merch store here on our site. Check back soon!