The Earons sported full-faced motorcycle helmets and white space suits a decade before Daft Punk

By on June 26, 2018

Before any art history majors out there get too excited, we should tell you that the “futurism” in Night Flight’s “Take Off to Futurism” — which first aired on November 25, 1988, and you can now find streaming over on Night Flight Plus — was not about the Italian avant-garde art movement, but actually our collection of music videos which portrayed post-apocalyptic futuristic scenarios.

We’re going to tell you a little bit more about one of those videos — the 1984 hit “The Land of Hunger” by an anonymized group of musicians calling themselves the Earons — down below.

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We’re kind of surprised we hadn’t heard much about the Earons before, who described themselves back then as an “astro-funk band from Earon Earth.”

They have the distinction of being the first band to sport full-face motorcycle helmets, wear funky futuristic space suits and play funky synth tunes a full decade before the mid-90s French electro-duo Daft Punk and the American electro-duo the Moog Cookbook both arrived on the global pop scene.

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They were also known for hiding their identities behind numeric stage names.

Lead vocalist Henry Pizzicarola was “.28,” while guitarist Percival Prince (which, frankly, also sounds made up, considering it’s also the name of a British airplane) used the name “.22.”

Keyboardist Kevin Nance was “.33,” bassist Melvin Lee was “.69,” and drummer Alonzo “Lonnie” Ferguson was “.18.”

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Apparently, the concept of the band came from Zecharia Sitchin’s sci-fi tome The Twelfth Planet, and his writing about the Sumerians.

We’ve also read they were influenced by some of the cosmic mythology of Sun Ra, a Night Flight favorite, along with a bit of jazz legend Anthony Braxton’s mathematical obsessions (but please don’t ask us to explain this, we were told there would be no math).

We’re not going to try to describe their “Land of Hunger” song either, or the video, which was directed by Peter Allen and Bill Parker, mainly because both seem mostly self-explanatory: space-suited Earons arrive on a planet of hungry peoples and give them apples. Right?

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Their reggae-flavored “Land of Hunger” rocketed up the Billboard Dance charts to #1 for just one week in the late spring of 1984.

It also peaked at #36 on the industry rag’s Soul Singles chart too, but failed to chart on the Hot 100 chart.

To date, they have released just one album, Hear on Earth, which has not yet been released on compact disc.

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Read more about the Earons below.

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Over the years, curious netizens have expressed interest in learning more about the Earons, and after many decades of mystery, we have the Perfect Sound Forever blog to thank for uncovering some of the answers for us.

This information was transmitted to Jack Partain, who spoke to .28 one Saturday evening in late October 2012 (the blog is dated December 2012).

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.28 (Pizzicarola) told Partain that his best friend, .33 (Nance), who he’d known since his sophomore year of high school, had played in a disco-funk band called Machine, which is how he also met their bassist .69 and drummer .18. Nance had also played keys with the BB&Q Band (also known as the Brooklyn, Bronx & Queens band).

.33 told .28  that the three members of Machine were looking to write new songs together, and invited him to their rehearsal studio and Queens.

From that point on they began forming the space alien concept for their new group, with most of the ideas coming from .33 (Nance).

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.28 told Partain that originally they were going to be signed to Neil Bogart’s Boardwalk Records, but when the Casablanca Records mogul died from lymphoma (in 1982, age 39), they were signed by Chris Blackwell to Island Records.

.28 tells Partain that during the mid-80s, the Earons opened for Run-D.M.C., in the winter of 1985, at the Baltimore Arena, which wasn’t a great experience because he didn’t think their crowd appreciated what they were doing.

.28 says they only performed three songs, ending with “Land of Hunger,” before he couldn’t take it anymore and left the stage, frustrated with the experience. (Read the interview to get the whole story).

The Earons also saw their video for “Land of Hunger” played on MTV, and they were even interviewed by MTV, which you can see right here:

They did a lot of press, it turns out.

Here’s another bizarro interview the band did for a local CBS morning show back in 1985. We found it on their Youtube page, which as of this writing has eleven subscribers, whoo!

We’ve read the Earons even were invited to perform on David Letterman’s “Late Show” in 1985, but they were denied access backstage because they were thought to be a security risk. They were asked by the camera crew to remove the helmets or else they had to leave, and so they left.

For their second album, the Earons apparently changed up their sound, but when they turned in the master tapes to Island Records, they were asked if they were trying to sound like the Police or some other pop band. They ended up taking back the album, which remains unreleased to this day.

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“The future is upon us, with robots, computers and new technologies,” Night Flight’s Pat Prescott informs us at the top of this special “Take Off” episode, which also features videos by Bonnie Tyler, Zebra, A Flock of Seagulls, Rush, Styx, Devo, Tangerine Dreams’ Peter Baumann, Re-Flex, and Rick Springfield.

Watch Night Flight’s “Take Off to Futurism” and other “Take Off” episodes on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.