Astroworld – The End of an Era
By Malcom Alexander Clark
The burning theater troupe would gather to perform their songs, figuring that if they were just good enough, maybe they’d snag a gig in a low-budget comedy or a Saturday morning cartoon.
It was during one of these attempts to establish themselves that Brian Young brought the sketch “Homer and Richard From” to the show.
In this bit, Homer, George and Larry from the late ’60s sitcom “The Simpsons” visit Richard, the lead singer of a duo from Astroworld, an old recreation park in Houston, Texas. Homer and George unwittingly end up in the character’s hot tub in character, stripped to their bathing suits and entertaining everyone around them with their ineptness in the water.
The sketch quickly became a success among the Pittsburgh group, who learned that they were able to spoof their intended targets and make them laugh too.
So, they came up with a musical parody they named, appropriately enough, “Astroworld” – a three-man act that would launch their career.
The group’s greatest hit, “Astroland,” is a blend of blues, R&B and rock that encapsulates their everyday lifestyles from impromptu gigs to neighborhood bar crawls.
“Once you get a big guitar player in a polyester jumpsuit singing about Astroland,” says Young, “it’s just like, ‘Oh, that’s right. I’ve been there.’”
Young went on to write songs for other rappers, such as Lord Finesse, and was a successful producer in the 1990s and 2000s.
“It was always about putting one foot in front of the other and saying what it is that we had to say and following that into where we wanted to be,” he says of the musical career.
“It’s just sort of always been there, just surviving, and having friends in that crew that you play with and have something to fall back on – it’s always been that way for me.”
Today, Brian and his cohort are doing the same thing again – creating songs and music, and planning for the future.
“It’s just so short in the grand scheme of things that we started this thing,” says Young. “It’s hard to take it all in, but then I look at it and think, ‘Look, we’re still doing it.’”