Long haired and freaky-fingered Jas Mann was the front man to the surrealist, one-hit-wonder band Babylon Zoo responsible for the worldwide smash hit Spaceman but whatever happened to him?
Let’s remind ourselves shall we?
Jasbinder Singh, born in 1971 in Dudley found fame in 1988 after a brief spell and moderate success in indie band the Sandkings, but Jas quit the band after musical differences and went on to form his Babylon Zoo project.
Spaceman first came to the public’s attention on a Levi’s jeans commercial.
After much resistance over his vocals on the track being sped up (or ‘chipmunked’ as they say in the biz), Jas released his baby to the advertising giants and Levi’s picked it up featuring just the now iconic chorus: “Spaceman I always wanted you to go, into Space man, intergalactic Christ” (the bit we all liked).
Receiving much attention among dance music fanatics it was disappointing to say the least when we all heard the full, slower, and well, crap song in its entirety but nevertheless Spaceman rocketed to the top spot in 23 countries and became the fastest selling debut single ever at the time.
Following the success of Spaceman, and reaching number 6 in the album charts with The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes, Jas’ ego ballooned and he got a reputation for being an all round odd-ball and a bit of a twat.
In an interview he once said “I think I probably am a genius compared to anybody else who’s out there at the moment musically” – keep dreaming sonny Jim you had one number one hit, so did the Teletubbies.
Satirical spoof show Brass Eye caught old Jas out though in 1997 in its ‘drugs’ show in a non-drug related credits sequence – still funny though.
Follow up single Animal Army failed to match its predecessor’s success, only reaching number 17 in the charts and the third attempt, The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes the title track from the album, bombed at number 32.
After a couple of brief attempts to match the success of Spaceman, Babylon Zoo drifted into the ether never to be heard of again. Or did they?
Official information on Jas’ whereabouts is sketchy to say the least but here is what we can fathom…
Various fonts of knowledge trace Jas moving to India in 1999 where he worked as an aid worker helping build shelters in deprived areas.
He also apparently relocated in 2006 to the Mojave Desert (we’re not sure if that one’s true) where Mann is “quoted” saying the solitude “enhances creativity and calms my whirling mind” – riiiiight.
Jas started an online music project called Mariachi Static describing its sound as ‘analogue rock’ and also set up a record label Hub Records which today doesn’t seem to exist.
In 2005 it was supposedly announced that a new Babylon Zoo album Cold Clockwork Doll would be released in the near future. Four years on we’re still waiting. Oh well I’m sure we’ll all get on with our lives somehow.
Jas always had a creative side evident in his direction of many of Babylon Zoo’s music videos so it’s no surprise to learn that Jas is rumoured to be in Hollywood writing screenplays and is said to be working on his first feature length movie The Whisperers for 2009. No doubt it’ll be “genius”.