POWERMAN 5000 "Earth To Spider..."

Interview by Dr. Abner Mality

 I will share a secret with you humanoids. I know I have a reputation as the blood-dripping extreme metal monster who rises from the tomb while the sounds of Obituary and Incantation thrash in the background, but I do have a taste for stuff that is not quite so brutal. Enter Powerman 5000. Often described as "nu-metal", I find I agree more with frontman Spider's opinion that they are a more metal version of Devo. I have seen the band in concert 3 times and each time it was a real adrenaline rush full of showmanship and high energy. Plus, the band's devotion to classic sci-fi doesn't hurt them, either.

Spider, the younger brother of Rob Zombie, doesn't just put on the sci-fi image to sell records, either. He is really devoted to all things strange and wondrous and contributes regularly to the FearNet website. Despite this, he has recently regathered his forces in Powerman 5000 and put out a new release "Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere" that celebrates all the futuristic craziness that made the band such a hit with "Tonight The Stars Revolt".

I recently got onboard a rocketship to Planet Spider and found a few minutes to discuss all things PM5K related with the man himself...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Spider, the band has been through huge highs and lows by your own admission. What was it that made right now the right time for this new album? What was the turning point?

SPIDER: I suppose just feeling really inspired. Certain things come in waves and over the past two years I have found myself excited by a lot of things. I credit a visit to San Diego Comic Con as the spark. I have rediscovered all of the great movies, TV and comics that made me who I am. My involvement with FEARnet also added to all of this. So, I was just ready to bring all of that back to Powerman 5000!

WC: Was there ever any point during the bad times when you felt like throwing in the towel on PM5k?

S: Well, not just the bad times! ha. I always say being in a band is like that scene in Godfather 3. " Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!" It is fun being in a band but it is also a difficult way to live, though for some reason I just keep going!

WC: Did "Somewhere On the Other Side of Nowhere" come together pretty quickly or was it something you'd been thinking about for a long time?

S: The process was slow at first. I was writing with new band members and there was definitely a learning curve. Though once we nailed a few songs and it was clear what direction we wanted the record to go, it became easier. We were also playing shows during the time we were making the record, so that slowed us down a bit.

WC: With this new album, you've embraced the sci-fi side of the band again. That's something you haven't always done. What got you inspired to take this route once more?

S: Well, like I mentioned earlier, it really started with Comic Con 2008. Not to mention that the new band members were really into getting back to that vibe. I also realized that the Sci Fi thing is what this band is and should be. The fans could see that clearer than I could at times.

WC: I heard you went crazy for old Godzilla movies and Japanese SF while recording the latest disc. What is it about these films that gets your juices going and what are some of your favorites?

S: It is a childhood thing. Watching Godzilla movies are really some of the earliest memories I have. They are just such a blast to watch! As far as favorites... there are so many. I always was partial to Godzilla vs the Smog Monster!

WC: What's your favorite era of SF and what are some of your other SF influences?

S: There are great Sci Fi films of every decade, though I do love 50s and 60s stuff a lot. Them, Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Planet of the Vampires. Though some of my favorites of others eras are 2001, Alien, Star Wars. Other than movies, I love some classic TV stuff like Star Trek, Space 1999... god, I sound like such a dork! ha!

WC: You've been the one constant in the history of Powerman. Is Powerman just Spider and whoever his back-up players are or is it now a true band?

S: No matter what the line up, I have always thought of Powerman 5000 as a band and tried to represent it as such.

WC: Are the songs on the new disc your creation exclusively? How do you come up with songs for an album?

S: The lyrics are all mine but the music is a collaboration with the band. Songs come from different places. Some times it is a riff or a lyric or even a beat. Never the same thing twice.

WC: I think "Somewhere On the Other Side of Nowhere" is maybe the most danceable PM5K album, do you agree?

S: YES! That's what we wanted. I say, dance is the new heavy! I like music to be a physical experience, so making the foundation danceable was important to me. I never want some one to listen to our music and just sit there or stare at the speaker.

WC: What are some of the techno/electro/industrial influences of the band?

S: We would listen to a lot of electro while making this record but some of it, I don't even remember the artists. Though, I do remember jamming of some Daft Punk, Justice and Peaches.

WC: "Do Your Thing" has a real funky sound to it, like a soundtrack to a blaxploitation film. Is that kind of music and film an influence on you?

S: A little I suppose. I did go threw a funk phase when I was younger. Funkadelic, Rick James, Prince... stuff like that. "Do Your Thing" is pretty funky, but also kind of pop too. Sometimes when I hear it it sounds like Slade!

WC: To play the devil's advocate, some say you belong to a genre that's now How would you respond to that?

S: Ah, Nu Metal. Who thought that term up? Definitely not me. Well, I suppose if we were considered a part of that genre and that genre is now passe then, OK, you are right. Though the truth is we never chose to be a part of anything. In fact, I remember when we started to make 'Tonight the Stars Revolt', I said to the band that I wanted to make a heavy Devo record. How that turned into Nu Metal, I'll never know! That said, I guess we shared some things in common with some of those bands like Korn, Static X or who ever, but we also always felt like we never quite fit in either. Powerman never had that bum out vibe that a lot those bands shared.

WC: The album seems pretty fun and basic on the surface, but you say there are some deeper themes in it. Care to elaborate on that?

S: If you relate the record back to Sci Fi, it functions in the same way. You tackle social or political issues through the use of crazy things like robots. Fun on the surface but it has meaning. I used an H G Wells quote to sum up the records meaning. He said, "Man is the unnatural animal, the rebel child of nature."

WC: How do you see the band evolving from here on out?

S: Actually I'd like to do a little less evolving. I've done a lot of experimenting over the years to come full circle to get back to what we do best. I'd like to stay here a while.

WC: Are you involved in any projects outside of Powerman and if not, would you ever consider doing so?

S: I have a lot going on outside of Powerman 5000. I do blogging and on camera stuff for, which is a great web site for Horror fans. I also do a lot of writing and am actively developing ideas for TV and movies. I like being busy.

WC: I saw you play some great shows in Rockford, Illinois. Any memories of those gigs?

S: Honestly, shows start to blur together over the years! Ha. Though I do know that Rockford is a great rock town!

WC: What was the last CD you picked up just because you wanted to hear it?

S: Cheap Trick, "In Color and Black and White".

WC: What was the last gig you checked out just because you wanted to?

S: Arctic Monkeys.

WC: In the long history of PM5K, is there any "Spinal Tap" moment you'd like to share with the readers?

S: Every moment in this band is a Spinal Tap moment!! Too many to mention!

WC: Any final words to the faithful?

S: Yes, I really want to say that after all of these years in Powerman, I honestly think we just made our best record! I know that sounds like something I'm supposed to say and I have said it in the past and maybe not meant it. Though this time, I REALLY mean it!! If you are, were or are thinking about being a fan of this band I know you will love this record! GO GET IT!!