Sep 26, 2006

Powerman 5000 (Spider) - Interview

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

POWERMAN 5000

9/26/06

Recher Theatre, Towson, Maryland

Powerman 5000 is an interesting band that's been around for a little over 10 years now & I hate to bring it up again, but for anyone not in the know, Spider, the bands singer is Rob Zombie's brother, & the band itself has gone through numerous changes over the years...they went from being a punk/funk/nu-metal act that wore space suits, to stripping it down & being a straight up metal band that just gets onstage with their rock faces on!

The band played the Recher Theatre on Tuesday, September 26 & the support for the show was all local bands, which was interesting, because I think it really showed the best local hard rock bands in the area, but it was apparent that the bulk of the crowd was there to see Spider & PM5K tear it up! "Bombshell", "Nothing's Real", "Neckbone"...the band really ripped through a good mix of new & old material & the bands 2 new guitarists are working out really well too! I had the opportunity to talk with Spider before the show, backstage, & he's a very cool, down to earth, unassuming, no-attitude type of guy who's presence is felt, but it's NOT that cocky rock star jerk type vibe...Spider actually reminds me of his brother a little when you talk to him..he's just so down to earth & literal with things, that it's a pleasure to talk to him! Here's what Spider had to say:

Rock N Roll Experience: Tell me about "Destroy What you Enjoy"..you have some new members in the band, right?

Spider: The Rhythm section is the same as the last album, but we have 2 new guitar players, so it feels like a whole new band.

Rock N Roll Experience: What happened to the old guitarists?

Spider: Well, things change...Adam who was in the band from the beginning with me just decided he didn't wanna tour anymore, I mean he had been in the band since the beginning & he was getting burnt out & he wanted to write songs, he was interested in working on the album with me, but he didn't wanna tour & at that point I was like, I can't really do that...I can't have..it's a band, & you know, it's funny...there are some bands who just stay together forever & have the same members for 20 years & then there's a band like ours that just like every album, it's a crap shoot who's gonna be on the record, & it's kind of a drag in a way because I've always thought of a band as being those central guys that stick together through the whole thing, but on the other hand, through the years, I've realized that it's sorta been a positive in a sense that it sorta keeps things interesting & there's no danger of doing the same thing twice.

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you kinda feel like your brother (Rob Zombie) & that Powerman 5000 is basically all about you & the members are interchangeable?

Spider: I never think of it like that, I mean some people look at it like that...I don't, I mean I always, to this day, I've tried to represent it as a band...if you look at the artwork, everybody has a page...to me it is important to show...I don't want it to seem like a solo thing with back-up guys, I mean I think it is important to have it be a band because that is what I like...I like bands, I like the idea of the band structure....4 or 5 guys just putting this thing together...I always loved the Clash...they were always like the best band...they just seemed so cool..the guitars, combat boots & rolling into town, so I don't really look at it like ME & the other guys.

Rock N Roll Experience: How was it touring with KISS?

Spider: It was pretty crazy...I was THAT kid drawing pictures of Gene Simmons on my notebook in school & KISS was really one of the first bands I got into on my own & so it was pretty crazy & cool too because it was their first reunion tour...it wasn't like now where it's just become...ok, farewell tour for the 10th time, but...it was weird..it kinda just passed by me because we were so green at the time, I don't think I really understood the magnitude of the whole thing, but there were nights when I was just...we would do our set & I'd go out into the crowd & hang out & watch the show & there was certain nights I was like, "I can't believe I'm fucking here!"..it was so weird watching Peter Criss sing "Beth" & hand roses out to the crowd ha ha...it was pretty spectacular...it was definitely one of those things that..40 years from now when I've got the grandkids on my knee, I'll be talking about opening for KISS...I've been fortunate to have alot of moments like that though.

Rock N Roll Experience: Why did you stop wearing the spaceman suits?

Spider: It was never meant to be done forever, it's just that we got famous off of it, so it was like, FUCK, everyone knows us as the spaceman band now, or whatever, or the space suits, but the reality is, we had records out before that where de didn't do that & we were gonna have records out after that where we didn't do that, but it was just such a strong visual & that record became so big that everyone thought that was what we were.

Rock N Roll Experience: It was almost like DEVO.

Spider: I mean, in a weird way, that was sorta the inspiration, because when I was a kid, I was totally a punk rock/new wave nerd & I was like, Let's make a Heavy DEVO record & so it just became a monster & I thought that we could either milk it forever & feel really silly doing it, or just cut it off quick, so when we did the "Transform" record, I was like it's gotta be 180 degrees away from the space suits & just got rid of it completely & went the other way...I just didn't wanna be, like the thought of, as cool as that was & as interesting in the possibility of that image, trying to do that now, which is 7 years later, would just be..you can't win anyways...you change & fans give you shit for changing & if I was still doing that people would be like, I can't believe this loser is still busting out a space suit after all these years, so you just gotta do what you gotta do...my thing is, with every record...whatever I feel like doing I do & you take alot of hits from it, from your fan base because they get locked into one particular thing & they don't want you to change, but you gotta do what you gotta do & it's risky, but I'd go crazy just doing the same thing over & over.

Rock N Roll Experience: Plus you had one ex-band member sell his costume on ebay!

Spider: Yeah..I think that was sour grapes...he was just pissed off because he wasn't in the band anymore ha ha

Rock N Roll Experience: What does the title "Destroy What You Enjoy" mean?

Spider: It's sorta like everything that I do..on one level, I have no idea..it just sounds cool...sitting on an airplane coming back from a show & it just popped into my head & I wrote it down on a napkin & put it in my pocket & it just kinda stuck & turned it into a song, but it's sorta in line with everything that I do, which is sorta that ability to let go of what's comfortable & let go of what's...the whole idea of tearing something down to build something new...again, I think this band has always been through that process of building & I guess in some ways it has alot to do with that.

Rock N Roll Experience: Speaking of which...you actually did some blues stuff on the new record, which I think is REALLY good!

Spider: Yeah, "Miss America"...we have yet to play that live yet, but every album we try to throw the curve ball & that song was originally in line with the rest of the album & it was an uptempo, hard rocking song & we were just in the studio & I was like, let's try this & kinda as a joke or whatever, & we just did it to see what it would sound like & it ended up being pretty cool & that is a funny one too, because there are kids yelling about us now that we are going country or something & it's like, don't you understand that it's tongue in cheek & it would be fun to play live..maybe we'll do it someday, but it would be interesting to see what the reaction would be.

Rock N Roll Experience: What was the best gift you got for Christmas when you were a kid?

Spider: That's a tough one....I do remember as a real little kid I love the Planet of the Apes & I got a Planet of the Apes treehouse & I always remember that being VERY exciting, so that was one of the better gifts that I got as a kid anyways ha ha.

Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever do a tour or a song with your brother Rob (Zombie)?

Spider: He actually sang on a song called "Blast Off to Nowhere" but we buried it in the record & we never really made a big deal out of it & I would do a tour with him...absolutley..it's just sorta up to him to offer it up.

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