Innovative Fusion of Science Fiction & Action Rock Creates a Signature Sound

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature,   From Issue 792   By: Robert E Martin

19th June, 2014     0

Another one of the exciting bands performing at this year’s Dirt Fest, which will be held on August 9th at the Birch Run Expo Center is Powerman 5000, who’s origins began back in 1991 when group founder Spider One dropped out of art school, bought a cheap 4-tracks hoe studio and drum machine, and recorded Much Evil with producer Lamar Lowder.  Building on local success, Powerman 5000 was born.

In 1996, they performed on the second stage of Ozzfest and appeared in an episode of Beverly Hills 90201, where David & Donna filmed a music video for their song Strike the Match. In 1997, the band signed to Dreamworks Records and in 1997 performed on the mainstage at Ozzfest 1997. They released several singles and in 1999 guitarist M.33 (Mike Tempesta) joined the band as they got their biggest break by creating a strange fusion of Science Fiction and ‘Action Rock’. They released Tonight the Stars Revolt!, which contained the hit singles When Worlds Collide, Nobody’s Real, and Supernova Goes Pop. The album sold over a million copies.

A follow-up album to Tonight the Stars Revolt! was released titled Anyone for Doomsday? The album was recorded and a single, "Bombshell", had been released to radio stations. But the album was canceled just before its scheduled release.  It was later released under Spider's own new label, Megatronic Records, but went out of print due to legal issues. Arguments exist as to whether the record was canceled due to the events of the September 11th terrorist attached and the negative title, but the album was finished and scheduled for release in August 2001, one full month before the attacks.

Spider has said in interviews that the album was dropped because it sounded too much like the previous album and that he wanted to release something fresh and different instead of repeating himself. Conflicts thereafter caused longtime members Dorian 27 (Dorian Heartsong) and Al3 (Allen Pahanish) to leave the band. Ad7 (Adrian Ost) and Siggy Sjursen were brought in to replace them.

One of the greatest mainstream exposures to the band came from their original remake of the 1980s club hit ‘Relax’, originally by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  The recrafted version was featured prominently during the credit roll for the 2001 comedy Zoolander, and helped spread the band's appeal.
Transform & Destroy What You Enjoy (2003–2007)

In 2003, the band released Tranform, a more punk-fueled album, completely dropping the costumes that had been featured throughout the band's Tonight The Stars Revolt! era. Containing the hit singles "Free" and "Action", after the album's release Dreamworks was bought out by Interscope Records, who stopped promoting the band in the middle of a tour and would not explain the surroundings of what was going on.

Powerman 5000 was not asked to make the move to Interscope. Undeterred, Spider continued with his own offshoot label, Megatronic Records. In 2005 new music was released, under Spider's new label, in the form of a rarities album titled The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Vol 1.

In 2007, Evan Rodaniche, singer and guitarist of Los Angeles band Cage9 joined the band through his acquaintance with Adrian Ost. He toured as the band's sole guitarist until later that year, when Dave Pino was added to the mix. Pino had just moved to Los Angeles and heard about the open slot through his friendship with Piggy D (bassist for Rob Zombie). Upon the departure of Siggy from the band in 2008, Gustavo Aued was brought in to replace him on bass, and later that year, drummer Gordon Heckaman joined the band (both originally from Cage9 as well), solidifying the lineup for the next album.

Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere (2007–2011)

In December 2008, the new track "Super Villain" premiered on the band's Myspace page, showcasing their return to their platinum-selling sound of the late 1990s. On January 28, 2009, a preview of tracks from their upcoming sixth studio album were posted on the group's Myspace page, containing clips from the songs "Super Villain", "V Is for Vampire", and "Horror Show". Powerman 5000 posted that "Super Villain" would become available for digital purchase on February 10 via iTunes and Amazon.com.

On October 1, the full track "Do Your Thing" was leaked onto YouTube. The song was apparently taken from the Megatronic Records Forum, which frontman Spider One currently owns. The CD Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere was officially released on October 6 in the U.S. and was available in Canada on October 20, two weeks after the reported release date. The band embarked on a national tour during October and November in support of the album.

Throughout 2010 Powerman 5000 continued to support their new album with various tours between March and November.

Copies, Clones & Replicants and Builders of The Future (2011-present)

The band announced on May 23, 2011 that they had started work on a new album. On July 24, 2011, Powerman 5000 released a cover of Devo’s Whip It, a cover of Space Oddity by David Bowie, and a cover of Van Halen’s Jump, all from their now released album, Copies, Clones & Replicants.  It also included covers of other new wave songs such as The Fixx’s One Thing Leads to Another and Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue, all performed in the group’s tradmark industrial metal style.

In advance of Dirt Fest, the group has also released a brand spanking new album, entitled Builders of the Future. Recently The Review caught up with group founder Spider One, who often uses spoken word and chanting in his vocalizations to discuss the genesis and future of the band.

Review: Powerman 5000 has gone through several personnel changes & incarnations, so please tell me how the current configuration of the group came together and what some of your musical goals are for the group.  Also, what do you feel most distinguishes the sound and vision of your band that makes it unique from other artists working in similar genres?

Spider One: The latest incarnation came together naturally. It is all about finding members that understand what the band is all about and that can contribute creatively. As far as what distinguishes us from other bands, I feel like we stand apart sonically. We aren't as traditional as most rock bands today.  Also, as a concept, I feel like Powerman is more of a lifestyle band. It's not just about the songs. It's also about a culture. I don't see a lot of bands that represent like that.

Review: At this juncture of your career what do you feel is the most challenging component involved with advancing your musical goals?

Spider One: Everything is a challenge. Every time we put a new album out, it's like starting over in some ways. The real challenge is awareness. In a world of millions of distractions and options, it is difficult to get people to pay attention.

Review:  In terms of influences what groups and musical schools of thought have most impacted your work and the informed the evolution of the band?

Spider One: My biggest influences have been music that relies on attitude over technique. Punk Rock, Hip Hop and Electronic music. These forms off music inspired me and made me believe that I could create my own statement. 

Review:  Are there any highlights of your career thus far that stand out in your mind that have inspired your artistic pursuits?

Spider One: Honestly, what inspires me most is just the process of creating. I have had countless highlights. Amazing tours, radio and video play, record sales but at the end of the day there is no bigger satisfaction than just creating.

Powerman 5000 will be performing at the 2014 Dirt Fest along with Killswitch and Sid Wilson of Slipknot among many others. Tickets are available by going to Dirtfest.com.


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