Unlike most of today's hardcore metal/punk/hip-hop bands who take themselves a bit too seriously with their f**k-the-world attitude, it's damn refreshing to hear a band who write lyrics that are creative, fun and...f**kin'bizarre. Such is the case with the carnival-themed opening track "Public Menace Freak, Human Fly," from their DreamWorks debut Mega!! Kung Fu Radio. Lead vocalist/lyricist Spider concedes, "I draw from a million inspirations. I had some experience in that whole carnival world as a kid, and subconsciously that may have reared its ugly head. This band is about being serious at what we do, without being so f**kin' serious that we paint ourselves into a corner."
In 1994, PM5K released their debut EP True Force on the Boston underground label Curve of the Earth Records. Although the EP was produced on a measly budget of $600 and recorded in just two days, it received critical acclaim and the band soon became a mainstay of the Boston and New England underground metal scene. Their latest Mega!! effort was originally released independently on the Conscience label in '95, under the title The Blood Splat Rating System, but was quickly nabbed by DreamWorks after the band soldout its initial pressing. The tracks were then remixed and remastered and the album, re-titled Mega!! Kung Fu Radio, was re-released in '97. Even though this CD is released on a major label, the band (who co-produced the album, along with Mudrock) didn't compromise in the least when it came to the production, which is raw and heavy as hell! Spider concedes that it's not a matter of money, it's a matter of attitude. "When you make a record in a week, on a shoestring budget, that's how it comes out. I think a lot of bands forget that you can make a great sounding record without spending $300,000. It's good to have a little bit of desperation; if you get too comfortable, you're doomed."
As many of you probably know, Spider's brother, Rob Zombie, co-manages Powerman 5000. But what might surprise you is the fact that the two brothers have never even jammed together. "Rob never really seemed interested in being in a band, and it was I who was always trying to start up a hard-core band, this was when I was 13 or 14," admits Spider, continuing, "Not until Rob split Boston and moved to NY, did he start playing music." But, like his brother Rob, Spider insists on being involved in all aspects of the band, which is evidently why he chose to direct the band's video for their second single "Neckbone." "You know, I gotta be involved visually" insists Spider, "I can't just let it go to someone else."
This band is certainly no stranger to roadwork. PM5K have been touring nonstop since the release of Mega!!, supporting everyone from Kiss, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Korn, Danzig, Primus, and playing festivals such as Snowcore and the infamous OZZ FEST. Spider concedes, "The OZZ FEST was proof positive that this type of music is a viable force. It drew over 30,000 kids every night, whereas Lollapalooza, and all the other tour packages, were a stiff. Not one band on OZZ FEST was getting support from radio or MTV. It's so obvious what people like, but unfortunately the powers that be...the people who run radio and MTV...don't like that stuff; in fact, they tend to hate it. But that hasn't slowed us down!"
So, the question is...how in the hell is PM5K gonna be able to followup such an over-the-top record? "It's gonna be all about extremes on the next record, with even more experimentation," explains Spider, as if this record wasn't at all extreme. "As much as I really love this record, you're always playing it a little safe the first time around. I think it's important to stretch the boundaries a little bit."
Spider may consider this record as "playing it safe" but, believe me, Mega!! Kung Fu Radio is one of the most experimental metal records I've heard in years, and is about as safe as (to filch the title of one of the album tracks) "A Swim With The Sharks."
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