Helmed by vocalist Spider (aka Michael Cummings, also known as Spider One or MC Spider, and younger brother of Rob Zombie), the Boston-based underground electro-metal band Powerman 5000 earned a popular cult following along the East Coast before taking over the rest of the country with 1999’s platinum-selling Tonight the Stars Revolt! The group continued to ply their comic book hero/sci-fi-themed punk, hard rock, and industrial metal wares into the next two decades with highlights arriving via 2003’s Transform and 2014’s Builders of the Future, both of which saw Billboard chart success. Through their long tenure, Cummings has remained the group’s sole constant member.
Powerman 5000 emerged in the early ’90s. and found favor with local audiences with the release of their 1994 indie debut EP, True Force, and 1995’s LP The Blood Splat Rating System, the latter of which appeared on Conscience Records. Two years later, the band moved to Dreamworks (and relocated to Los Angeles), where they released a revamped version of their debut as Mega!! Kung Fu Radio.
Touring with the likes of Marilyn Manson and Korn, as well as a stint on Ozzfest, expanded their fan base and led up to Powerman 5000’s 1997 science fiction-esque follow-up Tonight the Stars Revolt! During shows and promos for the album, the band was often found sporting spacesuits and other sci-fi paraphernalia. The record went platinum, helped in part by the success of singles “When Worlds Collide” and “Nobody’s Real” on MTV. The halted release of a since-aborted album titled Anyone for Doomsday? signaled the departure of longtime bassist Dorian Heartsong (aka Dorian 27) and drummer Al Pahanish (aka Al 3) in early November of 2001. A year later, drummer Adrian Ost (aka Ad7) was added to the group; bassist Siggy Sjursen joined 40 auditions later before 2002 came to a close.
Powerman 5000, including Spider and longtime guitarists Adam Williams (aka Adam 12) and Mike Tempesta (aka M.33), was then back in full effect. Transform, their fourth album, marked the band’s new more punk-inspired, less-industrial sound and new lineup when it was released in spring 2003. It debuted at number 25 on the Billboard charts and produced a hit in the song “Free,” though Dreamworks dissolved in the middle of the album’s promotion. A rarities collection appeared in 2004 on Spider’s own Megatronic label; more lineup changes would occur before the eventual release of the band’s fifth full-length. Williams and Tempesta exited to be replaced on guitar by Johnny Heatley and ex-Alien Ant Farm’s Terry Corso. Powerman 5000 inked a deal with DRT Entertainment in spring 2006, and Destroy What You Enjoy surfaced that August, with subsequent touring.
After returning with an all-new lineup featuring Spider One, guitarists Dave Piro (Velkro) and Evan Rodaniche (Evan 9), bassist Gustavo Aued (X51), and drummer Gordon Heckaman (GFlash), the band went back to their industrial metal ways, releasing their sixth album, Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere, in 2009. A covers album, Copies, Clones & Replicants, arrived in 2011, and was followed by another lineup change, with Piro, Rodaniche, and Heckaman, leaving the band. Stepping in to fill the vacancies would be guitarists Richard Jazmin (Zer0) and Nick Quijano (Sci55ors), and drummer DJ Rattan (Rattan), who would all appear on the band’s seventh studio album, Builders of the Future, in 2014. In September 2017, the band released “Sid Vicious in a Dress,” the first single from New Wave, which arrived later that October. They moved to Cleopatra Records for album number eight, 2020’s The Noble Rot.