by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & S & lt;/span & pider One is Rob Zombie's less famous, differently talented little brother. Born Michael and Robert Cummings, respectively, they grew up in Haverhill, Mass. -- fed, according to Wikipedia, on a "a heady mixture of classic monsters, pro wrestling, EC Comics, 1960s counterculture, gore movies and the weirder, more esoteric corners of the American artistic map." And while their hyper-appreciation for such things means that both men gravitate toward the absurd, White/Rob Zombie manages a campy homage quality, while poor Spider One's zealotry usually pushes Powerman 5000 straight into parody (for better or worse, depending on your view). Here's a brief run-down.
Album Title punctuation: The seminal White Zombie album was Astro Creep 2000, which bears a certain similarity to Spider's band name. Unadorned, it leaves the casual CD rack peruser to wonder, at face value, the band's editorial stance. Powerman 5000, though, leaves no such question. Album titles include: Mega!! Kung Fu Radio, Tonight the Stars Revolt! and Anyone for Doomsday? Exclamation points are one thing, question marks are another. More likely parody: Powerman 5000
Band Name: White Zombie is named after a Bela Lugosi film. Powerman 5000 is not. More likely parody: Powerman 5000
Costumage: While White Zombie's leathery backwoods derelicte stylings and bleached dredds are frightening on so many levels, the style nonetheless fits pretty well with certain elements in the post-grunge counterculture. Powerman 5000, on the other hand, takes its cues more from sci fi than the bayou, creating greater cultural dissonance. Spider employs lots of sweet robotic movements on the video for "Nobody's Real." More likely parody: Powerman 5000
Videos: Unfortunately, Powerman 5000 never really had the pull that White Zombie did. As a result, Spider has never commanded the kind of cheddar needed to pull off any of the hokey, elaborate visual set pieces Rob has created. Though certain videos contain spacey or scary bookends ("When Worlds Collide"), they quickly dissolve into band-playing-on-stage shots. More likely parody: White/Rob Zombie
Lyrics: White/Rob and Powerman lyricism are equally kitschy and self-aware. More likely parody: Toss-up
Genre: While White Zombie was a fairly potent form of heavy metal lite, Powerman 5000 was built on the success of an early horror rap project of Michael's. Thus, it's more akin to rap-rock and nu-metal -- genres that, as even Fred Durst will tell you, lend themselves naturally to farce. More likely parody: Powerman 5000
Powerman 5000 plays at Fat Tuesday's with Sea Jayne Trip, Drop Six, Clintch and Onefall on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 7 pm. Tickets: $10. Call 489-3111.