‘V Is For Vampire,’ is that song pointing to people being emotional vampires?
The idea of paralleling a person with a vampire is so many things, it’s just the nature of sucking someone’s blood. I like paralleling people’s lives with things like vampires, robots, just shinning a light on how inhuman we can be. There is a quote that I use in the CD booklet from H.G. Wells that kind of explains a lot of the song content. He said, ‘Man is the unnatural animal, the rebel child of nature.’ That is exactly what I am saying. Of all the creatures on earth, man cannot just sort of figure out how to exist in his own environment. Everybody else seems to figure it out, ants and spiders, lions and tigers; everyone has figured out this harmonious relationship with it the world, whereas man has done the exact opposite. We are constantly in conflict with ourselves and the environment, and our world. I think that’s a common theme, so when you start bringing in things like vampire-like creatures and robots, it makes perfect sense that we really don’t, as a species, we really don’t make sense in our own world, it’s a strange thing.
Another thing that’s really striking about the record is that if you stripped away the rock and metal elements and listen to your rapping ability, you could be Eminem.
Awesome. It’s funny, that’s how I started in a weird way. When I was in high school I had a little punk rock band, and then I discovered hip-hop, and for a long time in my early days in Boston, that’s what I did. I had a drum machine and would do these bizarre raps and ended up being known for that before I started the band. But I missed the loudness of guitars and a live band. That’s how Powerman became a band—this weird semi hip-hop thing that I had going and blending it into a rock band. Over the years it’s sort of morphed into what it is. Bringing in the electronics and metal and punk and all this stuff and sort of squashing it into one package. I started doing this rapping thing because I couldn’t sing, so it only made sense. It’ funny what you say about the taking away the parts and I always like to think of the songs, if you took away all the guitars and the live band, you’d still have this amazing dance track. That’s part of how we construct the songs, I like to say that dance is the new heavy.
I used to do experiments when we were on the road. We’d play a show and inevitably people would come on the bus after the show and I would strategically put the iPod on and play really dancey music. The first reaction of knuckleheads would be, ‘What the fuck? Put Slayer on!’ Then 30 seconds in, everybody is bobbing their head and into it. That whole dance and hip-hop culture has become so engrained into everybody that everybody sort of naturally responds. What I like to have at the core of these songs is that you can actually dance to them. That’s the thing is that a lot of rock bands have lost, that groovy element. If you go back to AC/DC, those were dance records in a weird way, and it’s an important part of what we do.
‘Do Your Thing’ is a prime example of that.
If we’ve ever come close to a song that we could pass off to Kelly Clarkson, that even she could pull off, when we wrote that, I was like, ‘I think we might have just written a Top 40 hit.’ It’s one of my favorite songs on that record. We played a show and I was talking to this motocross guy, and he was like, ‘Wow, that “Do Your Thing” song!’
You’re just a true MC.
Yeah, I could do that stuff. I pull it back a little bit for the band. You should hear these old recordings of these rap tunes I used to do, they are hysterical. I was so into it back then.
Have you ever collaborated or want to collaborate as an MC?
Well oddly enough, a couple of weeks ago, I had a meeting over at Universal, they distribute the record. I’m walking up to the building and I am looking out the window, and I am like, ‘Holy shit, that’s DMC from Run DMC.’ Who’s he’s talking to? The owner of the label who’s putting our record out. So we started talking and DMC is like, ‘We’ve gotta work together, we gotta do a song to together.’ So maybe you’ll see a Powerman/Run DMC collaboration soon. I think that would be awesome.