November 15, 2016 Interview – Wednesday 13
A colorful imagination is difficult to come by in 2016. Fully enthralled in the digital age where children have little opportunity to use their own minds to conjure up stories, some may go as far to say creative thought is dead. Thankfully for American musician Wednesday 13, he grew up on a steady diet of G.I. Joe action figures and taking trips to the local video store to explore the Horror movie section more than a few times. Now a veteran in the Rock-n-Roll world, Wednesday 13 has successfully built his own Horror Rock empire that was first introduced to the mainstream back in 2002 when he fronted Murderdolls. Now set to release his seventh solo album in 2017, Wednesday 13 could not be happier with where he is creatively. Recently we caught up with the busy musician to talk the wild ride of Murderdolls, the process behind 2017’s Condolences, the possibility of him making his own Horror movie, and more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been involved in music for over two decades now. In that time, you have built a respected name in the Horror Punk and Metal community. First, tell us, what has this journey been like for you?
Wednesday 13 – It’s been very interesting, I find myself in situations and I go, “Wow, I came a long way from what I set out to do when I was a 13 year old kid.” Opportunities and things I’ve done and who I’ve toured with, I’ve pretty much met all my Rock-n-Roll heroes and became friends with a lot of them. It’s been a really crazy journey and I can’t wait to see what the rest of it brings. Every day is a surprise and it is awesome.
CrypticRock.com – It has to be awesome to become friendly with people who you admire. Many would look at the Murderdolls as your grand introduction to the mainstream, but you in fact had various projects prior to Murderdolls. Do you have fond memories of your time with Murderdolls?
Wednesday 13 – Oh yea, Murderdolls was my first real band to tour, it was my first time. I had my band before, but we didn’t do any touring besides one month long tour. With Murderdolls, I want to say our 15th show was in Tokyo, Japan opening for Guns N’ Roses at an arena. That journey happened really quick and it was an insane ride. We only toured for a year but we ended up touring all over the world. We did 3 tours of Japan, we did an entire European run with Iron Maiden for 6 weeks in support for them. Just some really amazing touring just seeing the world, that band put me on the map so to speak. It’s definitely a part of my history and something I’m super proud of. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t function these days. If it ever does again, we will see what happens.
CrypticRock.com – The band really was a lot of fun, like you said, it put you on the map and started your solo career per say. You came out with a solo record, 2005’s Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying, and the Dead; it came after 2002’s Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls.
Wednesday 13 – Definitely, it opened the door for me. Murderdolls was going to have to take a break due to Slipknot. I didn’t want to sit still, I just kind of continued on with how I write, and that’s when Wednesday 13 became. That’s just what I am. That debut album came out in 2005, so it’s 11 years old now, it’s been a pretty neat ride.
CrypticRock.com – As you have said, you do what you do. Your songs clearly are a mix of Metal, Punk, and usually laced with a Horror movie based theme. Did you have an interest in Horror films from a young age?
Wednesday 13 – Yeah, that was a natural thing for me. When I was younger, I had an older brother and sister. I basically lived on my own imagination and watching television. I remember watching, as a young kid, Bugs Bunny, The Little Rascals, The Munsters, The Addams Family; it was natural that I watched all that stuff. I played with G.I. Joes, at the time back in 1979 you could go to stores and buy Star Wars and G.I. Joe stuff. They also had Dracula and Frankenstein toys that were the exact same size, I had a couple of those. I would play with my G.I. Joes and he would fight Frankenstein, it was always monsters as a little kid. When I got older and I started making up my first band flyers, I would constantly use Horror movie pictures out of books and magazines I had. That imagery, I associated it with everything I’ve ever done since when I started playing music in 1992. I was still making Horror flyers and things like that. It’s just a natural thing for me.
CrypticRock.com –It is definitely entertaining. There are not many acts who go with a Horror theme anymore, at least not in the mainstream. It is really cool to see that you do follow that theme. Furthermore, people who are fans of Horror films enjoy all the puns that you put into your songs.
Wednesday 13 – I try to change it up every record. My latest one, that we just recorded, still has a Horror vibe to it, but I didn’t just sing about Horror movies in particular. I pretty much covered every Horror movie in the last 20 years that I liked. I have sung about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre many times now. Now I am sort of telling my own Horror stories. It’s been a really cool way to develop over the years. Now I am kind of making my own rules.
CrypticRock.com – Do not forget “Dawn of the Dead,” that was a bad ass song. Fans of the 1978 George A. Romero film would agree you really captured the movie pretty well with that song.
Wednesday 13 – Thank you, that’s one of my favorites and I’ve watched it many times. When I wrote that song, I am sure it was on in the background. That’s one of my favorite songs on the first Murderdolls album. That song was from my band before Murderdolls, my Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 band. That was one of our songs we put out like right before I started speaking with Joey Jordison. We just recorded that song, it was a little 7″ B side song.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool. You are currently on the road touring the US and set to return with a new album come 2017. You mentioned the tracks have their own Horror themes. What can you tell us about this forthcoming album?
Wednesday 13 – It turned out beyond my expectations. Every record has turned out different than how I thought, so to speak. This album just took a turn in a way I can’t even explain it, it’s a new level for us. Lyrically, it’s really dark, really violent, but it’s still fun. I think for me, in my mind, it’s like the ultimate record that captures a little bit of everything I’ve done. This is the one that ties it all together. It’s really heavy, it’s a different record that anything I’ve done. I like to do that. My main goal for every record it to try to make a different album every time. I don’t have any interest in repeating myself.
This is definitely a record where we took some chances musically. We did some things that we had never done before and went back and revisited some things that we had done before, but put a new twist on it. I am so proud of it, I can’t wait to get it out. I am aiming for an April release. I am trying to shop the record to some labels right now. I am talking to a few people, hopefully I can let fans know in the next month or so what the actual release date will be.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent, well that is exciting to hear, the new experimentation that you are speaking of. You have worked with a list of musicians and the Wednesday 13 lineup right now is very solid. How has it been working with this group of guys?
Wednesday 13 – These guys are my best friends. This line up has been a unit for quite some time now. My guitarist, Roman, and my Guitarist, Jack, we have been playing together since 2009. We were in my other project together, Gunfire 76. The Murderdolls put out a record in 2010, and those guys were part of that lineup. We’ve just learned how to be a band together and we’ve seen everything together. Developing has been the difference in between, before I had this lineup. This lineup, I kind of started around 2009-10. On all my records before that, I had different musicians every year on a different record. We didn’t have time to gel as a band, and that is something that we became with this line up.
We all sit around and listen to the same music, we like the same kind of music. Every record out there for this lineup, we just got better and tighter as a band, we connect as a band now. Wednesday 13 is very much a band. We wrote this last record as a band, that would show with a lot of people too. We spent two months writing it and a month recording it. That’s the longest I’ve ever spent just totally focused on a record. We put a lot of work into it and I think it will show when people listen to it.
CrypticRock.com – As you said, it is Wednesday 13, but it is a band as well. It is cool that the band wrote this new material together like that.
Wednesday 13 – It is, it’s my favorite thing that I’ve ever recorded and I’m so proud of it.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent, It will be exciting to see when it finally comes out. Your shows are always extremely lively. Being on the road as often as you are, how do you manage to keep things fresh for yourself and the fans?
Wednesday 13 – Every tour, for example, this past tour, we spent 3 months working on this new album, and we went straight from this album into this tour. It was a 42 day tour, so I knew doing a tour that I needed to do something fun to keep me excited and different. On this tour, I had a friend of mine back in Los Angeles that made some custom molds of my face, like a mask. Throughout the show, I have a different mask of my face. I look like 8 different versions of myself throughout the show, it was really a theatrical show. It has been fun for me, I get to go on stage and shape shift into all these different characters. It’s a lot of fun for me as opposed to going on stage and going through the motions of it.
CrypticRock.com – It keeps things fresh and that sounds like a lot of fun as well.
Wednesday 13 – It is, I just keeping adding more and more to it. What I want to do next year with our new album and tour is 20 times what I am doing right now. To keep it fun for me, I keep adding new stuff and I keep pushing it further for me. I think, What can I do this time to top what I did last time?” I am never satisfied, it keeps me constantly using my imagination and see how far I can take it. That’s how I keep it fun. The fans, usually they haven’t complained about it, they like it because then they can tell that the show is more theatrical and it’s not just watching somebody headbang the whole time.
CrypticRock.com – That is what what makes a Wednesday 13 show so much fun. Seeing that you do have an affection for Horror films, have you ever thought of getting involved in Horror cinema?
Wednesday 13 – I was talking a couple of years ago. The Dixie Dead (2013) album was meant to be a short movie I was working on, but I got sidetracked touring. I couldn’t do both, plus I never made a movie. To me, it’s something that has to be top-notch. I don’t want to do something half-assed where it’s not the real deal, so I sort of put the brakes on that.
Over the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot of these Horror conventions where I spend a weekend sitting next to Linda Blair, or Pinhead, or all these different people. I’m meeting a lot of people in the Horror industry – actors and directors. I don’t have anything set in stone to do anything now, but it’s going to happen eventually. I keep learning from all these people. The reason I started playing music about Horror music was because I wanted to make movies, but I thought this was much easier, so I just started writing songs about it. I don’t have any desire to act in a movie or anything, but I would like to do a movie one day, and I am sure that’s going to happen.
CrypticRock.com – Well, that will be very cool when you find the time to do that. Knowing you and knowing what you put into your music, I think you will do a pretty good job with a Horror movie..
Wednesday 13 – I have several ideas with different genres. I have been asked, if I did a Horror movie, what would it be like? There are two I would make, I would make one that was so disturbing and violent that you can’t believe you just saw it, and then I would want to do one that was completely dumb and over the top stupid where you go, “I can’t believe I just watched that.” I like both aspects, I like the real scary stuff and I like the really dumb, over the top stuff. It would be hard for me to decide.
CrypticRock.com – Right, there are different ends of Horror, on the end of absurd, like 1987’s Street Trash, right?
Wednesday 13 – Exactly, like Street Trash. If you know what Street Trash is, that is kind of what I am talking about. I would do something like that and I would do something like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986).
CrypticRock.com – Those are two very different Horror movies, but also very fun in different ways. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror/Sci-Fi films. What are some of your personal favorites?
Wednesday 13 – My favorite Horror movie of all time is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and I put 1 and 2 together, because I grew up watching them and memorizing those movies. They were never really scary to me, I don’t know why. Well, it was a little scary, after watching them I connected with that family, and it became funny to me. The Shining (1980), Phantasm (1979), Return of the Living Dead (1985) is my favorite Zombie movie of all time. I would say that’s in my top 5 of those, the best ones I grew up on. I constantly watched them over and over again, they will never get old to me.
CrypticRock.com – Those are some good choices right there, for sure. They are all classics. Return of the Living Dead actually just celebrated a 30th anniversary last year. They just came out with Phantasm: Ravager, but sadly, Angus Scrimm passed earlier this year.
Wednesday 13 – I got to meet Angus several times. A few months before he passed away, I did a convention with him. We both live in LA. I remember it was me and Ogre from Skinny Puppy, we were pushing Angus around in a wheelchair at the airport. I got to hang out with him and I got to get to know him a little bit over the years. I also got to know Gunnar Hansen pretty well at the conventions too, and he passed away. Two of my Horror movie favorites that I got to meet passed away.
CrypticRock.com – That is very nice that you had that opportunity to have such personal encounters.
Wednesday 13 – I sat down with Gunnar Hansen, he taught me about scotch at a bar and how he travels the world and all these different scotches. He wanted me to try some, I didn’t drink scotch, but it was really cool that I got to hear a lot about him that I didn’t know. It started back with Murderdolls with all the things I’ve done and people I’ve met, it’s crazy, I have met everybody from my Rock-n-Roll heroes to my movie heroes.