Wednesday 13 – The Horror Rages OnFriday, 8th March 2019
It’s been two years since the horror/punk act Wednesday 13 released their last album, Condolences. They’ve been all over with touring since that time (including some acoustic performances), and now with the band now officially out on the road in support of Cradle of Filth, and a new album that has been recorded and set to be released later this year, it seemed a good time to talk with frontman Wednesday 13 about the many directions and pathways that are currently opening up for the band. Before they hit the road for the current tour, we had a chat about all of these topics, as well as long-time fans, what defines the band, and even more.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the upcoming tour with Cradle of Filth? What are you looking forward to?
Wednesday 13: This is a really cool tour for us, going out with a band like Cradle of Filth. When I mention to people we are going out on tour, I say that we are going out with the legendary Cradle of Filth. They’ve been around for a long time and made a name for themselves. Dani [Filth] has done so much, and it’s cool to be included on their tour. They took us as main support – I don’t know the guys at all but I’m looking forward to becoming friends and everything. It’s going to be cool.
Cradle of Filth isn’t what I would consider our typical audience. So for me, to go out and try to win them over every night is a challenge for me. It’s easy to go out and do my own shows and headline, and play for my fans. This is fun for me, and something I don’t often get to do. It’s going to be a fun challenge, and I think it’s going to go over well. We sit in the middle and I think Cradle of Filth has been one of those bands that weave the blanket of musical taste. They are a black metal band, but yet there are people who like them who like rock and gothic music. It’s not all about black metal. I believe we will be in good company.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you have some sort of a timeline on the upcoming album, Necrophaze, as I know there was some recording recently?
Wednesday 13: All the music is done, in terms of the bass, drums, vocals…all the normal stuff that bands do, but I am making this album like a horror movie soundtrack. So I’m actually scoring music to our music. I’m in the process of wrapping that up, and I’m working with Roy Mayorga of Stone Sour. He plays drums in Stone Sour, but he is a really talented keyboardist and master with synthesizers and all this stuff. He’s really brought this new element into our new record. We are putting the final touches on that, and it’ll be out later this year. It won’t be out in time for the tour unfortunately, but we will be playing a couple of songs. So there will be some teasing of it a little bit.
I can say that it is absolutely my favorite thing that I have done and worked on as Wednesday 13. I’ve put a lot of work into it, and I can’t wait to tell everyone about it, but I can’t release that information yet. It’s still caged up, but all of the secret ingredients of what we are doing are waiting to be unveiled. For me, this record has not only turned out sounding really cool, but we have a list of guests on it that I still can’t believe I got to be a part of this. I’ll be talking about this in the months to come. I think the fans are going to be really happy with the sound, production, and vibe of this record because I couldn’t get more horror than this. This is the ultimate horror rock album for me.
Dead Rhetoric: If that will be the ultimate representation of the band so far, what do you feel embodies a Wednesday 13 record?
Wednesday 13: When I first started making music, and my first band that I really got know for – Maniac Spider Trash, that become Frankenstein Drag Queens, then I started doing Murderdolls, and then Wednesday 13. That all started in 1993, and when I first started writing and playing music, I went with a simple term. When you first start writing music, what do you do? You sing about what you know about. What did I know about? Horror movies and cartoons, television, and toys. So that is what I sang about. That has sort of been my whole life. I have brought in that world that captivated me as a little kid – watching these movies and things like that. I tried to bring that into song.
That’s what I loved about Alice Cooper. When I first heard him, and heard those horror-type songs – he didn’t do it all the time, but a song like “Dead Babies” or “I Love the Dead,” but the whole album wasn’t like that. In my mind, when I started creating Wednesday 13, the big picture was to be the ultimate horror guy. To do horror 24/7 instead of occasionally checking in. Alice has always been my hero and rock and roll mentor. I always wanted to do my own thing, and Alice doesn’t do horror 24/7 but I want to do it 24/7 times 2, which is a lot of math!
Dead Rhetoric: There’s the horror side, but there also some more influences of tongue-in-cheek humor in the band. What’s the importance of that piece?
Wednesday 13: The importance for me is the same importance that it was in the movies I grew up with. I’m a fan of horror movies, but there are different genres. There are the classic black & whites, which weren’t really funny. They were just like watching pieces of art now. They are amazing. Then you get into the ‘70s and with a movie like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre it’s like watching a snuff film almost. In the ‘80s it became more funny b-movies, killing teenagers, teenagers having sex in a camp – that became tongue and cheek, and that’s what I grew up on. To keep that element, I’ve kept that with my songs. If there is a song where someone thinks it’s a serious song for Wednesday 13, then the next track is called “Your Mother Sucks Cocks in Hell,” people think it’s funny.
I’ve been on the seesaw of being evil and being extra-evil. Some people ask me who my favorite characters of all-time are and I say Beetlejuice. He was always funny, but when he got scary and turned into the demon at the end of the movie, he was terrifying. I like that balance of Beetlejuice, and I keep that within my live show. In my records, the characters change sometimes. With this [upcoming] record, it’s more horror but it’s more serious as opposed to being tongue-in-cheek, but it’s definitely full-on horror. I can’t wait to talk more about it.
Dead Rhetoric: Did doing acoustic recordings and touring give you any new insights?
Wednesday 13: Definitely. Playing acoustic was the most raw and punk rock thing I’ve ever done, but it was also the most terrifying and best learning experience. Being a frontman and being in front of an audience, being exposed. It was great. I sang different, and it was a different take on what I do. It was also like being a stand-up comedian as well because I told jokes between the songs. Not jokes, but I told stories about how the songs were developed, which usually turn out to be jokes or some Spinal Tap kind of stories. That was awesome for me. It literally lifted this veil of being shy. When I tell people that I’m a shy person, or that I used to be shy, they say, “Look at you, but you’re on stage!” But I’m actually kind of a shy person. That just took the veil off of it a little bit.
Dead Rhetoric: That’s true, there are a lot of shy people in bands even as the front person. There’s always that idea of having an on-stage persona that you can inject in.
Wednesday 13: Yeah, and I totally indulge in that now. When I go on stage, there’s a switch that turns on in me. There’s a character that I have turned on. It’s like putting Wednesday 13 in the super easy bake oven, putting it on high power, and Frankenstein-ing me out when I go on stage now. I look forward to it. I’ve made the show fun again. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. I’ll be 43 this year, and I’m loving music and playing live more than I ever have. I feel like I’m writing the best music and having the most fun, later on when I should be burnt out and bored of it. It’s a good problem to have and one I’d like to keep.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that you’ve gotten more focused as you’ve gotten older?
Wednesday 13: Absolutely. I’m more focused on what I do, and understand what I do better. Wednesday 13 is a better sounding band than when it first started just because it was all me except the drums. Now I have a full band of good musicians that can play all of these things that I attempted to play on the first record. I didn’t do too bad, but my band now is miles above me. I’ve got real players and they can play these songs better than I can. Even though I come up with ideas, and they interact on other stuff, I can let them handle the music when I used to have to do it all myself.
Just having a band behind me with awesome musicians has made me love music more. And getting sober last year. Not drinking and feeling like a bag of garbage every day. Getting out of that dark corner has definitely opened me up. This new record, new tour, and everything – it’s healthy for me. I can’t wait to get back on tour. I feel like I have been off tour for way too long. I’m like that tiger in a cage and I’m being poked. Just open that door and unleash me.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you find that there is a core of people that have followed you throughout the years in your various projects up to now?
Wednesday 13: Oh yeah. And I know a lot of them. I recognize them and I always see them at the shows. I see them in different parts of the world, like Scotland, Australia, parts of the US – they are the people that I call the lifers. They are there for life. They are into whatever I’m into. Not because they are forced into it. They just like what I do. Just like anyone follows a band, or a movie, or an actor. If you like Harrison Ford, you watch all of the movies that he has done. You might like Star Wars better, but you know what, Air Force One was pretty cool.
I have fans that look at my records like those movies. Generally, they like me and what I do, but they might like Wednesday 13 better, or Bourbon Crow better, but I have also fans that have an adaptable palette that like it all. I have some that only like certain things, and that’s cool too. But to have that diversity and certain fans that like it all is great. The cool thing is that I recognize them, and they know I recognize them. That has made them even more of a lifer.
Dead Rhetoric: You did a fundraiser for your nephew, were you surprised at fans’ willingness to help?
Wednesday 13: Absolutely. I had no idea. I don’t like asking people for money. But this was a situation that came out of absolutely nowhere. I was driving home for the holidays, which I don’t usually get to do but I did this past holiday season. My nephew was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. He was sick for a few weeks, went to the doctor and they thought maybe it was a blockage or something. They opened him up and found cancer – he is going to be on chemo for the rest of his life. He has less than a 30% chance of living. He’s 32, married with two kids – boom, right in front of him. I saw that firsthand, and thought of something I could do to help.
I thought my fans were cool – the lifers that come out to all the shows and buy up the meet & greets – they were the first to contribute. Then others started contributing, and more fans just saying they understand and wanted to help out. Before we knew it, we had pretty much over half the money for the treatment. It was amazing. He is leaving for Mexico to get an alternate treatment, because we chose a different treatment instead of doing the standard chemo treatment done in the States. Hopefully this is going to cure him. Thanks to my fans, he’s going to get this treatment.
Dead Rhetoric: That’s really cool – I wish you both the best in getting a successful treatment.
Wednesday 13: Yeah man, I look at what I do and how I look and think about, and I’ve got fans all over the world chipping in to help my nephew. Music is powerful and that is proof positive to see that.
Dead Rhetoric: What experiences within your time in music do you cherish the most?
Wednesday 13: Oh man, I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of things. Considering where I came from in starting out in a little town in North Carolina to my punk rock playing bars, and then opening for Guns & Roses in Japan on my very first tour when I was 25 years old in 2002. Being able to tour with Alice Cooper multiple times and getting to know him and become friends – he was my absolute favorite rock and roll hero. It’s been a crazy ride, it’s nuts! Just the people I have came across. The music business is a small world, and I’ve even gotten into the movie community and that’s even smaller. It’s crazy.
I can’t put a number one list, and I’m not bragging but I just looked around and I collect. I’m a pop culture guy. I’m surrounded by my favorite movies and toys – everywhere I look there is someone that I know now or I can call a friend. I know the guy from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or I know Kane Hodder who played Jason. It’s insane to me! These are all just a little kid’s imagination to do this, and here I am at almost 43 and I’m still a little kid who says, “I get to do it!” I’m not growing up, I’m growing down I think.
Dead Rhetoric: I think I saw something about you writing a book, is that still on the table?
Wednesday 13: Yeah, definitely. I haven’t jumped into it yet, but it’s definitely on the table. When I started talking about doing that, we had to record a new record and that became the top of the priority list and the book got nudged back a little bit. But it’s still going to happen. The only bad thing about that is people have to wait a bit more. The good part is we have a few more stories to add to it. Who knows, the best story might be one to come in the next six months.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve got the tour and more information about the album to come. Is that more or less all of the near future for you?
Wednesday 13: Yeah, we are just really setting this new record up. We are not trying to rush the record out. It’s really a special record for me and the fans. I’ve went beyond what I have done before in the recording. We are scoring music to our music – it doesn’t even make sense but we are doing it. But it’s going to be a horror soundtrack and everything else is going to coincide with it – videos and all that. But it’ll be like going into a time machine to the 1980s and you are going to listen to the Wednesday 13 horror movie that I have wrote.