Interviewed by Alan Daly
Pics: © Olga Kuzmenko Photography
We sat down for a chat with Wednesday 13 before his headline show in Dublin. He told us about how his music with Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 became more popular after collaborating with Joey Jordison. He discussed future releases and re-releases from both Murderdolls and his own band. He talked making horror movies and his thoughts on Rob Zombie’s work. Check it out…
Alan: It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve been listening since 2002 when Murderdolls opened my eyes to your music.
Wednesday 13: Yeah I think it’s been 17 years this year, so it’s been a while. Plus we worked on it for a year and a half before that, so it seems even longer in my mind.
Alan: Sure. And this is your third time in Dublin as Wednesday 13, fourth if you include Murderdolls.
Wednesday 13: Yes. Murderdolls played here with Papa Roach on one tour. I don’t think we ever did a full Murderdolls show here.
Alan: It’s only been twelve months since you were here last. Do you remember how it went last year?
Wednesday 13: It was great. It really wasn’t a long tour. We had a long tour coming up in the states, but we really came over here just to do a few shows because we were playing Download, and I hadn’t been to Ireland since 2004, so I asked my agent “What about Ireland?”, and he made it work.
Alan: Well thank you for remembering us. A lot of bands seem to forget about us when they’re touring the UK.
Wednesday 13: It’s expensive because of the ferry over and stuff like that, but we made it work. But we haven’t changed our show or anything. You’ll get the full show. We’re actually closing tonight. On the tour so far we’ve been the main support for Combichrist so tonight it switches over and we get to play a little bit longer than we normally do tonight.
Alan: Yeah, I saw various reports that this was a co-headlining tour, but from the posters and promotional material it seemed like you were going to be supporting Combichrist.
Wednesday 13: We decided that we would open all of the mainland European shows and we’d close all of the UK and Ireland shows. I’m glad that we get to do a longer show tonight. That’ll be fun. This tour has been really good.
Alan: Going back to Murderdolls and how that started, it has been reported that it was Joey Jordison who approached you with the idea of forming Murderdolls, but yet a large percentage of “Beyond the Valley” is music that you had already recorded with Frankenstein Drag Queens.
Wednesday 13: Well the thing was, I released those Frankenstein Drag Queen albums through a label in Germany, and that was so far from North Carolina where I lived, I had no idea how many copies had been sold. I did one of those “hey we’ll sign a record contract just to have a record out”, and so I really had no idea if anyone had ever heard of Frankenstein Drag Queens outside of my town or where we had played. I didn’t really think about it. So when Joey had heard my band, he was like “I’m in a band similar to that. Nobody’s probably even heard your songs, right?”, and I was like “probably not”. So when the first Murderdolls record came out, I start to find out that there are Frankenstein Drag Queen fans, and then the label started re-releasing all the records at the same time so you couldn’t buy a Murderdolls record without seeing a stack of FDQ records with Murderdolls stickers on them. So everyone got to see where I came from, which for me was great. I honestly believe, had I not had that established band, I would have just been another “hey, this is Joey’s front guy friend”, and I think I would have fallen off the map and no-one would have paid attention to me as much if they hadn’t found out that I’d been doing this years prior. Strange how things work out.
Alan: Sadly, I saw that [former drummer] Ben Graves passed away earlier this year. I know he hadn’t been in the last incarnation of Murderdolls, but that was sad to hear.
Wednesday 13: Yeah, but we still ran into each other. Ben lived in L.A. and I live in L.A. and we would see each other at shows and things like that. We were still friends and every time we saw each other we would just pick up right where we left off. I had no idea that he was as sick as he was until it was literally the last phone call I made to him before he passed away. We’re doing a special tribute to him in L.A. next week on the 16th, it’s going to be a memorial thing to him that will be open to the public, so that should be pretty cool.
Alan: I apologise if this sounds insensitive after that last question, but do you think there might be another Murderdolls record with Joey in future?
Wednesday 13: Yeah. I spoke with Joey just this past Summer and we went to Iowa and I went to his house. It was the first time I’ve seen him in seven years and we sat down and spoke and talked about old times and laughed, and he mentioned the idea of us doing Murderdolls again and I was like yeah. We’ve just gotta figure out the time to do it when it works because I’m not going to give up doing this because I’ve been doing it for a long time. But that also doesn’t mean that Murderdolls can’t exist as well. There’s always going to be down-time in Wednesday 13 so that’s something that I think will eventually happen. I don’t know if it’s going to happen next year, but I do think it’ll happen sometime in the future, soon, ish.
Alan: You’ve said a few times that you hope to have the follow-up to Condolences done by the end of this year. That’s very close now. I know you’re finished touring until Halloween after your Bloodstock appearance.
Wednesday 13: Yeah, that’s when we’re going to really sit down. Basically, we go home next weekend, and we’re going to have a few weeks off just to clear our brains and then we’re all getting together and bringing in our ideas and we’re going to sit down for a couple of weeks and basically structure the record over that time. What we did last time was we just said we’re going to write a song a day. Some days would be a complete failure. Some days we’d come up with two songs. Plus we come in with a bunch of ideas. Some stuff is straight from scratch. We just get in a room and do it. We can demo it and record it. We’ll spend two or three weeks writing it and then I’ll go home for the month of October and I’ll write all the lyrics for it, and our guitarist will take it home and he’ll write all of his lead guitar stuff for it. Then we’ll get back in December with the demos and we’ll sit down and listen to it with our producer and discuss what we want to do and change it around and then we record. It’s a big building and cutting out the bad stuff. It’s fun. I love making records and I love that we already have it planned and scheduled. So yeah, we’re going to start recording in December, but it probably won’t be finished in December because of the holidays and new year. It’ll be done mid-January for sure.
Alan: When you get a song idea, do you ever think “this would be better as a Murderdolls song”? How do you decide?
Wednesday 13: Sometimes I think like that. But the first Murderdolls album was what it was. Even the second record, with the exception of just a few songs, was going to be the next Wednesday 13 record. The separation is that there is Joey Jordison involved, and it just has this dynamic that the fans like us together. But in reality, those two records were pretty much Frankenstein Drag Queens and a Wednesday 13 album that was produced. The songs that were used on the last Murderdolls record were songs that I was going to use for the next Wednesday 13 album or songs that I had left over from other stuff. I used to write all the time, and always record. I had like 75 songs. That’s kinda what Joey did. He went through my scraps of songs and that’s how we made Women and Children Last.
Alan: And how do you still come up with lyric ideas? You’re very good with plays on words and puns and these comedy horror references.
Wednesday 13: I don’t know. We’re always quoting movies and saying funny things and saying things to make each other laugh. And somebody will say “that’s a good song title”, and I’ll write it down, or “that’d make a good lyric”. I get to express myself with my lyrics, and I try to make them fun for myself and also funny when someone else hears it and think “did he just say that?”.
Alan: You mentioned movies. I don’t think you’ve ever been in any horror movies yourself. Has anyone ever come to you with an idea or an offer?
Wednesday 13: No, not yet. Everyone says “you should do a movie”. And I’m sure eventually that’s something I’ll get around to doing, just because I started making music because I liked horror movies and I would hear certain rock songs in horror movies and I wanted to be a full-time horror rock band. So it would be dumb if I didn’t actually make a movie and incorporate my music into it because that’s literally what I do with videos. I make little mini movies. But if I do a movie I’m going to take my time on it and I don’t like being off the road too long. I love touring. I tour nine months out of the year. This is our 51st show in like three months. It’s been non-stop. I love it though.
Alan: And what do you think of what Rob Zombie does? He’s the classic horror/music crossover.
Wednesday 13: Oh he’s got the dream job. He gets to make awesome stage shows and gets to make movies. He definitely figured out his thing a while ago and it’s cool. I’m a big fan of House of 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects. I love those characters. I love it that he brought back so many actors from all these old films like Bill Moseley and Sid Haig and Karen Black and all these people he brought back that I grew up watching in horror movies. He kinda gave a lot of those guys almost a second chance at movies again. He kinda helped them out. That was really cool. Plus I became good friends with a lot of people from that movie. Of course, if I ever did anything I would try to steer the opposite way of anything he does, just out of respect. Plus I do my own thing. My own would be a lot more “Toxic Avenger” I think.
Alan: Do you think there would be a black comedy element to your own horror movie?
Wednesday 13: Yes and no. It would be funny and then also deranged. I don’t think I could have the comedy without the violence coming into it too.
Alan: We’ll be going to Bloodstock in a few days’ time, and we look forward to seeing you on stage there too. Do you have anything special planned there, either onstage or offstage?
Wednesday 13: Yeah, we have a really cool stage thing planned out, but I can’t tell you what it is because it’ll ruin the whole thing. But yeah, we’re pulling off a little nod to one of my old favourite horror movies. There’s a cool prop thing we’re doing to start our show off with so hopefully nothing Spinal Tap happens. It’s going to be good. We’re going to have a lot of fire and smoke. I’m bringing the show this time. We get to play in the daylight which will be weird, but we’ll make it work.
Alan: What about after the show? Combichrist are playing on Saturday so will you stay around for a day or two?
Wednesday 13: We’re there for the day, and we’re going to hang out Saturday and it’s my birthday at midnight so I’ll be celebrating my birthday because I’m flying the next day and I can’t really celebrate on a ten-hour flight. So it’s going to be good, and we get to see Judas Priest on Friday and Gojira headline on Saturday which is another one of my favourite bands. Then I fly home and get to see Alice Cooper in my town. That’s my birthday present to myself.
Alan: Guns n’ Roses recently re-released Appetite for Destruction with special editions, one of which had a price tag of nearly $1000. So first of all, what’s your thoughts on a price tag like that for a re-released album?
Wednesday 13: You know, It’s for whoever can afford it. You can’t always make stuff for everybody. It’s just like we have meet & greets that we do that we charge for, that some fans can’t afford it, some fans can. It’s just kinda how it is. I’m a collector. I collect toys and stuff, and I see I can get the small version for $100 or I can get the deluxe version that looks like the thing from the movie for a couple of thousand dollars. It’s kinda the same thing. They make these deluxe editions. There’s no doubt that that record is legendary. It still holds up. It’s still great. I don’t know much about what’s in it for that price tag. It’s probably super cool. But I don’t ever fault any bands for making cool packaging. I love packaging. I think that’s the thing that’s gone away from music. I see people that buy records or CDs if they even buy CDs now, and they just throw the case away. And I’m thinking “What are you doing? This takes months and this is our vision and you don’t even care”. I’m all about the ultimate packaging, but maybe $1000 is a little too much.
Alan: Yeah, that’s $1000 that some fan may have spent on ten other bands instead. I don’t think Axl Rose needs the extra cash that much.
Wednesday 13: Maybe he does. Who knows? I did two weeks on tour with Guns n’ Roses, and they treated us better than probably any band I’ve ever toured with in my twenty-year career. Everybody says the bad stuff about them and touring and stuff… I’ve never been treated better. I didn’t know what to expect, but they were great to us. They let us play as long as we wanted, let us sound-check as long as we wanted, Axl was great to us, he had us back and we partied with him. It was not what I expected, so that was a lot of fun.
Alan: So the question I was coming around to was that the song ‘One in a Million’ was completely omitted on the re-release.
Wednesday 13: Because of the N word.
Alan: Yeah, there were some infamous racist and homophobic lines in that song. It wasn’t publicly announced that the song had been omitted, but people noticed. I was wondering whether you ever regretted writing any of your lyrics? Anything you’ve recorded, and you look back on and think “I wish I hadn’t written that”?
Wednesday 13: Well… There’s certain things… Like the song from Frankenstein Drag Queens and Murderdolls that we did – ‘197666’. I think it’s that what I said could be totally taken out of context, because I always wrote in that black kinda humour. There’s a line that said “In 197666 I ate an animal rights activist, because animals ain’t got no rights”. But now that’s not the PC thing to say. [editor’s note: the word “ate” was changed to “killed” in the Murderdolls recording] Just little lyrics like that. I think back and go “woah, I was kinda going for it there”. But no, there’s nothing too bad that I’ve done and looked back on. Other than just terrible recordings I don’t like. But as far as lyrics are concerned, I’ve kinda kept it fun and simple. I don’t really sing about too much serious stuff, and if I do, no-one knows what I’m talking about anyway.
Alan: If you could re-record any of your tracks or albums, what would you like to change?
Wednesday 13: I don’t know. I think re-recording kinda loses the magic. I love playing some of the old songs with the new band now, just because they give it a new life and totally different dynamic than what I had back in the day, so it’s always cool to hear when we play an old song like ‘197666’ and hear it with the full band, when it used to be a three-piece. So yeah, I love playing the old stuff and we try to include a lot of that during our headlining sets like tonight when we’re closing, we get to play a few extra songs so you’ll hear a couple of those tonight.
Alan: Back to the follow up to Condolences… You teamed up with producer Chris Harris, but previously you produced most albums by yourself…
Wednesday 13: Yeah, I’ve done pretty much all of the Wednesday 13 stuff myself and just an engineer I work with who was a friend, and we recorded in our living rooms and closets. But we recorded the last record with Chris, who goes by Zeuss, and I just wanted to get someone who could get us a big sounding record to get a record deal. I’ve been friends with Zeuss for years. He worked it out with us. We did the record, and then I went to Nuclear Blast and said “Will you sign us?” and it worked out.
Alan: So are you planning to team up with Zeuss for the next album?
Wednesday 13: Yeah. Zeuss is definitely going to be working with us on the next record. He’s kinda one of our little secret parts of our machine that works. He knows how to mix us and stuff.
Alan: In the news this weekend, there was a story about a pair of elderly gentlemen who escaped from a nursing home in Germany and were picked up from Wacken festival at 3am. [editor’s note: This story subsequently turned out to have been misreported].
Wednesday 13: I heard about that. That’s awesome. Did they get to see the show?
Alan: I guess they saw the first night before they were taken back. So that was something to tick off their bucket list. So that prompts me to ask you; what’s on your bucket list?
Wednesday 13: I don’t know. Figure out a way to not die? That’s what I want to do before I die! Figure out the secret. That’s a good one.
Alan: Good one. Before we wrap up, anything else in the pipeline for Wednesday 13?
Wednesday 13: We’re re-releasing all the old records next year. I’m working on that when I get home. It won’t be the first two albums because I don’t have the rights to those right now, but it will be out.
Alan: Cool. We’ll watch out for those. Well, I think we’re out of time. Thanks for talking to us.
Wednesday 13: Thank you!
Don’t miss Wednesday 13’s special Halloween shows at The Garage in London on October 26th and 27th!