Wednesday 13 is someone who has appeared across the musical landscape in many guises over the years, whether its as a Frankenstein Drag Queen from the Planet 13, A Murderdoll or most recently and perhaps most terrifiyingly as himself.The Duke of Spook is always up for a little reinvention.
We were able to catch up with him recently duing his UK run on the Static- X tour to ask him about his new album Necrophaze, John Carpenter, Working with Alice Cooper and His daughter on seperate projects, and a host of other spooky fun stuff.
How does it feel being back in UK on a tour of this magnitude?
Wednesday: It’s great. I mean the UK has always been like a kind of like our home place just because it accepted Murderdolls like the first time and that was a that was a cool thing and so it’s just always been like a home place for us. So the last couple of trips to the UK have been kind of like one offs like Bloodstock and Download.
I’ve been doing this annual Halloween show because every year is like a 10 year anniversary cos I put a record out every year almost. So yeah it’s the first like full tour. So it’s a lot of people coming out again. Lots of people haven’t seen in a while, then touring with all these other bands too they’re bringing out new people so the places are packed and it’s before the sun even goes down which is odd.
One of the things I wanted to ask about is that you are on this tour right as the new album Necrophaze has dropped. Was it always planned that you would be on this tour around the release of the album
Wednesday: Yeah yeah yeah. The whole plan was to go on tour, and we’ve been tour all year with them. So it worked out perfect with that.
How has it been playing a support slot with a new album as opposed to doing a headline run?
Wednesday: I love playing for our fans and we have our fans that come and see us but we’re out to get our music heard by other people as well. So doing these support tours we get a few hundred people to come in that have never heard of Wednesday 13 so we get to expose them to what we do. So it’s really important with a record, if you keep doing the same thing you get the same results and we’ve been doing support tours for the past two years and we’re getting more fans and more people. So when we do our full headlining tour which we will do, it’ll be much better.
And the new album Necrophaze has just been released.So how has the recpetion been to the new album?
Wednesday: Everyone loves it. I mean you always hope your fans are going to like your record when you put it outn but there’s always that little doubt you know because you can’t please everybody. We’re on our eighth record and I compare records with bands kind of the way you look at movies,when movies get to the eighth part sometimes you’re like ‘Oh man it’s probably going to suck you know’. So it’s really important for me to do to do something like that you know.
So what you’re saying is this isn’t your Jason Takes Manhatten…(laughs)
Wednesday: Yeah yeah. But way better I didn’t like that movie, I liked a couple scenes in it. But we just keep it going. Every record, everything we do has to be better than the last. You know I don’t do filler I don’t do stuff for the sake of doing stuff. We care about it. The monsters growing I look at it like Frankenstein going around collecting his own parts instead of a doctor doing it, I want to keep making this monster bigger, stronger and everything.
And one of the things that I said when I reviewed the album was that you started out doing what I would describe as Troma Punk and now over time it has developed into more of a John Carpenter based sound that is also thematically darker. Did you always want to get to that darker edge?
Wednesday: I think it was something I wanted to do, I just didn’t know exactly how to do it. and doing what you said, a good example being Troma, because I was just talking about Troma earlier today, you know Toxic Avenger, those kind of movies where they were punk rock and you could do that in your backyard and I can make something look as dumb and goofy as that you know.It was amazing but it felt like something you could do, like punk rock I could play with three chords and start a band.
So that was kind of the imagery I had with that. But now over the years and putting a solid lineup together It’s cool because we can make this like a real monster movie because now I’ve got real people. I couldn’t make movies when I was a kid so I just started writing songs about movies.Now with the band visually I can make it like a movie or become these characters or do whatever I want. I’m just like a giant toy with like accessories and different things and it’s fun and it’s fun for me and it’s when I see the audience getting entertained by it too it’s even better.
Going back to those John Carpenter comparisons, was he someone that immediately came to mind when you wrote the synth parts for the new album?
Wednesday: Absolutely. I mean he’s definitely my favorite as far as the stuff he did with Halloween and all those soundtracks The Fog, Escape from New York, Christine, all of those are movies I grew up on.When I hear those soundtracks those are to me just like hearing a hit song on the radio it still just resonates with me on those old things. So yeah when we started working on this records identity I wanted to have more of an 80s kind of vibe.
John Carpenter was definitely a huge influence on it. When Roy started doing all the synth and things for the record we did. He had the exact same style of keyboard that John Carpenter had scored all of his first five films with and he was showing me like all the different sounds. He’s like “remember the sound and that’s exactly the sound Michael Myers kills the girl…” Even on our Necrophaze song at the center of it you can hear the sound is the exact same sound as in The Fog.
I notice a lot of these little things because I’ve heard all these sounds singled out. So it was really important to get those super authentic sounds and he luckily had all this stuff and I had said to him I was trying to do this John Carpenter thing and he just knew. So it was like he was speaking the same language. So it worked out perfect.
So you’re going to be single handedly responsible for the rise of John Carpenter Soundtrack streams on Spotify after this
Wednesday: I hope so. I mean you know it’s just again I like to wear my heroes on my sleeve. I say Alice Cooper was the reason I do what I do and it’s just as much as these filmmakers you know with the imagery and all that stuff which is a big part of what I do. People always ask what’s my influence and I think most people always think since I’m in a band It’s all bands.I mentioned bands but over time now I’m just as influenced by these movies or this character from this movie or something you know.
So yeah I just love all of that,that’s why I incorporate that into everything I do, it’s my childhood and now I get to relive my childhood in band form in my 40s.
You mention Alice Cooper and he is featured on Necrophaze and then you worked with his Daughter Calico on the new 69 Eyes album, what was it like working them on different projects?
Wednesday: We’ve been friends for years. I lived in L.A. for for a while. I actually lived with his daughter in the basement of the house and stuff. So that’s how I got to know Alice and the family a little bit. And so Calico was in our video for Blood Sick. She’s kind of like my friend who I call up and she has more costumes and stuff than I do and I’m like “Hey do you have a cape that I can wear that’s not too heavy”
She’s such a cool person and she’s helped me out and I was in her Beasto Blanco video and stuff and then we did the 69 Eyes track, So it was kind of like we finally get to do something together we haven’t done before , we did videos and things but this was the first time we get to sing on a track together. So it was it was super cool. The whole Cooper family, they are The Addams Family but they’re the greatest,just amazing people.
I love how he’s used on the album as well. It’s like when you watch those old episodes of Tales From The Crypt and he is there to introduce you to the story. It was very well done.
Wednesday: Well basically my idea was to do it the way Vincent Price narrated his Welcome to my Nightmare which was such a cool thing. So I approached like what if he narrated our record in that same kind of sense. So it was full circle now Alice is narrating an album in that same. I view Alice as a horror character as well not just a musician because he’s done everything he was Freddy Krueger’s dad, people don’t remember, when Jason came back when the franchise had died, he was The man behind the mask and that’s why he’s the king. He did it all. We were lucky enough to get him to do the record and to me that was the coolest thing in the world. Like getting Batman on your record but cooler.
Cristina Scabbia is another notable guest who appears on the album. How did that collaboration come about.
Wednesday: Cristina was the only person that I didn’t actually kno really well, we did some shows in the past and said hello. But she knew she was friends with Michael our producer and friend swith our management and it just was an idea in the studio.
We’re always thinking ideas and I was like I don’t even know where you came up.Either he suggested it or someone was like it be cool to have a female vocalist on this song and I think either Mike said or I was like what about Cristina and I was like yeah she’d be great for this and we literally just put in a call annd that was it, she was like I’d love to do it so we sent her stuff and that was pretty much it.
Nice you guys compliment each other really well.
Wednesday: It’s great. I ‘ve never done that before. That was the whole point, I’ve been recording for 20 years but on these records out but I’ve never had a female vocalist and I love female vocals on things and she has just such an amazing voice and so she was down for it and it’s just cool.
Now I can hear that. I didn’t know that was possible. I’m always you know I’m always trying to learn and grow and do different things you know stay true to what we started as you know but you gotta grow you know.There’s nothing fun about repeating the past for me. I like to always keep a nod to the past but always keep moving forward.
As someone who has been the face of 3 bands over last 20 years I wanted to ask about songwriting and if you’re one of those artists that goes back and listens to previous records before you start writing new material so you can see what you have done and where you are going next
Wednesday: No I actually don’t for the most part. Like when I listen to the record we will record it and I’ll listen to it. Usually up till release and then we start playing the songs live. I kind of don’t really listen to anything just cause we play those songs live,I feel like I’ve heard them every day. But when it’s time to write I don’t ever think, for me I just start fresh. You know because as we’ve been playing live these songs are growing and things like that.
So it’s kind of like I don’t ever really lose sight of what it was because we’ve been playing all those songs so it’s just you know every time we get ready to write everybody’s just in different moods and I think that’s what brings out the different songwriting. So I look at my records I go back to them and I can go Oh man this is when I was doing this. It’s like they’re like memories for me. I can tell you everything that was going on.This is the year I got divorced. This is the year I went to jail. This is the year I got out of jail.
I’m kidding I wasn’t in jail for a year. I’m just trying to sound like an outlaw. But now all those are like memories that remain and it’s just the learning processes and things and I go Oh man I didn’t know about that then.You know it’s a learning process and we learn something new every time we record.
You streamed your show live on Facebook on the day of the album’s release and gave people a glimpse of the new production for this tour.
Wednesday: Yes.The human production.
With the production, the costumes and everything tied to the stage show, is that something you consider when writing songs, you start thinking of ways to portray those songs live, or is it something that is considered after the fact?
Wednesday: Some of its ideas and some of it literally is stuff I made up the night before the audience sees it.
I’m literally walking around seeing what looks cool. I could put that on my head, I could wear that,I could tie this light around my neck, I could do this or that. It’s just literally if it’s not nailed down I’ll grab it and use it for something. So some of it is thought about and some of it’s made up but it’s cool. I didn’t used to do that. But now I can kind of write with that in mind like for example we have this song called The Hearse on the record. So now the challenge is how can I act that out and I can’t drive a hearse because I don’t have a license.(laughs)
Could I get a hearse on stage so maybe I can turn like one of my boxes I stand on into like a half car and I can kind of drive. So I’m always thinking about little things like that. So maybe I’ll have a little mini hearse on stage next time we talk or maybe not.
But, it has to be little, everything’s gotta be small you know. Like anything that’s normally big has to be small, like Pee wee Herman with the giant tooth brush can’t go wrong with it. It’s way better than a small one.
There’s also the song Zodiac about the Zodiac killer, so there is the opportunity there to dress up like the Zodiac.
Wednesday: That’s fun. I’ve always wanted to sing with a bag on my head and dreams come true.
If someone had never heard of Wednesday 13 or any of your previous bands and you had to give them 3 songs to sume up your career which 3 songs would you pick?
Wednesday: I love to say Fuck, Motherfucker I don’t care and Fuck you. No, I ‘m just kidding. Those are just the easy ones. I love to say fuck is my baby. I wrote that in the bathroom of a Kmart, It’s close to my heart. Rambo.He’s very close to my heart before I discovered Alice Cooper I wanted to be Rambo. I wanted the Russians to attack, I wanted World War 3 and then I discovered rock and roll and stopped.So Rambo, I love to say fuck, and I don’t know what the third one will be. Let’s just go with two, threes weird
If Wednesday 13 went away tomorrow, If music wasn’t an option for you anymore,How would you like to be remembered. What would you like your legacy to be?
Wednesday: The man with two faces.That’s pretty good I perform with two faces not two heads yet. That’s next time. That’s my legacy being a two face son of a bitch that was a good guy.
Thank you for your time, it’s been a pleasure.
Wednesday 13’s new album Necrophaze is available now via Nuclear Blast.