It doesn’t matter how you classify Wednesday 13 and his music. You can call it horror punk, horror rock, metal, whatever, you can even say it’s a fusion of them all and then some. He’s one of the hardest working guys in the business, he’s out there playing show after show, building a devoted following who are hungry for his brand of the macabre. Along with the constant touring, he has somehow found time to begin piecing together a new live DVD as well as recording a new album, “Condolences”, which he promises will be his biggest, heaviest, and most ambitious album to date. In the midst of all this madness, Wednesday 13 found some time to sneak away from it all to sit down and talk to me about it all.
Corey Danna: You were just here three or four months ago.
Wednesday 13: Yes, yes.
CD: How is this tour going to differ from the previous?
W13: Not a whole lot, to be honest. This has been an East Coast tour, trying to hit the places we haven’t hit. Our home base is in Oregon so for us to get across the country, we didn’t want to just drive for four or five days, we just decided to play shows along the way. The tour technically starts Thursday in Canada, so these first dates are just sort of filling up the gap and playing places we like to play. We had a good show here last time (Diesel Concert Lounge in New Baltimore, Mi) so we came back. The show is different, I will say that.
CD: How’s it been playing with One-Eyed Doll?
W13: They’re REALLY good and have been super cool to us. Our fans seem to love them and they bring a lot of people out. They’re so great to their fans and Kimberly (Freeman) is amazing. The way she commands the crowd is so cool. I haven’t seen too many bands who can handle our audience but she can just put them all in her hands.
CD: This is going to be the last set of shows in support of “Monsters of the Universe”.
W13: It is, the last tour of the year.
CD: At the end of October, you have some really big shows planned, a set of shows in Europe to celebrate the ten year anniversary of “Fang Bang” then on Halloween you have a co-headlining show at the Whiskey A-Go-Go with Michale Graves.
W13: They’re going to be really cool.
CD: What do you have planned for those?
W13: Still planning. This is turning into a traditional thing, we play Halloween weekend in London, this year Halloween is on a Monday so we will be playing on Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th in London. Saturday night is already sold out and that’s the 10th anniversary of “Fang Bang”, we’re going to do that in its entirety, and I have no idea what shenanigans will happen with that. The first night we will basically be doing the same show we are doing now so it will be two different shows. On Halloween night at the Whiskey, I don’t know what we’re going to do. I can tell you right now we’re going to do this show but I’m going to change it up and it will be a cool show, it’s my hometown. It will be really cool for fans who have wanted to see me and Michale tour for years, what better way than to do it on Halloween night.
CD: I’ve always liked Michale and The Misfits haven’t done anything worthwhile since he left.
CD: Except now.
W13: Now it’s just beyond cool.
CD: That’s something no one ever saw coming. You’ve been putting together a new live DVD, when can we expect to see that?
W13: That’s still in the works right now. I’m not sure it will make it out by the end of the year like I had hoped but I’m still getting edits and stuff on it. I was really hoping I could get it out before the end of the year but I don’t think it will. It will come out though!
CD: A couple of days ago I read an article on the website Tom Holland’s Terror Time. It basically ranked the top five best songs about Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th films. “Till Death Do Us Party” was number two.
W13: Good! What was number one?
CD: Alice Cooper.
W13: “Man Behind the Mask”! That’s good, cool! At least I’m in line.
CD: If anyone’s music should be represented in video form it’s yours and you’ve only done a few. Why is that?
W13: That’s gonna change next year with the new album and everything. Honestly, the reason I haven’t done too many is because of the budget. I’ve been doing things independently and to do videos it costs quite a bit of money. If I have the choice of putting $6000 into a video or $6000 into a tour, I choose the tour and that’s really the reality of it. Next year, that’s all going to change, I’ll be doing so many videos, I have to take everything up to the next level, including the live shows. Everything I want to do with the new record has to be represented with video. The next video I make will make up for the lack of videos, I promise you that. I don’t like performance videos, I don’t like watching the band play, and I don’t really like making music videos either. I do however like videos that are fucking weird and I want to go weird and violent. If I’m going to do a music video, I want to make sure it’s going to be worthwhile, so to speak. The videos I’ve done I think are O.K., that goes for Murderdolls and everything. All of the concepts for the videos, like the “White Wedding” video with the Murderdolls, that was my concept. They took it and fucked it all up so I don’t really like that video too much. I had a vision in my head and they talked us out of doing it.
CD: “I Walked with a Zombie” turned out pretty fun.
W13: Yeah, that one is pretty cool. That’s actually one of the only videos I really like. It was kind of weird because we shot everything on green screen so it was kind of hard to get a vibe when your just playing and it’s just green. You have to pretend things are happening then hit someone with a chair, but yeah, they can be fun. They can also just be weird and pointless.
CD: That’s very true. So we do have to wait until next year before “Condolences” comes out. Can you talk a bit about the direction you’re heading on this album?
W13: I think it’s a natural progression from what we did on the last record. Before we started writing for it, I didn’t know, I mean I really like our “Monsters” record. That’s my favorite thing we’ve done so far until this new album we’ve just done. We did a heavier thing on our last record and this one just goes forward from there. The subject matter on this one I think fans will relate to more. The last one was a bit of a departure and I wrote about some different stuff that may have went over some people’s heads or they just didn’t get it. I think this one is more of what people want from me. I didn’t do any horror movie songs, I didn’t do anything campy or a play on words like “I Want to be Cremated” or anything like that. It’s so much darker and really violent, maybe some of the most violent lyrics I’ve ever written. It’s not a concept record, so to speak, but it definiately has a theme and the theme is death. It’s going to be from every angle too, from the point of view of being the killer, the point of view of being killed, every aspect of it. I read a lot of serial killer books and read about these horrible, horrible things and I thought “Wow, I want to sing about those things, they’re very disturbing!” So I wrote a couple of songs from that point of view, Richard Ramirez was one of them, AC/DC wrote a song called “Night Prowler”, about him peeping through your windows, and I wrote it from the point of view of someone with that mentality. It’s a really, really scary, violent song. The record turned out beyond what I could have expected, the biggest sounding Wednesday 13 record but it brings together pretty much everything I’ve ever done and brings in some things people haven’t heard us try before. It’s nothing like the early albums at all, it’s a step forward.
CD: You ended up getting former Journey drummer Dean Castronovo to guest on a track.
W13: Yeah, his son is our drummer and Dean’s been a fan for years. Kyle Castronovo joined the band last January and this will be the first album we’ve done with him and he’s really taken our band to another level. He’s as good as his dad and I think he’s one of the greatest rock drummers ever. Dean has been a really big fan of the band and I remember Dean calling me when “The Dixie Dead” came out and he pulled over to the side of the road and left me a voice mail. He was so excited after listening to the song “Hail Ming”. He was like, “Dude, this fucking rules!!” . He’s just been a supporter for years and now that his kid is in the band, it’s just awesome for all of us. Kyle’s like our missing link, you know?
CD: How do you think Chris “Zeuss” Harris influenced the sound of the album?
W13: A LOT!! It was cool, man, because for me, it’s the first time I’ve let anyone produce a Wednesday 13 album other than myself. I had people mix records and things like that but never anybody produce a record. That’s partly been because of budget and money-wise because why would I pay this guy who will tell me what to do and I had that mentality for a few years. Having this new album and a new future for everything I’m doing so I decided to change things up and how I do them. It’s worked in the past for me but I want to try something new so I decided to bring in an outsider. I knew we had a strong record, strong songs, so I decided to have someone come in and tell us what’s not good about it. We came in and played the songs for him and he liked what we had. There was some stuff where he was like, “What is this?” and I was like, “What?”. He just came out and would say, “Change it!” and I was like, “What?”. So there were a couple of songs where we had to rewrite the entire chorus or he would have us change a verse completely. It was cool and it didn’t bother me at all and at the end of the day the songs sound better and actually it was a really easy transition. It took awhile, we spent an entire month recording it and two months writing it so it was a three month process and I’ve never put that much time into a record ever. When people finally get to hear the record they’ll be able to tell we really put that time into it. It’s really cool and different man, it’s super heavy but it still sounds like Wednesday 13.
CD: On the “Monsters” album, you allowed someone else to write a complete song other than yourself. Is this something we can expect more of on “Condolences”?
W13: Oh yeah! Roman (Surman – lead guitar), on the last record, I wrote most of the songs, he wrote “Planet Eater”, but with something like “Serpent Society”, I wrote the first half and he wrote the second half. With “Keep Watching the Skies” I wrote half of it and he wrote the middle so it was cool because it was the first time we had worked like that. With the new album, I came in with five or six song ideas and gave them to him. He arranged the riffs and added a bunch of his stuff. For three weeks, Roman, Kyle, and I sat in a room at wrote songs. We tried to work on a song a day so on this new stuff you’ll be able to hear Roman, his guitar playing is just insane. He doesn’t play normal stuff, it’s like a fucking space ship crashing, it’s so cool!
CD: As far as your career goes, music or otherwise, is there anything you’re still trying to achieve that you haven’t yet?
W13: Yes, I’m trying to get out of playing places like this (laughs). It’s not that these places are bad, I’ve just been doing it for so long and the production I have planned for the new album, at tonight’s show you’ll get a small glimpse of what I’m going for visually. Next year I want to take it to another level where our show won’t fit in a place like this. I want to take it over the top! I have an idea that no one has done or done in a long time or like how I want to do it. It’s in the spirit of Alice Cooper but I have my own little theater show I want to do. I’m incorporating masks into the show now so with every single song I could change character. It’s almost become a fucking magic show (laughs), but it’s made it cool for me again to go on stage every night, I’m like a fucking jedi. I bring out all these toys and shit but it’s brought out a new side of me. I didn’t know I had it in me to do some of the stuff I’ve been doing on stage and I’m having a lot of fun with it. People have been saying great things about the show so next year I hope to take it from that and multiply it by a hundred.
CD: I know you’re a fan of classic horror films but have you seen anything recently you’ve been digging on?
W13: You know, I’ve been so busy I don’t really have time to watch anything. With all the touring over the last few years I just haven’t had time. I’ve seen all the remakes and everything but I just don’t seek them out like I used to as a kid. In the 80’s, I couldn’t wait for Friday so I could go to the video store with my friend and we would get ten of the most horrible horror movies. I’m sure there’s some good stuff out there, I’m just not aware of it. The only thing I’ve seen, which I’m sure everyone has seen now, is STRANGER THINGS which is amazing!
W13: I bought the soundtrack for it too and that’s all I’ve been playing for the last two months.
CD: It’s badass!
W13: It’s really awesome! Whenever you come on our bus that’s all you hear playing is this creepy, cool music.
CD: I love how this retro synth stuff has been coming back, there’s some really great bands out there right now doing it.
W13: We did a bit on “The Dixie Dead”, we had a synth intro/outro on it and we have a synth intro on the new record too. It sounds like something straight out of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, it’s very John Carpenter sounding so it’s really, really cool. I love it, I could listen to that shit all day long. I don’t have a synth right now but I did a couple of years ago and I would just sit in my apartment, smoke weed, and play a synth. It was the coolest thing ever, man. I really love those old sounds.
CD: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans who have supported and stuck by you over the years?
W13: I always say thank you, I can’t do this without you. Thank you for all of the years and next year I promise to give you the best record and the best stage show you’ve ever seen from me in any band I’ve ever been in.
You can currently catch Wednesday 13 on tour with One-Eyed Doll and Open Your Eyes as they make their way across the country. For info, dates, and tickets you can click here.