The creatures of the night come out in October, a fitting time for shock rock mainstay Wednesday 13 to drop his latest collection of dread filled heavy horror punk, Horrifier (October 7 through Napalm Records).
Smack dab in the midst of the second-leg of his career spanning 20 Years of Fear Tour, the macabre frontman himself sat down with Metal Injection for a horror filled convo on all things Halloween and ghastly.
We touch on everything from his latest collection tackling John Carpenter's haunted creations and personal tragedy, to reflections on the 20th anniversary of the Murderdolls breakout record Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls and the loss of his friend and collaborator Joey Jordison, to a tongue-in-cheek toast to the original king of rock-horror fusion Alice Cooper, and much more!
On 20 Years of Fear Tour
"It's been fun. I mean, we have so much fun with it. We're on the second leg of it. so we did it earlier this year. Before the pandemic we were doing support gigs and we were playing all the newer stuff. And once we had that time off for COVID I got to hear and listen to what all the fans wanted to hear. So when it came time to do a tour again I'm like why don't we do, instead of coming out of COVID and doing some big production show, just give the fans exactly what they want to hear?
"So I asked the fans, 'What do you want to hear?' And made a list of songs. And that was fun, and I could see the enthusiasm from the audience because we were playing songs we haven't played in a long time. Maybe songs I'd kind of got sick of because they were old to me, but I realize now, for me, my first single was "I Walked With A Zombie" in 2005. It's not my favorite song, but when we play it live and I see someone in the front row smile, it just makes it worthwhile.
"It's very difficult to make a setlist. I mean, if we could add five or six more songs that might make it perfect, but then we're playing way too long every night. But yeah, we touch on everything. There's Murderdolls in the set, there's Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, there's the Wednesday 13 albums up to this point, and then we play the three singles that were released for this as well. So it's a good mix. I think I like this setlist better than I did the one earlier this year. Not that that one was bad, just this one flows a lot better to me.
"But yeah, it's very difficult to make a setlist because I don't want to leave this song off or this song off. I don't want to be that guy in the crowd like 'oh man that was a great show, but they didn't play 'Rambo' or something. So I always try to make everybody happy as much as I can. But of course we have so much material we can't play or we'd be playing all day long."
On Touring Lessons & Road Must-Haves
"Yeah, I mean, we did van and trailer tours for years and years and years and sleeping on top of each other until we realized we were too old to do that anymore. So I guess the easiest thing now is we tour in a bus and try to make things easy on us. And just again, I try to make this as fun as possible while we're on tour. I always make sure I don't leave the house without bringing my favorite stack of movies with me or copies of my favorite movies, or make sure I bring my pillow and my blanket from home, little things like that.
"But yeah, I mean I've just got used to doing this. Some people don't know how you can go out for two months and just live from here to there, but it's really all I've learned and all I've known for the last 20 years. COVID was the only two years I took a break in 18 years. So getting back out here and getting back into it kind of just fell in place."
On His Halloween Playlist & Love of Horror Movies
"For me, the newer stuff I really haven't got a chance to get into that much, just because of the newer genre of horror that I've seen lately, nothing's really impressed me. So I really kind of just always go back to my classics. And so to me not watching a movie in a couple of years that I grew up watching is new to me again almost.
"So I said the same thing, like October 1st I started watching movies again. So I think that a couple of days ago we watched on the bus, I put on Swamp Thing, the original Swamp Thing. I haven't seen that in a while. We watched Re-Animator the other night. I haven't seen that in a while. So I've got a whole list of movies I'm trying to do all the way up to Halloween.
"That's something I do at home. If I'm home, I try to watch a movie or two just because the spirit is in the air. It's always a fun time. And that's why we're releasing our record the same way. It comes out this week, makes it just in time for Halloween, makes everybody's playlist for the Halloween parties. And this is my time of year.
"That's just what I've always [embraced horror]. Like when I first started writing music I was coming up with guitar riffs or something. I remember asking someone like I know how to play now, what do you write about? Like, well, what do you know about? Horror movies. And so that's kind of been what I do and I've been able to do that for such a long time.
"But also it's not just about writing about horror movies. For me, it's just something that I grew up on. I know it, it's in my blood. And the challenging thing is to do it this long and keep it fresh, keep it new, and not repeat myself too much. It's okay to repeat a couple of things here and there, but I just try to just make the evolution grow and be bigger and better than it was before."
On New Album Horrifer
"I think that's why I was so hard on myself. We recorded and mixed and produced this album pretty much on our own. I didn't want this to be like the ninth sequel in a movie series. Like when you hear Friday the 13th part nine or Halloween part nine, you're like 'oh God, is it going to be good? Is it going to be bad?' And I look at my records the same way.
"I don't want to make a bad sequel. I want it to be as good as the one everyone loves. So that's always the challenge. But I think we did it with this one. I think we nailed it. And that's all I can ever hope for is go in and try to do something as good as the last one or just make people like it."
On The Relationship Between Metal and Horror
"Yeah, I don't know why it works. I'm glad it works. Being a kid from the 80s, you know, when I first started hearing about heavy metal in music, it was because of the PMRC. I'm from North Carolina, so I'm in the Bible Belt during this time. And all these church shows would be like 'heavy metal is influencing our kids to the devil' and blah, blah, blah. So it being 1983, 1984 when this was happening and being eight years old, it was kind of terrifying. It terrified me into loving it.
"And I don't know why it works like that. But yeah, it just does. And then once I discovered metal in horror movies, that was it for me. I remember seeing Trick or Treat which had Fastway on the soundtrack for that. There's a bunch of old movies, Rocktober Blood, where they mixed heavy metal and horror. And then of course the big one, A Nightmare on Elm Street when 'Dream Warriors' comes out with a video.
"I think at that point I went alright, this would be cool if there was a band that just did horror music 24/7 and then that's what I did. That's what I started doing long ago. So yeah, thankfully it works together. I don't think it'll ever die. That's always going to be part of it. I don't know, I think because metal deals with death and topics you wouldn't want to sing about and horror movies do the same things.
"Alice Cooper is the inventor of [shock rock]. He did it all and he's the king. He's the master. He's my rock and roll hero. And I blame him for me turning out this way. It's his fault."
On Murderdolls Anniversary & Joey Jordison
"I still love it. That was my first time going on a real tour, traveling the world, having magazines, having videos. You know, it was everything I ever dreamed about when I was 26 years old. But the music on that first album, some people know, some people don't know, but like 95% of that music was from my previous band, Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13. And Joey loved the band and he heard that rawness in those recordings I had, but he wanted to use those songs and he wanted to produce them.
"A lot of people know Joey as a drummer, but he's an amazing producer. He's just got a musical wit that's just there. And he was able to take those songs from those versions I had and produce them and put his drumming style to it. So yeah, it was cool to hear those songs go from… It was like the Christine movie watching this little beat up car get polished up into this killing machine. And it was great. And I learned so much from Joey.
"I learned how to be a better musician in the studio. He made me want to be better. We had a great chemistry. It was a blast. It's hard to believe that was 20 years ago and it's hard to believe that he's not here with us anymore. I wish we could have celebrated that together and all that, but as long as the music is there his memory will live on. And as long as I'm alive, I'll keep his memory alive as well.
"Just being in the presence of Joey when we did those records, the first one and the second album, it's just crazy to be in a room with someone and you see someone like Dave Grohl walk up to Joey and just start praising him for his drumming or Charlie Benante from Anthrax going, 'Dude, how do you do this?' Every time you were around him, you felt cool, you know? That was the best thing. You felt cool. You felt popular. And it was like, Yeah, this is my buddy. This is my friend."
On His Reflections on the Past 20 Years
"Like you said, there's so much stuff. I don't even really know where to start. But the one thing I'm most proud of is that from that Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls album to Horrrfier, I didn't sell out. I didn't give up. I didn't change my original plan. I may have experimented on some things, but for the most part I've stayed pretty true to what I do. I've outlasted bands, I've outlasted trends, outlasted record labels.
"And just to know I was able to survive all these years and I'm still here doing it, you know, putting a new record out this week. That's just such the biggest achievement and to know where I came from in this little tiny haystack town in North Carolina and I'm able to tour the world. It's an amazing story. I hope to document it one day for people just because it's such an interesting ride for me."
Catch Wednesday 13 at one of the dates below!
10/5 – Quebec City, QC – L’anti Bar & Spectacles
10/6 – Ottawa, ON – Brass Monkey
10/7 – Toronto, ON – Rockpile
10/8 – Toronto, ON – Rockpile
10/9 – Westland, MI – Token Lounge
10/11 – Cleveland, OH – Masonic Asylum Room
10/12 – Chicago, IL – Wc Social Club
10/14 – Des Moines, IA – Lefty’s
10/15 – Lincoln, NE – Royal Grove
10/16 – Wichita, KS – Temple Live Annex
10/17 – Fort Worth, TX – Rail Club
10/18 – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
10/20 – Tucson, AZ – The Rock
10/21 – Las Vegas, NV – Count’s Vamp’d
10/22 – Palmdale, CA – Transplant Brewing Co
10/23 – Anaheim, CA – The Parish at House Of Blues
10/25 – Reno, NV – Virginia St Brewhouse
10/27 – Portland, OR – Dante’s
10/28 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
10/29 – Seattle, WA – Madame Lou’s