“For me Alice Cooper has been my rock and roll hero – his path, from how he started to where he is right now, has been very inspiring to me.” – Wednesday 13
Calling all ghouls, monsters, and creatures of the night. Wednesday 13, who mixes punk rock and metal with kitschy horror imagery and is formerly one-half of The Murderdolls, is back on the scene and there is lots of activity taking place in his blood-spattered world.
Wednesday 13 will embark on a tour this fall, traversing the U.S. in September and October. He has been in the studio with producer Chris “Zeuss” Harris to work on the seventh Wednesday 13 album, Condolences, which is the follow up to 2015’s Monsters of the Universe. Condolences is slated for an April 2017 release. Ex-Journey drummer, Deen Castronovo, also plays on the record.
I am glad that we finally had the opportunity to do this after a couple of false starts. The tour is still ongoing, I understand?
Yes, it sure is, I am in Knoxville, Tennessee today. It’s been great, we are about halfway through it right now. We have twenty-four shows down and seventeen more to go. It’s a forty-two-date tour. It’s quite a long one and goes on for around two months.
You are about to release a new album, well scheduled for the start of next year. Are you using this tour to road-test a few of the newer songs?
No, we have been playing stuff at sound check. We have played one song a couple of times live. I am going to wait closer to the time of release, I don’t want anything too much to get out before then. We are still very excited about it but we are not playing anything from it right now.
You have been playing music professionally now for several years. However, can you recall the first time that music first made an impression on you?
Usually for me music came in the form of movies. I would usually watch movies until the credits. I would hear songs from soundtracks and that was kind of my first introduction to music. It was that kind of stuff, and then I found Alice Cooper by accident. I listened to his records and then that was just it for me.
So, moving on to your school days. How were you academically? Were you a good student or was music your only subject of interest and a career that you wanted to follow?
Yes, pretty much. When I was in sixth grade, which was when I was eleven years old, that I pretty much realized that I wanted to be in a band and learn to play guitar or do something. Around that time I started to meet people at school and friends that liked the same kind of music. I started playing guitar with a friend in his garage and he played drums. That was how I started at eleven years old, trying to play music. I don’t think that I could actually play music until a few years later. I pretty much said that I wanted to do this and get my foot in the door. If I get my foot in the door I am going to make a career of it. I did this over twenty years ago and I am still doing it.
Personality-wise who is the real Wednesday 13? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Glass half-full or half-empty. How do you view the world today?
It’s always half-empty. I am always trying to do more.
Looking back on your life what would you be most proud of? Either personally or professionally?
I think it would be my daughter that I would be most proud of. She is eighteen years old and has been the light of my life.
How do you view your own musical legacy? Are you proud of your back catalogue and what you have created?
I have no regrets about things that I have done. Every record that I have ever done, nothing at the time. Looking back on them I still feel the same about them. Every record that I have ever done I just think, “Oh, that was going on in my life at that time.” They are all just like that. It’s like a year book to me that I can just go back and look at. They are just like children to me, although I do like some more than the others. I will say that. (laughs)
To me you seem very career-minded, ambitious and focussed. Would that be an accurate assessment?
Yeah, this is what I love to do and since I realized that I can do this, I have never taken ‘No’ for an answer. I love my job and I work hard at it. I have been busy for a guy that is not on a major label, and have a career that takes me touring around the world eight or nine months of the year nonstop.
Do you still have some unfulfilled ambitions that you would like to achieve?
Of course, when I got into music I felt inspired by stuff regarding the future, but I do not have anything now that I am working on. I get to meet a lot of people in the movie business that I have on par with my music. I think of things like that, and things are going to happen, but that is later on down the road.
Continuing on that note and looking ahead, I have read that the forthcoming album includes a guest appearance by ex-Journey drummer Dean Castronovo. Some might say that is an unusual musical pairing?
Well, his son plays in my band. That is pretty much how that happened. Dean is well known for the Journey stuff but he’s just an amazing rock drummer, and he has played in I don’t know how many rock bands. He has played on records and in Ozzy’s band. He is just an amazing drummer. He was also a huge Wednesday 13 supporter of the band before and his son is in the band. So when it came time to do any recording I just said “Hey man, do you want to play on one track?” and he said, “Hell yeah!” It was cool to have him and his son play together on the record. At the same time, I think that he is one of the best rock drummers out there – period.
Leads me nicely into my next question to discuss the recording of the new album itself. What stage is that at right now?
Everything is done. We have finished recording it – started in August and finished September 1st. The record is mixed and mastered and it should be out in April next year. We are just shopping it to some labels. And I am saying it could be out in April but it could be out before then. It is certainly coming out in the first part of 2017.
Any career advice that you have been given that has proved particularly beneficial?
I don’t think that anybody has said anything particularly helped, but just a lot of my rock and roll heroes I have followed in their paths. For me Alice Cooper has been my rock and roll hero -his path from how he started to where he is right now has been very inspiring to me. I feel I would like to follow in his footsteps of how I would like my career to be. I think if anything I have just kind of leaned..I have been in this business a long time and have seen everything come and go and change. I think for me the best advice for me is my own advice that I have done my own thing. I don’t follow trends; I am aware of what is going on but I do my own thing. I think that’s why I’ve been able to outlast different scenes and different musical eras that have vanished all of a sudden because they were just trends. Yeah, for me just staying true to myself -and always staying true to myself.
Your music seems to inspire and attract a very devout and passionate fan base. On the flip side, have you attracted any crazy and extreme fan reactions or stories?
No, I think with social media these days you are going to get anybody and everybody. So, if I get anything it’s a lot of strange messages on the social media sites that don’t make a lot of sense. No, my fans are unique and just like other people. I don’t think that they are any different from people that are misunderstood. We have a support group for all these people and we kind of help each other out. No, I don’t have anything crazy to speak of. My fans are respectful. I don’t have the biggest fan base in the world but the fans make me feel like I do.
Why has Wednesday 13 prevailed in a tough career – the music business – where so many others have failed?
Like I have said before, I never set out to do something that was popular, played on the radio or was going to be accepted. That was never my plan. My plan was to be weird and do something that was not normal. I have always stuck to that and that’s been always what I do. I developed this audience around the world that believe in what I do. I have let nobody side track my vision that I have had since I started this many years ago.
Finally, you have done many interviews but who would you yourself actually like to sit down and interview yourself?
I would love to sit down with Jaz Coleman of the band Killing Joke. They are probably my favourite band, I listen to them constantly. When I discovered Killing Joke about six or seven years ago for the first time their music just changed me. I think that guy is intelligent and I would ask him a lot of questions because I think that he would have a lot of answers. He has been written off as a crackpot and spouting off things, but he has a lot of things that he talks about that I am interested in. I would love to sit down with that guy.