Wednesday 13 arrived at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton last week and turned in a performance that confirmed why many have them marked as one of the must-see live bands around. “It’s easy to see why,” noted Andy Shaw after their stunning show. Andy sat down with the very gracious Wednesday 13 before the show.
Wednesday 13 released Horrifier late last year. It is one of the best, if not the best album Wednesday 13 has released. “Thank you,” Wednesday 13 says. “At this point in my career, I keep trying to make consistent records that hold up to the last one. Every record, I put everything I have into it.
“This is the first time in my career I was recording, and when I listened to it, I’m like, this is good or is it? I had that Covid two years of thinking. I had too much time to think about the record. So when I finished it, I didn’t know if it was good until I heard the fans say it. So when I hear people like you say this, it makes me feel good. It’s the first time I ever really started second-guessing myself, and that was just due to too much time. I never want that problem again.”
It was a weird time, as the world was locked down. Wednesday 13 personally experienced a tough time. It could have been difficult to find the inspiration to start writing again.
“When the pandemic hit, we had just come off the road. I’m always playing guitar and thinking about writing. So I wrote a couple of the songs early on in the pandemic, You’re So Hideous and Good Day To Be A Bad Guy. Those were all early ones, and then everything just got dark.
“My mom passed away the world shut down. And I just had a lot of stuff within my family, some tragedies. I had some friends, Alexi [Laiho] from Children Of Bodom passed away, and Joey Jordison [Slipknot] passed away, like six months later. It was just a lot of just emotion.
“When I went back to write after all that, I didn’t know where to begin. It was difficult for me. I started writing. I wrote a bunch of stuff, but it just didn’t feel like me. It didn’t seem like what I wanted Wednesday 13 to be. So I wrote a lot of music that will probably never see the light of day that was just dark and what I was going through.
“Then I snapped myself out of it and said, you got to make a good record here, and I just focused on it. Luckily, I’ve got the lineup and band that I have, and we all worked together on it, and we completed it.
“But it’s probably the most difficult record because I was indecisive. I was second-guessing myself just being off the road. It was just a weird time. So that’s a good thing to hear when people say I like this record, and I go, good. Thank you because it almost broke me.”
Wednesday 13 says Horrifier was the first album the band completed by themselves. “The last two records, we had producers, and we went into a studio. This time just because of Covid-19, everybody was travelling, and studios were locked down. I’ll record it at home. I’ll buy the computer. I’ll buy the equipment. We all collectively know how to do this. So let’s do it.
“We did it that way. And that was another weird thing too. Not only did we have all this time recording, I didn’t have anyone telling me this is good enough. So I had to be the producer and say if this is good enough, then move on to the next one. That’s why I kept dragging in the recording process.
“I think that’s why I was second guessing it because I’ve been doing stuff on my own for years, and the last few records, I had producers. But I don’t think a producer would have helped with this. I think during the Covid time, having any outside person would have just brought in another element that was not needed. I think we needed each other to make this record the way it is.”
Me, me being as old as I am, I love the kind of epic ’80s feel to Horrifier, I say.
“It’s all I know, thank you,” Wednesday 13 says. “There’s an ’80s vibe with that, but that’s what I grew up on. I mean, I grew up on what people called the Hair Metal. The big rock ‘n’ roll excess days. We were talking about Alice Cooper earlier and Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe and W.A.S.P. Those were all bands that I grew up on and set me up to do what I do now.
“I always think about those bands. But I also try to do it my way, the ’80s, with a little twist on it. It’s a little darker. It’s a little meaner. We took off some of the hair spray and put some blood on it. But that’s just my favourite era of music. It’s what I still listen to, and I hate to sound like an old guy, but new music to me just doesn’t flow the way that does. I like to keep that classic element to what we do.”
“I know on some of our last couple releases, the music shifted in a heavier direction,” Wednesday 13 says. “I think, after looking back on that now, I know our band can and is capable of doing lots of musical things. We’ve experimented in the Heavy Metal genre and went almost industrial on a couple of songs.
“But I think what makes Wednesday 13 unique is that element of the ’80s. Songs like Good Day To Be A Bad Guy and You’re So Hideous are the ones that have those hooks and choruses. I think that represents me better than the heavier stuff I’ve tried. Not that I don’t like that stuff, but I just think I’ve had 20 years to look back on it now and go, what’s the best thing in what you do?
“I think that element, and that’s something other people don’t have. Bands like Lamb Of God.. bands I love are heavy, but they just don’t have what we do. I think that’s what makes us unique. I’ve met a lot of people like Machine Head. Rob Flynn’s a friend of mine, and he loves my earlier stuff. Frankenstein Drag Queens, all this stuff. And I realised, man, that’s why people like us because we have that little unique element that’s different.
“So that’s something I’m definitely going to steer toward more in the future. So our next record is gonna be an epic arena rock record, I guess.”