Andy Shaw discussed, in Part One of the interview with Wednesday 13, their latest album, Horrifier, and how the band overcame the struggles of Covid-19 to create their best work yet. In Part Two, we talk about the videos, songwriting and how “I’m still able to do what I do because I stayed true.”
You can read Part One of the interview with Wednesday 13 here.
The music of Wednesday 13 has lots of nods to horror films, but he is telling his own stories. “Yeah. For example, the single from the new album, Insides Out, is a simple song,” he says. “Someone asked what this song is about. I said it’s about taking someone’s insides and putting them on the outside. It’s really a song of dissecting. It’s a guy just literally talking about someone having a meal. It’s simple, and it’s stupid. Talking about the ’80s and stuff, my guitarist came up with that riff. I’m like, this sounds like a horror movie to me. I don’t even know how to write lyrics over it.
“I was sitting there listening to it, and it reminded me of when Twisted Sister did Captain Howdy and Burn In Hell. They got dark, and it was fucking heavy. So I just channelled in my inner Twisted Sister / Dee Snider, and that’s how I come up with some of those darker things. “Sometimes I’ll have a song that’s about a movie in particular, and then I just tell stories to you. So I’ve been able to tell my own horror stories over the years.”
There is a tongue firmly placed in cheek with a lot of it, but it just makes me smile, I say. Especially Inside Out. “It’s just hilarious,” Wednesday 13 says. “It’s funny, and it goes over a great live. You just gotta bang your head.”
I had to ask if, in the video for You’re So Hideous, we saw some pea soup. “The director is a good friend of mine,” Wednesday 13 says. “We were trying to figure out the vomit scene. So I hate pea soup. I gonna throw up soup. So we went and bought vanilla yoghurt, and we put green food colouring in it, and that became the thing. But there are some outtakes of that. You only see it a couple of times in the video, but I was so covered in that process. It looked ridiculous, but it was so much fun.
“The lady that played the Regan-type character in that, that was no CGI, she’s a contortionist. Everything you see in that video, she was doing herself, and that’s why we hired her. The videos are kind of weird. You never know if you’re gonna come out with something good. I walked in, saying all right, we got a cool idea. When I saw her, I went, so we got a winner right here. I don’t have to do anything. I just gotta look good.”
It’s a fine line between pastiche and doing it properly, I suggest. “That was a lot of fun,’ Wednesday 13 says. “I wish I could have got the whole band in it. But we were separated at the time because we filmed the videos months before the album came out. I was able to get the band in time for the last two videos. Videos are fun. But, you know, again, I’m always second-guessing myself, hoping they don’t turn out stupid.”
The Other Side is a song which personally stands out for me, I say, given that my dad passed away six weeks ago, especially with that boom at the end. “That was a hard song to write,” Wednesday 13 replies. “I think that record was difficult for me because I don’t usually expose myself like that. So when I write a song that’s sensitive like that… we had recorded the music, but I didn’t have the words yet.
“When I actually recorded it, I was kind of nervous to send it to the guys because I was like, is this good? I was extra guessing it because it was a personal song. But when I was finally done with it, everyone said this is great. I feel like I got like a little bit of peace out of it, a little bit of closure out of it. It was hard to do the song, even singing it the first time.
“Sometimes, when I listen to it, I have to turn it off. Some days I can listen to it. But I needed a song like that, and I also know there are people like you go, man, they can relate to that. Especially coming out of Covid, so much weird stuff happened. It was just a lot of death, and I was like, what can I do to help with that? Music has always healed me. So that’s a healing song. So I hope that can help.”
With Wednesday 13’s background, choosing a setlist must be a tough task. “When we have rehearsal, I’ll change the set list three or four times before we settle on it,” Wednesday 13 says. “We started over here the first day, and we changed the set the second day, and I changed it a little bit by the third day. So by the third day, I had it figured out. But it’s hard because, I mean, especially if there are nine solo albums, and I also include Murderdolls and Frankenstein Drag Queens.
“So when you have all that, I really have to put myself in the audience and go all right, if you had to go through each record, pick one song or two songs off it. So I somehow whittle that down. But I think we cover all the bases on this. I cover everything from the first album to the new album, Murderdolls and Frankenstein, all in this 80-minute set.”
Having seen the setlist before the show, I was really excited. “It works,” Wednesday 13 says. “It works really well, and I’m really good to hear that because we changed it up from our US tour. The US tour, I don’t think, was as good as this. I like this setlist a lot better. It just flows for me.”
The setlist and, indeed, the album, have benefited from introspective time. “I’m always experimenting,” Wednesday 13 says. “When it came time for this record, I went, maybe I should dial it back a little bit. Over those two years of Covid, I had two years to go back and watch videos of shows from every era. I started going well what’s, what’s my favourite era of this? And I looked, and I went, I like the way that looks.
“So my look and my image for this album and tour is almost a throwback to the very first album. The Cowboy Hat, the make-up. It’s almost 18 years since the first album. I could tell when I did that look, it was almost like a nod back. So I could tell some of the old school fans were like, oh yeah, that’s the look I like. Because on the last record with the Necrophaze record, I was wearing mask and doing all types. I had probably 10 costume changes, and we were a support band within 45 minutes. There was not a dull moment.”
“With this new album and tour, I wanted to make it more about the music,” Wednesday 13 says. “The image is always gonna be there, but I wanted the music and everything to stand out on its own and be awesome. And if everything else under that can fall underneath it… music was always first. It didn’t used to be like that. It used to what can we do to make these songs good? The songs are what’s gonna last over the years. Your image is not gonna last over the years. Good music makes it. I’ve learned from all my favourite bands. Alice Cooper is my favourite artist, and he has hits and hits and hits. He said, all right, you got this great look. Where’s your song? Where’s your hook? And that’s why I always keep that in my mind.”
Twenty-one years since the first Murderdolls album, how does Wednesday 13 feel looking back at that time, given that it was an inspiration for so many people? “It’s really cool to see now,” he says. “When I started doing this so-called horror rock or whatever… horror punk … The first time I heard that term was someone reviewed my old band in 1996 and said, ‘as Frankenstein Drag Queens are horror punk’. I mean, that’s a cool title. I’d never really heard that before.
“But a lot of people, when they hear horror or horror punk, the only other band you think of is the Misfits. They were the founders of that. But the crazy thing was, I was never a Misfits fan. I like it now. I’ve learned, but it wasn’t ever in the ingredients. My horror comes from Alice Cooper. 100% Alice Cooper. I was like, all right. What if I took Alice-type words? Mixed it with The Ramones. The Ramones always were dumb, funny, and tongue-in-cheek. So I Wanna Be Cremated, or I Wanna Be Sedated. That was my little mix of both of those things.
“So when people go, oh horror punk. You must love The Misfits. I’m like, I like The Misfits, but that’s not the horror thing. Over the years, no one’s really jumped on that. It’s like, ‘Man, you’re in the top five shock rock horror guys’. Because there’s only five of us. There’s Alice, Rob [Zombie], you got Manson, you got Danzig and me. Then you got the new and up-and-coming bands like Ice Nine Kills, which is a horror influence band.
“Someone told me they were interviewing that band, and that guy mentioned Murderdolls or Wednesday 13 as an influence, and I’m like, cool! We are influencing a newer generation of people, and it’s cool to see cause I never steered away from this path.
“I remember Michael Monroe, a good friend of mine, on tour. We were talking about stuff, and he’s like, ‘Dude, you stay consistent with something forever. People will catch up with you eventually.’ Now I feel after 21 years of Murderdolls, Frankenstein Drag Queens is six years before that… It’s a long time. I think that’s why I’m still able to do what I do because I stayed true.
“It’s changed a little bit, but you got to experiment a little bit. But overall, it’s still me.”
And so, to the show. Wednesday 13 promised that tonight’s setlist “covers the era of everything. Everyone leaves happy. We hit them with a fuck song at the beginning, and they get hit with a fuck song at the end. So everyone gets to go home happy.”
The audience at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton would go home knowing and feeling that Wednesday 13 was spot on with his assessment.
Wednesday 13 will perform Murderdolls this fall across America.