The Godfather of Ghoul, Wednesday 13, is back in the UK and brings with him his stripped back acoustic show.
Who would have thought horror punk would work so well acoustically? National Rock Review recently caught up with Wednesday 13 at the opening night of the Undead Unplugged tour in Newcastle. He discussed his touring plans for the year, the likelihood of working with Joey Jordison and the Murderdolls again, and his annual Halloween show in London.
NRR: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review, we really appreciate it.
Wednesday 13: No problem man.
NRR: You are starting your “Undead Unplugged” tour tonight in Newcastle. It’s the first night of the tour, what can the fans expect from the show?
Wednesday 13: They can expect ….us hungover. We had a long night last night (laughing). No, the unplugged show is cool. We tried it two years ago for the first time here and honestly I didn’t know how it was gonna go over. I had this idea just basically sitting in my bedroom playing these songs acoustic for my cats. I was like man, maybe this will work, I can play these songs acoustically, tell some stories, take some questions and we came over here and it went over amazingly.
I’ve had people tell me they’ve seen me fifteen times and that was their favourite show, but it’s such a different show because we’re not up there doing the full Wednesday 13 show that everyone knows, it’s just kind of a different sort of thing for them. I don’t think they expected it to translate like that, I didn’t either. You don’t think of Wednesday 13 and go oh that’s acoustic music. It’s cool to see how some of these songs really do translate well acoustically because that’s how they were written. So yeah, it’s a cool thing. Just it’s the first night, so we get the first night jitters and a fuckin crazy hangover but we will get it done, it’s rock and roll.
NRR: I know you said your show is unplugged, and you also provide the opportunity to do some Q&A throughout the show. What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked by a fan?
Wednesday 13: I don’t know. Nothing really too crazy, people wanna know stuff like what’s the craziest thing a fan ever did or something and I’m like, I don’t know there are so many different stories, but no one has ever really asked me anything too crazy. We get of course the Murderdolls question comes up and things like that, but no one has asked me anything crazy.
Somebody asked me if they could have my baby and I told them that their uterus couldn’t hold it. That was my comeback so, I think I’m funny sometimes (laughing).
NRR: Â With such a vast back catalogue to choose from, how do you go about picking a setlist for a gig like this?
Wednesday 13: For this it’s really different because obviously some songs are never gonna work acoustically, you know what I mean. There’re certain songs that we are playing in this set I don’t normally play live, they just work better for this you know.
So yeah it was cool, I just try to find the songs that do sound good acoustically and songs that maybe have a cool story behind it and stuff. I’ve got such a catalogue of music I can start from 1994, people know music from then and tell stories up till now. So yeah it’s a cool thing and luckily I have all these stories because sometimes we’re like I don’t want to play that song I will just tell another story for another five minutes (laughing) and it works.
NRR: What’s your favourite track to perform live and why?
Wednesday 13: I don’t know if I have a favourite one acoustic to play or anything. When it’s the full band and we’re doing our full shows recently, I mean a lot of the stuff off the new record I really like a lot, but we have this new song called “Serpent Society” that’s a really cool visual song, I dress up like a devil onstage and it’s just fun for me I get to look like an idiot even more onstage (laughing) so that’s one of my favourite songs to play. These acoustic songs are cool too, I just don’t know if I’ve got a favourite one. Maybe a couple of days in I can pick one, but as of right now it’s the first day I don’t know.
NRR: Your recent album Monsters of the Universe: Come out and Plague, could you tell us a bit about it and the inspiration behind it?Â
Wednesday 13: Yeah, we recorded it in the summer of 2014, it came out a year ago actually. We just spent all last year touring with it and the whole idea behind the record was to do something different than the other records. A lot of fans would write and say I wish your music was more horror punk like it was in the very beginning, but this is my sixth record and I think people come to know now that I’m going to do something different every time. Like I don’t have any desire to make any of those other albums over again because they are already done.
My first album came out eleven years ago you know, so there’s a lot of a musical growth and just my head is open to so much more music now than it was ten years ago. I was a little closed minded, a music snob and I would only listen to glam rock and punk rock and I liked metal to a certain extent, but I wasn’t like a crazy metal fan. Over the past five or six years, you will find I’m listening to more metal than I do anything, and that’s really channelled into our music, plus the lineup I have now it’s just a natural evolution of what we’ve done and the music just got heavier.
This album was a concept record so it was kind of out of my comfort zone of singing about other things so I was worried in the beginning, I was like are the fans going to like it that I’m singing about aliens and weird shit instead of graveyards, but honestly, it went over great and everybody seems to like the record and people say it’s their favourite since the first. So I feel like we went in the right direction and I think the music is going to continue in that direction, a lot heavier and weirder, that’s just where we are right now.
NRR: You are obviously very creative, and you put a lot of effort into your performances. Where do you find the inspiration for your live shows?
Wednesday 13: I don’t know, I mean I just want to do something that I would want to see when I walked into a venue. Over the years, we’ve just kind of figured out what it is that we do (laughing). It’s like I tell people all the time, I’m more confident now just recently in the past couple of years than I was ten years ago, because I feel like I’ve finally figured out how to do this if that makes sense.
At the beginning of Wednesday 13 I was the front guy and the guitarist, for years I had this battle with not having the confidence of being a front guy without a guitar, but at the same time, I was doing half of my ability on the guitar and half of my ability singing. So when Murderdolls did our Women and Children Last record in 2010 I really just focussed on being a front guy and I wanted to be better at it and I basically just made myself, I quit being what I thought was being a bad performer and I wanted to up it. So yeah, there’s a lot of evolution over the past couple of years and now I feel like I’m in my prime now, if that makes sense, eleven years into it.
NRR: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would be your dream collaboration?
Wednesday 13: There’s a lot of different artists I would love to work with. I’m a huge fan of Killing Joke, I love that band, I would love to work with their bassist “Youth,” he’s an amazing producer and really cool. I’m just basically fascinated with that band, just all their different personalities and they’ve opened my mind to so many things I didn’t even know about. So yeah Killing Joke would be a band I would love to collaborate with.
Of course, Alice Cooper. It’s almost happened a couple of times. He was originally supposed to do the intro for the Murderdolls Women and Children Last record but something happened last minute and it didn’t happen, but it was so close we almost had it, the intro for that, it was like fuck.
NRR: Obviously, you get asked a lot about the Murderdolls. Are you still on good terms with Joey, do you think anything will ever happen?
Wednesday 13: Honestly, no one Â ….this lineup that I have right now, two of the guys were in Murderdolls. Last time Ramon and Jack, but yeah our very last show we did was in 2011 at the Roxy Theatre in April, we did our show and that was the last time any of us spoke to him.
I mean we knew he had to go back. He was starting up Slipknot again and they were doing the Paul tribute shows and basically, the label told us you’re done, we are done with this record, we are not promoting it anymore, Slipknot’s going to go on tour, when they are done touring you can pick up six months later and go on tour and I was just like no.
So I started doing my own thing and I’ve being doing that ever since. It’s unfortunate that band has the worst fucking luck ever. The first time we get the ball rolling and everything was great, we were killing it here in the UK and then Joey had to go and do Slipknot for three years and just the momentum was gone. So I started doing my own stuff and kind of kept the spirit of that band alive through what I do and we get back together again in 2010 and made what I thought was a great fucking album and then again tragedy hit and we got another boat of problems you know.
So it’s just that band has the worst luck, but at the same time that band is the reason I have a career, to be on the map and I’m proud of it. It’s just unfortunate that I don’t know what’s going on with it right now. I hate to say I think it’s totally done with, but it feels like that.
NRR: If Joey turned up on your doorstep tomorrow …
Wednesday 13: I don’t have any ….at the time, years ago I maybe would have been like I never want to do this again because I had a bad taste in my mouth. Over time now you know, I would talk to that guy again I don’t have any ill will towards him whatsoever, I just don’t know where he is these days, but yeah that band was a lot of fun. I didn’t think the second one would happen and it did, so who fucking knows, it could.
NRR: You just announced details of your Halloween show. You must have something special in store for that, right?
Wednesday 13: Yeah, we did last year in London. We did two nights and it was the tenth anniversary of Transylvania album, we did that in its entirety. It was awesome, we sold out the weekend, two different shows, Friday night and Saturday night.
Then I realised that my Fang Bang album turns ten years this year, and I was like let’s do that again it worked great. It’s just kind of become a sort of a theme, we always do London on Halloween because when I first started coming over here like fourteen years ago, no one really celebrated Halloween. We were that band that kind of brings it because it wasn’t a big thing here. I’ve noticed over the years it’s gotten more into it, but yeah I think that was the thing that kind of worked with us, we were that Halloween band that just twenty-four seven you know.
Yeah, this year is going to be great, I’m super excited about it. I can’t believe that album is ten years old already, but yeah it’s gonna be good. I don’t know we may do something else special on that second night too, I may do a totally different thing, fingers crossed on it right now.
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Wednesday 13: Lots of touring, I guess that this is our first tour of this year. We go to Australia in April and I’ve got a full summer tour in the States. We are gonna spend the summer writing/recording a new album, which we will probably have done before September.
I hope, then we go back out in the States September/October and then we come over here for Halloween and then in a year we will probably do this acoustic thing in the States. So it’s pretty much a full year, this is the first show of many so we had the first part of the year off and now it’s just go, so it’s exciting, it’s fun and it’s cool to be able to do this show because it’s so different from the other shows.
Normally I would already be in my costume and makeup and dressed because it takes us two hours to get dressed this is kind of like I can sort of be me for this if that makes sense (laughing).
NRR: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us, we really appreciate it, and good luck with everything.