By Kirsty Evans
During his recent show at Slim’s, I had the chance to sit down with Wednesday himself and ask him a few questions (he proved to be just as funny as you would expect). This interview took place backstage at Slim’s just before the show. Read on…
How’s the tour going?
Wednesday: Very well, it’s over halfway done. This tour ends August 23rd, so… We’ve been out since June 26th, in America, then we did Europe for three and a half weeks as well.
You’ve had a lot of line-up changes. Can you please introduce the current band?
Everything’s great, this is like my favorite line-up that I’ve ever had, and I’ve definitely had members come and go for many different reasons over the years, and not all have – it kind of sucks because every time you get a different band member , it’s way beyond crazy a lot of the guys that I’ve played with are guys that are front men of their own bands and they want to break up -- which has been, I would say 90% of the cases with most of the guys I play with who no longer play with me anymore -- to do their own thing.
Right now, the longest-lasting member in our band who’s still in the band now is Nate on bass. We have Jason on guitar, and Johnny on drums. We’re back to a four-piece because I’m playing guitar again, ‘cause my collarbone is healed from my accident last year. I had to give it up there for awhile. I had a car accident last September, flipped my car five times and broke my collarbone, so… we were always a four-piece and I always played guitar, but I had four solid months where I had all these tours booked, and I went on tour and it never healed up, so I had to have an extra member come and play guitar and I just had to be the front man for awhile.
Are you all healed up now?
New album – how did "Bloodwork" end up being available before "Skeletons"? Wasn’t "Skeletons" supposed to come first?
Actually, the E.P. was set to come second, and somehow it got released on iTunes the day "Skeleton" was supposed to come out.
How did it get to iTunes?
You have to set it up ahead of time and they have to have it in order to release it on a certain date, and we gave them both, and they uploaded the E.P. instead of the album. So the album came out weeks later. That sucked, but, you know… oh well.
How close together was it time-wise? A few weeks?
It seems like you’ve had more success in Europe than over here – any theories as to why that is? Do you find audiences more receptive over there?
It’s definitely changing over here now. The main reason is that Europe is basically all… my band prior to this, the Murderdolls, we toured, we were really big in the UK and Europe, and I started doing Wednesday 13 solo there first; I did that there a year and a half before I ever did it in the US. So I just kind of continued with the Murderdolls, it kept going. The fanbase has been continually there, but now I’m going to really focus in on touring in the U.S. as well. I’ve been seeing our audiences jump up over here, especially since a year and a half ago we were playing in front of nobody, and now we’re definitely getting more people. And this new album, it’s definitely [getting] a lot more people since we got it into Hot Topic.
That would help.
Yeah, yeah, that was a really, really good thing.
Have you guys ever thought about doing one of those big summer tours like Warped?
Yeah, you know, it’s one of those things where it sounds like – it is a great idea to do it, for the exposure, but most of the bands on these tours are bands that are on major labels and have tour support, and I’m not on a label. I’m doing this all myself, and you go out and do these shows, with the way gas is right now, and if you play these festivals, you don’t make any money.
So you’re pretty much doing it just for the exposure?
Yeah. Which is great if you have a label behind you, but for a band in our position, it’s almost impossible to do without losing money.
What about in Japan?
I’m really trying to get back. I really got screwed up with my last album, because the label never released it there. That was the whole reason why I left that label; there was a lot of bullshit that went on with it. But yeah, I got the tour there in 2005, which was awesome, I love it there. That and Australia, and it got screwed with my last label so now I finally got a release date for "Skeletons" in Australia, hopefully I can go to Japan and I can do a tour of that sometime soon. So, yeah, it’s been really, really fortunate that I’ve been able to keep doing this touring.
Are you aware of the existence of the visual kei movement, and do you think your success there might be tied into that?
Yeah, Japan’s a whole different world, on its own. Once when I was there, we played a show with Dir en grey. They actually did a show just for us to play with them. We did some festival stuff in Europe with them prior to that. We had another band play with us on our last tour; I can’t remember their name right off. But yeah, Japan’s always been a visual thing, so they took to what I’ve done really well.
What kind of people turn up at your shows in Japan? Is it mostly VK fans?
No, it’s not. It’s just sort of metal, punk rock kids, you know?
In terms of touring, how do divide your time up? How much time do you actually spend touring the US compared to Europe and Japan?
It’s pretty easy to figure out. When you put a new record out, you have to hit every territory.
Do you stagger the releases, so the album doesn’t come out everywhere at the same time?
No, the album came out here two weeks before it came out in Europe. It actually came out the day the UK tour started over there. It’s not too hard setting up tours. It’s kind of tough, but sometimes you’ve got to take more time off than you need to. I like to stay busy. We’re going to have September and December off this year. That’s it.
I know you’re actually from the South – where’s the band based out of? LA?
I’m the only guy from North Carolina. The rest of the guys, they’re all East coast guys, except for our bassist, who’s from Fresno. That makes practice kind of difficult. We don’t come together for rehearsal, I send out CDs and say, “This is what we’re doing for the set,” and everyone kind of learns it on their own, and then they come together, rehearse two or three days, and then go on tour. Basically first week of touring is practice. So we actually sound a lot better at the end than we do at the very beginning.
There are so few horrorpunk bands around now. How do you find bands to tour with that your fans will enjoy?
It’s impossible. (laughs) I mean, I can’t, I haven’t found anyone. That’s the thing.
Even if you try to rattle off a list of them there’s not many any more.
Which is what’s cool, I think, it’s why we have such a unique fanbase. I’ve really seen it grow. It goes from teenagers, we’ve got 40-, 50-year-old people, people who see the Alice Cooper and KISS and Motley Crue influences. And then there’s the punk rock kids… It’s a weird kind of thing, trying to tour with other bands, because it’s really hard to put… you take the make-up and go, well they’re a goth band or whatever and…
I don’t think goth is quite the same thing.
Yeah, but that’s what we get tagged as a lot. But there are goth kids that love us too, so it’s really kind of difficult to find bands that do what we do. A huge part of what we do is the sense of humor in the songs, and everyone’s so serious these days.
There are bands that are interested in horror but they tend to be very Serious Business.
Really, how can you be that serious about a horror movie?
Apparently some people can!
Yeah. Oh, I know. I know.
What’s going on with the buck bourbon project? Is it hard juggling both?
My band Bourbon Crew is my little country side-project that I did. I recorded at the end of 2005 with me and my old bassist from my first album. We were always touring, and before and after the shows we were always listening to old Outlaw Country records. We were both from the South, you know, we were drinking every night… we were like, “Man, we need to put a record out about drinking.” And then we did that.
So basically a country AC/DC album.
Yeah! It’s all just acoustic songs, just like percussion and little small things like that in there. But it turned out great. It turned out way better than I thought it was going to be. At first it sounded like it was going to be a joke kind of thing, but we got in the studio and it really turned out good. It was like, wow, this really is a cool thing.
Do you think it’s something you’ll continue?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I’m already planning to record another one at the end of the year. So that’s my plan for right now
Speaking of family, how do they feel about the whole horrorpunk thing? Were they freaked out when you first started doing it? Because you’re from the South and all, were they expecting you to go in a different direction?
They were supportive of it. I mean, I started getting into music like around… eleven, twelve years old, and in the South, the Bible Belt, that was back when people were still talking about backwards messages on records. That got stuck in my parents’ head, so they were checking to make sure I didn’t have pentagrams and stuff on my notebooks, which I did (laughs). But I didn’t know what it meant. I knew it meant rock ‘n’ roll. So at first, their kind of reaction was like, “ehh,” but as I grew up and started playing instruments, you know… Which is a great thing, it kept me out of trouble, I wasn’t out experimenting with drugs and drinking, I stayed in my bedroom and played guitar and listened to all my favorite records, and that’s what I did my whole teenage years – that’s all I did. I put my band together, I played in shows on the weekends.
You were too busy to go off the rails.
Yeah! So basically, I lived my teenage years during the past six years. (Laughs)
What’s happening with the book you were planning to release? Did you ever find a publisher? Can you explain what that was/is going to look like?
It was something I was trying to do, there was a point before I started doing the Wednesday solo stuff that there was a good possibility that Murderdolls was going to do a new record, and I didn’t want to do music, so I was trying to find something else to do in the downtime. So I started working on the book thing and the character, and we’d do a little t-shirt line with it. And that just basically… by the time it was getting time to do it, I was doing my first UK tour as Wednesday and it was awesome, and I was like, I’m doing this as a band, and that all went to the back-burner, which is where it stayed.
I heard there was also a Wednesday 13 DVD. Is that a live DVD or a tour documentary or what?
We just recorded our live show in Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago, and we’re planning on having that come out for release at Halloween, and that’ll be my first DVD/audio CD – it’s going to be a double thing.
You guys have some interesting tour names. Who comes up with those?
I come up with all of them. This tour, this year I just called it the Skeletour World Tour, just because it kept getting weird…
You ran out of ideas?
No, I’m always thinking up stuff. But I used to always want to refer back to “that was the Ghouls On Parade tour”, or “that was the Look What the Bat Dragged In tour or"… I’m sure I’ll go back to doing that again, but this tour I just wanted to be the Skeletour because we’re going to try to hit every area that we can on this time.
There’s always been a horror movie influence running through everything you do. Which was your first love, music or horror?
Definitely the movies, of course… it’s been a weird thing, I love horror movies. I’m more of a comedy fan than I am a horror fan , I mean, the imagery, but I’m not going to get Daffy Duck and Steve Martin tattooed on me, even though I love them. But that’s what I liked about it was that I kind of found this really weird balance as a kid between G.I. Joe and the Munsters. The Munsters and Addams Family… it’s comedy. And that’s what was cool to me. And then I started getting into horror movies. I don’t know, I’ve had this balance of horror movies and G.I. Joe my whole life. So that’s where it all came from and, you know, you write what you know about, so I wrote about movies and being an idiot and just making people laugh, and that’s what I tried to do.
Why Wednesday in particular for the band name? Did you just really like Addams Family or did you have a crush on Wednesday when you were a little kid?
Yeah, it was kind of weird, when I started using the name Wednesday, it was like in… ’94, and I was about to disband the band I was in to form another band. And I was like, I’ve got to get a stage name, and I think I was watching the newer Addams Family films with Christina Ricci playing Wednesday, who was awesome in it. And my band, we were all wearing fucking girls’ clothes, and I used to do my hair in pigtails. I had this Wednesday Addams dress. So I used to do the… so I was all, fuck, I was Wednesday, and I always liked the 13, it sounded kind of like Ziggy Stardust, Nikki Sixx, cool rock star name. I didn’t know of anybody else who’d ever used that name before, so I’ve been going as that since, like, ’94 now.
What’s your all time favorite horror movie? Do you have a favorite?
No, I have favorites.
Do you tend to lean more towards the sort of campier, sillier ones?
Yeah, yeah, it’s like he and I (points at band member) we get along so well, when we started talking we both loved Return of the Living Dead, because it was funny.
Did you see Shaun of the Dead?
Yeah. I like the more campy kind of funny stuff, but also I love Halloween, which was, nothing funny about those first two movies they’re just scary as shit. And I always found comedy in Texas Chainsaw Massacre immediately. So yeah, I like the funnier ones the best, but I do like a good spooky, scary – like, the Shining, to me, is still a creepy fucking movie.
Finally, what’s coming up in the future for you guys? What’s on the agenda?
We finish up this tour, we’re going out until the middle of October again, with some East Coast dates, and then we fly to London for a Halloween show, in London with a couple of my favorite bands, Hanoi Rock, we’re playing with them on Halloween in London, and then we start our European tour from there. That goes up until almost the end of November.
Are you thinking about having them do the whole tour?
I don’t know. We’re actually trying to see if they want to do the whole tour; right now it’s just Halloween. So we’re doing that and then we take off December, and January. I think we’re going to go back out in February or March, we’re starting to do new stuff – I don’t know, I haven’t even contemplated the idea except for that downtime, trying to do this Bourbon Crow… do at least a week or two, or something like that in the South. It won’t be a full U.S. tour, because nobody knows what it is.
But in the South people will get it.
Yeah, if they didn’t know it, they would at least enjoy it, I don’t know how anyone could go to a bar to drink and not think those were the greatest songs ever, ‘cause they’re straight alcohol songs. And, come on, they’re catchy.
Ok, looks like our time is up. Thank you very much.