Wednesday 13 is widely known for his highly successful solo career and as the lead singer of the horror punk rock band the Murderdolls. Alongside Slipknot drummer and founding member Joey Jordison, Wednesday 13 and the rest of the Murderdolls delivered one of the most brilliant debuts of any band in recent memory. “Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls” was phenomenal, but dysfunctional conditions hidden from the public eye and Jordison’s return to Slipknot lead to the quick dissolution of a band poised for greatness. Eight years later the band has reformed and are set to release their eagerly awaited second album “Women and Children Last.” That’s right, Wednesday 13 and Joey Jordison are back and this time they are armed with the same “devil may care” attitude, new band mates, and a heavier sound that is sure to win them many new fans. Steve Johnson of Icon vs. Icon recently caught up with Wednesday to discuss his influences, how the Murderdolls initially formed, what lead to the dissolution of the band, why it took eight years to get the band back together, and of course their upcoming album “Women and Children Last.”
First off, I want to give our readers a little background on you. How did music first come into your life?
I guess for me it was mainly kind of watching movies. You’d hear like a theme song at the end or something like that. That was pretty much where I kind of started going, “Oh, that’s cool! I like the ‘Rambo’ music! That’s good!” So I was kind of more into music like that as a kid. I didn’t know what rock stars were. I didn’t care about that. I was mainly into G.I. Joe and watching movies and stuff like that. I guess my brother was the one that really kind of turned me on to music. He had a huge vinyl collection. He used to bring me into his room … I’ll never forget the time he put on “Shout at the Devil” on vinyl and we sat in front of the speakers. It was so loud it was making my hair hurt. That was my first kind of real introduction to hearing music at a volume that made you say, “Whoa! This is fucking awesome!” So my brother pretty much turned me on to music. The first concert I ever saw was Motley Crue. So I started off on a good path. I think … At least I didn’t see the Backstreet Boys first or something like that!
The music industry is often a hard path to follow. What has kept you inspired through the years?
I’ve said it in many interviews. When Murderdolls first started back in the day … That was eight years ago. I was really kind of closed minded to a lot of music. I liked what I liked and I hated everything else. I didn’t really have no bones about saying it. I was like, “Oh I hate everything!” Over the years I have come into so much different stuff. Joey has turned me on to so many different things. I used to be just a straight, nothing but glam-rock, hair metal fan. Now some of my favorite bands are Slayer, Killing Joke, Satyricon, and bands like that. That’s what I find myself listening to more than anything. That’s what has been inspiring me for the past couple of years. Those were bands that I never gave a chance. They may be old to some people, but to me they’re brand new. They brought a whole new, fresh thing that I am sure will influence the next thing I do or whatever.
For those who may not be familiar with the Murderdolls, how did the band initially form?
It was … I hate to say this, thrown together. It really was. Basically, I was living in North Carolina doing my own thing, playing every other weekend. I get a phone call from Joey out of the blue. I didn’t know him. I was never friends with him. I never saw Slipknot. I never saw anything. He called me and left a message on my phone. He was like, “Hey. My name is Joey. I play in Slipknot. I heard of your band. I’m doing a new band and I think you’d be perfect for it. So give me a call if you’re into it.” That’s pretty much how it started. He was on the tail-end of doing the second Slipknot record. We all had time to go do everything and it turned out great. It’s taken eight years to do a new record just because we’ve all been doing our own things. Everything is good now.
What is the origin of the band’s name? Is there any story behind it?
Oh yeah! I remember Joey had the name written down in a notebook. He had the logo drawn out. The logo that you see on the albums or whatever was a logo Joey drew himself on some notebook paper. He had a bunch of names on the papers. I was looking through different band names and things like that. When I came upon Murderdolls, I saw that and I was like, “That’s a killer name!” He’s like, “You really like that?” I was like, “Dude that name rules!” He goes, “Ehhh!” Then we started talking about it … At the time of the band, our sound was a little more punk rock and more kind of in your face than what it turned out on the new album. We always considered ourselves a cross between The New York Dolls and The Murder Junkies. GG Allin’s band. That’s kind of how the Murderdolls … The Murder Junkies, The New York Dolls slammin’ together. That’s where it came from. We were as equallyinto The New York Dolls as we were into the aggressiveness of GG Allin’s band.
We actually just saw David Johansen at a local coffee shop last weekend.
Oh great man! I finally got to see The New York Dolls last year. I never, ever thought I would see them on stage live. Just seeing Johansen walk up to that mic and go, “When I say I’m in love. You best believe I’m in love. L.U.V.” I was like, “Yes! Finally!” I never thought I would see that in my life. That was just a great thing.
For those people not familiar with your music, how would you best describe it?
It’s like the devil with a microphone making a lot of noise. That’s a good way … [laughs] I don’t know man. I don’t try to put us into a category of music or what. We’re all over the place. We kind of go from a classic kind of sound like Cooper and KISS. Kind of a more modern version of it. The new record gets even heavier. A lot of people are saying it has hints of the Slipknot sound in it as well. Of course that’s because of Joey. It’s all over the place. I don’t know how to explain it. I just say it’s loud, it’s fun, you’ll love it, and your parents will hate it.
That is the truth. I was just listening to the first album the other day and I was like, “Jesus. If I had played this in front of my parents when I was 13 they would have killed me.”
Exactly! That was the first one! I think the new one is worse! We actually have two warning labels being put on our CD on purpose. We actually demanded it just because we’ve never heard of any band ever putting two warning labels on their CD. There is almost a motherfucker on every song on the album and there are 15 songs.
I heard it man! It’s good! I enjoyed it!
The Murderdolls’ first album, “Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls,” was phenomenal. What lead to the dissolution of the band after such a successful beginning?
It was a thing … When it was put together, nobody in the band was known or anything. It was Joey’s kind of fun side project that he did. That’s kind of what it was in the beginning. We knew he was going back to Slipknot. We didn’t know how long he would be back. He didn’t know how long he would be doing Slipknot either. At first we heard Slipknot is just going to do a six-month tour. Then it turned into a two-year tour. That’s sort of what happened with it. I started doing my own stuff. The other guys started doing their own things. It just became a thing where every time Joey became available after Slipknot … Right before he would be able to tour he got offered to go play with Korn, he got offered to go play with Ministry, he got offered to go play with Satyricon. Those were all bands that he had looked up to and had a great deal of respect for. For them to call and ask him to do it, he wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to play in band that influenced him. That’s basically … To a lot of people it’s been eight years since the last record, but for us we’ve been so busy it does feel like a long time, but it doesn’t feel probably as long to us because we tour 10 months out of the year. Whether Joey was doing Slipknot or I was doing the Wednesday 13 stuff, we’ve just been so busy. When it came time to do this new record, Joey wasn’t doing anything and plus we had the spirit of doing it. I don’t think we could have made this record a couple of years ago. There’s no way it would have turned out the way it turned out.
You mentioned your solo career. Is there an album that you feel is your best solo work?
I like everything I put out. I don’t write for people. I write for myself and I hope the fans like it. I’m pretty proud of every record I have done. My first record, “Transylvania,” was pretty cool. Probably because it was my first record. I never intended to be a solo artist by any means at all. I always felt like, “Oh! I’m coming off too cocky doing something like that.” The reason why I did Wednesday 13 was because Murderdolls went on hiatus. That was the only reason that ever happened. I think I put out a couple of really cool records. If I had to pick … I would say … I don’t know man … [laughs] I kind of like my second one, “Fang Bang,” a lot. That was really fun. That was a real fun, easy record to do.
The newly reformed Murderdolls are without a few of the original members. Why didn’t those guys return and who will be stepping into their shoes?
The thing was … Not to discount anything from the older guys in the band from the first lineup. It’s like I said earlier, the band was really kind of thrown together. We did our first video for “Dead in Hollywood” and the photo shoot when we never played in a room as a band together. It was basically, “Yeah! Alright guys! You have five days to rehearse. Learn these songs as a band and get on a bus and tour for a year!” If you put five guys that are pretty much strangers to each other and then you bring in a road crew, which is more strange even on a bus. You’re in a mobile morgue, which is what we called it. Our first lineup was really dysfunctional, but that’s what made the band work. No one knew it, but backstage we were just fucking at each others throats. We were throwing bottles at each other, but that’s what made the band work at that time. When it came time to do it again, Joey and I were older and at different places. We just wanted fresh blood in the camp and we wanted something that wasn’t going to be the way it was before because going back and thinking how that was, the life on the road part of it, was just something we couldn’t return to. So we wanted to get new guys. New guys on board … We have Roman Surman on lead guitar, Racci Shay Hart on drums, Jack Tankersley on bass, and of course Joey and myself.
Your new album “Women and Children Last” is due to be released on August 31. Have there been any challenges to making that album?
I don’t think it was a challenge. I definitely pushed myself harder than I ever have on any album before, lyrically and vocally. I wanted to step out of the shadow I felt like I created for myself. Plus, Joey and I wanted to take the band beyond what anyone thought we could do. Everyone would expect us to do “Beyond the Valley Part 2.” That would have been so fucking easy to do, but we didn’t want to do it this time. We really just kind of went in with these songs … We didn’t really think about the last record. We didn’t think about anything outside of those four walls we recorded in. We just made the best record we possibly could and I think that’s why the record sounds so diverse. There’s hints of the old Murderdolls’ sound in it, but it’s a whole new breed of monster this time.
I’ve had the pleasure of hearing the album and I have to say it is much heavier than the last album. In your own words, how does it differ from the band’s first album and do you think fans will be receptive to a change in your sound?
What I try to tell people or try to imagine … It was eight years ago that the first record came out. We had a lot of really young fans at the time. I imagine a lot of them have moved on. They were teenagers. You’re 14 or 15 years old, of course you’re going to change in eight years. There’s a lot of fans who have stayed around. My whole thing with the new version of Murderdolls and the whole new record is … You can sell your fans all day, they’re going to be there and that’s great and we love them, but for me I want to step out and I want to bring in new people that never gave us a shot before. Having a heavier sound, I can hear some of the old fans going, “I don’t like it. They’re too heavy.” I think the real fans are going to stay there and I think there’s a whole new army of people that have no idea who we are and we’ll be their favorite band by the end of the year. You can’t write for eight years and go, “I hope they’re still going to like it!” You’ve just got to write for yourself, make the best album you can, and hope that the fans are there for it.
The album features guest appearances by Mick Mars on the tracks “Drug Me to Hell” and “Blood Stained Valentine.” How did his involvement with the album come about and what was it like working alongside a legend of the hard rock universe?
It was a really quick way it happened. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t really anything at all. Basically what happened was … Our tour manager … We have these video things online called Mad Manager. We had this guy, our manager guy, who basically took care of us at the studio. He overheard me and Joey talking one day. We had just got through tracking those two songs you are talking about. Those are the ones Mick played on. We had done some of the basic tracks and vocals. We were getting to the solo part and they overheard me. I was like, “Yeah, this has really kind of got a Mick Mars kind of vibe to it to me.” Our manager was like, “Well I know him. Why don’t we just get him to come up here and play on the record. He lives down the street.” We were like, “Alright! Well call him!” He went outside, smoked a cigarette, and called him. He said, “Mick will be here on Saturday at 7 o’clock. Send him the songs.” We were like, “Alright!” It was great! It wasn’t like that when he came into the studio. He came in and he was one of the nicest, down to earth, and one of the most underrated fucking guys on the planet. He came in a total pro. He had four inch platforms the entire time he tracked everything, which I thought was amazing. It took a while. It wasn’t about money to him. It wasn’t about him just coming in and going, “Let me plug in and play.” He wanted his fucking stamp on it. He made sure he had the right sound. He had his right pedals and stuff. It was cool watching him work. He was telling us stories about working with Bob Rock and things like that. It was kind of surreal. I was sitting there going, “Wow! I have this guy from one of the first albums I ever heard in my life and he’s here playing on my record, telling me studio secrets from other people!” I was just like, “Wow! This is bizarre!” It was great man! He nailed it and I think you can definitely tell that’s the Mick Mars stamp on it for sure!
Is there anyone else in the music industry that you would like to collaborate with?
I keep meeting different people and stuff. I could always say Alice Cooper or something like that. I have been a fan of that guy for a couple of years now. I think that’s eventually going to happen down the road. I hope somewhere down the road. As far as working with any other people, I don’t have a list. If people mention stuff to me and I’m into it, I’ll do it. I really don’t have a set list of people I want to play with.
Is there any significance to the album’s title? How did you come up with it?
It was a complete drunken idea. The album was actually going to be called “The World According to Revenge,” which is the intro on the album. We had that and we were set on that for almost a month. Then one night I called up Joey, it was super late and I woke him up. I’m like, “Hey! I just wrote down this really funny title! What do you think about Women and Children Last?” We both just started laughing because it was a parity on the Van Halen album “Women and Children First.” Plus it just sounded like old school Murderdolls. It’s still kind of got that sense of humor and of course we thought it would piss off some people. That was the whole point of the title. If it made you laugh we did our job. If it pissed you off we did our job. That’s us still being snotty.
We hear there may be a special edition of the album released. What will be included on that version of the album?
From what I understand … I get these e-mails every day and I have to approve shit. I’m not quite sure what comes in it. We had to approve some kind of special edition in a box. There might even be two versions that come out. There are three versions. There is the original version. There’s a special edition that has a DVD that has five or six songs from our Key Club show we did a few weeks ago. It also has, I think, three bonus tracks on it. There’s also a special edition that comes in a first aid kit. I don’t know where that’s going. It has special stuff inside of it like bandages and all that kind of stuff. So it’s some other special edition version we’re working on. I’m still seeing the pictures of it and approving it.
Are you guys currently doing shows?
No. Actually I’m on the Mayhem Fest right now. Joey is playing with Rob Zombie. Roadrunner put me out on this tour for six weeks. Basically I do signings at the Roadrunner tent every day with Joey. Then I go and do press on the phone or in person at the venue for a few hours. Then I basically just hang around all night, meet people, and drink. Stuff like that. It’s a six week press tour. I just came from Europe, so by the time I’m done it will be nine full weeks of press I have done for this album.
Good god! That’s a lot of talking to people! I don’t know how you do it!
It’s a lot of talking about myself. Talking about the record. How much I like it. [laughs] Mick Mars questions. You get clever on your answers every time, but it’s great. People want to talk about it and I love the record, so I’m here to do it. I’m not complaining.
Are there any plans for a extensive tour after the record is released?
We will be on tour the day the record comes out. We will be on tour from that point on for probably a year-and-a-half straight. That’s what I try to make people understand … The last record … We put it out, we took a eight year break, we toured for a year on it. I keep telling people we are going to play everywhere we did last time and everywhere we didn’t last time. There won’t be eight years between the records this time. We made this a real band this time. It’s not a side project as it was before. As far as we’re concerned we consider this to be the first Murderdolls album. We just put so much into this record. So much thought. So much planning into the band and everything about it. So that’s where we are right now.
What should people expect from a Murderdolls live show?
We don’t really rely on anything other than our energy at the moment. We’re still a baby band. We don’t have a huge production. So we can’t come out and blow the fucking roof off the place like we want to with pyro. Since day once we’ve made it a point that we are the show. We didn’t need backdrops. We didn’t need fancy shit. We just came out and just fucking went completely insane for an hour-and-a-half every night. We relied on our energy to be our show for the most part. That’s kind of where we are coming from on this record. We’re going to start off that way. If things go great and we can work a budget, you’re going to still see us fucking go crazy on stage except we might have a little bit more fire involved.
Have you ever had a “Spinal Tap” moment on stage, where something totally unexpected has happened to you?
Oh! Absolutely! I really had a “Spinal Tap” moment. The scene where Nigel leans back and he can’t lean back up so his roadie has to come back up and lift him up because he leaned back too far on the ground. I did the same thing opening for Alice Cooper in 2006. Prior to the show, a friend of mine was on tour, we were wrestling in the hotel room and I fractured my ass bone. [laughs] Or whatever you call it … So I had a hairline fracture and I leaned back on my guitar. The pain got so intense I couldn’t get back up. So he had to run out on stage and actually lift me up from my back exactly like it was on “Spinal Tap,” except I actually had a hairline fracture in my fucking ass bone.
That’s hilarious! [laughs]
[laughs] That was as “Spinal Tap” as it gets. It was verbatim. I was looking over at my tech going, “Help! Help! Help! I’ve got to sing this next verse! Pick me up!”
That’s probably one of the best answers we have ever gotten from the question! [laughs]
Do you have anything that you consider the defining moment of your musical career?
Every band that puts a record out thinks that the last one they did is their best. I don’t want to be cliche, but the energy and everything that was put into this record is without a doubt my favorite. I’ve never put so much into a record in my life. Just the anticipation of it coming out next month and the reaction we have gotten from the press so far … It feels like we are sitting on something good. It feels better than it did last time. I really hope this record defines me. Hopefully people will learn who Wednesday 13 is off of this record.
What is the biggest misconception about yourself?
I guess the horror movie tag-line, which is great. I pretty much painted myself into that corner and I’m proud of it. People just think I am constantly do nothing but watch fucking “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” because I’m covered in tattoos of horror movies and all of my songs in that past have been about movies and things like that. I just think people think that I do that 24/7, when 90 percent of the time I’m watching comedy movies. Old stuff like “The Jerk,” “Airplane,” and “Raising Arizona.” Movies like that. People think I come on the bus, I sit in a dark corner, and I play Gothic music. I actually go on the bus, make a drink, crank up fucking KISS, and watch “Airplane” in the background. [laughs] I feel that’s the biggest misconception, that I’m this goth guy. I didn’t know what the fucking word goth meant until The Murderdolls came out. Then I was like, “OK! I guess we’re goth!” I thought it was punk, rock and roll. I don’t try to give stuff a label.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you along the way in your career?
Ugh! I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from people. I don’t know if I could pick out one single thing. I think just for myself, I’ve been the best coach for myself over the years. I’ve been through every fucking thing. I started playing music when I was 13 and I’ll be 34 next month. I’ve scummed it out in the clubs for years. I’ve been fortunate enough to play on stages with some of my favorite people ever. I’ve been a great coach for myself. I never gave up, no matter how dark or how low it got. Believe me, it’s been a roller coaster. I’ve made money. I’ve lost money. I’ve been through it all. Married. Not married. Kids. You know, everything! I think just me coaching myself and going, “You know what? Dude, you’ve got to plow through this! Troop on!” That’s my thing. Just keep going. Don’t let anything ever discourage you.
Is that the advice you would have for someone who is just starting a career in the music industry?
Absolutely! You’ve got to fucking believe in yourself more than anything. I’ve been a believer in what I do for many, many years. That’s how I believe I got here. I’ve had help along the way, but I never gave up. In the middle of the darkest hour I was like, “Nope!” I’m an optimistic guy. If something breaks down, I don’t sit there and complain about why it broke down. I try to figure out how to fix it. That’s how I’ve been my whole life. For anyone getting into the business … I try to tell people, “If you’re not into this for the fucking long haul. If you’re not willing to live out of a suitcase for the rest of your life and probably lose everything and gain everything you’ve ever wanted all at the same time, then stay away from the music business.” It’s a circus, but it’s all I know and I love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have no backup plans at all.
Is there anything else you want to add or let your fans know before you go?
I’d like to say thanks to all of the fans for the years of support. It’s been a while since the last Murderdolls record, but I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with it. We’re back. This is not a side project anymore. I just want to tell people this is a real band. Look for us everywhere. We’re coming for you!
Thanks for taking so much time out of your day to talk to us. We wish you all the best.
Get the latest information on The Murderdolls at www.murderdollsband.com!