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Wednesday 13: An American Werewolf In Nottingham

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Photo: Maureen Montgomery

Deep in the murky catacombs of Nottingham Rock City, evil is at work. Wickedness weaves and contempt lurks. That’s the bouncer, but once you get past him, you’ll find something much more friendly: Wednesday 13 and a gaggle of hyperactive fans. He signs posters, poses for photos and succeeds at being a bloody nice bloke until he’s torn away from the horde by his tour manager.

The man who fronted Murderdolls, a horror-punk outfit also featuring former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, offers paid meet and greets at all his shows, an idea that still sparks debate in the music world.

“Everybody does it now,” he said. “When it started, everyone was like: ‘You’re charging your fans to meet you?’ It’s like when bottled water came out when I was a kid. I was like: ‘You can’t charge people for water. It comes outta the fuckin’ sink!’

“Times are changing, and bands have to adapt to survive. I set out to give my fans a cool experience that’s affordable. They come to soundcheck, we talk to ‘em during soundcheck, we hang with them afterwards, they get a t-shirt, they get a laminate, and they get pictures. It’s not like: ‘No, you can only bring one thing for him to sign’. I’ll sign whatever they want, and I try to hang with them as long as I can too. I saw that picture of Avril Lavigne and her fans, and I just can’t imagine who would actually want to pay to meet her. I think that was more shocking than her not standing near her fans.”

The show in Nottingham marks the last stop of a 10-date, mostly sold-out trek across the UK, and the connoisseur of cruelty remains a friendly face. He may sing about necrophilia, chicken shit and zombies, but Wednesday 13 is a good-humoured guy. Still, the fact that this tour is all being done acoustically is a bit odd – even by his standards.

“It comes off as very weird,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect from it. I brought an acoustic guitar out on tour in 2007 and played one song acoustically, and it just went over awesome. I kept that in mind, and, for the most part, I always start off writing my songs on an acoustic guitar anyway. When it was time to come back to the songs and start stripping ‘em down, it was really quite easy because they started off that way.

“But my main reason for doing this was because I thought it sounded cool and it’s something that nobody would expect me to do. I always like to keep stuff changing and not get painted into a corner. I don’t want guys saying: ‘Oh, Wednesday 13, all he does is horror rock and this and that’.

"The acoustic idea sounds kinda stupid but it’s going down really well – I’m getting a better reaction from my fans on this than from my normal show, because it’s just such a personal thing. There’s no opening band, I play for two and a half hours, I tell the stories of the songs and I take questions from the audience. To me, it’s the ultimate fan experience to come to a show like this. I’ve been involved in so many bands, so I can play anything from 1994 to, well, 2014.”

Wednesday 13 has stamped his name on a lot of stuff over the years: Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, Murderdolls, Bourbon Crow, Gunfire 76, Maniac Spider Trash...basically, he’s a very busy man. Jordison’s day job in Slipknot had previously spelled no for a Murderdolls reunion, but while he’s no longer with the masked metallers, there’s currently no chance of the schlock-rock crew riding again.

“Unfortunately, Joey and I don’t speak anymore,” Wednesday said. “I haven’t spoken to him since the very last Murderdolls show we played in 2011. When I heard the news [about Joey leaving Slipknot], of course I had people calling me and writing me and saying it was gonna happen, but that didn’t change anything. That band is over with. Then again, I said that the last time and we put another record out, so who knows? Nothing’s in the works though.

“People grow up, families get divorced – some people just don’t want to be in a band together anymore. Do you really want to see a reunion of people who don’t want to be together, just for the sake of money and so you can have a fuckin’ good time? I’d rather not see my favourite bands do it. They have to do it for the right reasons. That goes for Murderdolls, too – if we wanna do it, we do it. If it’s for the sake of money, then that’s just not cool.”

So, he’s not just twiddling his thumbs waiting for Joey to call him. Far from it. Wednesday has an array of shiny new products being unleashed later this year, and is eager to get back on the road.

“We have the acoustic record, ‘Undead, Unplugged’ which comes out in July,” he said. “We also have a new DVD called Scream Britain, Scream, which is a film of our London Halloween concert in 2012, that’s out in July too. I have a collection called ‘Dead Meat’, which is a greatest hits thing, but it also has two hours of stuff from all my demos from 2003 to 2013.

“That’s all my releases, and then we plan to go into the studio to record a new Wednesday 13 record that we hope to get out next year. This year’s been kinda light on touring. For the past 12 years I’ve toured eight to nine months of the year, and this is the first tour I’ve done this year, and it’s all been done in 10 days. Doing this tour was easy ‘cause I can go up on stage and dress the way I dress every day. The fans are coming up to me and are saying it’s the best they’ve ever seen me. It’s a weird thing to accept but I love it.”

Aside from his musical dabblings, Wednesday 13 has also been considering dipping his toes into the world of film for some time now. His latest album, ‘The Dixie Dead’, brought forward the idea of a feature film from the man himself – a ‘Southern-fried zombie hillbilly flick’, if memory serves.

“I finished writing the idea for the movie,” Wednesday grinned. “The idea for making a movie is there, but the fact that I’ve never done a movie is the problem. I want to make sure that I do it the right way and it’ll be just as important as doing a record. I don’t want it to just be garbage to put out. I’m going to take my time with it and it’s gonna happen. It has to happen.

“I don’t even know what’s horrible anymore. There used to be good horrible movies, if that makes sense. There used to be good bad movies, but now they’re just bad…bad, bad movies. There are all these imitation Exorcist films and they’re the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever seen, I can’t stand ‘em. There’s no good monster movies anymore, there’s no good killers anymore. I’m a horror fan, but I’m into the old-school stuff. Nothing new’s come out, slapped me in the face and made me go: ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ I’m still waiting for that. Maybe my movie’s gonna be the one that does it!”

With a final handshake and a puff of smoke, he’s gone. Later, Wednesday 13 annihilates Rock City, putting on an acoustic show almost unrivalled in the fun stakes. The crowd cheers, the word ‘fuck’ is used about 67,435,383 times and the gaggle of goths totter home sporting rare smiles. All in a day’s work, right?

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