Like a bat out of Hell, Wednesday 13 is taking the States’ venues by storm with fellow horror-lovers, One-Eyed Doll. But before the two bands joined forces, Wednesday 13 had to spend copious amounts of time in the recording studio to put a dent in creating a brand new record for his adoring fans. Although the record, Condolences, won’t be released until sometime in 2017, there may be a chance at getting a sneak peek at a new song this tour.
Luckily, I was able to catch him for a brief conversation to catch up on tour life and the importance of our beloved Halloween season. So, get ready to deck the halls with cobwebs and zombies, dig out those old vampire fangs and cloaks, and get ready for a wild tour. This seasoned musician is prepared for wicked theatrics and some cool tricks and treats.
How did you prepare for the tour?
Uhm, we’ve been really busy because we were recording our album and that led right into tour, so I was trying to focus on the record and then plan out our setlist and all that, so I put that together over the weekend. I was trying to juggle both of those things because they’re really important to me and they have to be super perfect. So I haven’t been this busy in quite some time.
What’s the process like when recording and working on a tour?
This recording is a lot different than what I’ve done in the past. Basically, we finished recording the drum tracks in Oregon and we spent a week doing that. Then we had a weekend off, then we headed over to Connecticut where we do guitars and vocals and that led up to the tour, so there’s a little bit of traveling.
Why didn’t you work on the record in one studio?
(Laughs) That would be convenient. But we’re working with our producer in the studio in Connecticut and we couldn’t do the drums over there, so we did drums in Portland, where our drummer’s from, and we’re just going where it’s convenient for our producer because our whole band is scattered. Not one person is in the same spot. Two of us are in Texas, two of us are scattered in California, one is in Portland. It’s never been easy as far as getting together, so it’s just another day.
What’s the writing process like for your music?
It changes for every single record and this thing is completely different from anything that I’ve done in the past. This time, instead of me writing all the songs and doing demos and emailing it to the guys, we didn’t do that. This time, we got together and spent two or three weeks and just wrote a song a day together as a band. So that’s how this new album was written. It was all together, instead of me trying to think of all the instruments. But I just got to think about the song and it was cool. I’d love to continue to write this way. It was cool to be together in a room and just write the song.
There are some other bands touring with you. Have you played with them before?
No, I haven’t. One-Eyed Doll is a band that I’d heard about through the couple of guys in our band in Texas and I heard their name before, our agent mentioned them, and I looked them up and they’re super cool and a perfect fit for what we’re doing and I’m looking forward to going out with them. When we mentioned we were going out with One-Eyed Doll, everyone was like, “Finally!” I’m excited to see ‘em.
When on tour, what’s your typical day like?
It’s pretty easy. I try to make it easy. I’m usually the last one to sleep, so I sleep in pretty late—usually until load-in, which is around three. So, I pretty much sleep the entire day. Then we get up, do sound check and I do meet-and-greets that we have before our shows. So yeah, it’s pretty much sleep, wake up, sound check, meet-and-greet, put on makeup, play a show, take the makeup off, repeat. It kind of becomes like a little schedule. It takes about a week to get into that. Usually the first week, I’m a little stressed with working out the kinks in the show and everything. It takes about a week to work everything out.
Are you playing any of the new record’s songs into your setlist, or are you just leaving that alone for now?
We’re thinking about probably adding one song just to get it out there and test the waters with the fans. It’s always good to play a brand new song. We’ve been touring on this record now for two years, so to play something new is always pretty fun.
This particular tour ends on Halloween and you’re big on horror. How do you like playing on the holiday?
It’s amazing. We have kind of like a tradition. Like, last year, we did two nights in London and they happened to be the 10-year anniversary of the first album and Halloween fell on a Saturday last year, so we did a Friday night and Saturday night show. This year, we’re doing Friday and Saturday shows on Friday and Saturday, but not on Halloween. It’s on Halloween weekend. So, we’re playing the Friday and Saturday in London and then we fly back to play Halloween on Sunday at Whiskey A Go-Go. We’re getting it all in there. Halloween is a big deal for us and over in London, people fly from all over the world to see us at the Whiskey, too. It’ll be a super cool weekend.
Is there anything you like to do for luck before going on stage?
No rituals, really. I just give myself enough time to wake up, get dressed, and be alive for the show. I guess my only good luck thing to happen is if I’m having a good hair day and good makeup day, I’m like, “Cool. Got my hair done, got my makeup done. Guess I can’t get pissed about anything.”
You’ve been in many bands over the years. Do you think those experiences have helped you grow as a performer?
Yes. Yeah, totally. It’s helped me branch out and try different things. It’s taught me how to do many things. Like, when I did my Bourbon Crow project, that was a really big change of pace and I had to sit down and—well, Bourbon Crow was like storytellers—we’d sit on stools and tell stories, kind of like a comedy show as well and I didn’t have the theatrical things to rely on and I had to be funny and entertaining and I also had to sing in my normal singing voice as opposed to what I sound like with my Wednesday 13 singing voice. I had to learn how to do different things and shift out of character, so that’s made me grow.
But with each band, like Gunfire 76 was a total strip-down, rock ‘n’ roll kinda thing compared to the Wednesday 13 stuff. The vocals are different, it taught me to sing better—everything’s taught me and I’ve been that person where have never closed the door on learning. I’m still learning every day and trying to learn different things and get better as a vocalist and get better with my voice with each year and each release.
And you not only sing, but you play guitar, bass, and keyboards. How’d you pick those up?
That’s what I started out doing before I became the frontman. Basically, I was a guitarist. I started playing when I was, like, 13, and joined my first band when I was 15 and I was a rhythm guitarist for a few years and we have vocalists come in and out. We could never find a solid person and then one day, I was like, “Alright, maybe I’ll try this.” So, I grabbed the microphone and started singing and I was like, “Uh, I’m terrible!” And people were like, “No! You sound cool!” And that kinda motivated me to sing and then I became the front guy at that point. They were looking for a lead singer at that point, so I became the lead singer.
That’s some pretty good luck there!
Yeah! And I was able to play a little bit of the instruments. Like, on the guitar, I can play a few chords and I’m a decent rhythm guitarist and I can play bass a little bit and play some notes on the keyboard and piano, but I’ve been able to do that enough to get out some good music, but now I’ve got these guys who are superior musicians compared to what I can do. I let them do that now and it speaks for itself and it sounds a million times better.
I saw that some of your music has been inspired by Alice Cooper. Is it true that you opened for a few of his shows?
Yeah. I’ve known Alice for many years now. And in 2003, Murderdolls (an earlier project) played a festival in Belgium, I think, and I met Alice and his crew, and then in 2005 when my album came out, he asked us to come out for two weeks. And then in 2006, he asked us to do shows here and there. And then Murderdolls did a show with Alice and Rob Zombie in 2010, so we did a lot of tours with Alice, which was a dream come true for me. From being a kid, he was my hero and was the reason why I do what I do, and to be able to go on tour with him and get to know him and be friends with him is pretty surreal. Alice blows my mind every time we go out with him. He’s my friend, I mean, we go to the movies together (laughs). It’s a great thing.
And, finally, what do you love most about touring?
It’s the best job in the world for me because it’s something that I set out as a kid to do and I was in fourth and fifth grade with my notebook, drawing the stage out and drawing my concerts, what I thought they were gonna be like, and fantasize and envision what I could do and now I can do that. After 15 years, I quit my day job and am able to focus on this and I’m just really fortunate that I have fans pretty much around the world who, in small doses, know who I am. I can go to this town and maybe 50 people know who I am. I mean, I’m not like Guns N’ Roses, but my name’s gotten around the world, so that’s a really cool thing. When we played Russia for the first time, I didn’t even know our records were out there and people were crying when we came out. So, that was insane. That’s the reward of it and that’s the best part of touring: the fans.
Catch Wednesday 13 as he swings around to Webster Hall in Manhattan on Sept. 27, Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ on Sept. 29, and Hard Rock Café Philadelphia on Oct. 1. To find out more about this rocker, check out the site: officialwednesday13.com.