Tour Preview: Cradle of Filth & Wednesday 13

It wasn’t protests, or townspeople with torches and pitchforks, that jeopardized Cradle of Filth’s current tour. It was the recent government shutdown. Federal agencies were shuttered for so long that the British band’s travel visas were not secured until the eve of the first show. Although three days of dress rehearsals were sacrificed, the tour, thankfully, went off without a hitch. The second leg of the band’s “Cryptoriana—The Second Coming of Vice” tour, which also features horror rocker Wednesday 13 and theatrical up-and-comers Raven Black, began in early March and runs through April before heading back overseas.

Since first visiting these sunny shores during the mid-‘90s, Cradle of Filth have been notorious for their Grand Guignol-inspired live spectaculars. Front-fiend Dani Filth believes the band’s current performances are their most extreme yet, with Victorian lamps dressing a stage that also includes weird laser lights, lavish backdrops, and crazy costuming. Surprisingly, when Filth presented production and touring ideas to management last year, they balked.

“We barely scratched the surface in the States [during the first leg of the tour],” he says. “However, they were not keen on us returning.”

The band’s response? Management was replaced with The Oracle, the startup company headed by Devildriver frontman Dez Fafara. Filth has been so impressed with the new working relationship, especially Fafara’s business acumen, that he feels Cradle of Filth has been reborn.

“The creative juices are flowing again,” he says. “Dez and I feed off each other. We bounce ideas back and forth. It has been no-holds-barred.”

As for how the band can mount such an audacious stage production night after, especially given the current, fiscally-depleted music industry, Filth laughs.

“We get creative,” he says. “Trust me, we make it happen. It has worked out.”

More than 27 years after forming in Suffolk, England and having released 12 albums, the veteran extreme rockers are now presented with a “pleasant problem”: choosing a suitable set-list for both new and long-time fans. Although the band have created criteria for choosing songs, Filth admits that it is getting increasingly difficult.

“We have to play the ones fans are expecting,” he says. “We will, however, be changing things throughout the tour. We will, of course, play tracks from our latest album [2017’s Cryptoriana: The Seduction of Decay] and we’ll also play songs we haven’t performed in years, like “Saffron’s Curse” [2000’s Midian].

Although no strangers to controversy, Cradle of Filth were shocked last year when a photoshoot brought out the internet trolls. The band decided to dress in black body paint rather than their trademark white corpse paint. It was a change of pace; to show their dark, supernatural image. Still, a few people accused the band of employing “black face.”

“How ridiculous?” fumes Filth. “Everything is so damned PC. Everyone is afraid to say anything or take chances. Everyone is so desperate to feel safe that it gets suffocating.”

Following this extended touring cycle—European festivals, an extended Russian trek, and a visit to South America await—the band has set aside a block of time in early 2020 to write and record disc number 13, which Filth hopes will be released early next summer.

“I am extremely excited about our future,” he says.

Cradle of Filth are also known for carefully selecting their support acts. In the past, they have toured with bands as varied as Type O Negative, CKY, and Nile.

“One of the many things I love about performing in America is the musically-diverse bills,” Filth continues. “We don’t have to perform with bands that sound, or look, like us. That’s why we chose Wednesday 13 and Raven Black. Both are dark and theatrical, but neither sound anything like us.”

Although it’s just a few days into the tour, Wednesday 13 is struggling to remember where he is today.

“We’re about to start loading [our equipment onto the stage],” he says. “Oh, that’s right. We’re in Sacramento, California and performing at the Ace of Spades tonight. I actually played here once before, but I only remember that because of the photos and videos I’ve seen [of the performance]. I was here with the Murderdolls the day after that year’s Golden God Awards in Los Angeles. Everyone [in the band] was up ‘til 6am drinking and partying, so I don’t really remember much of that next day. I am really looking forward to having a memorable show tonight. It will be awesome.”

The self-proclaimed “Duke of Spook” believes this tour is a perfect fit for his music and image.

“We may sound nothing alike,” he says, “but we certainly belong in each other’s world.”

Although Cradle of Filth have been “incredibly gracious” to Wednesday 13, the horror rocker is giving the headliners space before approaching them to talk shop, understanding that they just flew over from Europe and must still be experiencing jetlag.

“We just pass each other on the way to our [respective] busses,” he laughs. “And we all say, ‘We’ll talk later’.”

Wednesday 13 also appreciates Cradle of Filth’s diverse audience, which draws from across the wide extreme-music spectrum.

“Whereas some black metal bands only attract black metal audiences,” he continues, “in Cradle crowds there are people wearing Misfits, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, and Type O Negative shirts. I am ‘80s glam rock, punk rock, hard rock, and horror movies all “Frankensteined” together. I consider myself to be unique and that’s why I like to think that I appeal to different people. If you like horror movies and loud noise, you’ll probably like me.”

Although Wednesday 13 has released a number of well-received solo records, he is still best known for his work with Murderdolls, his on-hiatus project with former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison. It is understandable that Wednesday 13 is becoming increasingly frustrated answering the same tired questions about the dormant project.

“I have to give people the benefit of the doubt that they don’t know what is going on,” he says. “The Murderdolls are not active right now and I don’t know if the band will be active again. Joey and I met in person last year—for the first time in a long time. We talked, hugged it out, and exchanged numbers. We’ve kept in touch, but there has been no talk about music.”

Like Cradle of Filth, Wednesday 13 is in the final touring cycle in support of his latest effort, 2017’s Condolences. Although his new album is nearly complete, his record label will not allow him to divulge any details. Still, he is having a hard time holding his tongue about the album’s special guest: one of his biggest heroes.

“I want to scream the name from the top of a mountain,” he says. “I can’t do it just yet, but I will soon.”

Catch Cradle of Filth, Wednesday 13, and Raven Black at Irving Plaza on April 4 and The Stone Pony April 5.