Posted on by Oran

Wednesday 13 sat down with us to talk about the brand spanking new album, ‘Horrifier’ which was officially released last week. In a very open and sincere conversation, the frontman told us about the difficult two years that saw his own Mother and two of his close friends pass….

On a rare day off his current ’20 Years of Fear’ US tour, Wednesday 13 brainchild, aka, Joseph Michael Poole is feeling relaxed despite his busy schedule.

The bands latest opus, ‘Horrifier‘ sees the singer overcoming a tremendous amount of grief which impacted his life over the last two years. From the death of his Mother, to the passing of close friends, the singer talks about the self journey that he undertook with his bandmates in creating this new album, as well as the ongoing situation with the Murderdolls trademark name.

Buckle-up as it’s an interesting read…

OD – Let’s start with the new album ‘Horrifier’, at what point did the writing begin for this album, or was there any ideas that were undeveloped from the ‘Necrophaze’ sessions?

WEDNESDAY – The new material is all brand new. A fresh slate. I love the ‘Necrophaze‘ album, but I really like to start new with everything I do. I guess, we really started working on the album, about last August/September. I wrote a lot of stuff during the lockdown period and I really stared to get depressed and down about everything. I’ve had some really difficult moment over the last few years and it was very evident in the music I was writing.

My Mother passed away and that was a just a huge blow for me and well… the music I was writing after that happened was just too dark. It wasn’t “Wednesday 13“, if you know what I mean.

I didn’t want to come out of this Covid thing with a really depressing album. I wanted it to be somewhat upbeat. We’ve all been through so much shit the last few years, I didn’t want to continue that feeling. It had to be something upbeat. Regarding the other music, there is another album there somewhere, I’m not really sure what I’m gonna do with it, but there must be thirty tracks that I decided not used for ‘Horrifier’.

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OD – You stated that you found it hard to get it inspired during the pandemic, because things were so different. This being a totally strange situation, did you surprise yourself that it was a difficult task?

WEDNESDAY – Yeah, it was just a very weird time. As I said, my Mom passed away then my friend, Alexi [Laiho] from Children Of Bodom died, and just when I was trying to process both of those things, six weeks later, Joey [Jordison, ex-Slipknot/Murderdolls] dies! There were also other tragedies in my family… you know, that was just a really difficult two years. There was just so much death. I’d never experience so much tragedy… so much death in my life…happening around me. I was trying to be as positive as I possibly could and do the very best that I could. But it wasn’t easy by any means.

OD – The press release states that you took some inspiration from classic horror movies such as Halloween and Christine to name but a few. When you watch movies like this, do you adapt it to a modern day view of what you’re experiencing, or does the inspiration come directly from the movies?

WEDNESDAY – I would take directly from the movie. For example, ‘Return to Haddonfield‘. The reason that I called it that was because I had a track on my second album ‘Fang Bang‘ [2006] called ‘Haddonfield‘, which I really liked and when I was coming up with this new song and it had the word, “Halloween” in my lyrics and at the time the TV’s on in the background and there was a preview for all the movies that were gonna be on (it was about a week before Halloween), so I thought to myself, “Why don’t I write a sequel to that track?

I love those first two Halloween movies. When it comes to Halloween, Michael Myres is like Santa Claus to me! [Laughing].

OD – I feel that with each album, you seem to be getting darker and heavier and ‘Horrifier’ does exactly that. There is a lot of styles mixed throughout this album, but ultimately, it’s got a very “Rock” foundation to it. Was there a conscious decision to push the envelope in terms of sound, or was it a case of just see what comes from the writing sessions?

WEDNESDAY – Myself and Roman [Surman, lead guitar] have a really great writing relationship and we just put our heads together and fleshed out the songs with no agenda! I would normally bring him an idea that’s kind of “dumbed down” and then he adds his magic to it, and it just has that classic, Wednesday 13 DNA running through it.

OD – I understand that the album was recorded in your house with Roman and Jack [Doebbler, bass]  and you handled all the production duties. Was this the first time you’ve done anything like this, and if so, did you find that it was a stressful experience?

WEDNESDAY – Yeah, during the pandemic, I moved to Burbank, California and I set up a studio in the back of the house. Everything was closed and we just figured; “let’s do the album here!” We have had so much experience in recoding stuff independently on our own over the years so it wasn’t really like it was a totally alien environment for us. Jack, Roman and I just pulled up our sleeves and got stuck into doing it all on our own.

When it came to doing my vocals, I did them all by my self in my room. I was my own judge and jury when it came to the recording. It was a very interesting experience [Laughing]. It had its good moments…but also its bad moments. That’s one of the reasons why it took us so long to do the album.

OD – Would you consider doing things like that again for the next album?

WEDNESDAY – It was very stressful because I had so much going on in my own life and also, I’m my own worst critic. I kept asking myself; “Is it good enough?” To be honest, sometimes I didn’t know. I mean…I knew we had good songs but I just had this kind of really weird brain-fog about things and it took me sometime to see through that and hear the finished song for what it really was. Kind of like a fresh set of ears, if you know what I mean.

Would I do the next album this way again? At this moment in time, I’d have to say, no. I do like being in the studio and having a producer how has an extra ear that can give advice when needed, but it was, in all honesty, a lot more stressful that we had anticipated. Being the vocalist, writer and producer, it was a little much. There were times when I was like: “I don’t like this!” [Laughing]

OD – When you look back on your career as Wednesday 13 and how much the sound has evolved to what it is today, do you feel that you’ve reached the pinnacle of what you wanted to achieve, in terms of aesthetic and sound, or do you have much bigger plans down the line?

WEDNESDAY – There’s definitely more evolution that can happen with Wednesday 13. When I first started doing this off the back of Murderdolls, I had no idea how long I would be able to keep going. I really didn’t expect to have a career that would exceed twenty years! There are not many bands that can have one member leave and do their own thing for twenty years and that blows my mind, when I think about my career in that way.

The reason is, careers in this business don’t usually last that long. I’be been lucky enough to be able to do this for twenty years and we’ve just launched out ninth album. It’s incredible. I feel that we still have so much to give as we are a band that is constantly evolving and that comes from my love of artists such as Alice Cooper to David Bowie (who always reinvented himself and his music). I’m not sure if I’ll venture out as far as Bowie, but who knows where things are gonna take me.

OD – When you look back on the work you and Joey did for the Murderdolls, does that feel like it was almost in another Universe, as so much has changed since the release of ‘Beyond The Valley of the Murderdolls’ back in 2002?

WEDNESDAY – It does feel like it was a long time ago, but then in other ways, it doesn’t’. That was my first opportunity into this world where I got my foot in the door, and once that happened, I never wanted to take it out.

OD – Prior to Joey’s tragic passing, had you guys ever talked about writing or releasing new Murderdolls music?

WEDNESDAY – Yeah, we spoke about that happening. After the last Murderdolls album in 2011, Joey and I unfortunately didn’t speak to each other for a very long time. We were kind of angry at each other for stuff that’s not even worth talking about, but then he got dismissed from Slipknot, and I can’t imagine how much that must have hurt him.

As everybody knows, he was a recluse for a bit, then came back with his new project, VIMIC and things started looking up for him. It was around 2018/2019 that we were on tour in Iowa and reached out to Joey and he instantly invited us all over to his house where we had a BBQ, we drank, ate, hugged, we laughed and cried. It was the best day.

It was then that he said; “We have to do it again brother! We have to do this one more time!” I was pumped for it to happen, but of course, I had to finished my own tour first, at the beginning of 2020, we spoke again about the fact that we couldn’t do anything due to the lockdowns and floated the idea of writing new material and he was like; “Yes! Let’s do it!

I had to work on my own projects for a while and Joey was okay with just taking an easy approach back into things, which suited us both, just fine. Then about a month before he passed away, he sent me an email talking about Murderdolls, and we were both exploring when we could set aside some time to get working on things. Then…[takes a long pause] he passed away, which I still can’t believe sometimes.

OD – You had stated that there is no official Murderdolls with out you and Joey, but we’ve seen the other rendition of the band now advertising tour dates. What are you thoughts on that?

WEDNESDAY – Basically, one of the former touring members of the band, Acey Slade, found out that the official trademark for the Murderdolls had lapsed and… I have to say at this point that this was all new information to me and I was unaware of the circumstances around trademarks etc…but this guy found out and said nothing to anyone for months, until he secured it! Bear in mind it’s a long process, so he knew what he was doing for a long time.

Anyway, so Acey applied for the Murderdolls trademark in early 2020. Joey passed away in 2021, so this was over a year and during this time he [Acey] was speaking with me on a regular basis. We were friends and he was asking me for advice on how to start Patreon pages and stuff like that and was being totally cool, all the while never telling any of us that he was in the process of taking the Murderdolls name.

Then by 2021 he got it, approaches me and says; “Hey, I saved the Murderdolls name from getting stolen off the internet and I want to talk to you about doing a 20th anniversary, and I want to work with you and Joey again“. My response was; “Well you’re gonna have to talk to Joey about that, because it’s his name“. He says back to me; ‘Well, he [Joey] let the name lapse!” and I responded; “Joey’s had a lot of stuff going on in his life, not to mention his health problems. I would imagine the last thing on his mind is checking the Murderdolls trade mark. No one else was checking on it, except for you!

So once Joey passed away, he [Ace] is telling everyone that Joey knew all about it and was cool with it. In my opinion, he’s a fucking thief! That’s where things are right now. I had to let people know that I was not part of this, but also let people know that I’m not gonna let him have it and he’s got a long fight on his hands. I’m not gonna let someone like that take the name of that band, because I totally disapprove of it and I can’t imagine what Joey Jordison would think about it. He would be furious and insulted like I am.

He was gonna take that name whether Joey and I approved it or not. I feel it’s my duty to talk about this in the public forum because I really believe that fans need to know what he [Acey Slade] has done. People have to realise, Acey was out of the band on the second album and he was furious about it, and to me this all looks like a revenge tactic.

OD – So, there’s no chance of any Murderdolls celebratory reissues coming anytime soon, due to this ongoing situation?

WEDNESDAY – That’s the other fucked-up thing about all of this. He [Acey Slade] keeps saying; “I did this legally” and he’s also saying that he’s given money to the Joey Jordison Foundation, etc, etc, and I’m like; “Okay, but you haven’t discussed any of this with me. I wrote 95% of that album that you weren’t even a part of and you’re gonna sell it?

There’s just so many levels of backstabbing going on in this situation. I hope everybody knows that he’s a fraud, and a thief, and I gonna fight this all the way. If he thinks he’s getting away with this, he’s got another thing coming.

OD – Of course, the 20 years of Fear tour has been in full swing and will wind up in Nevada in late October. Will you take some time off for the remainder of the year and then can we expect dates in EU/UK in 2023?

WEDNESDAY – We are absolutely planning to get back to Europe/UK and that will happen in March/April next year.  We’ve also been looking at some dates in Australia. So we’ve got a lot happening.

Horrifier‘ is out now via Napalm Records. Order your copy here.

Oran O’Beirne

www.overdrive.ie 2022