Album review: Wednesday 13 – Horrifier
Happy Shocktober: Wednesday 13 is back with another season ghoul’s night out…
From aspiring to be an action hero to popping his bicep at the fried chicken joint, horror-punk icon Wednesday 13 takes a stab at Kerrang!’s 13 Questions…
From his time as frontman of Murderdolls to a storied solo career, Wednesday 13 has always revelled in his appetite for the weird and wonderful. With Halloween-ready latest LP Horrifier, though, the North Carolina native pays homage to his beloved horror genre more passionately than he has in years. And if there’s one thing being a lifelong fright-flick fan has taught him, it’s to be wary of drawn-out series’ diminishing returns.
“I’m always excited to see whether they can knock another good one out,” he grins, knowingly. “It’s the same thing with making records: Horrifier is the ninth Wednesday 13 album. I don’t want it to be like the ninth Halloween with people asking, ‘Does this suck?!’ I look at my records like sequels. They need to be as good as the first – or at least I’ve gotta try!”
Following the release of Horrifier, we thought it’d be fitting to have Wednesday face K!’s randomly-generated 13 Questions…
“Because it’s the newest and the best Wednesday 13 album that you haven’t heard yet! We actually started the writing process this time last year – right around Halloween – which was the perfect set-up for delving back into horror movie motifs, and why I wanted to release right around now. Horror movies have been a huge part of my life since I was a young kid. When I started playing guitar, I was like, ‘What do I sing about?’ And they said, ‘What do you know about?’ I know about horror movies, so that’s been the thing I’ve been writing songs about for like 20 years now.
"I’d actually gotten to the point where I felt like I’d covered every movie, and over the past few records I’d begun to steer away from writing about that stuff directly. But this time it came kinda naturally. Haddonfield was inspired by me watching Halloween. And Christine: Fury In The Night is about the John Carpenter movie based on the Stephen King novel, one of my favourites. It’s such a weird story, and I enjoyed trying to make the music sound like the titular killer car!”
“Before I discovered music, I thought I was going to be Rambo! Or Chuck Norris. Something like that. My viewing pleasures were action movies featuring those guys, or G.I. Joe. Separate from the horror movies, I was watching these R-rated action-adventures, but there was one Chuck Norris movie called Silent Rage that fell somewhere between the two. It terrified me. I never really wanted to be an army guy, though – more like a solo army guy. As I got older I realised that wasn’t even really possible. Plus, I’m a little too skinny to be Rambo!”
“I have a massive, massive toy collection in my house. My entire ’80s history is there. If there was a fire, it’d be difficult, but I’d try my hardest to get all my G.I. Joes and He-Men out before they melted. One of the oldest toys I have is a Herman Munster doll from the 1969 Sears catalogue. It’s one of the old pull-string ones. I don’t know if that’s really rare, I just know that it’s one of the oldest toys that I’ve got. I guess I’d have to grab old Herman and get him out of there first!”
“My favourite place to visit has always been Japan. I’m able to tour all over the world, but Japan has something different and unique about it. The audiences are just crazy. It’s like going to a different planet! Unfortunately, the last time I was there was in 2011 when that tsunami earthquake hit and I found myself in the middle of that. As terrifying as that experience was, it didn’t make me think any less of the country. I hope that I get back to go back soon!”
“I’ve got quite a few fears, but I seem to have these dreams constantly, where I’m in aeroplanes that are falling out of the sky, or on a 747 that’s on a country road about to try and take off while dodging all these trees and powerlines. I’m actually okay on aeroplanes. I fall asleep on them. But then I have these dreams – or nightmares – while I’m flying that the plane is on fire!”
“I got a DUI back in 2007 where I flipped my car and almost killed myself. That was a pretty dangerous, illegal, dumbass thing to do. But I’ve done my time, learned my lesson, and I’m happy to talk about it. I ended up going to jail for like half a day. Probably the dumbest thing about it was that after I’d wrecked this car and gotten out was that I was wearing a shirt that said ‘Drink Alcohol’ in the shape of the Coca-Cola logo. I sorta tattled on myself right there!”
“Luckily, there aren’t many out there running around. One thing that gets me, though, is that seven or eight years ago, people – all the press I’d speak to – started using my real name: Joseph Poole. I have no idea why, but I guess the rumour had gotten to be that I liked to be called that. And it’s not true. No-one ever calls me that, unless it’s my parents yelling at me. You don’t start off an interview with Alice Cooper by calling him Vincent Furnier! There’s a reason I came up with Wednesday 13!”
“No. But have I been in places where I’ve sensed ghostly activity? Yes. Back in 2008, Kerrang! actually took me to a castle outside Newcastle where we did a séance. That was freaky, and some weird shit happened. It wasn’t just me who sensed it, either; there were several people in the group. There was just something otherworldly going on. We went through several parts of the castle where things had happened, but eventually we got to the bottom where they told us that several people had been tortured and killed. They had a little table set up with this glass we all placed our fingers placed on, like you would with a Ouija board. All of a sudden the glass just flew off the table and smashed. We were just like, ‘Where’s the door?! Let’s get out of here!’ If the guy tricked us, he was a good magician!”
“Alice Cooper, probably. But I could also say [iconic horror movie make-up artist] Tom Savini. His assistant Jason actually came to one of our shows and a friend of a friend invited us out to Tom’s house to see his giant collection of stuff. I’d seen it in videos as a kid, but I was so keen to get out there and see it in person. I got to meet Tom for the first time, and he was blown away by my knowledge of all the stuff he had. We started playing a game where he’d ask, ‘Alright, so what’s that monster mask?’ and I’d just tell him. He was like, ‘You know your monsters, kid!’ and I was just like, ‘Yes, I do! Thank you for teaching me!’ My favourite piece of memorabilia was Fluffy, the monster in the crate from Creepshow, which was one of the first horror movies I ever saw. I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing it, and that it was Tom showing it to me. That was one of my favourite days ever. I was like a kid in a candy store – or, rather, in the monster store!”
“Probably tobacco dip. I was drunk years and years ago when this girl tried to make out with me, but she had a mouthful of dip – chewing tobacco. I didn’t know what was going on. It was a weird moment. I swallowed some and it was gross. Don’t eat chewing tobacco out of women’s mouths!”
“I’ve only ever had a couple of really bad things. I broke my collarbone in a car accident years ago, but as painful as that was, I did better last summer with probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done. I went to get my family a dinner from this restaurant I was visiting for my daughter’s birthday. I went to this drive-through window and reached my left arm out to take this box of food, but the box was so heavy that it popped my bicep muscle off the bone. It hurts even talking about it. It’ll require surgery and physical therapy to fix, but I’ve been so busy on tour that I still haven’t had it repaired. I’ve got like a Popeye arm now where I flex and it looks like I’ve been working out, but it’s actually the muscle hanging off the bone. I can’t lift more than 15 or 20 lbs. And it was all down to a box of fried chicken! I got fried-chickened at the chicken joint…”
“I don’t think it’s the end. I used to, but now I think it might just be the beginning. I think that this life might just be one part of the ride, and the next part might be a whole other thing. It’s just a feeling. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s not some kind of religious deal, I don’t believe there’s a heaven or some other place that we go to. It’s more like after this life you’re just searching for the next one, with the point of view of Superman, flying through the clouds. At the very least, that gives you something to look forward to rather than just a nail in the coffin and that’s it!”
“I’d have to use one of my lyrics, so: ‘Wednesday 13: Life’s a grave – dig it!’”
Horrifier is out now via Napalm Records
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