Wednesday 13: Not Just Whistlin' Dixie
25-Oct-2013 Words: Brian Giffin
Pix by Brendan Delavere
Latest release: The Dixie Dead (3Wise/Sony)
Rather like his idol Alice Cooper, Wednesday 13 has been a pretty regular visitor to Australian shores. Since 2010, it's been difficult to keep him away, returning either with his own band or as part of the Murderdolls at least once a year.
“This is like our fifth time in three years? Maybe fourth? Maybe five? I'm losing count,” he says with a laugh. “We are a band that travels and we get to see different places, and the one place that's probably the best place for us is probably my favourite place to tour: Australia. I love it there, I have a lot of great memories from there. Fans are crazy for what we do. It seems like it's still new and fresh for them, unlike in other places that I tour a lot. So to be able to come back there again, especially around Halloween, is a great time to see us.”
For an artist that brings Halloween to the stage every single night, the festival nevertheless remains a very special time for Wednesday. On this tour, he'll be performing on October 31for the first time in Australia so it's likely to be a special occasion.
“I don't have anything crazy planned for the show. It's just that when we play on Halloween night, every single song we play caters to that, the imagery and everything, it's just a cool thing,” the singer says. “It's my first time playing at Halloween in Australia, so I can imagine that the vibe is going to be insane. We're not planning on dressing up in the costumes or anything, but there will be a couple of little extra things for that show. I don't know what it will be yet, but it will be awesome. It will be a special show.”
This is Wednesday 13's second headlining tour of Australia in twelve months. A full show gives him room to play a full set and bring out a complete stage show. The singer stresses, however, that his is not a show that relies on a lot of window-dressing and props. Being a good band is really what it's all about.
“When I say production for us, it really isn't a whole lot of stuff. It's just being able to get a backdrop and a couple of little stage scenes. Right now, our stage looks like a giant graveyard. And I've been able to bring that this time. We're not trying to make our stage look better. I think we're better as a band. Every year, we're getting better. We constantly play, and if you're not getting better then you're just not a good band. Every time we come back, our confidence level is up a little more and I think we know our craft a little more.”
His is not a band that are strangers to the road. As mentioned, this will be the Wednesday 13 band's fourth Australian tour since 2010 – including two last year – but in spite of the amount of touring they have already done, there are still places that Wednesday still has to get to.
“South America is on my play plan and has been for a while,” he says. “I have fans on my Twitter and my Facebook that write, every day, 'Come to Brazil! Come to Brazil!' And I can't really explain on the 112 characters that you have on Twitter, why I can't come there. I would be there in a heartbeat. But there's no promoters that have offered us anything financial yet to do it. Not that we would need a whole lot to do that, but we're just onto out fans to start spreading the word there and tell promoters to start looking into us.”
Last year, he got to visit the world's largest country for the first time, and he can't wait to return.
“I had no idea what it would be like in Russia,” he says. “We were like the Goth Beatles there! It was insane. So, South America's been on my list for years. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I can get down there next year. That's my goal. To be there this time next year.”
As it is for most modern artists, a big part of Wednesday 13's global reach comes down to the Internet and social media. Like many of them too, Wednesday fully embraces it. While he concedes that there is now less of an air of mystique around artists – the days are long gone where a band like Kiss could conceal their identity for years, for example – it's still up to them to chose what and how much of themselves they can reveal. And it allows fans and bands to interact in ways that simply didn't even exist when he was a fan himself.
“It's one of the best things for me,” he says. “When I was a kid, I couldn't tweet Alice Cooper a message. I had to write him a letter and get my dad to buy me a stamp, and maybe one day he'd read it. Now you can actually get online and do it. My fans can do the same. They can write me - I don't respond to everybody - but I do sometimes. There's just so much good out of Twitter and Facebook. We wouldn't be able to do what we do without those two things.”
He's also been using his online presence to sell original paintings, a hobby that helps keep him grounded during the long periods of down time while out on tour.
“I've just been doing paintings and drawings of old 70s Halloween art and things that you used to see in stores and the back of magazines and stuff like that. This summer I actually started painting some of this stuff and putting it online and I've actually been selling a lot of it to my fans. On tour I sell paintings at my merch desk. It gets me out of staring at the wall sometimes. When you're on tour you sit around all day to play for an hour and a half. So you're going to get into crazy, devious things, so I thought I would start painting before I start holding up convenience stores and robbing people.”
There's unlikely to be any more Murderdolls excursions, however. Wednesday has checked out former bandmate Joey Jordison's new group Scar the Martyr and seems to enjoy it.
“I'm a big fan of his drumming and always have been and I wish him luck with it”, he says.
When asked about the likelihood of another colloboration with Jordison, however, he is reticent.
“I haven't spoken to Joey in almost two and a half years,” he says, sounding almost sad. “The communication lines have been closed for quite some time and I'm not given to why or anything. But it's the same as last time, you know. We didn't talk for years and it took us eight years to get back in the studio. It's very rock n roll. It's very dysfunctional and that band has played with dysfunction from the very beginning to the last part, on all sides. So if it happens again... I didn't expect it to happen the last time I did it, so I'm just going to leave it up to fate.”
It does give him more time to concentrate on Wednesday 13 though, and they are about to be here at their favourite time of year.
“It's like Halloween all year round for us on stage, because of what we do, says Wednesday 13. “But on Halloween night itself, there's always just an incredible vibe that you can't ignore. It's the best time there can be to see our band.”
Brian is Loud's editor. He also does a radio show on Wednesday nights on 89.1fm and occasionally contributes to RockYourLife.gr.
Wednesday 13 is touring this coming week with Witchgrinder:
30/10: HiFi Bar, Brisbane QLD
31/10: Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
1/11: Billboard the Venue, Melbourne VIC