Latest release: Women and Children Last (Roadrunner)Website: www.murderdollsband.com
Following an eight-year gap between releases, Murderdolls have just unleashed their new album Women and Children Last. Brendan Crabb got frontman Wednesday 13 on the phone the day prior to heading to Des Moines, Iowa for rehearsals to discuss the new album, his reasoning for collaborating with Joey Jordison again, their touring plans, his thoughts on the current incarnation of Kiss and more.
Q: I was reading an interview with Joey recently and he said that while there had been a little ill feeling between the two of you over the band going on hiatus several years ago, there was a phone conversation between the two of you that kick-started Murderdolls again. Can you fill us in on what happened there?
A: Yeah, Joey and I had been texting and talking to each other for years about doing this and he just called me up. I was on tour with one of my projects at the time and it was like seven in the morning and I looked over and my phone was ringing. I was about to go to sleep and it was like, “Joey Jordison calling”. I was like, “he never calls me, why is he calling me at seven in the morning?”(laughs) I picked up the phone and was like “Hello?” I thought I was dreaming or drunk or both. He was like, “Hey man, I want to do a new Murderdolls record”. I said, “Fine then motherfucker, let’s do it”. That’s pretty much how it started and then we just started talking every day and getting ideas together and just that’s pretty much how it all started.
Q: He also commented that he considered Women and Children Last to be the first “proper” Murderdolls album. Can you elaborate on this perhaps?
A: Yeah, it’s not that we’re not proud of the first record or say it’s not a part of our history. We love that first album, we still play all the songs off of it, it’s going to be a part of the live show. It’s just for us, it was a thing where we… This is the first album that we actually wrote songs, whereas the first album we just basically took a combination of my old band his old band and smashed it together. That’s the huge difference right there. So for us, it’s the first real record, or the first real record of songs that we wrote between us that are brand new and people haven’t heard before. With the first album, if you lived in Des Moines or lived in North Carolina, you saw my band or you saw his band play some of those songs live and it wasn’t as fresh. It especially wasn’t as fresh to us, because we played those songs for so many years. By the time they came out on CD, I’d been playing those songs for seven years. So that’s why I’m excited about coming out with a new record and getting to play brand new songs on a brand new tour.
Q: In that other respects do you feel this album is a step up from your debut?
A: I don’t like to use the word mature or grown up or anything, so I won’t. But I just think this time and place for Murderdolls is just (a) way more focused monster this time. We kept the same ingredients that fuelled the first album and the idea of the band, but we just took it up to the level where we are right now. When that first record came out, Joey and I were 25, 26 years old and here we are now, 34-35 years old, (and) a lot of things have changed. So I just feel like this is just more of where we are in our heads right now, but I still think it’s something that the fans are going to relate to, I think our fan base…. We’ve always had a very big (age) range in our fan base. We have a lot of young fans, but I think this time we’re going to capture a lot of young fans as well as older fans because they can relate to it.
Q: How quickly did the songwriting chemistry with Joey come together when writing the new album?
A: It was immediate, it was sincere and it was honest. You can’t fake a songwriting process with someone. If you’re sitting with someone in a room and you guys are playing a riff and someone’s singing along to it or playing a drumbeat to it, it instantly clicks. But when you’re in a room with someone, you’re playing something and they’re just not paying attention or whatever I’ve not had that happen with me before, but Joey and I, we just instantly connect on this level that I’ve never connected with before. We can finish each other’s sentences, we can go into the studio and I was about to track a vocal part. He was about to stop me and tell me to tell me to do something different vocally and I did it anyway. He was like, “Dude, I was about to tell you to do that, but you read my mind”. We have a really unique writing relationship, so when it comes to writing songs for us, that’s easy. For us, you’ve got to cut us off at some point; we need someone to tell us to stop creating new music (laughs), because once we get together we get so creative together and keep making different stuff.
Q: The band has often been described as a fusion of Mötley Crüe and The Misfits, which I’d say is rather accurate. Was it still the same bands that inspired you when writing and recording this album?
A: I think when Murderdolls when did our first record I didn’t really listen to anything other than glam rock and certain Sunset Strip bands or things like that. But I was really close-minded at the time and didn’t really listen to a lot of different music. Over the time that Murderdolls has taken a hiatus, I’ve listened to everything. Now I’m a huge Slayer fan, I listen to a lot of black metal, I listen to a lot of just… everything. I listen to a lot of outlaw country music. Music is everything and I’ve just kind of opened up my head to doing and embracing other things and I think that’s grown a lot more in me and the songs too. So I feel this record… It has a lot of lot of different sounds, it’s up and down, it’s here, it’s there. It’s not one-sided. So I think everyone that’s with this record – new or old – is going to get something that they like out of it, because the record’s so diverse.
Q: On another topic, how are preparations for the tour coming along?
A: As far as rehearsals and things go, this is our first real tour in seven years and I’m going back to Iowa for the first time since I recorded the first record with Joey, so it’s going to kind of be a really cool thing to actually go back and rehearse there. We’re doing a warm-up show before we go to Europe and then we do a bunch of gigs with Guns N Roses, we do Ozzfest, then we come back to America and do the Alice Cooper/Rob Zombie tour. So I’m stoked man, everyone is super excited. I talked to Joey today and we’re both saying, “Oh man, we gotta do this, we gotta do this”. He’s super excited, I’m super excited to get out and let people hear this record and see the new version of Murderdolls.
Q: Speaking of the ‘new’ Murderdolls, I understand that Joey and yourself are the only members still remaining from the first album. Can you tell us a little about the new incarnation of the band?
A: Not to take anything away from our old guys that we had in the past, it was just a lot of time has passed and a lot of people have moved on and gone to different places and we’ve moved on as people. We just needed fresh blood, to bring in people like that we used to be around all the time. So when it came time to put the new lineup together, we had a couple of guys in mind, so we ended up with the new Murderdolls lineup. Right now it’s Joey and I and we have Racci Shay on drums, Roman Surman on guitar and Jack Tankersley on bass. These guys have played with me in various projects and things over the years, but they’re virtually kind of unknown guys, but they’re some of the best players I’ve ever played with. When Joey and I combine with these guys, I think we’ve created this really, really awesome monster.
Q: You mentioned having a number of other projects that you’re involved with, but for how long do you foresee Murderdolls being the main priority?
A: Right now Murderdolls is priority for me and Joey, period. The label is really behind the record, we put a lot of work into this record and Joey and I are talking about touring for a year-and-a-half, two years or as long as we got to on this record. Then I’m sure we’ll take a small break or whatever, but there will be no eight-year hiatus in between records anymore. As far as me even thinking about what I’m going to do after this is done… I have no clue what’s going on, the projects are just projects I did… I never intended to be a solo guy, ever. I just happened to do it when I realized Murderdolls weren’t going to be touring for a few years and I didn’t want to go back and work at the local Kmart (laughs).
Q: (Laughs) Fair enough. Now, you’ve toured here previously with both Murderdolls and your solo band, but when will we see Murderdolls in Australia again?
A: I believe it’s early next year, we’re looking into doing some stuff right now. I’m not allowed to say what it is, but I would say (in) January/February, look for us and maybe another band as well. Can’t say what we’re doing, but I believe there’s talk of us coming there in the first of the year. My last time coming to Australia with my solo band was just amazing and I’ve seen the potential of what that could do, but with the capacity of what Murderdolls brings to the table and everything’ I have no idea what’s going to happen once we come back there, but I felt something really strong when I was there and it just seems like the fans are ready and there’s a whole new army of fans just waiting out there for us. I think we’re so many people’s favourite new band, they just don’t know it yet (laughs). There are certain things that we need to get out and things we want to get off our chests, but for the most part we’re a laid-back… We believe in the whole spirit of rock n roll – it’s just be dumb, have fun. That’s still a part of our chemistry and how we make things work; there are a lot of people that take themselves so serious. You see us on-stage and if we’re smiling on-stage and it looks like we’re having a good time, then we are. But if you look at us and we’re completely demented and thinking about something outside of the actual room we’re playing in, we probably are. What you see is what you get with us – we don’t try to fake anything and we bring to the table what we talk about. We believe what we say in interviews – we don’t put on fake interview voices or say we’re this, or we’re that. We’re the Murderdolls – we do what we do and that’s what it is.
Q: On a more personal note, what’s on Wednesday 13’s iPOD at the moment?
A: (Pauses) Honestly, I’ve been listening to a lot of David Allan Coe, who is an outlaw country guy who just keeps coming on my iPOD a lot. I’ve been listening to that and Satyricon a lot. I don’t know if you can balance those two (laughs), it just kind of makes sense in my head.
Q: Many long-time fans have been critical of Satyricon’s recent direction – what’s your take on that?
A: I think the last album is amazing. It’s a band that I wasn’t turned on to until recently actually and I just went back and got their whole back catalogue and I listen to it all the time. I think it’s great, I’ll probably listen to it and probably once this interview’s over with, I’ll throw on a Satyricon CD.
Q: Without trying to out you on the spot too much, if you had to give everyone reading this interview three albums they must listen to, what would they be and why?
A: Three records? I would say probably a good start would be Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death. It’s definitely a staple for me as far as getting into the whole dark side of theatrics and horror rock or what I consider to be shock rock. That record has a big hit of his, ‘I’m Eighteen’, but it also has songs like ‘Black Juju’ and ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’, so it’s just, that was just a really dark thing and I remember when I heard that the first time I was like, “Holy shit, I’ve never heard anything this dark and spooky”. Also (David Bowie’s) Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It’s still one of my all-time favourites and I don’t know what it is, it’s just such a diverse record. It’s happy, it’s sad, it’s dark; to me that was glam rock. Then also Kiss’ Rock and Roll Over, that’s still one of my favourite records from when Kiss was in their prime. Those are three records for me that just kind of shaped me wanting to be in a band and then over the years I’ve just got into other things. I don’t know what it is – I like to think that I’m a product of a lot of different things. I’ve just kind of soaked in certain things I like from every genre of music and what stood out is what comes out.
Q: How do you view the current lineup of Kiss, with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer in place of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss respectively, and also wearing their make-up designs?
A: Oh you know, I’m friends with Eric Singer and I know him from Alice Cooper and it’s one of those things. I don’t like to badmouth Kiss and go, “Oh, it’s not the same”. It is not the same without Peter or Ace… I get it. I’m a fan, I still buy the merchandise, I still have all of the action figures, I’ve got it all. But you know, there’s something about the way I view Kiss, I just view them in a different way then I do other bands. Kiss to me is almost become like cartoon characters; they’re like Spiderman, Batman and when you hear that the new Batman’s coming out and this guy is playing this guy this time and it’s not this guy, you go, “Okay, I’ll check it out’. You watch it and it’s great. I kind of view Kiss as a movie like that. There’s just the characters, they realize it – you hear Gene and Paul talk about (how) someone’s going to replace them one day, you know? And they probably will. Who knows, it’ll be what it is, but Kiss is Kiss to me – when I see Kiss, I don’t look at the Kiss now, when I still see that logo and I see that make-up. I think about when I was a little kid when I saw them for the first time and I just zone into it. That’s my childhood for me.
Q: Great stuff. Final question – any famous last words?
A: I always just want to say thanks our fans and we can’t do it without you. The fans are the reason that we’re here and why we make music and we can’t wait for everyone to hear this new record.