Wednesday 13 is the stage name of Joseph Poole, the former Murderdolls' front man whose previous bands include Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, Gunfire 76 and Bourbon Crow. He began his musical career in 1992 playing guitar in the band Mizery which became Psycho Opera. Poole joined Murderdolls at the request of Slipknot's Joey Jordison, who after a successful run and one studio album, ‘Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls’, disbanded in 2004. They reformed for a second and final album, 'Women and Children Last', in 2010 before quitting for good in 2011.

Since touring in the UK for the first time in 2004,Wednesday 13 as a solo artist has released a number of albums, which extend from his first, 'Transylvania 90210: Songs Of Death, Dying and the Dead (2005), up to his sixth, ‘Monsters of the Universe: Come Out And Plague', which was released in January this year. Described by Wednesday as “a concept album”, it's a slight departure from the horror/punk sound that he has been developing over the years, embracing glam rock, punk, thrash and metal.

We are backstage in the dressing room at the Club Academy in Manchester with Wednesday, who pulls up a plastic chair for the interview. A few of the fans have been having a meet and greet with him beforehand, which was an extra that they could pay for. He's sans make-up and I get the impression that he really wants to talk. Like most artists who hide behind a persona I'm interested in how he wants to be addressed.

W13: Wednesday – It’s my name, I don't know why people want to call me Joe, but it started happening in 2011, and it just became a thing and it started, and I'm like, “What the fuck?” That's why I have enough rock bands so they don't have to use my real name. It makes it sound more like a serial killer I guess. 'The Zodiac Killer' aka Joseph Poole!.

PB: 'How's the tour going?, You've done Sheffield, Reading Exeter, Southampton. You've been zig zagging across the country. How's it been so far?

W13: It has been amazing. My fans here are amazing, loyal and just dedicated to what I do. No matter what I do they give it a chance, and this new record was definitely in another direction, and they are supporting it, and into it as much and probably even more so than the last record. It’s just been a good reaction. For me, the record is still brand new. To come over here and play the new stuff and get that reaction is great as I kind of get to test it out. This is my dedicated fan base here. They let me know if I suck or not.

PB: Did you test the record with any gigs in the US first?

W13: What we did was four weeks in America first before we came over here and we had the same thing, the same reaction. We took all last year off with the band .and we didn't play until January this year for the first time the recording stuff we did in September. It was great to go back on tour, and in the States from the fans the reaction has been amazing. We took last year off and we changed our sound. We added our keyboardist to the band, Kyle.

Wednesday 13’s band, including new keyboardist Kyle Castronovo who joined the line-up in January after the album was recorded, are donning their make-up behind us...

PB: How is Kyle working out? I know he's listening in the background!

W13: Man, it’s been great. It’s taken the band to another level because it has got an atmosphere to it now. He adds the keyboards into it, so in between songs there's no dead space – you know “How you guys doing? Alright!, You ready to party yet? Me too, Okay, this next song's called... ” Now it has got a vibe to it, I don't talk to the audience, I've stopped calling them “motherfuckers”, but in a nice way, like “Hey buddy”, but if I used to call you “motherfucker” that's a good thing sometimes.

PB: Did you write any of the songs with the keyboards in mind with Kyle being a member of the band now?

W13: When we did the record there were definitely a lot of keyboards on it, and that was me doing it. I was like “Did I play it? Yes, yes.” Me and Roman (Surman, guitar –Ed) we kind of worked on it like this. He did one end and I did the other!' (Wednesday simulates each of them playing from different ends of the piano!).

'Like we did it before, but on this record I really worked on the keyboard stuff before we got there to the studio). But it was something that I knew was going to be missing live, and when the opportunity came up to get Kyle on board to do it I was like, “Fuck it. Let's take it to the next level,” and that's my only regret about the last record, I wish he could have been on it and do what he's doing now because what he's done with the songs now it’s at another level. I mean I'm not disappointed with the record at all, but that would be my one thing, that if I could go back and change anything it would be that.

PB: For the first time in your music there is with ‘Monsters’ a slow and atmospheric piece in ‘Bloodline 666’, which joins different pieces together What was the inspiration behind that?

W13: I just wanted to do something different. With that record you have to listen to it from beginning to end, you know? To get the vibe of what it is. I didn't do what a lot of bands do and go, “Oh, we're going to put our hit single second,” or it’s on first or whatever. One of my favourite songs is the very last song, ‘Monsters of the Universe’, and it had to be that way as that is how the concept story works and I had to have it that way.

We use 'Bloodline 666' as a live piece as well because I kind of morph into a monster throughout the show. So, there are costume changes and masks and things like that, so I get to bring that record to life. I knew that in my mind that I could take the tour and the live show to that spectacle as well.

PB: In 2014, you released you released an acoustic/unplugged album, ‘Undead Unplugged’, which featured some of your biggest hits. I was expecting that maybe tonight you would be doing some of that album and it would be a cosy little, intimate thing. But it's not. It’s the full-on show tonight. right?

W13: It is the full-on hellraiser set.

PB: Your side project Gunfire 76, now that was a different style of music. It was glam rock and wasn't horror. Are we to expect anything from that in the future?

W13: Yeah, I think so. That was something I got to do. It was short lived as the Murderdolls returned. I wasn't going to pass up that opportunity, but it was something I was really proud of. It was really cool, and it’s the other side of what I do. I mean I grew up on rock and roll and that kind of stuff.

I went on tour with the band Hanoi Rocks for two weeks, I did the farewell tour in Japan with them, and being a huge fan of them as a kid anyway and then being on tour with them I remember sitting on the side of the stage one night watching them and I was like, “Man, I would like to put something together that's like this,” so that was a big influence on me doing that, so, yeah ,that's sort of my glam rock.

PB: It was more like British glam wasn't it? More like Slade and the Sweet?

W13: I was a huge fan of the Sweet!

PB: You did a cover of one of their songs on a compilation album?

W13: Yes! 'Fox on the Run'.

PB: Bourbon Crow was a huge departure from the normal Wednesday 13 sound, and was described by many as 'Outlaw Country'. I listened to 'Alcohol is Awesome’, which is a great track. Will they be resurfacing again?

W13: It’s a drinking project! It’s me and another guy that sing the songs in that band and it’s a duo.. That was how it was on the record, but live we have other guys playing the extra instruments.

PB: You sing in a completely different way?

W13: Yeah, I sing in the kind of way I'm talking to you. It’s cool. I mean we did that ten years ago, and it’s cool how it’s caught on, like how many people all over the world go, “Oh, Bourbon Crow is awesome, I haven't heard anything like that.”. It’s another side again to what I do and my partner in that band, Rayen Belchere, he lives up the street from me.

I just moved out to LA. so we've talked about doing some Bourbon Crow shows in between my tour. He lives literally up the street and there are live venues all down our street. So, you might see a Bourbon Crow drinking show in the next couple of months.

PB: With all these disparate sounds, how do your fans manage to stay so loyal? You have the Murderdolls, Wednesday 13, Gunfire 76 and Bourbon Crow. How do the fans keep up with you? Do you have this hardcore of fans that follow everything?

W13: Yes, and they buy anything and they like everything. That's what you will see in the audience tonight. You will see the biggest group of unique people. You'll see this kid who's maybe goth, you'll see a punk kid, guys wearing cowboy hats and kind of the punk redneck sort of thing. So, it’s just a mix. We're the melting pot for all these people who don't really fit in with society. I'm proud to be that guy does that, you know? That's what I set out to do. I wished when I was a kid that a band who would come through my town like that who I could look up to like that. There was never anybody, and it was like, “I should become that somebody.”

PB: One of your heroes, Alice Cooper, has followed a single genre right throughout his career. He had never really veered off in a different direction. You've done lots of different things, so is there something else on the horizon that we don't know about? A swing album or something?

W13: I’m not going to tackle any other genres like that, but that's the thing with Wednesday right now. There are no rules to what I do. I can experiment, almost like this record could have been a side project because it is so different. I knew it would be the safe way for me to do a concept album in case it didn't go so well. I've got a better reaction off this record than I have on the previous, and the reaction has been amazing.

PB: There was talk of you doing a film' The 'Dixie Dead', and I saw a trailer for it on YouTube. What happened to the film?

W13: It was something that I thought I was going to have time to do, and I realised how big a project it was going to be, and how much time would be taken off doing music to do it, plus how much money would be needed to do it, so it’s not happening. Plus the fact that I have never made a movie! So, I realised that if I try to do this it is going to come out shit and I can't do that because if I do a movie it is going to be like I do on my records - To take just as much care of it and be that much in to it.

PB: You've got a passion for the old ‘Munsters’, ‘The Addams Family’, the old Gothic horror stuff. If you were going to direct a horror film, could you describe what it would look like?

W13: I like weird. I think I would go the more 'The Shining' type of route, if that makes sense because I really like the eeriness of that movie – still to this day when I watch that movie I don't know what it is, but with the kid down the hallway, the slow motion blood coming out of the elevator, and at the very end she’s going down the hallway and there's a guy in the room with a suit and a bear or whatever it is it’s the weirdest stuff, and I like weird stuff these days. I would have to go in that weird direction.

PB: Has any movie really freaked you out that you'd never watch again such as perhaps the recent 'Paranormal Activity' films?

W13: No, actually, I don't know anything about any new horror films these days. I just watch the old stuff. Everything now, it doesn't really entertain me at all. No one is doing anything that is original any more.

PB: I think the last original one was possibly ‘The Blair Witch Project'.

W13: You know what? I thought that was a fucking awesome movie, I went to the theatre and saw it and I remember the very end of that movie when he goes in to the corner it gave me chills. I saw a documentary on the Sci-Fi channel, which showed what lead up to that so I knew all about it before going in to it. I thought it was so original and cool, and, yes, that was probably the last really cool movie I saw. I'm not saying there are not any good movies out there. It’s just that I haven't seen anything.

PB: How about 'Alien' and the HR Giger imagery in that film?

W13: That has become in the last few years my favourite thing, I watch it all the time and we just picked up a magazine yesterday, and it goes through all the ‘Alien’ films up to ‘Prometheus’, and I was really into that as well, I got into all that ‘Alien’ stuff. It’s so cool and I'm such a nerd in to all that stuff, ancient aliens. I got into conspiracy theories, I went into a rabbit hole, and I can't get out of it, and there is no end to it. Every day I find out weirder stuff. Now I don't have time to watch movies because I'm too busy on YouTube watching crazy ass conspiracy theory videos.

PB: Do you have any plans for an autobiography?

W13: Yeah, man! I would love to and I always go “saving that for the book.” I mean I could probably do five chapters just on my ex-drummer and just the stories he's done. He knows he's the most insane rock and roll dude I have ever met in my life. I used to think that Mötley Crüe's ' The Dirt’ was the craziest thing I have ever read. That book is like eggs and ham now! It’s nothing to me. I've seen everything beyond that. These guys behind me keep a diary, and we all put our memories together and go, “So, you really did that?”

PB: Have you read Ian Hunter’s book ‘Diary of a Rock and Roll Star’? I recommend that.

W13: No, I have not but I have a list of rock and roll books that I need to read but I can't get out of the conspiracy David Icke books. He's blown my mind on stuff.

PB: As a talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, what do you think of the current X-Factor output?

W13: Oh my God! I know when I started out as a kid there were no fucking shows like that. If you wanted to be in a band, you got in the fucking garage with a friend, and you played music and you learned how to play music, and you didn't go, “Oh, I want a fucking hand out.” Fuck those guys, I mean I'm not saying that those guys aren’t talented when they go on that show and sing or whatever but it is an easy way out. “I want to get famous”. Well, fucking earn it! It’s just fake music to me and I don't really pay attention to it. It gets me all angry. I hate it!

PB: What did you think about the Jay-Z, Beyonce, Beck debacle at the Grammys?

W13: Again, Beck, a super talented guy deserves that and that guy (Jay Z), is not even human to me. He's just a moron. He just wants face time and the cameras on him. He's not even human to me. What do you guys say over here? He's rubbish?

PB: He performed at the Brit Awards and I only heard about a third of the track because of all the 'N' words in it being bleeped out.

W13: He's got to get his point across.

PB: What's your thing? Alice Cooper has golf. Have you got something that you're madly in to that we don't know about?

W13: Honestly, it’s the conspiracy theories. That’s what consumes my time, I'll go six months and I'm reading about finding artefacts on the Moon and Mars and I enjoy it. It’s cool and I like finding new books on that, so that's what I do in my spare time. I don't really have like a hobby or really anything like that. Honestly music is what I love to do when I am not doing that.

Taking last year off I thought was going to be a healthy thing for me, but all I did was sit at home and do this! I missed sitting in a room and being creative, and I missed that last year. This is all I know how to do, and it’s the only thing in my life and I'm good at.

PB: What is your favourite rock album ever?

W13: For me, I have two of my favourite records that I can listen to over and over again, The first is 'Love It To Death' by Alice Cooper, which is his first album on Warner Brothers. Then flash forward to the last five, six years I've got in to the band Killing Joke, and I would say that their 2003 self- titled album. I can listen to that record over and over and over again. These guys will tell you they are probably sick of fucking hearing it. I always put it on before we go on, and it puts me on another level.

PB: Do you believe in time travel?

W13: It’s a complicated subject, as you probably know. You know you can get almost close to the speed of light, and if you built a train track around the earth, a constant train that was going almost at the speed of light and over time it would start to get to the point where time would start to slow down, so if you were on that train for like an entire year you would get off that train and you would not have aged as much as the planet did. So, that is a sort of time travel and the easiest way to sort of explain it.'

'The thing I don't know about is time travelling into the past because I feel that would open a paradox, a person could shoot himself. That doesn't seem possible to me. It’s a funny idea for the movies but I don't think so.

PB: Finally, do you still like to say “Fuck”?

W13: I do! But not in front of my mother, I have never, ever, ever, ever, cursed in front of my parents. I accidentally said fuck one time, but I just don't do it. My parents have never been to one of my shows either, which is not a bad thing. My parents are just old-fashioned and they live in the country in North Carolina, and they don't get out to the city where I play. My mom would like the acoustic thing, I think she would enjoy that.'

Mel asked Wednesday whether he knew many Manchester bands such as the Buzzcocks, the Happy Mondays, the Charlatans or the Smiths, and it was quite clear that he hadn't really heard of them. He did, however, reveal that he had had dinner with Morrissey once!

W13: I didn't know who he was!

He didn't elaborate any further but I am left wondering quite how that evening would have gone!

Photographs by Melanie Smith

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