The world of horror punk would not be the same without the dark and twisted charm of Wednesday 13, a North American band that has been haunting the music scene for decades. Led by the enigmatic frontman, Joseph Poole, better known by his stage name Wednesday 13, the band has carved out a unique niche in the punk rock universe.
Emerging in 2004 after Joseph Poole’s former ensemble, Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, disbanded, Wednesday 13 set out on a distinctive journey in the realm of horror punk. With a focus on more melodic and approachable tunes, the band drew influence from iconic acts such as Alice Cooper, The Misfits, and KISS. As a result, Wednesday 13 rapidly attracted a dedicated fan base through their memorable choruses, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and dramatic stage presence.
Throughout its history, the group has experienced numerous shifts in its roster. As the driving force behind the project, Wednesday 13 remains the sole constant member. Presently, the ensemble features Roman Surman on guitar, Jack Tankersley handling bass duties, Kyle Castronovo on drums, and Troy Doebbler playing guitar. The individual contributions of each member serve to enrich the band’s hallmark style, generating an ongoing blend of horror punk, glam rock, and heavy metal elements.
‘Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying, and the Dead,’ released on April 12th, 2005, by Roadrunner Records, is the debut album from Wednesday 13. This record marked the beginning of their horror punk journey, characterized by catchy tunes and a tongue-in-cheek approach. The album’s themes center around zombies, murder, and the macabre, while the music’s upbeat energy contrasts sharply with the dark subject matter. This intriguing juxtaposition invites listeners to reflect on the line between humor and horror.
In their second album, ‘Fang Bang,’ released on August 29th, 2006, by Rykodisc, Wednesday 13 delved deeper into their punk roots. The songs are more concise, rapid, and display a raw, unrefined energy. Although the recurring themes of death, the supernatural, and dark humor persist, the overall tone shifts from campy to aggressive. This record demonstrates the band’s eagerness to experiment with their sound while remaining faithful to their horror punk origins.
‘Skeletons,’ released on April 29th, 2008, by DR2 Records, signifies a substantial shift from Wednesday 13’s earlier work in terms of both music and themes. The album delves into darker, more introspective subjects, probing personal demons and self-reflection. With more intricate instrumentation and polished production, this release showcases the band’s maturation as artists and their capacity to address a broader spectrum of topics.
‘Calling All Corpses,’ released on October 11th, 2011, by Wednesday 13 LLC, is another captivating album from Wednesday 13. The record maintains the horror punk essence but introduces a touch of goth rock, diversifying the band’s sonic landscape. The lyrics explore macabre topics like undead creatures and gruesome murders, while the music exhibits a more polished and melodic approach. This album highlights Wednesday 13’s versatility and continued evolution as artists.
‘The Dixie Dead,’ released on February 19th, 2013, by Wednesday 13 LLC, showcases Wednesday 13’s signature horror punk sound while introducing elements of Southern rock. The album’s themes continue to revolve around the macabre, with sinister stories and dark imagery, but the added Southern flair brings a fresh dimension to the band’s repertoire. ‘The Dixie Dead’ reflects Wednesday 13’s commitment to experimentation and their ability to adapt and evolve within their chosen genre.
‘Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and Plague,’ released on January 12th, 2015, by Wednesday 13 LLC, sees Wednesday 13 venturing into new territory with a concept album. The record’s narrative revolves around extraterrestrial horrors and cosmic terror, expanding their horror punk themes into the realm of science fiction. With a more atmospheric sound and a heightened focus on storytelling, this release demonstrates the band’s ambition and their continued ability to push boundaries within their genre.
‘Condolences,’ released on June 2nd, 2017, by Nuclear Blast Records, demonstrates Wednesday 13’s newfound maturity and sophistication in their songwriting. The album retains the band’s horror punk aesthetic while incorporating heavy metal elements, resulting in a more expansive sound. The lyrics probe further into the human psyche, examining themes like loss, grief, and the inescapability of death.
‘Necrophaze,’ released on September 27th, 2019, by Nuclear Blast Records, presents Wednesday 13 at their most ambitious, combining their horror punk roots with elements of electronic and industrial music. The album’s themes delve into a darker, more sinister realm of horror, exploring the depths of fear and the macabre. The experimental fusion of musical styles allows the band to push their creative boundaries, resulting in a unique and thrilling listening experience that reinforces their status as genre innovators.
‘Horrifier,’ Wednesday 13’s ninth full-length album, released by Nuclear Blast Records on October 7th, 2022, kicks off with the eerie introductory track ‘Severed’ before diving into one of the band’s heaviest songs ever recorded, ‘Insides Out.’ This album showcases a diverse range of styles, from aggressive, industrial-edged tracks like ‘Exhume and Devour’ to the pure horror punk spirit of ‘Good Day to Be a Bad Guy.’
The John Carpenter’s Halloween-inspired anthem ‘Return to Haddonfield’ and the mosh-ready title track ‘Horrifier’ add to the album’s intensity. Southern-fried metal-tinged ‘Hell Is Coming’ demonstrates the band’s stylistic versatility, while the heartfelt closing track ‘The Other Side’ pays tribute to the loss of Wednesday 13’s mother and former Murderdolls bandmate Joey Jordison.
Produced and recorded by Wednesday 13, mixed and mastered by Brent Clawson, and featuring stunning album artwork by Jonny Bush, ‘Horrifier’ is a dynamic journey into the twenty-year career-spanning sound of the band. The album revitalizes with intensely fun horror punk energy and a gruesome metallic attitude, offering something for every listener to latch onto.
Across their comprehensive body of work, Wednesday 13 has persistently challenged the limits of horror punk by incorporating diverse styles and motifs while staying loyal to their eerie origins. The band’s music encourages audiences to examine the more sinister facets of humanity and civilization, frequently utilizing wit and parody as vehicles for broaching complex topics.
With ongoing music production and live performances, Wednesday 13’s impact within the horror punk realm is set to persist as a crucial and inspiring presence. Their eagerness to adapt and embrace challenges guarantees a continually refreshing and captivating sound, while their commitment to both their art and supporters ensures lasting loyalty. In the dynamic musical landscape, Wednesday 13 epitomizes the strength of innovation, tenacity, and the unyielding allure of the terrifying.
In an exciting development, the Duke of Spook, Wednesday 13, has unveiled plans for a United States of America tour celebrating twenty-one years of his former group, the esteemed glam punk legends, Murderdolls. The tour will feature Wednesday 13 and his current ensemble, including ex-Murderdolls members Roman Surman and Jack Tankersley, performing an entire set of Murderdolls hits.
The lineup will encompass tracks from the band’s acclaimed 2002 debut, ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls,’ and their 2010 follow-up, ‘Women and Children Last,’ which earned them the Revolver Golden Gods ‘Comeback Of The Year’ accolade.
Undeniably committed to the horror punk genre, Wednesday 13 has established themselves as pivotal figures within the scene. Their passion for touring and crafting new music ensures a lasting impact on the macabre side of punk rock. For those seeking a foray into the shadowy depths of this subgenre, Wednesday 13 provides the perfect getaway.