It’s been eight years since the release of Beyond The Valley of the Murderdolls. But after a long hiatus, Joey Jordison and Wednesday 13’s horror punk/metal project The Murderdolls is making a big return. While his bandmate pulls drumming duties for Rob Zombie during the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Fest this summer, Wednesday is tagging along on the tour to push the band’s sophomore album Women & Children Last. He sat down with Metal Insider to discuss the process leading up to the new album, getting to work with Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars and what the future has in store for the Murderdolls, including a Fall tour with Zombie and Alice Cooper.
So the Murderdolls are back! After such a long period of time being on hiatus, what brought this project back into existance?
It’s a conversation that’s been going on for years. When the band went on hiatus in 2003, the idea was that we would record in six or eight months again and it just didn’t happen. Joey [Jordison] did Slipknot and I started doing my solo stuff. Then I did another solo record and he did another Slipknot record. Then he goes on tour with Korn, Ministry and Satyricon, and I did two country albums in the process. It’s been eight years, but we’ve been busy and consumed with everything. So it might feel like a long time, but maybe not as long for us because we’ve been so fucking busy. But about a year ago the conversation started getting more serious about doing a new Muderdolls record again, and Joey just called me out of the blue one morning and was like “I’m ready to do this if you are,” and I was like “Let’s do it!” We’ve been passing songs back and forth for eight years now. It wasn’t finished songs. It was like ideas and riffs and things here and there, but we had over 50 or 60 song ideas. When we got into the studio, we had 30 that we wanted to do, and we figured we can’t do 30. So we started chopping on them and chopping down and chopping down, and then we got down to 19 tracks and wrote two songs in the studio.
So this wasn’t a one night process then.
No no no! It was eight years worth of ideas and it was 30 days in the studio. We knocked out 19 songs, and there’s 15 on the record when it comes out. I know a lot of bands don’t put out that many songs on a record anymore because you don’t get paid for it, but we wanted to do it for our fans and just be like “Here’s a little something extra. We’ve been gone for a while so here’re 15 songs,” and in the deluxe edition you get all 18 or 19, I can’t remember what it is.
Were you kind of scared when Joey revealed that he was going to be touring and doing stuff with Rob Zombie?
No. He called me and told me right when we decided we were doing it. When I first heard about it I was like ‘Ok…’ But nah, I wasn’t worried at all and I’ve realized that it’s been a big help because I’m riding with Zombie on this tour right now doing press. So it works out. And then in the Fall we’re doing the Cooper/Zombie tour with the Murderdolls.
Wait, can you confirm that? [It had been rumored that Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie were going to tour together once again this Fall, with The Murderdolls joining them, but nothing had officially been confirmed]
Joey did the other day in an interview, so I guess I can.
Cool! Well let’s talk about the touring plan then.
Our tour starts September 2. I just found out today. So the record comes out on August 31. We’ll be overseas at that point. I think the tour starts in Austria, and we work our way through Europe and then we do Ozzfest in the U.K. on September 18 and then we come back for rehearsals for the ‘Blabbermouth’ tour (laughing). Yeah let’s just call that the ‘Blabbermouth’ tour.
Actually, you mentioned about playing at the Ozzfest U.K. You must be excited about that.
Oh man, who wouldn’t be?! That’s our first show in the U.K. in seven years, and we’re on right before Korn and Ozzy. So to show that the band has maintained that element and the cult kind of status over the years, that’s pretty impressive, and being able to play a show with Ozzy Osbourne doesn’t suck (laughing).
You mentioned about how you’re just doing the rounds of press while you’re following Zombie on Mayhem Fest. Has it been kind of relaxing for you to just do press and not actually perform? Or are you kind of wishing that you were onstage at the moment?
Yeah, I mean it’s starting to get to that point of the tour where everything is routine every day. You know when you get up. You know when stuff is happening. It is weird to be on tour every day and not be performing, but at the same time it’s pretty awesome to be able to go on a tour like this, do press all day and promote your band, and by the time this is all said and done when this tour ends on August 14 I’ve completed ten weeks of press from Paris to Alabama. Before this tour started we were two and a half weeks in Europe doing non-stop, twelve hour interviews a day and photo shoots. So it’s been great. We’re setting this record up so good, and we have so many cool ideas. No one has been really telling us no, which is amazing. Labels are usually going “No you can’t do that!” Everything we do that we think might piss them off, they’re into it. That’s a good sign.
Am I right to say that the new album was really just you and Joey writing and recording the album together? I know Mick Mars [guitarist] from Motley Crue appears on a few tracks, but was it really just you two creating the music?
It was actually, well I mean Joey and I wrote everything and that’s the way I will always see the band working. It will always be me and Joey, the core guys, that write everything. We put a new lineup together for this record. Actually our new guitarist, Roman Surman, was in the studio with us. He was basically our guitar tech, but he’s been a good friend of mine and Joey’s for years and ended up playing all over the record doing leads and joining the band. So he did play on it, but everything else Joey and I played, which is great. Between me and him we can play everything, which is really cool. I know a lot of people go “Oh it’s not cool! It’s not a band,” but if people only knew that half of your favorite records, your favorite guitar player or bass player probably didn’t even play on it. That’s the big rock n’ roll lie in the world. We’re just honest dude. We did it ourselves. We packaged the album covers, me and Joey. The video [for “My Dark Place Alone”] has the band in it, and we’ve got to have a band live. We put a really cool lineup together and everything is falling in place right now.
Was there any specific reason, besides convenience, for having a different lineup from the first album/shows?
Yeah, I mean it was a thing of, for me and Joey, it being eight years. I hate to use the word grown up or matured, but the fact is that it’s been eight years. I’m not 26 years old anymore, as I was when that record came out. We just evolved and it was a thing where we needed fresh blood. We needed new guys, guys who were on the same page as us and had the same vision as us. That’s why we wanted to get a new lineup.
Can you tell me a little bit about how it was like working with Mick Mars in the studio?
It was great! It wasn’t planned really either. We didn’t want to have any special guest on this record. We just wanted to have the Murderdolls come back and be the Murderdolls. We were hanging out having dinner. We had just finished tracking a song called “Blood Stained Valentine” which Mick plays on, and we had finished tracking everything except for lead guitar. So we come in, we’re having dinner and were just talking. I’m always the kind of guy who, I’ve got to be annoying to some guitar players because I hear solos in my head but I can’t do them that great. I can Johny Thunders a guitar solo. But I always like guitar solos that are memorable and you can walk around and whistle to them or hum them in your head. So I had the song in my head and I was just going ‘Nuh uuhh Nuhh,’ and just kind of humming, and I was like “You know honestly this almost has a Mick Mars kind of vibe.” I just kept hearing this sort of ‘Waaah wah’ and we’re talking back and forth, and this guy, we call him the ‘Mad Manager,’ who was seeing us at our house and heard us talking said “Well why don’t you just call up Mick and get him to play on it? He lives down the fucking street.” I was like ‘Well I don’t know him! You call him.’ He had worked with Motley Crue in the past, so he called up Mick and said “I’m hanging out with the Murderdolls,” and he was a fan of the band. So then he goes “Would you be interested in playing on two songs?” And he was there in two days. He came in, total pro.
For me the most amazing thing was seeing him walk in with four inch platform boots on and track in the boots! I’ve never seen anybody do this: he had a whammy pedal and a wah pedal, and he was working them simultaneously at the same time kind of like a double bass drum thing, it’s so amazing to see him work. He’s just so into the tremolo stuff and he can just create all these weird sounds. He was telling me how much he loves Pro Tools, and he’ll just sit and record these things and chop them up back and forth and that kind of stuff. It was just really cool to sit there and just watch him work. I remember he was sitting as close as you and I are, and he’s just playing the guitar and I remember looking over at one point and looking back and went ‘holy shit!’
In ‘84 or ’85, my brother dragged me into his room and put Shout At The Devil on vinyl, turned off the lights and lit a candle and it scared the shit out of me! And now this guy is playing guitar for a song me and Joey wrote. It was pretty surreal and was great, man. He’s such a underrated guitarist. We consider Mick to be like a villain of rock n’ roll. I don’t think anyone has ever given that guy his due. So we felt pretty honored to have him on our record. MICK FUCKING MARS is all I can say! He’s the fucking man! He’s the reason I have black hair. He’s the ‘Cousin It’ of Motley Crue, and he was my favorite member of Motley Crue.
You were saying how you were scared the first time you heard Shout At The Devil, but it sounds like you were scared just watching him play with those boots on! (laughing)
Well no, it was interesting. Once he got in, he was nervous around us and we were nervous around him at first because you don’t know him. I can’t recall what it was that we instantly connected on but then it just all became like we were all in the same band working together. So it wasn’t like (in a nervous tone) ‘Oh Mick can you do this?’ It was just a band working together. It was just guys being cool and wasn’t about ‘Oh you’re Mick Mars!’ I mean like there was that one point where he’s working and I look over at him and go ‘Oh fuck! That’s Mick Mars! That kind of rules!’ (laughing).
Ive only gotten to hear the new song “My Dark Place Alone.” I hope you don’t mind me saying that it definitely sounds a bit heavier than the last record.
What made you guys decided to add a heavier sound to it? Not to say that the previous one was only a punk record, but it feels like that vibe is gone.
The thing is, people have to understand that the first Murderdolls album came out in 2002. I was 25, Joey was 26, and those songs that were on that first album were written when we were teenagers, 18-19 years old. So when it finally came out, we were 25-26. So that’s why that record had that punk rock, teenage angst kind of … that’s how it was. Flash forward now, it’s eight years later. We’re in our 30’s now and we’re not living with our parents’, we’re not sitting in our bedrooms, we’re not teenagers any more. We live out of suitcases and travel around the world. We have ups and downs.
There’s a lot of the old vibe there of Murderdolls, but the song “My Dark Place Alone” took on a heavier direction. It’s just because the aggression that we had in the studio, we had a lot of stuff that we just wanted to get off of our chest and it transferred into that heavy sound. It wasn’t like we had it planned out or anything. There’s probably one more song that’s as heavy as that. Then there’s a lot of fun, rock n’ roll stuff on the record. It would have been easily to come out and do the same stuff over. For us to come out and do that video and song, and we even left the fans guessing because we were covered in black. It’s like “Are they wearing makeup?” So we want to keep people guessing. It’s still the Murderdolls, but it’s a whole new invention of the monster. I can’t wait to take it out live. People aren’t ever going to figure us out on this record. I mean they’re going to love it, I hope, and we made the best possible record we could possibly done, but we have so many tricks up our sleeves. I can’t wait to get out and play.
So in addition to the ‘Blabbermouth’ tour as we’re calling it, are you guys going to be doing more touring after that? Because, correct me if I’m wrong, the first time you guys didn’t seem to get to do too much touring.
Oh yeah! Well we did only 17 shows total in the States and everything else was Europe. Our last tour was six weeks with Iron Maiden through Europe and then we did a co-headlining tour with Stone Sour in the U.K. for ten or twelve shows. That was the last time we had toured. But yeah, this time we’re trying to tell people, because they won’t expect a tour, who ask “Oh are you guys just going to do another year and then be gone for another eight years?” that it’s not like that. This is not a side project anymore. It’s a real band. It took on a real band vibe. Just the mentality between me and Joey, and what we want to achieve with this album and band this time, it’s not going away. I’m sure Joey is going to do other projects and I’m sure I will too, but it’s never going to be an eight year gap in between it or anything like that, and we’re going to tour a long time on this one, as long as we got a tour. I mean we’re here for a year and a half now then who knows how long we’re going to tour on it? But we’re going to tour on it until everybody knows who the fuck we are.
As great as it is that you guys are really doing a lot more serious touring, it’s a bit of a rough time to be doing so. Are you guys a bit afraid of how the current economic situation and lack of music sales (both with CDs and tours) will affect you?
Yeah, I mean the economy is shit now. It’s a weird time, but at the same time you can’t change it. We’re not going to going to go ‘Oh let’s stop making music until everything clears up.’ Everything’s changed. It’s a totally different world from what it was a year ago. It absolutely was different than it was eight years ago when the first album came out. People have iTunes now, which I support. I think that’s great because the artists get paid for that and you don’t have to go to the record store. You can just buy it, but for me I’m the old school fan where I want to buy the record, I want to look at it and read the lyrics as I hear each song. But that’s just the way I am on things like that. But yeah, it’s all about making a cool package tour. Going out and slugging it out on your own sometimes is tough, but who knows what the future holds with this? This record could be huge, it could flop, it could do whatever, but at least in my mind we did the best record that we possibly could and I’m super, super fucking proud of it.