Horror punk shreds metal


Former Murderdolls frontman solos as Wednesday 13

Wednesday 13, Vains of Jenna, Only Flesh

Sunday, Jan. 14, 8 p.m.

The Ugly Monkey

Tickets: $10

Barricading himself in his bedroom as a teen-ager in Charlotte, N.C., with a guitar and dreams of becoming a rock star after high school, Joseph “Wednesday 13” Poole made almost everything work. “It didn’t quite happen like that,” he says. “I had to work my ass off. I went through band members ’til I was the only guy standing. Then I got my break to do it [music] full time.”

Since his days fronting Maniac Spider Trash in 1992, Poole has recorded punk rock and metal with bands that fans now dub as “horror punk.” “I never considered myself that,” he says. “I just make music the way I want to make it.” For him, it comes easily. Poole, the former Murderdolls frontman who has shared the stage with talent such as Slipknot’s drummer Joey Jordison, wrote and recorded his second album under the solo moniker Wednesday 13 in about two weeks. His new self-produced album, Fang Bang, released recently on Rykodisc, features Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath) as track mixer.

Stepping away from his previous all-horror-themed songs, Fang Bang contains simpler, more personal effigies and social observances like the time Poole saw a family arguing at a grocery store.

Though focusing inward now, his horror days aren’t all gone.

A few weeks ago, Poole shot the Weirdo A-Go-Go DVD in Phoenix, Ariz. (set for release in spring 2007), during which he mimics actress Elvira by hosting bizarre clips of B-horror movies and skits with puppets. “It’s Sesame Street meets Nightmare on Elm Street,” he says.

The project emerged after Wednesday 13 finished a second tour with Alice Cooper in October 2006, during which time Poole relished getting the opportunity to join the legendary shock-rocker for a pizza dinner.

A growing legend in his own right, Poole and his music have gained popularity in the U.K. market more than in the United States. Releasing two versions of Little Box of Horrors last spring by another one of his notable bands, the Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, he had different artwork and extra tracks added to the U.K. versus the U.S. version. “We’ve developed a big audience over there,” Poole says. “In America, it’s kind of scattered. I don’t have a typical fan. The cool thing about my fan base is it’s a cult/underground thing — people in their early 20s to 40s. We’ll get kids who are at a show at 9 a.m. with tons of makeup on, and we’ll get the normal-looking guy who has every one of our releases.”

Poole says he hopes fans appreciate the morbid sense of humor in his lyrics (i.e. “Buried By Christmas,” “Elect Death for President”). He admits they seem to be catching on. “Nobody writes letters anymore,” he says. “I get my fan mail through MySpace.” After a six-week tour stint, he’s been known to return home to find 3,000 such messages. Sometimes he attempts to answer a few.

At Wednesday 13 shows, long-term fans will hear songs from throughout his career. Though billing himself as a solo performer, Poole’s live shows always include a balls-to-the-wall backing band, “for more of a rock show,” he says.

Joining Wednesday 13 this Sunday at The Ugly Monkey are Columbus, Ohio’s flesh-pulling, tattooed metal rockers Only Flesh and Sweden’s Vains of Jenna, who released Lit Up/Let Down, the first album on skateboarder/Jackass all-star Bam Margera’s label, Filthy Note.