Metal Edge October 2002

Metal Edge October 2002 • Murderdolls Interview
by Paul Gargano Photos by Annamaria Disanto

Equal parts punk rock, glam rock, heavy metal nightmare and beautician’s wet dream, there’s a new terror about to streak across the musical mainland. They’re not pretty, they’re not polite, and they’ll scare the crap out of your Nickelback loving neighbor. They’ll make little girls squeal with delight, and leave young boys painting their faces to scare their old man. You’ll stop and stare when they walk by, and you’ll feel a surge of adrenaline when they unleash their musical battle cry. They go by the name Murderdolls, and in paying homage to their past, they’ve got the hellfires on their side as they undo the frontal lobotomy that has stripped modern music of any fun, flavor and flare. It’s rock ‘n’ roll the way it was intended to be, as glamorously gruesome as it is dazzlingly dangerous, delivered with a Misfits-meets-Motely Crue mindset. If a band is the sum of their parts, Murderdolls are an algebraic abnormality set to music, a no-holds-barred nosedive into the seedy underbelly that sets real rockers apart from the radio-fed mainstream.

For founding guitarist Joey Jordison – whose full-time gig finds him drumming in Slipknot – Murderdolls have been more than seven years in the making, but it wasn’t until he met current Static-X guitarist Tripp Eisen that their present lineup fell into place. Surrounding themselves with unknown musicians whose looks were a perfect fit for the bands “Violent New York Dolls” visual and musical dynamic, the addition of frontman Wednesday, bassist Eric and drummer Ben Graves resulted in an outfit custom-made to turn heavy music on end. As tongue-in-cheek as they are metal-thrashing-mad, pissed-off punkers, the five-piece redefine dynamics in a day and age when hard rock is hardly worth watching. “It’s not just another record with depressing lyrics,” says Jordison, who’s unmasked on the band’s Beyond The Valley of the Murderdolls debut. So what is the Murderdolls mantra? “We’re about horror, sex and violence,” says Eisen. Metal Edge sat down with the two guitarists and their frontman for an exclusive look behind the band determined to incite the next rock ‘n’ roll revolution…

METAL EDGE: Murderdolls aren’t a new band, you actually started as The Rejects, right?
JOEY: There have a lot of changes over the years, and it’s been constantly evolving for the better. It was formed in ’95 by me and our ex-singer, but it didn’t get serious until we basically went into the studio in 2000 and did like 20 songs. At the same time, I had just been on tour with Tripp and talked to him about the band (Dope and Slipknot opened for Coal Chamber on the La Vida Loca Tour) I sent him the songs, and once he got them, he learned all the songs and brought a bunch of people into the band for a show. It got really serious once we brought Wednesday into the band on bass in October of last year, and he brought in a number of his own songs. That’s when everything took shape and we knew we had to book studio time and get this thing out. Actually, the first time Imet Wednesday was when he flew in to go into the studio – It was fucking weird, we were playing and his voice fit the shit way better, so we parted ways with our other singer, put Wednesday on vocals, tracked down these two guys (Eric and Ben), and finished up the record. We has always had the sound we have now, but once Tripp played me Wednesday’s old band (Frankenstein Drag Queens), I knew that I wanted to be in a band with him. When he came to the studio, our old singer sang over a few of Wednesday’s songs, and it just wasn’t the shit…
TRIPP: Actually, we were thinking of changing the name of the band last year, it wasn’t like this because a whole new thing when Wednesday started singing.
WEDNESDAY: There are tons of band with the name “Rejects” – When I first heard it, it was like an alternate way of saying Misfits. The second Joey mentioned the name “Murderdolls”, I knew that was it, it’s like the violent New York Dolls. Now, everything prior to when I joined has been changed – Vocals, lyrics, everything is half-and-half. I haven’t even had a chance to perform it live yet, though.
JOEY: We’ve only done four shows since Tripp joined the band, and two of those were with Wednesday on bass. We haven’t done a show yet with him on vocals, or as Murderdolls – when we do, it’s really going to kick ass.

METAL EDGE: How does the material break down? The vocals have changed with Wednesday in the band, but how long ago was some of the music written?
JOEY: There are some songs that were originally written in ’95. – “I Take Drugs” and “Let’s Fuck” are really old songs… And that’s one of the things about this music and why I like it so much – 20 years from now, this music will still be as good, and it won’t be a dated sound at all. There are a lot of songs – like “Die My Bride”, “Slit My Wrist” and “Dead in Hollywood” – those are very metal-esque and have a very metal influence to them, as well as the punk, glam-metal, blood and guts rock ‘n’ roll. It’s very trashy, too, just like the people that are in the band. I think it balances the record out, it’s not just a punk rock record. It’s not like it’s completely original, but it’s been built upon so much that it’s original right now. There’s a big Alice Cooper influence in there…
WEDNESDAY: There’s a lot of that 80’s stuff, like Motley Crue and Twister Sister, too…A lot of people think of that stuff and think, “hair bands,” but it’s not like that. We’re taking stuff from our favorite bands and doing it the way that we wanted it done, and to a place where we’ve never seen anybody try to take it. We’re bringing that danger aspect of it back. If a lot of the bands today fell offstage, you wouldn’t be able to pull them back from the crowd, because they look like everyone else, but you fuckin’ know us when we walk in… We’re not putting on a show where it’s a sermon and we preach, saying that this is the way it has to be – You get whatever you want from us and it’ fun. We want you to walk away and say, “Wow, that was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
JOEY: There’s definitely a lot of a humor vibe to it, too, and that will translate well…
WEDNESDAY: We’re not Weird Al Yankovic comedy stuff, but how do you take these Friday The 13th movies seriously? They put funny things into them, and it’s like that with our songs. There’s not anything on the record that was based on personal experiences… They’re like short stories.
JOEY: Little soundtracks to horror films in like two minutes…
WEDNESDAY: Horror movies are all I watch, I’m a movie junkie… My life is boring, I live in North Carolina, so what am I going to write about? Phantasm and Night of the Living Dead…
TRIPP: I think it can transcend that, though, because he’s into more than horror. He’s into Rambo, too… It can transcend horror! He’s actually got a song about Rambo that’s not on this record – This is about a great American hero, and I’m not talking about G.I. Joe. We’re about horror, sex, and violence…
WEDNESDAY: I’ve also got an unrecorded song called “Crossdressing Goddamn Son of a Bitch,” that goes,” I wear lipstick and I wear a dress, high heels and I stand when I piss”. What can I say, I have a lot of free time on my hands! I was watching a lot of Ed Wood movies, and that’s what got me to start my band to begin with… I was also listening to Jane County, “Texas Chainsaw Manicurist…” That’s where my schooling comes in.
JOEY: All that, and he lives next door to a preacher…

METAL EDGE: Murderdolls are like a polar opposite of Slipknot and Static-X, Slipknot especially. This is a fun record that begs for repeated listens, Slipknot is really something you’ve got to be in the mood for…
JOEY: That’s what’s most important to me – What would be the point of doing something remotely like Slipknot? I don’t play drums in this band, I don’t wear a mask in this band, and the music is a polar opposite but it’s still heavy… The heavy fans are still going to like it, but it’s a good breath of fresh air compared to what they know I normally do, because it’s funny – It’s not all funny, but it’s got that factored into it… It’s catchier, more easily digestible, and has that fun factor to it. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because everything cant’ be so heavy and depressed all the time, because we’re not like that…
TRIPP: Regardless of Static-X and Slipknot fans, we want to appeal to other fans. They don’t have to like Slipknot, because we’re going to pull other people in as fans. It’ll appeal to older people, too, because it’ll remind them of Alice Copper and KISS.

METAL EDGE: I think a lot of people are also going to be attracted to the imagery of the band.
WEDNESDAY: There haven’t been any bands that I can think of since Manson that have come out with an image that works for them all. Ever since them, nobody’s really tried to tackle that – With us, we’re not doing that, but we’re bringing back the aspects that we really like…
TRIPP: We’re a full band with an image, as opposed to just a cool looking couple of guys.

METAL EDGE: The imagery only enhances the spirit of the band, and makes it a more enjoyable experience. That’s something that’s lost a lot today – There’s nothing wrong with music that’s all serious, but we seem to have lost touch with the fun, escapist side.
JOEY: Even Iron Maiden was fun… I think that’s really still important, and I think a lot of kids will be medicated with this record because it’s not just another record with depressing lyrics.

METAL EDGE: Yeah, there’s nothing depressing about getting your bride’s blood and guys on your rented tux…
WEDNESDAY: (Laughing) I rewrote half the record over the course of a week…
TRIPP: He’d be singing, and I’d be stopping him on the spot and saying, “Change that line.” We’d change the line, make up something on the spot, roll, and keep the first take – He did vocals for 18 hours, and at the end of the day, his fucking voice was crystal clear…
WEDNESDAY: But for four days my head hurt. I could talk, I could sing, but it hurt, right in the middle… But we got through it… We were in Des Moines [Iowa], and Joey and I pretty much dissected everything and put it all back together again…

METAL EDGE: Joey, you’ve got production credit on the album – You also worked with Manson recently, right?
JOEY: Yeah, I did some production for Manson on a Bemis of “Fight Song”, and I wrote some songs and played some guitar for him [on the new album]. He’s also going to appear in our video…

METAL EDGE: Both Slipknot and Static-X are highly successful band in today’s rock market. Are they still your full-time obligations?
JOEY: This is a full-time band – Having my life just revolve around music for 24/7, there’ll be enough time to do both. All the other guys in Slipknot knew when we started the band that I’d be doing this, and they’re totally cool with it. Corey’s doing his record, Shawn’s got his photography, Mick and Sid have solo things, and it’s kind of good for Slipknot, I think, because not only is it good to help us with the next record, and as a band, but all the fans are going to get all these other great bands that actually create what Slipknot is…
WEDNESDAY: Do you know I’ve never seen Slipknot live?
JOEY: You haven’t?
WEDNESDAY: No! (Laughing)
TRIPP: We view this as longevity – We don’t want it to just be something that people look back at and say, “That was something cool that they did back in 2002. Will they ever do it again?” It’s been around since ’95. It won’t take a hiatus…
JOEY: It takes a lot of balls for me and Tripp to do what we’re doing right now. There are going to be people that don’t understand and don’t get it, but we believe in it that much, that it’s something that’s a fun thing that we’d like people to hear and come out and see. And, it’s just exciting, I don’t see it as a side thing at all…

METAL EDGE: Once Tripp got involved, he had a lot to do with filling in the band, right?
JOEY: Tripp knew who was right for the band and found the guys, brought them to me, and I check them out, because I was having a hard time there for a while…
WEDNESDAY: I met Tripp in ’99 at a Dope show, and we traded Plasmatic videos and stuff, and he emailed me and asked me if I could play bass. He said, “Send a picture.” I didn’t hear from him for a year, then I read – in Metal Edge, actually – that he joined Static-X, so I figured that had something to do with it. But then he got in touch with me again and told me to come to a Static-X show, and that’s when he told me about the band… From there I flew up to Des Moines a billion times and it was a long six months – I cut my band’s throat a couple months ago, after we played a show with Static in Atlanta.

METAL EDGE: So the three of you were locked in, how about the other guys?
WEDNESDAY: It was a big image thing, more than a player thing – We didn’t need the best drummer, we needed to know if he looked cool, then we asked if he could play. [Laughing] That’s important! The minute we saw a picture of Eric, we said, “That’s the guy – Nikki Sixx! Can he play?” “We’ll teach him real quick, it’s not that hard…” Then he had a guy in his band who was really tall and skinny and played drums – “Tommy Lee, that’s it!” There it was!

METAL EDGE: And it was just a coincidence that your hair all matched? (Laughing)
WEDNESDAY: My hair’s really blonde, actually!
ME: So do you view this as a remedy for the music that’s out there right now?
WEDNESDAY: There’s nothing really fun out there…
TRIPP: It doesn’t really matter, because we’d be doing this regardless of what’s going on… Bands are out there trying to do it with an image, but we want to go out there and just annihilate all of that. The elements were all there with The Rejects, but Wednesday was the lynchpin we needed to really punch it and make it happen…
WEDNESDAY: And I can look at if from a different angle, because I wasn’t in a successful band – These guys were touring, and I was working until last week. I read magazines and watch TV, and I was pissed, I was angry. What the fuck is going on with all these bands that look normal when they’re walking down the street? Maybe that’s why kids identify with them, because they can look like these guys. Me? I’m from a different school – if they didn’t look cool, I didn’t fucking buy it. They had to be glam, and they had to look cool. And I’m still like that with bands…
JOEY: Wednesday is an image racist…
WEDNESDAY: I am! It’s important for people to see that there is something like us. A lot of the kids don’t remember the Plasmatics – I want to do a show like that, blowing up amps with a shotgun and bringing the danger element back, just the way that it needs to be, something completely new. Singers don’t use microphone stands anymore, and I’m gonna hold it proud, like a battle axe…
JOEY: They all hold their guitars too high, too…

METAL EDGE: You’ve become one of the most acclaimed drummers in modern metal, especially with your solo on the last Slipknot tour. What did you play first, drums or guitar?
JOEY: I played guitar first…

METAL EDGE: It’s probably a little easier playing drums in Slipknot, because you’re isolated from a lot of the madness happening onstage.
JOEY: See, the thing is, I’m a danger addict, I can’t get enough of it – I’ll probably be at more of a risk with these guys, because I’m not protected by the drum kit! Even if those guys tried to get me, I could just make the kit rise up or move backwards so they can’t get me. Now I’ll have Tripp’s guitar head stock stuck up my ass…
WEDNESDAY: We just want the live show to be really spontaneous and not planned out – I’m gonna do something, but you don’t know what I’m gonna do, I’ll even surprise the band members and keep it changing. We’re just gonna do it the way that we want it done, plain and simple.

METAL EDGE: The question everyone’s asking about – What is the status of your other band? With Static-X, both Tripp and Tony [Campos, bass player] have side bands, and there are a lot of Slipknot side projects spinning around…
TRIPP: We’re already writing – We’ll probably have an album done for next spring
JOEY: And Slipknot are completely intact and still together. What you see and hear are two completely different things, so just see for yourself – There’s no breakup, we’re very much going to make another record. We’ll have it written, and go into the studio the beginning of next year, for a release in summer of fall.