Scared? You should be! Troy Doebbler, bassist for shock-rockers Wednesday 13, meets Hywel Davies...
Horror and heavy metal go together like peas and carrots, but with a little more emphasis on blood and gore than nutritional content. Goth-punk singer-songwriter Wednesday 13 (Joseph Poole to his accountant) wears his horror influences unapologetically on his blackened sleeves, not showing a single sign of letting up after 25 years of making heavy music and terrifying concerned parents.
Bassist Troy Doebbler has been playing for Wednesday since 2011, first appearing on the Calling All Corpses album. Let’s hear his take on their newest one, Condolences.
“We were certainly leaning towards more of a metallic take on the music since the last album, Monsters Of The Universe,” says the bassist.
“Roman [Surman, guitar], Kyle [Castronovo, drums], Jake [Tankersley, guitar] and I all come from metal backgrounds, so being able to utilise the thing we’re good at was great. Wednesday had been listening to that stuff as well, and we would always bounce back and forth between stuff like Machine Head and Gojira. We were capable of doing it and so we said, ‘Well shit, why not?’”
In his headbanging element, Doebbler had the chance to really let loose. What are his favourite moments from the record, we ask?
“I really like the song Lonesome Road To Hell, just because I get to play around on it a little bit. It’s not too technical, but it’s got some flavourful runs that add a little bit of fun to my playing. When I was sitting down and writing some of the parts on that, I could’ve easily gone straight with it, but the song gave me plenty of breathing room without stepping on the vocals or the guitar parts. So, I thought I might as well add a little bit of pizzazz and spice it up.”
Doebbler is a bassist to the bone, having been playing since the age of 16. At first, the role wasn’t so much consciously made as simply handed off to him, as he explains.
“It really was just that! Some friends of mine were starting a band and they needed a bass player, so I said I’d do it. Another friend of mine had a bass and I asked him, ‘Dude, I think I’m going to try and do this, could I borrow your bass?’ And straight away I fell in love with it. It just felt right, you know? I dabbled with guitar, but I sucked at it horribly, so I decided to focus on being a bass player and seeing where it led me.”
His gut instinct worked out: he’s now an endorsee of Schecter Guitars. He hints, on the downlow, that some thought has already been put into a potential signature model, though this is not confirmed yet. A bass for metalheads by metalheads, we’re sure...
“It would be pretty close to the Model-T Session I’m playing now,” he confirms. “I love the neck, I love the pickups, and I also love the simplicity. Sometimes a lot of new basses have too many freakin’ knobs, man. Next there’ll be a digital readout or a touchscreen or some shit. Just give me a basic badass bass that’s made out of good wood, good electronics and a great fretboard.
“Active pickups would definitely be in there too. When you’re playing actives, you get a bite and a rumble that you can’t get from passives. Also, I would love it all stealthed out with a matte black finish; keep it metal as fuck!”
What nuggets of advice can he share with us about the fundamentals of metal bass playing?
“First of all, make sure you’re playing with your drummer and that you’re tight as hell. That’s the most important thing. But most of all, be what you’re supposed to be. You’re the wall behind it all, so own that shit and make it yours!”
Wednesday 13's 'Condolences' album is available now from Nuclear Blast (opens in new tab).