Interview – Wayne Static of Static-X

Interview – Wayne Static of Static-X

wayne articleDuring the 1990’s metal music took on new shape with down-tuned guitars, electronic sounds, throbbing bass lines, and some hip hop influences creating a style called nu-metal. Static-x, was one of the many bands unjustifiably lumped into the nu-metal scene. With a sound unique all their own laced with electronic beats, grooving guitars, and raw vocals the band chose to break free of the nu-metal label dubbing themselves evil disco. With a series of memorable metal hits and 6 chart topping studio albums to their credit, Static-x remains alive within their dedicated fan base. Founding mastermind, Wayne Static is dedicated to keeping the fire going with steady touring and an upcoming 15th anniversary Wisconsin Death Trip tour. So much has happened in the last 2 decades for Static-x and through it all founding mastermind, Wayne Static remains dedicated to keeping the fire he ignited to burn on. Recently we caught up with Wayne Static for a look at the humble beginnings of Static-x, turmoil between members, the future of music, and so much more. – You have been involved in the music industry now for over 2 decades. When you started Static-X back in 1994 after Deep Blue Dream disbanded, could you have imagined the successful ride the band has been on since?

Wayne Static – Not at all. I started this band purely for fun. I didn’t expect to get signed; I pretty much gave up on all that. I moved to LA, got a good job, and started my 401 K plan (laughs). I just totally did this band for fun. We got signed with no press kit, no photos, and no nothing. It was purely just word of mouth. People just started showing up at our shows and we were selling out The Roxy and Whiskey a Go Go. All the labels were like fuck, I guess we better sign these guys.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. – That’s unbelievable. I guess sometimes when something is unexpected, that is when the best things happen.

Wayne Static –  Yea I think that is kind of the way it is. When you don’t really give a fuck about it, that is when the shit happen. Like when I met my wife; I was trying not to meet anybody (laughs). I just got out of a relationship and all of a sudden I met the girl of my dreams and got married 6 months later. I think when you try too hard you tend to jinx yourself. I think just having fun has a lot to do with it as well. We had a really good time in this band, and that’s what it’s all about. – Totally, now Static-x has released 6 full length records and each album has its own distinct sound. Wisconsin Death Trip (1999) to Machine (2001), to Shadow Zone (2003) and thereafter. Tell me about the progression of the band from album to album?

Wayne Static –  Well it was always my idea that I always wanted to make every album a little bit different in some way. I never wanted to be like AC/DC where every song sounds the same. To me they have one album in Back In Black (1980), other than that every fucking thing sounds the same (laughs). I don’t want to be that, I always want to push myself in a new direction that is exciting for me and the fans to wonder what’s going to come up next. It keeps it fresh and fun that way.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. – Yes and you definitely accomplished that from album to album. With that said, Static-X has always been a band others have tried to put in a genre. Some call it nu-metal, some call it groove metal, some call it industrial metal. Labels are so limiting. Did you ever find yourself trying to fit the mold of what others expected of you?

Wayne Static –  We’ve been around so long at this moment, or at least I have. I wrote all the Static-X songs, so when I say we, I kind of mean me (laughs). Static-X had a lot of people coming in and out and I was always the guy kind of focusing everything. We created our own genre which we jokingly called it evil disco. People always used to ask us in the beginning what do you guys sound like and we’d say evil disco. It has dance elements and the grooves, but yet it’s dark and eerie. We did get lumped in with the nu-metal thing, that’s just because it was happening at the same time. In LA, when we got signed, all these other bands that were actually the nu-metal thing were getting signed at the same time. At this point I created the genre of evil disco. I am kind of holding the torch for that. It surprisingly has inspired a lot of other bands through the years which is a real fucking joke. People come up to me and tell me you inspired me to start my band. I’m like holy shit that is the ultimate compliment. – That has to be an awesome feeling to hear someone say you have inspired them. Now it’s well known that yourself and original member Tony Campos have been at odds for a few years now and unfortunately has forced Static-X to disband once again. This has to be a frustrating thing for you. How disappointing is it after being band mates, and I imagine friends for 16 years, to have such animosity between one another?

Wayne Static –  You know it kind of sucks. I don’t really know what happened. After I got married everything changed. Everyone in the band and crew started treating me differently. I am sure I acted differently because I was married, but things change. Just because my personal life was different in my mind it shouldn’t affect our professional life. Apparently everyone else decided they didn’t like me getting married. They started dissing me and my wife and everything kind of just fell apart. It sucks, toward the end the last couple of tours Tony and I weren’t even speaking. Now the dude fucking hates me. Here I’ve worked so hard to build up Static-X over the years and I can’t even use the name now because he won’t let me, but he doesn’t want to play in the band either. He doesn’t want to do Static-X anymore but he won’t let me use the name. How fucked is that? I even offered him money to use the name, but he wants a ridiculous amount of money that he is just saying that to be stupid. Now when people ask me what happened to Static-X, I say go ask Tony. He was the only one which wasn’t on salary, all the other guys were salary players and he was the only other legal member of Static-X. He doesn’t want to do it and he doesn’t want me to do it, so I guess it isn’t going to happen. I am still Wayne Static and my band fucking rocks. We go out and play all the Static-X songs and it sounds great. It just takes people a little extra time to catch on. It still has the vibe and soul of Static-X, it’s just not called Static-X anymore. – Of course you have to move out. It’s just unfortunately that something like that happened. It happens often unfortunately. Judging by the state of everything that has happened do you think there will ever be a reconciliation between you two, or is it beyond that?

Wayne Static –  It’s up to him. I already made him the offer. I said we don’t have to like each other, this is a business. We have worked a long time to build Static-X and if you want to let it die, I guess whatever, you can let it die. I don’t know what to say. I am doing the Wisconsin Death Trip 15th anniversary in 2014. He doesn’t want to be part of it, or part of anything I am doing, so fuck it. We’ll do it without him.

Reprise – You never know maybe sometime in the future things will change you never know.

Wayne Static – Yea who knows what the future holds. At this point I am saying Static-X is done. I have given up on it. I tried in 2012 to revive the name and keep it going. The name will still live on. There just won’t be anything new from Static-X for who knows, maybe ever. – Now back in 2011 when Static-X was on hiatus you did a solo record entitled Pighammer. The album was extremely solid and very well. Was the material stuff you had originally prepared for the next Static-X album or something you put aside to do a different project?

Wayne Static –  No, that was all stuff I wrote fresh for that particular solo record. I already knew during the last Static-X tours I was doing a solo record next and Static-X was going to go on hiatus. Tony had other plans, he was playing with Ministry at the time, and he was playing with Prong already. I knew that we were going to go on hiatus for a while. My idea was that I was going to do my solo record and we were going to get back together and do Static-X again. That just never happened. Right now I am working on a new solo record. I will put something out this year and keep on rolling.

Dirthouse – With the new record, what can people expect to hear from it?

Wayne Static –  It’s really early to tell. I am at the point where I am messing around with grooves, guitar riffs, and drum beats. I don’t have any finished songs yet. It is kind of too early to really tell until you actually start recording and dig into it. It defines itself, it kind of takes on a life of its own and decides what it wants to be. I can only steer it so much and then it kind of goes and I do whatever feels right for the songs. Either way it’s going to be classic crunching guitars and grooves. With my vocals it’s hard to say, depends on what kind of mood I am in (laughs). On Machine (2001) it was heavy because we just got off the road with Pantera. I was just all like Pantera yea! Other albums like Shadow Zone (2003) we just spent months in the studio. I was listening to Staind, and other bands at the time, and that kind of shines through. It just depends on where I am at any given time. – That is why they call it an album. It’s a period of your life.

Wayne Static –  It’s sort of a snapshot of the year of your life you spent writing those songs. It’s about a year of your life. It kind of brings me to another topic that it’s just so disheartening that the music industry is just so fucked. You spend a year putting your heart and soul into something and you don’t make any money on it anymore. I love making music so I am going to do it, but it’s not like the old days. Now you just put it out there for the hardcore fans so they have something new to listen to. I was in Best Buy the other day and I was like holy shit, they have one row of CDs like Kmart used to have. I hadn’t been to Best Buy in a couple of years, and I just felt like what happened to all the CDs? They used to sell 20% of all the CDs in the country and they don’t even sell music anymore. It’s fucking ridiculous. – It is ridiculous. I 100% agree with you. I am a strong component for the physical format of music. I think there is something to be said for having the physical CD in your hands, reading the notes, and seeing what was actually put into the record. Now a day, as an artist, you make a record and you hope it gets out there to people. The way things are now with the internet, things are pieced apart with singles. Sometimes you need to hear a record as a whole cohesive piece and most people don’t get to hear that anymore because they are buying piece by piece.

Wayne Static – Yes, it’s going back to a single type driven way. Like how rock n roll started in the 50’s with singles. I am even thinking of doing stuff like that. Not even doing a full length CD, maybe just releasing a few songs and fucking giving it away. Give it away to the hardcore fans and go on tour and support it like that. That is where I see things going. All young kids think music is free now anyway. – It really is unbelievable. It’s sort of a reflection of our society. People don’t realize there is time, effort, and money put into this. It’s not free. Yes it’s for the love of music, but you need to make something off it as well as an artist.

Wayne Static –  Yea. It kind of sucks because Metallica kind of ruined it for everyone. They were the wrong band to go up against Napster. They are multimillionaires crying about people stealing their music. It should have been a bunch of lower level bands like mine. People made fun of Metallica because they are only going to make 1 million instead of 2 million. They kind of screwed up in my opinion. The record companies fucked everything up when they used to pay the radio stations to play their music. It should have been other way around, it should have been the radio stations paying the record labels to play the music. The record labels made their own bed too, they made a lot of bad choices early own. This whole iTunes thing, the record labels should have all gotten together and did their own thing and taken control of things rather than bowing down to all the new technology out there. Now they are all fucked. – Now you did a tour with The Defiled and Madlife at the end of 2013. Did you feel like you have new life going into these shows weathering all the stress over the past 2 years?

Wayne Static –  It was awesome. I took the last year off because of health reasons. I had to cancel my tour in 2012 because I had a really bad hernia and had surgery. I basically spent the whole year recovering and getting back in shape. I had my old Static-X drummer, Bevan Davies, for the run. We played a lot of old school stuff and stuff from the first couple of records. Really just played what the fans wanted to hear. We put up on our social networks, questions what people wanted to hear, and most people wanted to hear the old school stuff so that is what we pulled out for the tour.

Wayne-Static-XMas-Tour-2013 – Sounds like it was a great tour. Now judging by your music, your influences are obviously very vast. What are some of your musical influences?

Wayne Static –  As far as what I listen to personally doesn’t really affect the music I make. I have kind of developed my own sound with the evil disco thing. I write within the realm of that. When I listen to music, I listen to Audioslave, old Soundgarden, Journey, and classic rock. None of that affects what I write in anyway so it’s kind of two different worlds. – A lot of the stuff you mentioned have some great vocalists.

Wayne Static –  I love great singers. I love Queen; Freddie Mercury was awesome. I love Bad Company. I love bands which have singers that are awesome and just blow me away. I can’t sing like that, I do my singing, it’s cool, and I have my own thing. I wish I could sing like Steve Perry (laughs). Those guys blow me away, and I get goose bumps and think fuck how do they sing like that? Then some of those guys come up to me and say how do you sing like that? So everyone’s got their thing. – It’s true everyone has their own style. My last question for you is regarding films. is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films, and if so, what are some of your favorite horror films?

Wayne Static –  I like more intellectual horror like some of the old school stuff. The Shining (1980), Stanley Kubrick is my favorite film maker of all time, I like all his stuff. I am not a huge fan of the newer horror movies. I am more a fan of comedies like Will Farrell (laughs). I buy everything Will Farrell puts out.

Be sure to keep up with Wayne Static  on facebook, & twitter.

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  • Laura
    Posted at 00:17h, 18 January Reply

    you where the reason y I started liking metal. and I thank you for that. it sucks static-x is no longer. but I cant wait for your new solo. I fallow you in fb and I always wondered why I haven’t heard anything from wayne and now I know. im glad you are doing much better now. and I agree about stores not selling cd no more I LOVED buying all the new metal bands albums but sucks that its hard to shop now these days. all I want to say is your amazing and I love your style of music you always WOW me with every album. I cant wait to hear the new solo and I wish you the best of luck.

  • Julz
    Posted at 03:53h, 18 January Reply

    I work in the clearance center that used to be the music room at a BestBuy in Grand Rapids and I can tell you that I’ve heard probably a thousand people voice their concerns about the fall of music at BestBuy. “Where are all the guitars??” Not here customer, not here :c

  • Israel
    Posted at 11:01h, 26 January Reply

    I want a “Machine II” type of sound !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol i freaking love that album!!

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