EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: STATIC-X Mastermind Wayne Static Talks New Tour, Potential Album & Career
Published: July 26, 2012 - 3:04pm
I caught up with industrial metal legend Wayne Static to talk about why he's resurrecting Static-X and hitting the road once more. We also reflected on his long and storied career which includes a battle with drugs, non-stop lineup changes and taking the industrial metal throne.
Static-X are currently on the road headlining the 'Noise Revolution' tour which features support from Davey Suicide and 9 Electric. Prong is tapped to join later in the tour along with Winds Of Plague and The Browning. Recently frontman Wayne Static has been pursuing a solo career in support of his latest album 'Pighammer', but has decided to bring Static-X out of hibernation. "I felt like it was the right time to do it for the summer. That's kind of how I do things, I just do whatever I feel is right at the time," he said.
Keven: You've always been the mastermind behind Static-X and with so many lineup changes over the years do you feel like part of your decision to hit the road as Static-X is a big part of that reasoning?
Wayne: To me…the lineup isn't really that big of a deal. Static has always been like how Ministry is Al Jourgensen or Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor and Megadeth is Dave Mustaine you know what I'm sayin? I've always had different line-ups for every single tour.
Keven: Do you think Static-X, which is well over a decade in existence, has taken the mantle from Ministry and become the definitive representation of industrial metal in this era?
Wayne: I would love to think that. I don't really pay attention to what's going on in the scene and I just stay in my bubble, do my thing and have a good time (laughing). But if that is the case…then that’s absolutely awesome. I know Al Jourgensen has said he's retired Ministry and he's said that 10 times (laughing). I know I've created something that's unique and the music is timeless. I think we could go on forever if we wanted to.
Keven: Tony Campos is the most recent longtime Static-X member to have left the lineup and you recently commented on this by implying the two of you have always been more 'co-workers' as opposed to 'bandmates', why do you think that is?
Wayne: Static-X was kind of a strange band. None of us were friends outside the band. We never hung out together. It's just one of those things and there's a lot of bands out there like that and there's nothing wrong with that. We had a mutual respect for each other and everyone did their job and after we got off stage everyone went their separate ways. We never even saw each other until the next tour.
Tony's in Soulfly now and I checked with him and made sure it was cool that I did Static-X without him and he's happy where he's at and gave me his blessing. This current lineup is a little different because we're actually friends and we do hang out as a band.
Keven: Will there ever be a time with maybe a lineup such as this that you'll involve the other bandmates in the writing process for a new album or is Static-X always going to be your baby?
Wayne: It's my thing you know. I've always written everything, produced everything and contrary to popular belief I sat in a room by myself and wrote every single Static-X record completely by myself. The guys would come in afterwards and add their own little parts but I've always written and produced everything and that's just the way it's always been. I'm a control freak. I have these visions for complete songs in my head and I don't need anybody else putting their two cents on it (laughing). It's really hard for me to compromise my vision. That's the way I am and the way it's always gonna be. The guys in the band just have to always realize that.
Keven: You've been added to this year's 'Gathering of the Juggalos' festival and when you enlist into a show like that do you prepare for war? Because those fans are nuts you know that right?
Wayne: (laughing) I've seen it all in the crowd man, so nothing's gonna surprise me. I did a tour in Mexico where people were throwing chains, knives, bottles and s*** on the stage (laughing). So I'm ready for anything, it's all good. I always manage to get the crowd under control in any situation. I don't know how because in real life I'm very shy and introverted. I'm not loud or talk too much but somehow when I get on stage it's very natural for me to command the audience and gain control of any situation.
Keven: With the recent issues overseas on Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe being locked up in prison on manslaughter charges due to the death of a fan during a live show, do you think that will have an impact on how you approach your live shows going forward? Stagediving and all of that is so casual for a metal concert but now do you worry that if you push a guy off stage you're gonna kill him? It's crazy.
Wayne: Personally I have been aware of this type of issue since the year 2000 when drummer Kenny threw a drumstrick out at the audience and it hit some kid in the eye and he was gonna sue us. S*** happens at these shows and it kind of makes me weary of these countries outside the western hemisphere (laughing).
Keven: Now you have to worry that you're gonna get locked up in some European country a year after someone dies during your concert?
Wayne: Yeah, anything outside of Germany, France and the UK really scares me. I've always been weary of playing those kind of countries anyway because it's a different world. Man, s*** happens at these shows and it's really f***ed up. I feel really bad for Randy and the band. I just can't imagine being in that kind of situation. I know those guys and they're really nice and mellow. They'd never do anything to hurt anyone and it's just ridiculous.
Keven: Metal now has almost reverted back to where it was in the 80's where it's an underground genre. Back when Static-X first started in 99-2000 it seemed almost more socially accepted to be a metal band in the mainstream. Do you feel like it has turned back to the underground?
Wayne: Yeah, completely. Obviously metal is huge right now but it's not on the radio anymore. It's not on TV anymore. There was a short time and I was very lucky to release my first record at the end of that period when MTV was playing metal and we got on the radio. I really owe my career to that short period of time, but metal is totally underground right now and I don't care what anybody says. It is big, but for some reason it doesn't get any recognition from radio.
Keven: When you go on tour are you playing just for the longtime fans and whenever you get some new additions, is it just a bonus?
Wayne: I just gotta do what I do and be thankful I still have my career. It's always great to pick up new fans along the way. For me, my goal is just to make everyone in that audience happy and have a good time. That's why I'm here on earth. I've been around for so long that people who were fans of mine from 10-15 years ago, they're bringing their kids to the show which is awesome.
Keven: Have you ever been tempted to do something crazy and drastic by altering your sound and doing something acoustic or is that out of your formula completely?
Wayne: (laughing) I know what I do well and I know what I don't do well. So I play upon my strengths. Previous to Static-X I was in a band called Blue Dream and we were an acoustic type band; Very melodic and not metal at all (laughing). I guess we weren't very good because we never made it. Eventually in the mid 90's I came upon this industrial metal thing and realized that's what I do well. I'll continue to play on my strengths and I don't see any reason to change things up.
Keven: Will we see a new Static-X record in 2013 or is it too early to say?
Wayne: It's quite possible I'll put out something next year. I got a lot of really badass ideas on tape. It's not impossible to have a new record out at the end of next year. I don't really know at this point if it would be another Static-X or solo thing. It's too early to tell. Right now Static-X is sort of on a trial run to see where it goes and take it from there.
Keven: Your solo album 'Pighammer' was awesome and you've said before that you are essentially Static-X. Because your solo music and Static-X are very similar sounding why not just take the Static-X name for yourself and roll with it on every future record?
Wayne: That's a good question (laughing). I haven't really thought about it. I guess I wanna make sure it's the right thing to do. I don't really know at this point because it's too early. I have short term goals and I'm just focusing on the touring because Static-X hasn't been out for such a long time.
Keven: This current tour is focusing on a lot of the older material. What do you think it is that draws fans to albums like 'Wisconsin Death Trip' and 'Machine' a decade later?
Wayne: There's nostalgia about the first couple Static-X records. That's when everyone was really first discovering the band. When you talk about your favorite band it almost always goes back to the first couple records as your favorites. All my records I feel have been really, really strong. I do play stuff off every record I've ever made on each tour but the first ones seem to be everybody's favorites so we hit those really hard. We're doing like 5-6 songs each off 'Wisconsin Death Trip' and 'Machine' then like 1-2 off all the other records.
Keven: Is there anything you regret or would have done differently over the course of your career?
Wayne: I probably would have done the solo record sooner, a long time ago. Somewhere around 'Machine' is where I wanted to do a solo record but I didn't wanna put Static-X on hold and I kinda wish I would've got it out of my system way back then (laughing) when people were still buying records. I think it would've been bigger back then.
It's really hard to try something new at this point in the music industry. Other than that, I'm really happy with every record I've made and I think every one stands on it's own in a different way. I hate bands that just put out the same record over and over and it always sounds the same. I've always tried to take every record in a fresh direction.
Keven: You're a pretty quiet guy, do you party or just keep to yourself after shows?
Wayne: It depends. There are some nights where we party it up. Tera (Wray; Static's wife) and I got the back lounge and we have a bed back there so some nights after the show we just go chill out and watch TV.
Keven: In the music video for 'Assassins of Youth' off 'Pighammer', you've said that it was influenced by real events and because that clip was so crazy in contrast to how you seem like such a laid back guy, how does something like that go down?
Wayne: There was a period in my life where I was a serious drug addict for many years. Tera and I lived in a hotel room for a month while we were in LA because my ex-girlfriend was living at my house and wouldn't leave (laughing). That was the end of the drug addict phase in my life. There was all kinds of crazy stuff going on like piles of cocaine on the countertop and the cops busting in at three o'clock in the afternoon, just really weird s*** like that.
Everything you see in the 'Assassins of Youth' video is the real honest to god truth. That was a recreation of actual events (laughing). That was the tail end of things and I felt like it was affecting my health and ability to do my job so we cleaned ourselves up. It's been a year and we moved out to the desert, left LA and got off drugs. I was making 'Pighammer' during that entire process and the record is all about that.
Keven: One of my favorite Static-X tracks is the B-side 'So Real' and it's actually the first song I heard from you when it came out on the Scream 3 soundtrack. It's such a badass song but it's very different from most of the material you've put out over the years; what was the process like recording that track?
Wayne: We recorded that one during the 'Wisconsin Death Trip' sessions and it was one of four tracks that didn't make it onto the album. It was sort of an experimental thing and a studio song that we just did for fun. I like doing stuff like that, like on 'Pighammer' the second half of the song 'Thunder Invader' is this sort of trance style and I've always been into that kind of stuff since the 80's hanging out in the Chicago dance clubs.
It's hard to do songs like that all the time. Lately the whole DJ thing has really come back and I'm really feeling this urge to move back even more into that kind of direction in the future. So maybe you'll hear another 'So Real' type song on the next thing I do.