Wayne Static Shares Details About the Nasty Break-Up of STATIC-X, His Upcoming Tour & 2014 Album [INTERVIEW]
Static has had a rough year, but things are looking up for the spikey haired industrial metal icon as he prepares to hit the road under his ‘Wayne Static’ solo banner for a Christmas tour with supporting acts The Defiled and Madlife.
In June of this year Static-X broke up for the second and, more than likely, final time. Front-man Wayne Static had relaunched the group the year before with new band members and had been paying former bandmate Tony Campos for the rights to use the Static-X name while on tour. All was going well until Static was forced to cut the tour short to undergo major hernia surgery. Unfortunately, Campos refused to give the singer a break due to some comments Static made (to the press) where he mentioned that he wasn't anything more than business associates with the bass player; which meant he couldn't continue to pay Campos' high royalty demands and his right to use the Static-X brand lapsed.
Keven: The last time we spoke we talked about the old Static-X band dynamic and you had mentioned it was more of a business arrangement as opposed to a friendship. From what I noticed about threes months after that you had to reach out to Tony Campos to talk business and the whole situation just spiraled out of control. Walk me through that period.
Wayne: It was basically attorneys talking – I never spoke to Tony. We came up with a dollar amount where I would license the Static-X name and go out on tour. And… it was just too much money. I had to keep playing six shows a week non-stop in order to pay him what he wanted. Eventually my house went. I developed a really bad hernia. I had to cancel the tour and go have surgery. It was at that point where I was like “Fuck all this lawyer stuff. I’m gonna email Tony because I haven’t fucking spoke to him in like over five years.” We weren't even talking at the end of Static-X. So I emailed him and said I had to have surgery, can I get some time off and let’s put our deal on hold and wait until I get better then we’ll start up again. And you can start making money again for doing nothing.
He pretty much told me to fuck off and keep paying. And that was it. I was like alright, thanks dude [laughs]. He was like “You told people in interviews we weren't friends so fuck you”. That’s what he told me, literally, that’s what he said in his email. I’m like sorry I hurt your feeling you fucking baby. Jesus Christ I have to go get fucking hernia surgery. So that’s the dynamic. He fucking hates me and won’t let me use the Static-X name. I have a new manager and she recently reached out to him and asked if he wanted to rejoin the band and tour and he doesn't want to. He’s in Soulfly and he’s happy so he wants nothing to do with Static-X but he won’t let me use the name. So… Static-X is dead. I tried, you know. I did my best. In reality though, it doesn't even fucking matter because I've had a bunch of players and nobody cares. It may sound egotistical but it’s the fucking truth – I wrote all the songs [laughs]. Rob Zombie was White Zombie and I was Static-X. I wrote and produced everything. Other than Tony all the other guys were hired players.
So fuck it, it’s just name. I have a slamming band behind me right now and we’re going out and playing all the old Static-X songs and a couple off my last solo record. We have a good time and the shows have the same vibe as Static-X, I just can’t call it that.
Keven: Face value, Tony seems to have some deep-seated hatred that goes back in order to pull that kind of stuff when you aren't being unrealistic in your business arrangements. Is there something else there?
Wayne: Yeah, we worked fifteen years together building Static-X and I’m like “Dude don’t you wanna keep this alive?” Just from a business aspect don’t you want to keep the name alive and make money? He doesn't care. Everything changed when I got married. Everyone, the band, the crew, everyone treated my wife like shit.
Keven: Why is that?
Wayne: I don’t know. I’m sure I acted differently after I got married, I know I did. But… people get married and things change. It doesn't mean that the band has to break up. It’s not like we were all best buddies and hung out every day. I don’t know, man, everyone started treating us differently, treating my wife like shit and making her cry every day. The last tour we did together Tony and I didn't even talk to each other or look one another in the eye. It’s pathetic man… Its fucking stupid. Now he hates me so much he won’t even let me use the name. I’m still willing to pay him to use the name because I can make more money at the shows because of the name. But no he’s like “Fuck you boo hoo hoo.” Alright, I guess we’re done. Can't say I didn't try [laughs].
Keven: What do you think changed after you got married that the guys would treat you so badly? It’s not like you were doing some weird experimental shit and the music, right?
Wayne: Well, I wanted Tera (Wray) on tour with me, so she was always with me. She was with me during interviews too. We love each other. I wanna have her with me at all times. She came on stage and danced for a few songs and… I think Tony didn't like that. I think it pissed him off. I think he thought “she’s not in the band, she shouldn't be here.” But the reality of it was, we’d do interviews and she’d just sit there. He didn't like the fact that she was around all the time. For all I know maybe he thought he should’ve hooked up with her and ended up married to her so maybe he’s jealous. I don’t know. I don’t fucking know. I could give a shit if we did an interview and his girlfriend was sitting next to us.
The funny thing is, before we got married and she was a porn star she rode with us on the bus for a whole year, [and] everyone loved her then. When she was a porn star, everything was awesome. Then we got married and everything changed. I don’t know why. You can call up Tony and interview him to ask him why he hates me so much. (laughing).
Keven: That must have been rough going through all those legal issues with Tony and then heading into major surgery.
Wayne: It was really hard dude! I had to cancel a fucking tour! My fucking tour manager ended up getting involved in a drug deal and he tried to pin it on me and Tera. So we had felony drug charges in Kentucky that we were fighting so I had to pay $20,000 out of my own pocket and went fucking bankrupt. I had to file fucking bankruptcy fighting these fucking drug charges that my tour manager put on us. Then I find out he was embezzling from me… All this while I’m recovering from surgery… I couldn't even walk for two months. Then I’m flying back and forth to Kentucky hiring and firing attorneys and it took a whole year but we finally got this shit dropped.
I’m finally vindicated. I’m not this fucking crazy drug dealer. I don’t fucking do drugs you know? I have some drinks at night but that’s it. But… Tony’s really good friends with my old tour manager who I fired after getting me into all this trouble so that has something to do with it too… Who knows what this guy has told him, you know what I mean? I get pissed off talking about it you know? Why can’t we just put this all aside. He should be kissing my fucking ass that I made his fucking career. But instead, he’s pulling the legal shit on me.
Keven: You mentioned that during your recovery you were writing some riffs and working out some new songs. Is it safe to say that after this shitstorm, the new album will be very pissed off and angry?
Wayne: [Laughs] probably. I’ve got a lot to be angry about. Facing felony drug charges, people embezzling money from me and all this shit. Man, last year was a tough year. I fucking went on Prozac for a while and thought I was gonna kill myself. It was a fucking hard, hard, hard year. Things are finally coming around now. I’ve got a new manager and a whole new team. I ended up getting into a fucking fistfight with my merch guy on the last tour. My drummer quit…. just all this crazy shit [laughs]. But everything is coming back together and I have a positive attitude. I’ve got Bevan Davies, he did the last two Static-X tours, and he’s a fucking awesome drummer. I’m really excited to bring the band out and play some old school evil disco, put all the bullshit behind us go on stage and fucking tear it up.
Keven: I have to ask you about this too because you've faced similar circumstances in the past with a band mate.
Recently Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins pleaded guilty to several counts of pedophilia and it’s some of the most vile shit I’ve ever heard of to the point where I can’t even listen to his music anymore. What’s your take on that?
Wayne: Sometimes I don’t even like meeting bands that I like because if they turn out to be dicks then I don’t wanna listen to them anymore. But I went through that. My old guitarist was arrested for statutory rape. It really set my career back for a while and casual fans think that I’m a pedophile. I’ve had people threaten to fucking kill me because they thought I was this pedophile.
Keven: Just because of what Tripp (Eisen) did years ago?
Wayne: Yeah, I know, it’s ancient history – it was like eight or nine years ago. But people remember shit and people who aren't fans but know who Static-X is that might be the only thing in the back of their minds. That fucking dude….. ugh. That pissed me off so bad. He really fucking set my career back by doing that shit.
We were right in the middle of recording ‘Start a War’. He had gone home for Christmas break and apparently that’s when all this shit happened. So he actually played on half that record then I wrote and played all the guitars on the other half like the oldschool shit on ‘Machine’. That was when we decided to bring Koichi (Fukuda) back and he was already working on some keyboards for us. It was really cool that he was willing to come back and all the old school fans were really happy about that. So it kind of helped smooth things over a bit.
Keven: Well it certainly worked out in the end because that’s definitely one of my favorite Static-X records.
Wayne: There’s some really good songs on that. That’s one of my favorites too. Some of the best songs that I’ve ever written are on that record.
Keven: I’ve told you before that one of my favorite Static-X songs was ‘So Real’ and asked if you saw potential in revisiting the more laid back and groovy vibe in the future. But after all this angst you have to let out I don’t foresee you doing a spiritual successor to it anytime soon.
Wayne: Yeah, towards the end of ‘Pighammer’ there’s some really trippy shit like that but this next album I feel is gonna be more raw and in your face. But it’s kinda early to tell. Those kind of things take shape later on in the recording process.
Keven: I’m hopeful for a new album in 2014 and I also hope it’s a therapeutic release for you. Let’s face it, it can’t get any worse than last year.
Wayne: I know [laughs]! I think I’ll get a new album out next year but it’s gonna be later in the year for sure. Right now we’re just going to focus on getting everything running again on tour and we’re gonna be doing the 15-year Anniversary of 'Wisconsin Death Trip' Tour next year. We’re gonna play that whole album front to back with a different encore set every night. I think the fans are gonna love it, there’s songs on there that we've never even played live.
Keven: Which song is going to be the biggest bitch to play live off that album?
Wayne: Man… I don’t know how we’re going to play ‘December’. That song’s not meant to be played live – it’s a studio song. We’ll have to play like, a version of it. That’ll be one song that won’t sound exactly like the record because there’s just no way to do it. The song’s mostly keyboards and loops. That one’s gonna be a challenge for sure. But we’ll do it – we’ll figure out a way.
Keven: Let’s talk about the new Christmas tour. You mentioned that you’re going to be playing a lot of old school Static-X stuff and only sprinkling the new stuff here and there, so in many ways you’re like the anti-Billy Corgan because you’re willing to play the old hits that fans love.
Wayne: Look at all the old bands that have longevity. They play all their old shit. No one wants to go hear the band play their new album [laughs]. It’s not that new albums aren't’t good, but there’s a nostalgic thing about the old shit. Go listen to Korn, they play like five songs off their first album. Any band that’s been around for a long time, they play a lot of their old shit. You just give people a taste of the new stuff. That’s just what people wanna hear. That’s what they remember when they first heard the band so it has this special feeling for them.
Keven Skinner hails from the Great White Wasteland that is Wainwright, Canada. An expert on all things Walking Dead related (he was even given a zombie cameo in the comic), he spends most of his time championing the glorious ascension of cable TV as the premiere entertainment medium.