It was just 4 years ago that Static-X burst onto the metal scene with the heart-grinding industrial thunder of Wisconsin Death Trip. Their debut went platinum and the Los Angeles quartet haven't wasted any time in taking their dangerous beats and slamming them back into our wanting faces. With Shadow Zone the boys have released their strongest effort to date. The brutal fury has evolved more into a finely-tuned meat grinder in a rich man's meat market. Frontman and refugee for the recently electrocuted, Wayne Static darkly ponders.
Livewire's Phil Bonyata got the chance to sit down with Wayne and talk about then and now.
Livewire: Your latest album, Shadow Zone, seems harder, yet more focused than your previous efforts - do you agree?
Wayne: Yeah, I think so. I think in general the songs are better. It's less about just hitting on a groove, making some noise and being heavy - it's more about writing good solid songs - ya know.
Livewire: What's it like having guitarist Tripp Eisen co-write songs on the new album?
Wayne: I wrote all the music on our previous albums. I think it made the record a lot better with Tripp writing as well. Ya know, everyone in the band has always contributed, but I've always put up all the foundation for the songs and this time ...um I had someone come in with finished songs musically and alls I had to do was write vocals. There's like 3 or 4 songs on the record like that - it was awesome and a lot of fun for me. It kind of allowed me to see things in a different way. It's hard to really do the whole thing - it really is! I'm not that talented.
Livewire: How do you describe the direction of your lyrics on the album?
Wayne: They're more straight to the point. All the inspiration is the same kind of inspiration we've always had. You write lyrics about things in life that piss you off and things you don't like. Things like that. Dark type of subject matter. I didn't spend a lot of time picking out individual words that I thought sounded cool or sounded dark. I just kinda like put the lyrics down to fit the song.
Livewire: How dark can your music go?
Wayne: I think this album is pretty dark, dude. It's the combination of the type of chord changes. Just because you got melody in there doesn't make it happy - ya know. There are a lot of dark melodies. Sometimes darker melodies are scarier.
Livewire: Would you feel proud if you offended the devil?
Wayne: (laughs) I don't believe in the devil!
Livewire: So you're an atheist.
Livewire: What would you like your gravestone to say?
Wayne: I'm not really into gravestones. I'm more interested in cremation and have my ashes scattered over the desert where I drive my truck.
Livewire: At least you didn't pick your cats litter box.
Wayne: (laughs) I mean - I'm not into that whole ritualistic burying thing. You know you're dead and you have a tombstone and people go there and cry every birthday or whatever. You know you're done dude - just cremate the shit and whatever.
Livewire: Is your image really your personality or is it just a gimmick?
Wayne: My image is my onstage personality. It fits the music and it just comes out of me onstage. During, like everyday life I'm much more low key. I prefer to just kinda blend in and not make a spectacle of myself. I kind of view it like KISS in their make-up days. I'm sure Gene didn't put on the make-up to watch TV and sit around the house. My look isn't something that I just thought up one morning - it sort of evolved over a few years. I didn't have the hair and the beard at first. I kept my head shaved. I had really long hair and then I shaved it when I was in L.A. I kept it shaved for about 2 years and then I started growing a goat. Then I had this beard thing going on so I let my hair grow out and it sort of evolved into what it is now.
Livewire: How long have you been growing your beard? I mean it's pretty long now.
Wayne: It's been like 7 years now.
Livewire: How do you see the evolution of Static X?
Wayne: It feels like a very natural evolution to get to where we're at now. We weren't forcing any single direction when we were writing this record. It just sorta came out the way it did. We're going to continue to push ourselves and try different things. Take some risks. We are also aware of the elements that make up who we are. The heavy, crunchy guitar tones will always remain intact in my mind. It wouldn't be us without it. I mean showing up with a Fender Stratocaster and twin reverbs or something ain't gonna fly ya know.
Livewire: Going backwards, what artists inspired you to form a band?
Wayne: Oh, it was KISS for sure! Myself and Tripp know that it was KISS that made us want to form a band.
Livewire: How old are you?
Wayne: I'm old enough to know better.
Livewire: What about some new acts that your fans should keep their eyes on?
Wayne: I'm always going off about this band called Deadsy. They have one record out called Commencement. Actually, Cher's son Elijah is in the band. We did the Family Values Tour with them and they opened up on that tour and then we took them on our tour as well. I don't even know how to describe it. It's like the slow heaviness of Type -O Negative and add a sprinkling of Orgy on top of it. It's very melodic, lush, beautiful - yet brutally heavy at the same time. It's awesome shit!
Livewire: Is new drummer Nick Oshiro fitting in well with the rest of the band?
Wayne: He fits right in! It feels like he's been in the band forever.
Livewire: Is he the best drummer the band has had?
Wayne: Oh, by far dude! He's very well rounded - our last drummer was very solid in a basic sort of way. He was solid at what he did, but Nick can mimic that and do so much more. He can play anything man.
Livewire: How's the tour going so far?
Wayne: We've been out for - shit almost 6 weeks now. It's going awesome, dude. Some of the venues are sold out and there always packed. Packed rooms with crazy kids.
Livewire: Anything unusual happen to you on tour?
Wayne: I don't know, man, a lot of weird stuff happens. The one thing that a lot of people think is funny is our bus was repossessed on our first Ozzfest.
Livewire: So the repo man came and took it?
Wayne: Yeah, man. We were leasing the bus from a bus company and apparently the company was not paying the bank - so these guys just showed up and took our bus. (laughs)
Livewire: I hope you weren't sleeping on it?
Wayne: No. (laughs) it was towards the end of the tour so the bus company was obligated to get us around so they actually flew us around for the last 3 shows.
Livewire: Was that better then traveling on the road?
Wayne: No. it was horrible. The bus is like your home. Ya know - you go to sleep - you get up. Flying around and staying at hotels - yuck.
Livewire: Is it all groupies and drugs while on tour?
Wayne: Not really, dude. There's not a lot of that going on these days. Most bands take their jobs pretty seriously now. We don't do any drugs. We drink and party a little bit after the show. I mean, there is nothing more rewarding for me than doing a great show and feeling like I'm in shape and not dying onstage. You can't drink everyday and expect to do your best. I mean you get onstage and you're dehydrated and all hungover. That's horrible, ya know. We do everything to prepare for a great show. I want people to feel like they got their moneys worth because I want them to come back the next time we roll into town. (laughs) As far as groupies go - I have a girlfriend so I don't do that, but a couple of guys in the band are single and have some fun.
Livewire: Describe your music in two words.
Wayne: Evil disco.
Concert Review - Riviera Theatre Feb. 12, 2002
Concert Review - Family Values Tour, Allstate Arena, Oct. 12, 2001
Concert Review - Ozzfest 2000, Alpine Valley Aug. 6, 2000