Wayne Static: Piracy Is Discouraging, but the Music Wants to Come Out of Me
Wayne Static, industrial metallist
The evil disco is back in the desert. We're not talking about some new trend of goth raves, or another event like Bloodfest 2013. This is about dirty, raw energy. Industrial metal, functioning at its highest level of stamina.
That's right -- Wayne Static is back to provide a whirlwind of Static X hits, from the earliest to the latest, as well as a few songs form his 2011 solo album Pighammer.
All that fans have known for sure about Static X of late is that there's been some trouble in metal paradise. Wayne confirmed that the band disbanded in June 2013, from disputes between himself and the band's former bassist Tony Campos over the rights to the use of the Static X name. On top of that, Wayne had been out of commission for about a year due to a hernia injury caused by his constant touring and intense live shows. This tour is his first since recovering.
To clarify, according to Wayne this tour is a full-on Static-X Show--he just can't officially call it that. The main difference is that he's brought back the old-school Static-X drummer Bevan Davies, who was on board from 2007-2009. Rounding out the line-up is guitarist Ashes, who has been in Wayne's act since 2011, and bassist Andy Cole, who made his debut with him at the tail end of the Static-X tour in 2012.
Up On The Sun talked with Wayne Static about how illegal downloading has changed the way he makes music, his collaboration with DMC, and new material in 2014.
What can fans expect from your current tour in terms of a set list and stage show? Basically it's the same band other than a different drummer from last year. We were touring as Static X last year, and having legal issues with a former Static X member, which is making it unable for us to use the name Static X. Wayne Static is basically Static X at this point, and even more so now because I'm bringing back the former Static X drummer. It's a full-on Static X show, I just can't call it that. We'll be playing some of the old stuff from the first album, some of the new stuff, and some of everything in between.
All right, yeah I wasn't sure if you and Tony [Campos] came to an agreement in order for you to use the name or not. You know, I tried to make a deal with him and he doesn't want to do Static X anymore, and he's happy doing Soulfly. I can't come to a reasonable deal with him; He wants so much money to use the name it's ridiculous. I don't make that kind of money.
He and I aren't on the best of terms right now. But we're just going out and doing the Wayne Static thing and building it up that way. My fans know what to expect. We're gonna come out and give a kick-ass show. Just have a party.
How have you been doing since recovering from your injury? Is that affecting your stage show at all? It's been doing good. That's been the reason we have been off tour for a year. I developed a hernia during the tour in 2012 and it just kept getting worse and worse, and eventually I just decided to cancel the end of the tour, which was the Southwest tour on the last two weeks. I had surgery and spent a month in bed, then spent a couple months figuring out how to walk again. Since then I've been taking it easy. It's only been the last couple months when I've really felt like myself again and felt like I could push myself. I'm finally back to the point where I feel like I can put on a proper show and not hurt myself again.
You know, with a normal job I could've gone back to work nine months ago, probably. But with Static X shows, they are high energy, and that's how I got the hernia to begin with. It's very physically demanding.
So your plan is not to half-ass it, is what you're saying. My plan is to go balls out. I wanna go out and really have a good time and go 100%.
You've said that when it comes to new material, it gets hard not to repeat yourself. Are you referring to the instrumental sound, or your songwriting? Um, just in general--it becomes hard after 15 years of making records. I think I've made like six or seven studio records now, and that's not including all the songs that didn't make it on the records, like 100 songs.
So it becomes difficult to keep it fresh yet still make something that my fans are going to appreciate. I don't want to take some crazy rough turn and put out some ballads like Aaron [Lewis] from Staind. I want my fans to always hear it and say, 'yeah that's Wayne Static' but I want it to sound fresh too, you know? I hate bands that make the same records over and over and over, like AC/DC, like so many bands that make the same shit over and over. [Laughs] What's the point of that? The whole point of making music is to challenge yourself and that's where the gratification comes from.
So what's currently inspiring you with new ideas? I don't really do it like I used to. I mean, in the old days I'd listen to other music and get inspired, you know? Like I'd listen to a Skinny Puppies song and get inspired to write a song. Nowadays I don't really listen to a whole lot of music. When I go sit down to write I just sit down with my machine, guitar and keyboard, and whatever comes out of me comes out. I just try to do something that has a cool groove to it and something that I haven't done yet.
You also mentioned that making CDs isn't that important to you anymore because people aren't buying music, and you feel that touring is more important. Do you think that some of that inspiration is lost because of all the illegal downloading? Well, it's definitely discouraging when you think about making a record and taking an entire year of your life and pouring your heart and soul into this composition and then everyone just steals it and you don't make any money on it. It's very discouraging in that respect. But at the same time, as a musician, the music just wants to come out of me.
So I'm definitely going to keep making music because I can't help it. The ideas come, and I like doing it. But yes it's discouraging; the whole state of the music industry. It's dead. That's the state of it. [Laughs] So I feel very fortunate that I have a lot of loyal fans and that I've been touring long enough so that I can go out on the road whenever I want, and fans will show up and have a good time. A lot of bands can't say that, so I feel very fortunate.
So in terms of any foreseeable albums in 2014, is there anything in the works? I'm working on new stuff actually. I want to get something out in 2014... Actually, I would be surprised at myself if I didn't. I'm pretty sure I will. I've been talking to a lot of people in the industry and everyone's excited, and I have a lot of ideas on tape. After this tour I'm going to come back and try to finish some songs. I'm a free agent right now, so I gotta go out and do a record deal that I'm happy with. That's usually takes a few months. Hopefully by the end of next year at the latest.
Also, you did a collaboration with Run-D.M.C. last year, right? "Noise Revolution." Can you tell me a bit about how that came around? Yeah! It was awesome, dude. I wish he would release it. It's really D.M.C.'s song, so... [Laughs] I was invited to come sing on it, and his producer played me some music and D.M.C. had not done his vocals yet. His producer just played me the raw track and I thought it was awesome.
I did two tracks on that record, actually. D.M.C. came in after I recorded it. He works different from me, it's so funny. You know, I spent like three or four weeks writing the part and then he comes in and is just like, 'okay!' gets in the vocal booth and within one hour his parts are done. [Laughs] He has this awesome rapping brilliance that spews out of him. He's fucking amazing.
D.M.C. is so fucking talented, and one of the coolest guys. His new record--whenever he put sit out--I wish he would put it out already. It's awesome. It's got this Rage Against the Machine type of vibe, it's a live rock band, but with his style of rapping on it... I don't want to say it's a Rage Against the Machine rip-off, but I don't know what else to compare it to with that intensity that it has. We did a video for the song to. Hopefully that's the first thing coming out soon.
If you could choose three albums to take with you to a deserted island, what would they be? Oh, fuck man! It would probably have to be um....something that Chris Cornell did, because he's my favorite singer. Either one of the later Soundgarden albums, or an Audioslave record. Probably a Deftones record, their earlier and later stuff. And then I'd probably take something crazy like The Prodigy's The Fat of the Land . Something to get your blood going.
I didn't realize Chris Cornell was your favorite vocalist. That's surprising! It's kind of a really close tie between him and Steve Perry from Journey. Those two guys are so fucking awesome, man. I love a really good vocalist. People ask me all the time what kind of music I listen to, and personally, what makes music to me is a great vocalist. Like Bad Company. I fucking love Bad Company. Love Zeppelin. Love Journey.
I wish I could sing like that. I do what I do and I got my own thing, but I'm kind of jealous of these guys that have that soulful melodic thing that I can't do.
Some guitarist only take their instrument out of the case when it's time to tour, and others seem like they never put it down. Where do you fall? [Laughs] I have not played guitar since the last tour date in 2012.
Really? You haven't even messed around on it? Nope.
Why not? I've been playing guitar since I was seven. I'm 48 now. So I went through a phase for about 15 or 20 years where I played guitar every day. I just kind of... lost... practicing just doesn't do it for me. I love playing guitar on stage. I love it. I feel naked without it. I like being the singer and the guitar player.
But as far as practicing? I don't know, man. [Laughs] It just doesn't do it for me.
Actually that's wrong, because I have played a few times since I've been working on new material, but even with that it's been a few months. In general I don't play guitar unless I'm writing a song or on stage.
So, you and wife Tera live in Joshua Tree, correct? Yeah.
What's your favorite thing about living there, or maybe a favorite aspect of your home? I think it's the serenity. It's quiet, and a big open space. There's no traffic. We live down this dirt road. There's no mail service. Cell phones don't work here. There's no cable. We live out in the sticks and it's beautiful. You look one way you see Big Bear mountain with snow on it, and I just love the crisp clean air with no smog.
Tera and I both grew up in the country and we did the city thing and I'm tired of it. It's just beautiful out here. We have our own little compound. Our building is all safe and we have this courtyard that we could run around naked all day if we want. [Laughs] No one can see us.
Wayne Static is scheduled to perform Tuesday, December 3 at Club Red in Tempe.
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