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Wayne Static on Pighammer

If you're a Static-X enthusiast, then you'll probably like Pighammer, the new album from Wayne Static.

Actually, when Wayne Static founded Static-X, his original vision was the concept of Pighammer--more electronic and industrial, not based on live performance. Imagine plenty of the evil disco, compressed guitars and hazy vocals, smothered in the electronic treatment, with the same metal DNA as Static-X.

Released on October 4 on Static's own Dirthouse Records, Pighammer isn't much of an evolution, but that's not what fans are looking for anyway. In his first single, the hyper-glamorized "Assassins of Youth," Wayne recalls back to 2007 when he locked himself in a hotel room for an entire drug-addled month; a song that has now taken on an entirely different meaning for him since he wrote the second half of it clean.

But judging Wayne Static by his cover--or comparing his work to the rawness of Nine Inch Nails or the dark dirges of White Zombie--would prove to be a waste of time. He knows what his fans want and he's been delivering it for more than a decade. However, it can't be denied that Pighammer could provide a pretty kick-ass soundtrack to a Zombie Strippers sequel.

Up On The Sun sat down with Wayne Static to talk about the influence of Crown Royal, whippets and Joshua Tree, hair maintenance, and how his 14-year legacy has brought him to Pighammer.

Up On The Sun: Your first-ever solo album, Pighammer, came out October 4. You've said that for 10 years you've been wanting to do a solo record, but as the main songwriter for Static-X, it wasn't really possible. How was this writing and recording process for you?

Wayne Static: It was very refreshing actually. With Static-X, it would take months to do the writing and instrumentals, and then by the time it came around to do vocals I'd hate the song already. I was sick of it. So this was refreshing because I wrote and recorded at the same time by myself and didn't have to compromise with anyone. In a strange type of way, this was the vision I had when I started Static-X, this evil disco, electronic feel, rather than a live band. So it has come full circle.

Have you had a good response to the album so far from fans?

Actually, it's been the best response I've had since the first couple Static-X records came out. Everyone's lovin' it. Sales are looking good for the first week and we've been on tour for about two weeks. Things are looking good!

So the first single, "Assassins of Youth," was written about real events. Can you tell me more about that?

The origins of that song started back in 2007 when my wife and I first met, Tara Wray, we were living in this hotel room. At the time we were partying hard, doing drugs. At the time I had this great idea in my head to do a bunch of drugs and write some lyrics. I passed out while writing and that is kind of what the first verse is about "drinking Crown Royal, sitting in a hotel room listening to Pink Floyd, doing whippets"...I found the lyrics a couple years later while I was writing and recording for Pighammer and thought it would be cool to finish the song, but at the time, we were actually getting clean. That's what that second verse is about. The video that goes with the song is the visual representation is what was going on in the hotel room that month, on real events, the cops breaking in, the chicks there, the partying...um, so yeah. That's the song.

It's a pretty crazy video!

Yea it's out there! I've just done so many videos, but how many videos can you do where a band is recording in an old crappy warehouse or standing in water? [laughter] So we decided to just do it in a crappy hotel room and trash the place and have a good time.

Was it a similar inspiration behind the rest of the tracks?

A lot of the record is about us getting off drugs. We started recording when we were still on drugs and then were cleaning ourselves up the rest of that time. Some of the record was dealing with where we recorded at, which was the high desert in Joshua Tree area, right next to a military base. So where your writing seeps into what you're doing as well.

So how did the surroundings influence you? Did it make you feel more peaceful?

Yes, being out there, I was isolated, I was away from all the distractions of L.A. Being by the military base was crazy because it will be peaceful but then out of nowhere they do bomb practices, so the whole house is shaking. It was a crazy area.

While on tour, will you be playing all tracks from Pighammer, or any old Static-X as well?

We're mainly playing old Static-X songs, right now we're just playing two new songs from Pighammer, but then 15 old songs, a lot of the first couple Static-X records. The show has the same time of party aesthetic vibe to it, as well. For this first run, since the record is brand new, I didn't want to kill everyone with Pighammer songs when they don't know what they are yet [laughter]. So I'm just introducing them slowly in the set then trying to play everyone's favorite Static-X songs.

Is Static-X officially done?

Right now I'm having a great time with my new band doing my own thing, that's kind of all I see in the immediate future. So, I never put the nail in the coffin on Static-X so we may get together eventually, but now I think everyone's having a good time doing their own thing.

After all these years, have you found a fast method of styling your hair vertical, straight into the air? What is it like, 20 inches high?

[Laughter] Aw, well I have to trim it when I'm on tour or it gets in the way on stage and falls down and gets all sweaty! I mastered a method of sleeping with my hair up so I don't have to work on it every day anymore. I wake up and it's there ready to go. It's actually pretty maintenance free these days.

After your fall tour, what's next for Wayne Static?

Right now we're working on doing a full tour for early next year. This fall tour is a short introductory run, and then January/February we're hitting the rest of the country, then the rest of the world. And after that, I'll make another record.

Wayne Static is scheduled to perform at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on October 9.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise