After an entire year off the grid, Wayne Static is back.
The end of 2012 was ripe with drama — canceling tour dates due to health issues, pulling the plug on Static-X, battling with former band members — but after a full year of recouping, Wayne Static is focused on channeling his energy into what looks like an enormous 2014.
I spoke with a very candid Wayne Static, who was in the middle of preparing for tour, about heading back on the road, the new lineup, and his (unannounced) plans for a worldwide tour in 2014.
Are you getting ready for your tour right now?
Yeah, I’m working. There’s so much to do. Rehearsals are on Saturday, so I’m trying to finish up all my projects.
Are you back to 100 percent?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t. It took me a whole year to get to the point where I was absolutely sure I could go out on stage and do my show the way I’ve always done it, jump around and scream my ass off. Ya know, make sure I can do everything without putting myself back in the hospital. That’s why it’s been a whole year. But now I’m anxious to get back out and play some music for all my fans. I can’t wait to see everyone’s smiling faces looking at me. [Laughs] I miss it.
So have you been out of music completely this past year? Have you taken a chance to write or anything during this down time?
I’ve been doing a little writing. Basically getting ideas together. My process is I just start. I sit down with a guitar, drum machine, and keyboard, and I just start recording ideas, coming up with guitar riffs, cool drum beats, cool grooves…I get all that stuff on tape. I have maybe forty or so ideas like that, just badass killer grooves.
After tour, I’m going to come back and start going through all that stuff, ya know? Pick my best ones and see what jumps out at me. Then at that point I’ll start working on vocals and arrangements and try to make songs out of it. Hopefully I’ll get a new record out some time next year.
What’s the hardest part about going back out on a run after a whole year off the road?
The hardest part? Getting all my gear together. [Laughs] Starting out, we have a whole new crew. Since I left LA, I don’t have a regular rehearsal space anymore, so everyone’s gear is scattered all over the place. I have my monitor rig and our guitar rig here with me in our garage in the high desert and our lighting — all that. The other guys have their stuff scattered all over the place. Honestly, the hardest part is finding everything. Ya know? Putting everything together to make sure all the cables still work…I don’t know how our last tech packed everything together. I haven’t touched anything in a year.
I’m getting ready in a couple days to go to a big warehouse my friend has here in the high desert for rehearsals. It’s ginormous. It’s like a 1,000 square-foot warehouse. We’re just going to spread out in there and start going through shit. Then, obviously, there’s getting my voice back in shape and getting my chops back. It’s a long process, ya know?
Tell me about the new lineup. Is this group going to stick for the long run or is this just who is going out with you for this upcoming two-week run?
Well, I love all my guys. I had a few changes in 2012. One of my bass players, Brent [Ashley] — he left. Then Frankie came in, then Frankie left. I’ve got this guy Andrew Cole right now, who’s awesome. He plays in a band right now in LA with the Coal Chamber guys, with Meegs and Mikey.
We Are the Riot…
Yeah, yeah. So the bass player from those guys jams with me. And then Ashes, he’s been my guitar player since day one, so he’s my guy. And then drums, I’m bringing back Bevan Davies, who did the last two Static-X tours. He lives in Atlanta. I’ve already toured with him, so I’m not worried about him. He’s really solid. He’s got that real old-school Static-X feel, ya know? The first Static-X drummer, Kenny Lacey, had this basic kind of style and that’s what Bevan does — just real solid and basic. It’s really cool playing the old shit with him because he really nails it.
Tell me about the set for this tour. Is it going to be mostly Static-X, or are you pulling a lot from Pighammer ?
Um, it’s going to be about 95% Static-X. We’re doing two songs off of Pighammer and we’re doing six songs off of Wisconsin Death Trip. Since I’m not supporting the new record right now, I can play whatever I want really, ya know? I kind of judge what I think the audience wants to hear, and I know everyone wants to hear the old stuff because that’s what turned them on to Static-X. We’re coming out with “Sweat of the Bud” as the first song, then we’re hitting a bunch of the old-school shit. We’re hitting, like, five songs off of Machine. Really, half of the set is from the old-school stuff — that’s what people really want to hear.
Do you like going out on the smaller club runs? This tour is mostly 500-2,000 seat venues I see…
Yeah. Ya know, we’re starting slow, and I don’t have the Static-X name anymore. I made a deal with Tony [Campos], my old bass player, last year. He’s the only legal Static-X member besides me. I paid him a bunch of money last year to use the name, and he’s just a greedy motherfucker, man. He just hates me to death. He’s trying to gouge the shit out of me. I made him an offer to give him 25 percent of my net profits and he refused it.
He wants this outrageous number. [Laughs] He wants more money than I make in a year, and he’s just doing it on purpose because he hates me for whatever reason. But he doesn’t want to play in Static-X, though. I gave him the opportunity, like, “Do you want to tour with us?” He’s like, “No.” Okay, well, “Will you let me use the name?” “No.” [Laughs]
He’s basically just telling me, like, “Fuck you.” Ya know? [Laughs] I’m like well, at least my name is Wayne Static and people know who I am. I’m not just some jack-off bass player that used to play in a band called Static-X. I’m like, “Fuck you,” ya know?
I’m still playing in a band called Wayne Static. It’s a little bit smaller because not everyone knows the name Wayne Static, and everyone knows the name Static-X, but we’re gonna build it up. I basically made the choice that Static-X is done, unless Tony changes his mind at some point, which I doubt he will. We’re just going to build on Static-X. The funny thing is that it’s still the same guys that played with Static-X last year, the same songs basically…we just can’t call it Static-X.
Has there been any communication at all with Tony since last November?
I tried to reach out to him. I reached out to him at the end of 2012 when I had to cancel the end of the tour because my hernia was so bad, I just couldn’t play anymore. I said, “Dude, this is a good deal we’ve got going. If you give me some time off, I can get my surgery and I’ll heal up, then when I’m ready to go, we’ll start the deal up again.” And he basically told me to go fuck off. He said, “Keep paying me or the deal is done.” So I’m like alright…I guess I’m fucking off then. Like who doesn’t want free money? I’m paying the dude to do nothing, and he told me to fuck off. Whatever.
I just caught Tony a couple weeks ago in LA with Soulfly…
I don’t know what his deal is, man. I just don’t know. I know he’s happy playing with Soulfly, and it’s a cool band and whatever, but I don’t know why he’s gotta be such a dick to me. I don’t understand it.
So with all of that going on over the past year and the issues with Static-X, how important is 2014 for Wayne Static?
Well, I plan on having a big-ass year. It’s the fifteenth anniversary of Wisconsin Death Trip. I’m doing the Wisconsin Death Tour. I’m planning a world tour. We’re gonna hit Europe, Australia, we’re going to China. We’re fucking doing Japan. I’m going to do two runs around the US. We’re going to be on tour most of next year.
We’re going to play the first album front-to-back, then we’re going to do an eight-song encore, which will be different songs each night. That will allow us to do multiple nights in big towns like LA and Chicago. I think it’s going to be really cool, and I think fans are going to dig it. There are songs on Wisconsin Death Trip that we’ve never even played live, so it should be interesting. [Laughs]
Sick. I’d say that definitely sounds like a big year. Now, how do you like coming back and playing LA?
I love playing LA. It just reminds me of all the work I did coming up there. Playing the Coconut Teaszer and there’d be three people there. [Laughs] Ya know? I love playing LA because it just reminds me of all the baby steps, getting signed and building up to where we were selling out the Roxy and coming back and playing the Palace, which is the Avalon now or something. The cool thing this time is playing the Whisky, which is going to be bad ass. I haven’t played the Whisky since I think 1997 before we were signed. It’s gonna be off the hook, man — just crazy. The last time I played there was opening for Coal Chamber on New Year’s Eve 1997…
Anything you want to make sure people know before you head out on this upcoming run?
If anyone wonders what’s gonna happen, it’s gonna be a great fucking time just like any Wayne Static or Static-X show. I’m gonna go out and do my thing. My band is fucking slammin’. I always have the same mentality: we go out, we do shots, we party, we have a good time. It’s not any weird shit like me going out and playing my whole solo album. It’s gonna be a bad-ass concert, everyone’s gonna hear their favorite songs, and it’s going to be a great set list, so come on out and have a good time with us.
And you’re healthy. 100 percent, right?
I am healthy! Well, we’ll see after these shows… [Laughs]
*****Wayne Static’s X-Mas tour hits LA’s Whisky A-Go-Go on December 14th.
For full tour dates and more on Wayne Static, check out the band’s website.