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Static-X: 'In A Way, It Was Like Working With Wayne Again'

3 May 2023 | 2:35 pm | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

“It's awesome to see that after all this time, after 20-plus years, people are still enjoying those songs."

(Source: Supplied)

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Static-X are the definition of industrial metal. Thrashing guitars anyone can headbang to, aggressive vocals from a commanding vocalist, and an abrasive sound that fits in perfectly alongside Rammstein, Tool, Ministry, Fear Factory and Nine Inch Nails.

The band’s founder, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Wayne Static was the long-running constant in Static-X from 1994 until his tragic passing in 2014.

Four years after Static’s death, remaining members – bassist Tony Campos, lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda and drummer Ken Jay, announced that the band would continue in honour of their beloved bandmate. 

In July 2020, the band put out their first album since Static’s passing, Project: Regeneration Vol. 1, featuring their current vocalist Xer0. Project: Regeneration Vol. 2 is coming later this year; the band kicked it off with a cover of the Nine Inch Nails classic, Terrible Lie.

“Nine Inch Nails are arguably the biggest industrial band you can get – they have certainly had an impact on not just us but at one point, we discussed doing a covers album and we jammed a couple of songs,” Campos says from the band’s tour bus in the lead up to their upcoming Australian tour.

One of the songs they jammed was the Pretty Hate Machine classic, Head Like A Hole. “We were rehearsing, and I thought it came out pretty cool. We had a couple of other songs that were ready to go, it just kind of fell by the wayside because we’ve got to tour.”

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In a few weeks, the veteran industrial metal legends will return to Australia to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band’s iconic Machine album while paying tribute to Wayne Static.

The band’s upcoming Aussie dates will see them focus on Machine, while also covering songs from their entire catalogue, including their iconic debut album, Wisconsin Death Trip, and their latest offering, Project: Regeneration Vol 1.

“We are so excited to finally get back to Australia. We plan to play most of the songs off of both Machine and Wisconsin Death Trip as well a number of nice surprises,” Campos said when the band announced the tour.

“It’s going to be one for the ages and we can’t wait to get out there and celebrate 20 years of our Machine record while we continue to remember all of the good times that we had with Wayne and to share it live and loud with all of our Aussie fans. It’s going to be awesome!"

After forming in 1994, Static-X went on to release six studio full-lengths in the decade from 1999 to 2009 before splitting up in 2010. Following Static's expansion into solo work, which yielded his debut lone effort Pighammer in 2011, Static-X enjoyed a brief reunion between 2012 and 2013.

“It's awesome to see that after all this time, after 20-plus years, people are still enjoying those songs,” Campos adds over Zoom. “I wasn't expecting to be able to get back to Australia so soon. If anything, I was being optimistic thinking we could do a tour sometime next year. So, when this opportunity came up, we immediately said yes.”

Of course, not all of Campos’s memories in Australia are music related; he says that there are “a lot of Not Safe For Work memories” with a laugh and that he’s always had fun in Australia. The forthcoming tour and their Project: Regeneration releases are in tribute to Wayne Static. “In a way, it was like working with him again,” Campos shares.

While part of the last recordings by Wayne Static were used on Project: Regeneration Vol. 1, Xer0 was credited as lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and on programming for most of the album. Like Vol. 1, Vol. 2 consists of recovered recordings and entirely new songs - 13 new tracks, in fact.

Unlike Vol. 1, however, is the presence of just Wayne Static on vocals. Part one featured Disturbed's David Draiman, Fear Factory's Burton C. Bell, Ministry's Al Jourgensen, and many others. 

“We tried to make this one [Vol. 2] consistent with Volume One sonically. So, hopefully, that comes across in the album; you're gonna feel a lot of memories. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it as much as Volume One,” Campos explains.

Project Regeneration: Vol. 2 features the Wisconsin Death Trip lineup of the band, which is Wayne Static, Tony Campos (bass), Koichi Fukuda (guitars) and Ken Jay (drums). The new album was produced by Xer0 and mixed/mastered by longtime collaborator Ulrich Wild.  

Putting together Project: Regeneration Vol. 2 was similar to “How we used to put songs together back in the early days of the band,” Campos continues, “Wayne would come into the rehearsal room with his drum machine and hit play, and then play guitar riffs over it. And then we filled the song from there – the majority of songs that went onto Wisconsin Death Trip started that way.

“To have something he left behind in a similar state where it was a guitar riff or using a drum program were just moments where it was like working in the old days.”

Static-X are returning to Australia for a headline tour alongside influential US rockers SOiL. You can buy tickets here.



Friday 19 May - Northcote Theatre, Melbourne

Saturday 20 May - The Metro, Sydney

Sunday 21 May - Eatons Hill, Brisbane