Regeneration of Static-X
by Dave Schwartz
We live in a strange world! Wayne
Static is sorely missed. After passing away in 2014, most
believed that Static-X would drift into the myth and folklore of
music. Although the legend of Wayne Static continued to grow,
Static-X was destined to become a band that many could only fondly
remember seeing. A few years later, the unlikely happens.
The original members – Tony Campos (bass), Koichi Fukuda (guitar)
and Ken Jay (drums) reunite and tour. And then the unexpected,
lost tapes emerge of Wayne Static working on demos. And
suddenly, the possibility of new Static-X material becomes Project
Regeneration Vol 1 & 2.
Recently, bassist Tony Campos called in to
DaBelly. We talked about the new record, touring and how
reality can sometimes be stranger than fiction.
DB: Thanks for sharing a moment with
us Tony. You have had a crazy couple of years. There has
been so much happening for Static-X. You put together a
tour in memorial of Wayne Static and as a celebration of the music
of Static-X. What started as a small tour that coincided with
the 20th anniversary of “Wisconsin Death Trip” has become so much
more. Were you surprised by the reaction of your fans?
TC: Yeah, absolutely. When we
first envisioned this, you know playing the tour; we were just going
to do one leg. Before you knew it we were going overseas and
doing another US run that took us to the end of the year. It
grew to more than we ever expected so, yeah, we were all surprised.
BD: You must have all had other plans
in place. I know that you’re all busy on various projects.
I’m sure that you must have gone through the process of budgeting
time and arranging schedules and then, SURPRISE!
TC: Luckily for me I hadn’t scheduled
anything else! (laughs)
DB: The past couple years of touring
has broadened your geographical footprint. Static-X is playing
in places you have never played before. Talk about that, talk
about opening up new horizons.
TC: That was totally unexpected.
It was a really cool thing to finally get to bring Static-X to
different parts of the world. Like Russia, the band had never
played there before. It’s such a cool place. I have been
fortunate enough to play there a couple of different times with
different bands and to be able to bring Static there for the first
time was such a cool moment.
DB: This has also been an opportunity
for the three remaining original members of the band to step back
on stage together. You, Koichi Fukuda and Ken Jay – what was
it like for the three of you to get into the same room and play for
the first time in years?
TC: Just being in the same room
together for the first time in so long was such a cool moment, let
along getting to play together. The first time we were in the
same room we were like, damn this is cool! And then when we
got back together to actually jam, it all came back pretty quick.
We were pretty surprised – especially the “Wisconsin” material.
That just came back really quick. We were like, “yeah, alright, this
is really going to work.”
DB: So all of this has led you to
“Project Regeneration Vol. 1.” Let’s talk a little about the new
record. I understand that some of the songs on this record
were barely songs – more like just guitar riffs and drum tracks.
Talk about hearing this material for the first time and realizing
that there may be something that you could do with it.
TC: I would say that most of the
material was in that state. Only three songs, the stuff that
didn’t make the “Start a War” record, were the closest to being
complete. But then we scrapped all of the music and re-wrote
everything. So I guess you could say that everything was in an
unfinished state. We found different things and different
processes. The initial 5 demos that I received we got
from a producer friend of ours. Those three tracks that didn’t make
“Start a War,” Ulrich turned me onto those – Ulrich Wild. And
the last batch we found were in a storage space belonging to a
mutual friend. Yeah, like you said, a lot of that stuff –
particularly the stuff in the storage locker – were really in bits
and pieces. A lot of the tapes were damaged so we couldn’t use
them. The stuff we did recover, a lot of that was vocals only.
So, we had to write the music underneath what Wayne had already
written. It was a different process. Usually the vocals
come last but we had to write around the vocals this time. I
think we did a pretty good job with everything and I think the fans
are digging it.
DB: Certainly, the fans are digging
it. I’m interested, you’ve already mentioned the inverse
writing procedure. Starting with a vocal and building the song
around it can be really challenging. Can you talk a little
about how you approached this and defeated the challenge?
TC: That vocal only stuff was the last
part of the material we found so we had already been working on
songs the old fashion way. So, by the time we had started
working on those songs, we were already in the mindset that – the
“Wisconsin Death Trip” vibe – so that helped with putting the music
together. It made it easier even though Wayne was singing more
on those songs as opposed to doing the gruff staccato style that he
was known for. We were still able to come up with some cool
riffs that fit the vocal and still be in that “Wisconsin Death Trip”
DB: It’s all very cool. I really
enjoy the new record. You’ve had a couple of singles from it.
“All These Years” is one of my favorites. I really enjoy that
way your guys brought Wayne visually into the production of the
video. It was a cool formula and a clever use of video.
It really worked well.
TC: Yeah, I give credit to Matt Zane.
He directed it and helped put it together. Zane had footage of
Wayne singing. He was able to chop it up and put it into the
video and make it look like he was singing the song. It’s a
really cool thing that he did and yeah, it came out killer.
DB: Putting this all together –
"Project Regeneration Vol 1 & 2," I would imagine you must have had
a number of hoops to jump through. You had to gain permission
to work on the music, putting the original members back together,
finding time in everyone’s schedule… There must have been so
many possibilities of things going horribly wrong and somehow you
made it all come together really well.
TC: Looking back on it now, it feels
like everything just fell into place. The things I expected to
be struggles weren’t really too bad. And then there were other
things that I had no expectation about that ended up being a pain in
the ass. Things don’t always go the way you plan but if you
persevere, improvise and adapt – you overcome. We came out the
other side with a pretty cool record. Struggles are struggles.
You deal with them the best you can and get the job done.
DB: I think you’ve done a remarkable
job. All things considered; this album sounds great. I’m
excited to hear Volume 2. I guess this is a Covid question,
are you going to release Volume 2 before you tour?
TC: Well, as of right now, we still
have Russia on the books for the end of the year. If that
still happens, Volume 2 will be out after we tour. But the way
things are going, that tour could easily go away. Chances are
Volume 2 will come out before we get a chance to tour.
I want to thank Tony Campos for sharing a
moment with DaBelly. Checkout the new album and watch for a
tour on all the socials. We know these bands will be hitting
the road sooner or later!
"Hollow (Project Regeneration)
"Worth Dyin For"
"All These Years"
"Bring You Down" (Project Regeneration)
"Something of My Own" (Project Regeneration)
Release: July 10, 2020
Otsego Entertainment Group
Tony Campos – bass guitar, backing vocals
Koichi Fukuda – guitar, keyboards,
Ken Jay – drums
Wayne Static – programming, lead vocals
Xer0 – guitar, programming, lead vocals,