Tag: Tera Wray
My first introduction to Wayne Static came back in 1999 in the form of “Push It”, the first single off Static-X’s platinum-selling debut album Wisconsin Death Trip. I was an instant fan. Never before had I heard such a unique and deliberate stylistic approach so neatly melded with an industrial rock sound. It was born, Wayne Static’s mad genius had created the Frankenstein that would become known as “Evil Disco”. Twelve short years later, that brazen young newcomer has transformed into solo artist, CEO, and the godfather of modern industrial rock. I recently caught up with Static to talk about everything from rap-to-the recording industry-to-rusty Oldsmobiles. So relax, have a seat, and get ready, your consultation with Dr. Pighammer is about to begin…
AWAY-TEAM: First, I’d like to congratulate you on the release of Pighammer, your first ever solo project which was just released on your own label Dirthouse Records…
WAYNE STATIC: Thank you!
AWAY-TEAM: I’d like to talk to you a bit about that later. But first I’d like to know, when did you decide that you wanted to do a solo album? What was kinda the driving force behind that?
WAYNE STATIC: Well, I actually first wanted to do it back in 2001. It was when I was finishing up writing the Machine record, and realizing that it was just kind of me, writing everything by myself, while the other guys partied and did whatever they wanted, did their own side projects. Then they’d come back, and I’d have to compromise and argue with them about this and that. By the time we recorded the record, I was already sick of all the songs, and felt that some of the original energy and excitement was lost from the songs. So, it’s been in my head for over ten years, but I kinda had to wait for the right time because for me to do a solo record it meant I had to put Static-X on the shelf for a while. I knew that we still had a lot of stuff to do, so after the 2009 tour was done I felt like it was the right time to do it. Everyone was kinda ready to take a break from the band and do their own thing, and I was definitely ready to take a break and do my own thing, so here we are.
AWAY-TEAM: There’s actually a bit of a story behind the Pighammer character, explain that to me.
WAYNE STATIC: Well, the theme of the album is transformation, and we were trying to think of a cool way to depict that. It’s sort of a dark comedy type of thing where, I’m this mad plastic surgeon who changes my wife into a pig with this Pighammer surgical tool that we made up. Some people try to take that too literally, and try to read into what it is, but it’s really just sort of a humorous look at transformation.
AWAY-TEAM: I know you were once featured in the Eternal Descent comic book series, is there any chance we see Pighammer in a similar situation? Or maybe even a movie?
WAYNE STATIC: I’m always open to that kind of stuff, ya know. The last comic book thing, the Eternal Descent thing, kinda came my way through the guitar company I was working with for the last few years. I think it’s cool, I think my look lends itself very well to that sort of animation. So any time anyone makes me an offer for that sort of thing, I think it’s cool, I like to see the way it comes out. So if you wanna make a movie that sounds cool too.
AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) I’ll get working on that! (both laugh)
WAYNE STATIC: Alright let’s do it!
AWAY-TEAM: I understand that prior to making this album you and your wife sold your house in L.A. and moved out to the desert, what prompted a move like that?
WAYNE STATIC: Ya know, we both grew up in small little farm towns, and then we both ended up in the city… and Tera never liked L.A. she just came there for me, and I kinda grew to hate it there too. There’s just too much traffic and congestion, and we’ve had the house out in the high desert in Joshua Tree for a long time, and we used to just go there for the weekends. We were like ‘Well, what if we just moved out there and forget about L.A.?’ So it worked out pretty well, we love it, it’s kind of come full circle. Ya know, we live in the middle of nowhere, just like where we grew up.
AWAY-TEAM: Back to basics. Now, the first single “Assasins of Youth”, the video for which by the way is visually brilliant, I have to commend you on that…
WAYNE STATIC: Thanks man.
AWAY-TEAM: …that song is actually about your last days of drug use, and it took several years to write. You actually wrote the first part during a bit of a bender, tell me about that. And when you perform the song now is it more of a ‘What the fuck was I thinking?’ feeling? Or is it more of a liberating reminder of what you’ve overcome?
WAYNE STATIC: That song, and the whole album, was written and recorded while we were getting off drugs, and withdrawing, and going through these changes. So that’s really like the biggest transformation of all, so that song in particular I thought was a great first single because it kinda sums it all up. Ya know, I started writing that song in 2007, and finished it up during the Pighammer recording sessions. But in general, the whole album deals with that. Ya know, we didn’t go to rehab or any crap like that. I still drink alcohol, I’m not a quitter.
WAYNE STATIC: There was a point where we kinda realized that it wasn’t fun anymore. For me, it was just not healthy, so while we were actually making the record we spent some time cleaning up. So that’s really what a lot of the record is about.
AWAY-TEAM: You mentioned that you still drink alcohol, it’s funny you said that, because I had read an article a while ago about Scott Weiland and he still drinks. And I had always wondered, is that something that kind of let’s you say ‘Hey, I do have some self control’, is that an accurate assessment?
WAYNE STATIC: Ya know, I think people that have to go to rehab, maybe they don’t really wanna quit doing drugs, ya know. For me, it was a choice, and it’s not easy but when you know you gotta do it, and you wanna do it, you just deal with it. I don’t see any reason to quit drinking. Fuck, I’ve been drinking since I was 20, I’m 45, I’ll be 46 next month. So I’ve been an alcoholic for 30 years now, so why should I quit drinking? (both laugh)
AWAY-TEAM: Amen to that! (both laugh) So back to the “Assasins…” video, was it hard shooting a video with a full time chub?
WAYNE STATIC: (laughs) It was a fun and difficult shoot at the same time. It was a lot of fun, cuz the video is supposed to be funny, if you take it too literal then some people have problems with it. I knew it was kind of a risky move to do something like that. But it was kinda tough, because we did it with no money, and we kinda did it guerilla style. A friend of ours, Matt Zane, shot it by himself with no help. We were at this little hotel room, up in the high desert, and they didn’t know we were shooting it, because we didn’t wanna spend any money on the video. And it was the summer time, so it was like over 100 degrees in the room, and we were there for three days, so it was kinda brutal in that respect. But I think the video turned out great, and it seems like everyone really digs it. It’s a really fun, kind of different video.
AWAY-TEAM: I was really impressed with it. So being on the road and trying to maintain a sobriety is a bit of a daunting task. What kind of support system do you have with you to keep you from the temptations of the road?
WAYNE STATIC: I’m not even tempted anymore. I mean you could chop up some Oxycontin and put it right in front of my face, and I wouldn’t do it because I just don’t want to. I mean, I’ve seen the dark side of drug addiction and I don’t ever wanna be there again. So I don’t need a support system, I’m just over it, ya know?
AWAY-TEAM: That’s great!
AWAY-TEAM: Speaking of your wife, the first single from the last Static-X album was “Stingwray”, which is an ode to both your wife and her car. There’s another song on the album called “Z-28″ , so one can only assume that you’re a big car fanatic…
WAYNE STATIC: Definitely. (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: What was the coolest car you ever owned? And also, what was the biggest piece of shit you’ve ever owned?
WAYNE STATIC: The biggest piece of shit was definitely my very first car. Which a friend gave to me, because it was a worthless piece of shit. This was back in the 80′s, it was an old Oldsmobile Delta ’88. It barely ran, it was all rusted through, so I spray painted it black, and spray painted the KISS Army logo on the back of it, put a plastic machine gun in the window, and got pulled over all the time because the cops thought I had a real gun in the window. (both laugh) So that was definitely the biggest piece of shit. When I moved to L.A., I couldn’t give the car away. I drove it to the dump and they gave me $80 for it, so that was a sad day. (laughs) Probably the coolest car, ya know it’s hard to say, we’ve got a bunch of old muscle cars, and a couple cool little trucks. I guess I’d have to say the 2008 Challenger SRT8 that we got. It was the first edition numbered car, one of 6400 made, 450hp from the factory, just a badass car. We used to take it out once or twice a month and drive it, and keep it in the garage most of the time.
AWAY-TEAM: Wow! Yeah, when I heard “Stingwray” , I’ve wanted a Corvette ever since I can remember, so I said I gotta ask him about that!
WAYNE STATIC: Yeah, Tera’s car is awesome too, it’s all original. It’s a ’79, original paint, original interior, so it’s really cool. Before we got the Challenger, my Z-28 was my favorite car, but after driving 450hp with traction control and ginormous brakes so you can go fast and stop when you want it to, we don’t even drive the other cars anymore. (both laugh)
AWAY-TEAM: Also on the Static-X front, what are the future plans for Static-X?
WAYNE STATIC: I don’t have any plans right now. I haven’t even talked to the other guys in the last couple years. Everyone’s doing their thing, I’m having a great time. I’ve got my band together, we’re finally on the road, my album’s finally out. So for me it’s just kind of the start of this whole new journey, and that’s all I see in the near future. I’m not opposed to putting Static-X back together at some point, but right now I’m gonna see this project through.
AWAY-TEAM: Okay. Now you recently received the “Best Metal Frontman”, award, deservedly so, at the Vegas Rocks! Awards. I look at something genuine like that, and then I look at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. They’ve snubbed some of the greatest musicians of all time, and then I just saw recently that the rap group Eric B. & Rakim are nominated for this year’s class. What are your thoughts on that? And if they came knocking, say ten years down the road, would you accept the honor?
WAYNE STATIC: If anyone wants to recognize something I’ve done, of course I will accept it. But I agree with you that the Hall of Fame, as much as the Grammys and all of that is just a political thing. People like us, we realize that, but alot of the rest of the world doesn’t. When I was younger I didn’t realize that the Grammys weren’t real, ya know. (both laugh) I mean I would definitely graciously accept any award like that but, it is what it is, ya know.
AWAY-TEAM: You’ve been in the music industry long enough to see the evolution from cassettes-to-CD’s-to-MP3′s, now the latest wave of the future is streaming. There seems to be mixed reviews on that, some think it helps sell records, others think it takes away from sales, what are your thoughts on streaming and it’s impact on the artist or label?
WAYNE STATIC: Well, in general, I hate the internet. I wish it would die, I wish it would go away. I think it ruined a lot of things. It ruined music, it ruined people’s social skills, it ruined print, it ruined the world in my opinion. (laughs) It’s fucking Skynet from The Terminator, it’s gonna be the demise of civilization as we know it. But, having said that, it is here to stay, and I use it to promote myself, because that’s just the way it is now. As far as streaming, I think it’s cool. I had my album streaming for an entire week before it came out, because if it’s good people are gonna talk about it. The people who really go andd buy CD’s are gonna buy it, and the people who don’t buy CD’s are not gonna buy it either way. So I’m all in support of it, obviously the streaming thing is a lower quality audio, and you can’t download it and all that crap… I mean, I’m sure you can, I’m sure they make programs for that… but it still sounds like shit. So the people that are gonna buy the CD are gonna do it, and I think letting people hear it, they’re just gonna talk positive things and more people will end up buying the CD in the end.
AWAY-TEAM: Yeah, there’s no such thing as bad promotion. Last, but not least… I know you’re probably sick of hearing this, but obviously over the years you’ve been compared to the dude from the Slim Jim commercials…
WAYNE STATIC: Not so much lately. (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) …Well that’s a good thing! So much so to the point that there were rumors that you were asked to be the spokesperson. I want you to set the record straight, is there any truth to any of that? And if not, can we give the people who still refer to you that way one final ‘Shut the fuck up!’?
WAYNE STATIC: It’s true that they did approach me at one point to do some promotional stuff for them, and I turned it down. Because I don’t think the way I look is a joke. I look the way I look, because I think it’s cool. I mean, I realize that some people think it’s a joke, but whatever, the reason I did it in the beginning is so that people remember me. If you think I’m dumb looking, if you think I’m cool looking, either way people will remember me. I’m one of the most recognizable rock stars that there’s probably ever been.
AWAY-TEAM: Absolutely, you’re like a fucking brand!
WAYNE STATIC: (laughs) Right. But I did turn that down.
AWAY-TEAM: Good for you! I see the reasoning behind it, and I definitely can appreciate that. Wayne, thanks so much for your time. It’s been a great pleasure and an honor. Best of luck with the new album, the label, and everything that you do!
WAYNE STATIC: Thanks man! It’s been nice talking to you.
AWAY-TEAM: You too, take it easy.
WAYNE STATIC: Bye.
For more Wayne Static including tour dates and to purchase music visit his official website here.
Special thanks to Wayne Static for so graciously giving me his time, and to Sammy Mazur at VQPR for making it all happen.