DOPE frontman Edsel Dope has released a statement addressing speculation about his involvement in STATIC-X's current tour.
Ever since STATIC-X's comeback was first announced last year, there were strong rumors that Dope was singing for STATIC-X under the name Xer0 while wearing a mask in the likeness of late frontman Wayne Static and performing alongside original bassist Tony Campos, drummer Ken Jay and guitarist Koichi Fukuda.
STATIC-X has consistently brushed off speculation about Xer0's identity, explaining that his anonymity "keeps the focus on remembering" Wayne. But earlier this week, Danish magazine Metal A Day posted side-by-side pictures of Dope and Zer0 from the two bands' joint October 7 concert in Hamburg, Germany, with photographer Anders Groos Mikkelsen noticing a "specific similarity" between the neck tattoos sported by the frontmen of the two acts.
After the tattoo resemblance was covered by most of the metal media, including BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Edsel broke his silence on the matter, saying that it's "easy" to "slap a little tribal neck tattoo on to someone in Photoshop" and slamming "trolls, masquerading as journalists," for "spew[ing] their ignorant, hateful words towards something that is so incredibly personal."
Edsel's statement in in its entirety:
"I have quietly sat through all of this speculation and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
"Yesterday's internet eruption reminded me of an episode of Scooby-Doo.
It's incredible how far some people will go to get attention or clicks, so let me remind you how easy it is to slap a little tribal neck tattoo onto someone in photoshop.
"I'm honored for myself and for my band DOPE to be part of this 20th anniversary celebration, along with this unbelievable, traveling memorial to our old friend Wayne Static.
"Wayne is currently on the minds and in the hearts of the metal community in a very unique and special way. His memory / legacy is more celebrated than it has ever been before.
"I personally get to see the joy, the tears, and the incredible sense of healing that is occurring on the faces and in the hearts of STATIC-X fans, each and every night, around the world.
"I'm not attempting to be a spokesperson for STATIC-X, but I will share that I have personally met Wayne's parents and siblings, as they have attended a number of these shows.
"I have personally seen their tears of joy and their expressions of gratitude and approval for the way that Tony, Ken, Koichi, & Xer0 are celebrating the music and memorializing the life and legacy of their son and sibling, Wayne Wells Static.
"I'm including a candid photo that I snapped of STATIC-X drummer Ken Jay embracing Wayne's father, while Tony Campos, Wayne's mother, Wayne's siblings and friends share some personal time together. Words cannot express the love and respect that I've experienced out here.
"It's one thing to go on a Scooby-Doo scavenger hunt, or to use photoshop to attempt to prove whatever you are trying to spin, but it's entirely different when trolls, masquerading as journalists, spew their ignorant, hateful words towards something that is so incredibly personal.
"Anyone with the nerve to throw virtual tomatoes at a traveling memorial, that has been orchestrated and supported by the family, loved ones, and long-time friends of the deceased should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
"In the end, I'm not the type of person to allow others to dictate the narrative of my life or my art, so I've decided to also include a picture of me chatting it up, while watching another SOLD OUT STATIC-X show from the side of the stage the other night."
In a rare interview with Kerrang! magazine, Xer0 said that he needed to reproduce Wayne's vocals and stage presence as faithfully as possible. "Wayne was a very unique singer," he explained. "I can't just be myself with this. That wouldn't be doing the material justice. Therefore, I really have to be prepared. I have to learn lots of parts…find the right places in my own voice to deliver my best version of these songs…I'm never gonna sound as good as Wayne did, doing Wayne's thing. That's just common sense. But I feel really good about it. I believe that I will represent the vibe of the band very well and that we will give the fans a really fun 'Wisconsin Death Trip' experience each night."
Xer0 confirmed that he was the one who came up with the idea of playing masked.
"I've spent the last 20 years building my own identity and touring the world with my own band," he said. "It didn't feel right for my image or identity to be placed in the center of something that I wasn't part of creating… It just felt like a perfect way to keep the focus on the four guys that made this great album and started this really cool band. After a few days of living with it, I decided to spike my hair up, just to see what it would look like with the mask on, and I was like, Oh, FUCK. Let's be honest: Wayne's hair kind of became the visual identity of STATIC-X."
He added: "We didn't set out to create a 'character,' it just evolved naturally. We went to our friend Laney, who also makes the masks for many of the SLIPKNOT guys, as well as Manson's band, and Rob Zombie's band, et cetera. Wayne liked heavy metal, monster movies, and monster trucks. He would be honored by the celebration and he would dig the shit out of this."
As previously reported, STATIC-X will release a new album titled "Project Regeneration", featuring the last recordings of Wayne Static, on May 29, 2020. The rest of the group's original lineup will also be featured on the album and in the music videos, including the promotional clip for the single "Hollow". The teaser, which was directed by Xer0 and co-directed by Matt Zane, also features a snippet of the band's hit song "Push It", re-recorded in 2019 with Xer0.
Originally scheduled for release in spring of 2019, the new STATIC-X album was first intended to feature several guest vocalists, along with the original "Wisconsin Death Trip" band lineup of Campos, Jay and Fukuda.
During the recording sessions for "Project Regeneration", one of STATIC-X's producers uncovered several additional unreleased and unfinished tracks, many of which contained isolated vocal performances by Wayne Static. Because of this incredible find, the new STATIC-X album will now feature lead vocals by Wayne on virtually every song.