STATIC-X bassist Tony Campos recently spoke with Australia's Heavy magazine. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the origins of STATIC-X's comeback:
Tony: "It all started with five demos that Wayne [Static] had done shortly before his passing that he had given to a producer friend of ours, who then gave them to me after Wayne had passed. I sat on them for a few years. I think it was, like, 2015 [when] I had a lot of downtime, so I revisited those songs and started writing music again. That's when I started reaching out to the guys to see if we could do something with this stuff. In the process of reaching out for help with this stuff, our original producer, Ulrich Wild, he turned me on to three songs that didn't make the 'Start A War' record, and so we kept Wayne's vocal performances, reworked the music, so we had these three songs with Wayne's vocals and one of those original demos had Wayne's vocals on them, so we had four songs with Wayne's vocals on them. Then, shortly after that, while looking for live backing tracks, we discovered another seven or eight songs that Wayne had demoed, I'm guessing, around the 'Shadow Zone' / 'Start A War' era. A lot of that stuff was just the vocal tracks. The music that he had written along with that stuff was missing. We couldn't find the tapes that had the music, so we had to write all new music for that stuff. Now, it's turned into the majority of the songs on this record will feature Wayne's vocals. It's kind of snowballed into what it is, and in the process of getting these songs together, we just came to the conclusion that if we were ever going to do something, the 20th anniversary of 'Wisconsin Death Trip' would be the best time to do it. That's why we started looking into bringing this to the fans one more time."
On how he felt while going through Wayne's demos:
Tony: "Sad, in a way. The guy was so talented. Particularly after discovering these vocal tracks that we came across later, he was really singing a lot more on these tracks as opposed to the gruff, staccato style that he was known for. When Wayne wanted to sing, he could really sing. He had an amazing voice. To hear that, it was just, like, 'Man. It's such a shame that because of drugs, the world is robbed of that.'"
On what he's gained from making the new STATIC-X album, "Project Regeneration", with the surviving members of the group's original lineup:
Tony: "It's been kind of cathartic to get together and remember the good times we all had together. Just the three of us to get in the same room again after so much time has passed felt really good. It's a bittersweet moment, because we're missing a pretty important guy. It feels good just to get together and remember all the good times we had together, and that's why we're doing this — to remember the good times, to remember Wayne for the guy he was and [to] let the fans experience the good times and good vibes of STATIC-X one more time."
On how the direction of the album changed since it was announced:
Tony: "Because the majority of stuff we had at the time we announced [the album] didn't have vocals on them, the initial idea was to have all these guest singers come in, but since discovering all this other material, the need for guest vocalists has decreased. As of now, the only guest vocal performance on the record will be Al Jourgensen from MINISTRY... The two bands that STATIC-X ripped off the most were MINISTRY and PRONG, so to have Al sing on a song, I know that if Wayne was here, he would be just as stoked as I am."
On the album's recording process:
Tony: "Obviously, it's different because Wayne isn't around, but in some ways, it was like working with Wayne. All the songs that eventually made 'Wisconsin Death Trip', the way those came about, Wayne would come into the rehearsal room with a guitar riff and an idea on the drum machine, and we would all jam stuff out. That's kind of how we started with these demos — [they] were just a guitar riff or two, a drum machine program, a keyboard part, and we had to build the songs from that. It was like the way we built songs for that first album, so in that respect, it was like working with Wayne again."
On producer Wild:
Tony: "He's a big goofball just like the rest of us, so we got along instantly. He really helped us define our sound for that first record — putting all the sounds and all the material together. To have him helping us on this is really key to bringing back that vibe of the first record."
On revisiting the material on "Wisconsin Death Trip" in preparation for the group's upcoming tour:
Tony: "It was definitely really cool to play these songs again after so many years. I hadn't even thought about these songs for a long time, but what was really cool [was] when we actually got together and started jamming these songs out. Everything just came back, like muscle memory. It was almost, dare say, effortless, the songs from 'Wisconsin Death Trip' in particular. It was only the later stuff that we were, like, 'How does this go again?' [Laughs]"
"Project Regeneration" will feature the surviving members of the band's original lineup — Campos, drummer Ken Jay and guitarist Koichi Fukuda — as well as newly recruited touring vocalist "Xer0," who will perform live wearing a mask that resembles Static.
STATIC-X will kick off the first leg of its tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band's gold-certified debut album "Wisconsin Death Trip" — a six-week trek across North America with co-headliners DEVILDRIVER — on June 18 in Tempe, Arizona. Support on the trek will come from DOPE.
While the identity of STATIC-X's touring singer has not been officially revealed, strong rumors suggest that DOPE frontman Edsel Dope will pull double duty during the trek and perform with Jay, Fukuda and Campos.
Wayne Static died in November 2014 after mixing Xanax and other powerful prescription drugs with alcohol, according to the coroner's report. The 48-year-old, whose real name was Wayne Richard Wells, was found dead in his Landers, California home.
Static founded STATIC-X in 1994 and achieved commercial success with "Wisconsin Death Trip", which included the rock radio hit "Push It".
The group issued five more studio albums before disbanding permanently in June 2013. Static had been pursuing a solo career at the time of his death.