With their mechanised riffs, keyboards and samples, and snarled vocals, Static-X had far more in common with industrial metal than the burgeoning nu-metal scene, yet somehow that’s where they found success.
I, like no doubt many others, came to Static-X via nu-metal, and they were very much a new sound for me at the time. The guitars had an almost robotic rhythmic chug, and the melody seemed to come from keyboards. Then there was the vocalist…
As he stood at the front, guitar slung over his should, with a shock of hair sticking up, he was already iconic. Wayne Static’s vocals were also iconic. Staccato shouts, occasionally robotic and monotone, but at times expressive and melodic, fit masterfully with the industrial-sounding music they fronted.
Unfortunately we lost Wayne Static in 2014 and, with him, Static-X.
Or so we thought.
In 2018, bassist Tony Campos, lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda and drummer Ken Jay announced they would reunite to tour in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Wisconsin Death Trip. They also confirmed a new Static-X album, their first in 11 years, utilising unused recordings and writing left behind by Wayne.
Along with these announcements, they confirmed a new singer – a masked mystery man known as Xero – who would handle vocal duties on the tour.
I must admit, when this news all first broke, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. It seems opportunistic, perhaps disrespectful, and in regards to Xero in what I considered Wayne Static cosplay, outright ghoulish.
But I wanted to give the band the benefit of the doubt, and had read good reviews from people that caught the first few shows on the tour. So, when Static-X came to town I bought a ticket. I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am that I did.
What I got was a performance that felt respectful, a powerful nostalgia trip, and honoured the towering figure of Wayne Static. While acknowledging the irreparable absence Wayne Static left behind, Static-X forge onward, celebrating not only the man, but the band they built with him.
Rest In Peace, Wayne.
Long live Static-X.