“I really took a listen to all that stuff and saw the potential” – exclusive interview with Tony Campos of Static-X

The story of Static-X has begun back in 1994, when Wayne Static, Ken Jayand Tony Campos got together (however the full story is more complex). When Wayne Static had died in 2014 it seemed that this is the end for Static-X. But everything changed when Tony Campos‘ producer friend called and told him about the long-lost demos. After the launch of Project Regeneration Vol. 1 we had an opportunity to do an exclusive interview with the band’s original bassist, Tony Campos.

Last year Tony Campos mentioned in an interview that Wayne was their Bruce Dickinson and Eddie. What was his secret, what made Wayne such a great frontman? “He had a really great stage presence, he knew how to command an audience, and his energy on stage it translated to the audience. So yeah, all those things made him a great frontman” – he replied.

And what did he feel when he first listened to the demos? “When I first listened to those first five it had not been very long since Wayne had passed away, so I didn’t really dig into them a whole lot, I gave them a quick listen, so I really didn’t explore that too much, I guess maybe it was just too soon after Wayne had died, so I didn’t really dig into that stuff. And I wasn’t until years later, ’16 I believe, when I really took a listen to all that stuff and saw the potential.

The biggest challenge was working on the later stuff that we found, a lot of it was just vocals only and a lot of that stuff was damaged, so we had a really painfully long process piecing things together to make everything work.”

Officially and originally (according to Wikipedia at least) on October 23, 2018, the original members revealed plans for Static-X to reunite and to release a new album in 2019 called Project Regeneration, which would include previously unreleased tracks with Wayne Static’s vocals and guest vocals by David Draiman, Ivan Moody, Dez Fafara, Burton C. Bell, Al Jourgensen, and Edsel Dope, but in the end, it turned out differently. During the recording sessions for Project Regeneration, one of the band’s producers uncovered several additional unreleased/unfinished Static-X tracks, many of which contained isolated vocal performances by Wayne Static. “Well, initially we were going to have a bunch of different singers, but as we found more and more tracks with Wayne’s vocals we didn’t really need all the extra help. So, on Volume 1. the only guest vocalist is Al Jourgensen from Ministry.”

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The band currently has an unidentified vocalist, named “Xer0” whos mask is pretty epic. The mask was actually made by the well-known Laney Chantal. But did the band participates in its design process or the full credit goes to the designer? “Well, the initial idea was the band’s, and then we gave that idea to a friend of ours, Laney Chantal, who makes masks like that. You know, she has worked on masks for Slipknot and John 5‘s, she is very professional. And she came up with that design.”

Last year the band headed out on their highly-anticipated Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary tour, which also served as a memorial tribute to late vocalist Wayne Static. The tour featured co-headliners and metal giants DevilDriver, and was also feature support from heavy mainstays Dope. The tour began in Tempe, AZ on June 18 and visited over a month’s-worth of cities, came to an end in Las Vegas, NV on July 27.

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Official flyer of the Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary tour

So, we were curious: what was the best moment during this tour? “I mean the whole thing was awesome! If I had to pick one, I guess it would be the day, the show where Wayne’s family came, and we finally got to see them. We hadn’t seen them in a very long time, so to get to see Wayne’s family and you know, get their approval, and the love from them that was a very special moment.” And surprise-surprise! The tour and the new album became a huge success (the signed vinyls were sold out pretty quickly). Did the band expect that? “No, not at all! (laughs) It feels good, you know the fans not just here in the U.S., but everywhere around the world has been so receptive to what we’ve been doing, so yeah, it feels really good.

I think it was only like thousand that were printed, so it was a very limited edition, at least the signed ones. Yeah, those sold out really quickly. (smiles) And we got together last week and we spend like the whole day signing all of those. (laughs)

But things didn’t go very well this year: sadly COVID-19 also affected the album release. “Yeah, that caused a delay, all the manufacturing shut down. So, we had the album ready to go, but we couldn’t make any albums, because there wasn’t any manufacturing. So yeah, that caused a second delay, or the third delay, I don’t know. But yeah, that definitely caused a delay with the record.”

But things got worse in April: the band has filed a police report with the LAPD, siting that their warehouse space (which is also shared with the band Dope) was robbed of nearly 200K worth of touring equipment during the Corona Virus Lockdown. The two bands were advised to take the story public, in order to help raise awareness with other small business owners and bands alike. “With most of us in lockdown, and those who aren’t locked down, wearing masks in public, apparently it’s a great time to be a thief” – said Static-X drummer, Ken Jay. “We were only able to recover one piece of gear” – added Tony Campos“it was our sound guy, who found his mixing console being sold on eBay. Other than that everything also still gone, and I don’t expect to find it.”

It’s a fact, that the band is already working on the new album. So, what should we expect? “Well, the goal is to try to keep it consistent with Volume 1., and the majority of the tracks will be Wayne’s vocals and we’ll just gonna try to keep the quality the same, and hopefully, people will like it as much as Volume 1.”

Message to the fans: “Just thank you so much for all the love and support you guys shown us through this whole thing, and we’re so grateful that you guys have been so cool to us. We’re so happy that you guys accepted Volume 1. so well as you have, and we’ll try to do the best we can and not disappoint you guys with Volume 2., so thanks!”

Click on the logo below to order your copy:

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Interview by Péter Tepliczky
Written by Afrodite Szeleczky

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"I associate heavy metal with fantasy because of the tremendous power that the music delivers." - Christopher Lee

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