Surviving Static-X members take 20th Anniversary Tour with DevilDriver to Levels in Scranton on June 30
Nearly four years after the death of frontman Wayne Static, the surviving members of Los Angeles industrial metal band Static-X surprised fans last October when they announced that they were reuniting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album, “Wisconsin Death Trip,” by recording a new album and then touring the world in memory of the beloved vocalist and guitarist.
Today, the group’s classic lineup of bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay announced the first leg of a 20th Anniversary Tour and Memorial Tribute to Wayne Static with 30 stops across the United States, including Levels Bar & Grill (519 Linden St., Scranton) on Sunday, June 30.
Fellow California metal band DevilDriver, featuring vocalist Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber fame, will co-headline the tour and play both DevilDriver and Coal Chamber songs, and New York City nu metal band Dope will open the show, with more supporting acts to be announced.
“Our intention is to pay ultimate respect to Wayne and to celebrate the music that has been in all of our hearts for more than 20 years,” Campos said in today’s announcement. “It’s all about channeling the vibe from 1999 to the best of our ability and playing those classic Static-X songs live and loud with the fans.”
“Rehearsals have been awesome,” Fukuda added. “The music and the vocals are sounding really great! I feel like Wayne would be proud.”
“We understand that people are naturally going to want to know more about who is singing,” Jay noted. “We have discussed this at great length and we came to the conclusion that, at this time, it would be inappropriate for us to put the focus on anyone other than Wayne, Tony, Koichi, and myself. This feels like the best way for us to celebrate Wayne’s legacy, along with the 20th anniversary of ‘Wisconsin Death Trip,’ with all of our fans.”
While remaining vague on who exactly will be providing live vocals during these shows that will include a majority of the songs from their platinum-selling 1999 debut in the setlist, the “Evil Disco” band did release a new video with a masked singer featuring the iconic big hair and braided goatee that Wayne Static was known for performing their first single, “Push It,” with newly recorded audio:
Tickets, which are $25 in advance or $28 at the door, are on sale now via TicketWeb. The show is 18+, 21+ to drink with ID.
A limited number of meet and greet packages, which are $75, are on sale at static-xshop.com and include a photo opportunity and “after show hang” with the band, VIP laminate, “Wisconsin Death Trip” 20th Anniversary Tour T-shirt, and a 11×17 tour poster for signing. This does not include a ticket to the concert.
Static-X’s last album, “Cult of Static,” was released in 2009 before the band went on hiatus. Wayne Static released his only solo album, “Pighammer,” in 2011 and toured as Static-X with all new members before officially breaking Static-X up in 2013 due to differences with Campos.
Wayne Static, whose real name was Wayne Richard Wells, died at home in his sleep on Nov. 1, 2014 at age 48 after mixing prescription drugs with alcohol. His wife Tera Wray later committed suicide on Jan. 13, 2016.
On Oct. 23, 2018, the “Wisconsin Death Trip” lineup of the band announced via Static-X’s social media accounts that they have reunited to create a new album called “Project Regeneration,” and Campos released an official statement after appearing in a video promoting the record:
With the 20th anniversary of “Wisconsin Death Trip” coming right around the corner, it feels like the right time to pay our respects – to the band, to Wayne, and to all the fans that supported us right from the start. With the help of longtime Static-X producer Ulrich Wild, the original band lineup of myself, Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay are in the process of completing a brand new Static-X record, “Project Regeneration.”
The album will feature the final vocal performances and musical compositions from Wayne Static. For the unfinished tracks, we’re inviting our friends to lend us their vocal talents to help us complete this very personal project. With the assistance of SiriusXM’s Jose Mangin, we are in the process of reaching out to David Draiman from Disturbed, Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch, Al Jourgensen from Ministry, Dez Fafara from Coal Chamber and DevilDriver, Edsel from the band Dope, Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory, as well as a handful of others, to see if they can take some time off their busy schedules to help contribute to this project.
In the end, we expect this album to be between 12 and 15 brand new Static-X tracks. It’s the original lineup back together for all the right reasons.
“Wisconsin Death Trip” was our biggest record – it set the tone for everything we did from there on out. We’re gonna celebrate the importance of “Wisconsin Death Trip” with you while we properly pay our respects to our brother Wayne each and every night as part of the 20th anniversary of “Wisconsin Death Trip” reunion tour.
Wayne had fans everywhere, so why not do a memorial show for him everywhere? So we’re gonna play a killer old school set that features a majority of the “Wisconsin Death Trip” record, along with all the other old school Static-X favorites that you all love.
We plan on having a very interactive show with huge LED walls, big sound, and lots of production. We wanna make sure that the 20th anniversary of “Wisconsin Death Trip” reunion tour happens all over the U.S. Once we get that unlocked, we can focus on the rest of the world.
When some fans questioned Campos’ intentions with this project after his previous disagreements with Wayne Static, he released an additional statement to clarify why he and the rest of the band are putting this album and tour together:
Thank you so much for all of the positive vibes and excitement around what we’re doing with “Project Regeneration.” I wanted to take a few minutes to personally address some of the questions and misinformation surrounding the dynamics of my relationship with Wayne, particularly towards the end.
It is important for people to remember that I worked side by side with Wayne for more than 15 years. He and I shared some of the most amazing experiences of our lives together! We worked together, played together, and helped each other achieve our childhood dreams. Through it all, we developed a friendship that went beyond the band. Together, along with Ken and Koichi, we brought Static-X from the streets of LA all the way to the main stages of Ozzfest. We made six albums together and shared more on a personal level than I can even put into words.
Several people came and went through the ranks of Static-X throughout the years: managers, agents, band members, etc. Through everything, I remained a steady partner to Wayne in Static-X. I love the band, and I love the music that we all made together.
Being in a band comes along with many challenges. Success, pressure, expectations, fame, money, personal influences, and egos can all be very divisive factors for people that are working and living in such close quarters for extended periods of time. When you add drugs and alcohol into the mix, it can be very easy to lose yourself and lose sight of what’s really important.
As time went on, Wayne began to isolate himself from the band. Drugs and alcohol truly began to take over. His personal life became more of the focal point of Static-X and was on display during band interviews as well as on stage. I found myself in many uncomfortable positions and began to feel the need to stand up for myself and protect the integrity of the band that we worked so hard to build.
Unfortunately, Wayne and I eventually reached a point where it seemed impossible to overcome our differences. Wayne expressed his intent to go solo, so we agreed to take some time away from one another and to give Static-X a break. Neither Wayne or I quit the band. Our partnership remained intact, while our personal differences kept us from working together.
After some time, Wayne expressed the desire to tour his solo band under the name of Static-X. I knew that it remained impossible for me to insert myself back into that toxic environment, so I reluctantly agreed to give Wayne my blessing to tour Static-X, without my involvement, for a limited time. We both came to a business agreement and we went about our separate lives.
During that tour, some legal troubles involving drugs took place and ultimately led to cutting the tour short. While Wayne did also have a lingering health issue, it was this incident that ultimately ended the Wayne “solo band” touring as Static-X experiment.
Wayne returned to his solo project and I continued touring with my other projects. We both had hurt feelings. Wayne was angry that I didn’t want to continue on with the way things were, and I was angry over how helpless I was to stop any of it from happening to begin with. To make matters worse, we both began vocalizing our unhappiness and our frustrations with one another publicly. I sincerely regret us doing that.
In the end, you can never be prepared to lose someone that you have cared about so unexpectedly. In my heart, I hoped that Wayne would eventually rise above his demons and that we would reconcile. I was not prepared for Wayne’s passing. None of us were. It was devastating for me. I never got to reconcile with my friend. I never got to apologize or to forgive to my friend while he was still alive. I never got to say goodbye.
Unless you have unexpectedly lost someone, you may not truly be able to understand what I am expressing. It changes everything. It makes you realize how short and fragile life is and how lucky we all are to be alive. It makes you replay all of the situations in your head and wish that you could have done things differently. All of that, while having to accept the fact that your friend is gone, and that you will never get to express any of this to them.
The bottom line is:
I miss Wayne. Despite our differences and disagreements, he was my friend for over a decade. He was my brother and my partner. Many of the people that were closest to Wayne in the early years were driven out of his life towards the end. In our own ways, we all did our best to reach him, but we were all powerless to save him.
I wish that Wayne was here celebrating 20 years of “Wisconsin Death Trip” with us. I truly believe in my heart that if Wayne were sober and healthy and had distanced himself from the negative influences in his life, he’d be doing this with us. I know that Kenny and Koichi feel the same way that I do.
Making this record with Ken, Koichi, and our friends, and bringing this to all of the fans, is the best way that I can think of to express my love, my respect, and my admiration to my old friend. Having personally reached out to Wayne’s family and gaining their blessing, I feel like this is the right way to celebrate and remember who Wayne truly was and all the good times we had together. This is the send-off Wayne deserves.
In closing, I just want to say, I am not interested in rehashing the things that divided us. I am only interested in celebrating the things that brought us all together. I hope this has been a helpful insight. I look forward to bringing everyone together as we celebrate Wayne’s life and the music we all made together in Static-X.
I thank you all for the love and support!
“Project Regeneration,” along with other Static-X merchandise, can be pre-ordered now at static-xshop.com.
by Rich Howells
Rich is an award-winning journalist, longtime blogger, adequate photographer, podcast co-host, and practicing poet. He is the founder and editor of NEPA Scene.