Static-X’s Xer0: I’ve Been Determined Not to Let Wayne Static or the Fans Down
We recently spoke with Static-X's masked vocalist Xer0 about what it's been like to join the original lineup of the band while on tour (Read Part 1 here). In Part 2 of our interview, Xer0 offers some insight on the upcoming two volume Project Regeneration album (Vol. 1 arrives May 29), which features late frontman Wayne Static's final recordings.
While Static's voice is featured, Xer0 actually takes on a significant role in helping the band to finish up the album. He also discusses how the new music might factor into future performances and what the big takeaway has been from his time working with Tony Campos, Ken Jay and Koichi Fukada as they've paid their respects to Wayne Static and Static-X's legacy.
The guys have been putting forth their time to finish up the Project Regeneration album. What has been your role in that? And is there a plan to include the Project Regeneration music into touring once it comes out?
I have a number of roles on the new record. Ultimately, I am a producer, so I have teamed up with Ulrich Wild to attack this pretty immense task.. There are a lot of songs and the source of the vocals and all of the various elements were far and wide. It’s a very unique creative process. Tony, Ken and Koichi have pretty defined roles in the band and I realized early on that it would be a mistake for any of them to attempt to reinvent what they do within the band.
Saying that, there was a big void left behind by Wayne and someone needed to attempt to account for a lot of that. It really couldn’t be one of them and it really couldn’t be the producer either. That is a tall fucking order, and by default, I sort of had to take on that role. Creatively and spiritually, I’ve had to step in and try to fill those gaps and to experiment with how to best complete a lot of these unfinished works.
To attempt to creatively think like Wayne, so that Tony, Koichi, and Ken can continue to creatively think and act like they always have, it’s been a very unique experience. All I can say is that I have given my best efforts and I know that Wayne would be very appreciative for how hard I have worked and for the standard that I have held myself to.
This is unlike any normal album. We couldn’t ask Wayne to come in and re-sing any parts. We didn’t have multiple vocal takes. We had to work with and manipulate what he already sang or we had to sing something entirely new. We had to improvise and do our best to find the finish line, sometimes feeling like we were running the race with half a leg. It has been a challenge to say the least, so I hope that people will listen to the album and appreciate the obstacles that we had to overcome to complete it.
In many ways, I sincerely feel like Wayne has been looking over my shoulder and that has been a tremendous source of inspiration and also pressure for me.. This is a very difficult task, but I have been determined to not let my old friend Wayne or the fans down.
As far as playing the new material, I’d imagine that we will eventually play a song or two off of the new album, but I think the fans will agree that the focus should remain on the classic Static-X stuff.
The crazy thing is that even after playing all these shows in 2019, there are still a ton of great Static-X songs that we didn’t get to play. We never played songs like "Dirt House," "I’m the One," "Cannibal," "Permanence," "The Enemy," "Skinny Man," "The Only" or "Destroyer," so there is plenty left to do. Personally, I can’t wait to play the song “I Want to Fucking Break It.”
Project Regeneration is very much about giving an outlet to these Wayne Static recordings, but you’ve been fronting the group throughout this run. Is there consideration given for you to do something vocally on record with these guys beyond this tour and the Project Regeneration recordings?
Due to being a producer, my fingerprints are all over this record and of course Wayne is all over this record. We actually did a little test in the original teaser that was released at the very beginning. There were 5 or 6 snippets of brand new songs.. On a couple of them, you can clearly tell that it is Wayne singing, but we didn’t tell anyone that I was actually singing on several of the others.I knew after that teaser came out that we were gonna be ok, because nobody was differentiating between the two voices. They were just absorbing it as Static-X.
I anticipate that the new record will be received by fans in a similar way. Of course people are most excited to hear the new songs with Wayne's voice and they should be. But I also think that they will be pleased with what I was able to do vocally on the songs that Wayne never got around to putting vocals on.
Every experience can yield something you learn from. What is the big takeaway that you’ve experienced from this time with the Static-X band that you would apply to your own musical future?
It's been an interesting human experiment. The amount of love that we have received through this experience is unbelievable. Almost every show around the world was sold out and that is saying a lot, especially considering that Wayne was not drawing very big crowds at the end.
It shows that the majority of Static-X fans had temporarily disconnected for whatever reason, but that they clearly loved and missed seeing Static-X live and that they were just waiting for the chance to celebrate Wisconsin Death Trip and to properly pay their respects to the life and legacy of their fallen hero Wayne Static.
The most surprising were the very small group of impassioned people that wanted us to know how much they didn’t approve of Static-X continuing without Wayne, the keyboard warriors that threw insults at Tony, Ken and Koichi, as if they were somehow responsible for Wayne not being here. Some people are just idiots and you can't waste your energy on them. Real Static-X fans understand what the band is doing and the incredible attendance numbers around the world support that.
In the end, we all wish that Wayne was still here. Believe me, I’m very content with my life and with who I am as an artist and as a producer. There isn’t some great void in my life that is being filled by Static-X, so I would love nothing more than to be able to welcome Wayne back to his rightful place at the center of Static-X. Unfortunately, we all know that is just not possible.
At the end of the day, I’m doing this because I am inspired. I am doing this for my friends Tony, Ken and Koichi and for Wayne and for his family. I’m doing this for the Static-X fans around the world and I am grateful to them for the experiences that we have shared together. To me, the next best thing to having Wayne here is to make sure that he is never forgotten and to allow him to live on through finishing the work that he left behind and to continue to share the incredible energy of Static-X’s music with the fans around the world.
Our thanks to Static-X's Xer0 for the interview. The band's 'Project Regeneration, Vol. 1' is due May 29 and you can pre-order the disc here. Meanwhile, the band still has tour dates scheduled for 2020. You can see the stops below and head to their website for ticketing info.
Static-X 2020 Tour Dates
July 10 - Flint, Mich. @ Machine Shop
Aug. 04 - Budapest, Hungary @ Durer Kert w/Life of Agony
Aug. 06 - Josefov, Czech Republic @ Brutal Assault Festival
Aug. 08 - Kortrijk, Belgium @ Alcatraz Festival
Aug. 09 - Leeuwarden, Netherlands @ Into The Grave
Aug. 11 - Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg w/Life of Agony
Aug. 12 - Cologne, Germany @ Essigfabrik w/Life of Agony
Aug. 13 - Dinkelsbuhl, Germany @ Summer Breeze Festival
Aug. 14 - Sulingen, Germany @ Reload Festival
Aug. 15 - Berlin, Germany @ Astra w/Life of Agony
Sept. 18 - Appomattox Park, Va. @ Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Sept. 25 - Novosibirsk, Russia @ Podzemka
Nov. 23 - Moscow, Russia @ GlayClub Green Concert
Nov. 24 - St. Petersburg, Russia @ Kosmonavt
Nov. 26 - Krasnodar, Russia @ Arena Hall
Nov. 28 - Samara, Russia @ Zvezda Club
Nov. 30 - Yekaterinburg, Russia @ Teleclub
Dec. 2 - Novosibirsk, Russia @ Loft-Park Podzemka
Dec. 4 - Riga, Latvia @ Palladium Riga
Dec. 5 - Tallinn, Estonia @ Helitehas
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