The Static clings

When nü metal is no longer new, where does that leave Static-X?

BACK IN BLACK<br>Static-X is, from left: Guitarist/keyboardist Koichi Fukuda, bassist Tony Campos, guitarist/vocalist Wayne Static, and drummer Nick Oshiro.

Static-X is, from left: Guitarist/keyboardist Koichi Fukuda, bassist Tony Campos, guitarist/vocalist Wayne Static, and drummer Nick Oshiro.

Courtesy Of Reprise Records

The weight room at our high school had a stereo, which meant during our “free day” we could spend the period with stacks of CDs, critiquing and enjoying the work of all the music that kids generally listen to at that age.

One day, a friend and I had gathered around the boom box snobbing over a copy of Static-X’s first album. A couple of the cool kids were using the weight room for its intended purpose, and one of them burst through our wall of self-fulfillment and, without asking, switched the CD off and put on the local Top 40 station. After we started protesting, she proclaimed, “I can’t stand that hard stuff!”

My friend, ever the combatant, pointed out that Static-X sounded essentially like the music played on the Top 40 station, just with distortion. It didn’t appear she really grasped what my friend was trying to say, nor do I think she cared enough to figure it out. At any rate, we were going to treat this as one of life’s little victories.

Static-X has released four albums since then, including its latest, Cannibal, which the band claims is “the most metal record we’ve made.” It certainly continues with the band’s industrial, riff-heavy style, complete with vocalist/guitarist Wayne Static’s barking vocals.

And with the new record comes all sorts of added goodies, including a series of behind-the-scenes Web clips on the making of Cannibal, available on the band’s MySpace page. There’s also a viral video game on the Warner Bros. Web site where fans can manipulate band members and cannibalize their way to victory.

So where does Static-X stand these days? Most of the bands that had their heyday during the nü metal craze have called it quits, at least in the hearts and minds of some of their former fans. Does the band continue to make valuable contributions to their medium? Or are they still clinging on to what’s left, and riding it out until the bitter end?

It seems for Static-X bassist Tony Campos, the band is stealing its moves straight out of the John Lydon playbook. When you’re making a living doing what you want, who cares about anything else?

Campos’ philosophy is simple and straightforward.

“I’m getting paid to do what I would be doing anyway,” Campos said in a recent interview. “I’d like it to stay that way. I don’t want to get a day job. Getting up early sucks.”

So, what time did he get up?

“Around 2,” he said. “I would have slept in until 3 but my girlfriend called me.”

Sounds awesome.

Of course, just because Static-X is playing in Chico doesn’t necessarily mean rock bottom for the band. Cannibal debuted at No. 36 on the Billboard 200, selling 30,000 copies in its first week. Along with performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live in June, the band will co-headline Ozzfest this summer. In fact, it will be Static-X’s third time on the tour, which, aside from Ozzy himself, will feature Lamb of God and up-and-coming metal bands such as Lordi and Hatebreed.

I wondered if getting on the famous heavy metal tour promises to be something new or if at this point it’s just something to do.

“Actually, we haven’t been on Ozzfest in so long, it’s going to be interesting to see how stuff’s changed,” Campos said. “There’s been a lot of new stuff happening since we were last part of the tour.”

Who knows? Maybe Static-X will stick around long enough to upset and annoy a whole new generation of cool girls in high school. We can only hope.