Tony Campos Addresses Static-X Future – ‘If the Fans Keep Letting Us Do It, Then We’ll Keep Doing It’
The musician fielded questions about both of his current bands with some clarity given to both the next moves of Static-X and Fear Factory. During the chat, Campos reflected on late vocalist Wayne Static and what he feels the frontman doesn't get enough credit for. He also offered insight on the band's industrial-tinged cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Terrible Lie," how audiences have reacted to Static-X's second act and speaks on the long-running friendship with tour mates Sevendust.
But one of the biggest bits of news is Campos reaction when asked about Static-X's future beyond their current tributes to their Wayne Static legacy. Read on to see what he says.
In addition, Campos shares some insight on how Fear Factory might operate after the Dino Cazares-led outfit has settled in on a lineup following the long-awaited completion of the Aggression Continuum album. Check out more of the chat below.
On the show with us this week, I'm happy to welcome bassist Tony Campos of Static X and Fear Factory fame. Obviously, two veteran bands entering new eras with their latest albums. And Tony, I realize Static-X has been your baby since the very beginning, but in both situations you're taking two bands with an established legacy into new territory. What are some of the biggest challenges and key things you wanna make sure to get right in presenting their current lineups to longtime fans?
I can't really speak for Dino you know, Fear Factory is his band. I just show up and play bass, but I imagine his obstacles are similar to the ones I face with Static-X - just trying to present the band in the right way. I think we've done a pretty good job of presenting the band the right way and getting the right message to our fans when we first started doing this again. We weren't trying to be like, "Hey, here's Static-X, it's their new singer," you know? It was just trying to remember the anniversary of our first record and remember the original lineup. And at the forefront, remember all the good times we had with Wayne and I think we accomplished that.
Tony, obviously we mentioned Wayne. We recently passed both the birth and death date of Wayne Static in early November, and the return of Static-X has served as a way of honoring Wayne's legacy and the music you created together. What do you feel either doesn't get mentioned enough or he doesn't get enough credit for when it comes to Wayne's legacy as a musician and as a person?
I don't think he gets the credit as a singer as I think he should, man. When he wanted to sing, he could really belt it out. He's known more for the rough, staccato, monotone kind of vocal and that kind of thing. But there was stuff he did like on Shadow Zone and then there's stuff on Project Regeneration Vol. 1 where he's really singing and he belts it out and he sounds great, man. I don't think people know him as much for his actual melodic vocals as they know him for the gruff staccato stuff.
The band has been on tour and continuing with Sevendust and Dope, reuniting a bill that dates back to all three bands beginnings. What are your recollections of that time period, and how has it been reconnecting all these years later with some history of success for all three acts?
It's great. Sevendust has been one of our favorite bands since like 1998. I think the first time we saw them, they were opening for Coal Chamber out there in Corona. And we just went 'cause they're friends of Coal Chamber, they gave us our start out on the scene on the strip. And so we just went to go check out Coal Chamber, support them, and we didn't know who was opening and we see this band go on and we were like, who are these guys, man, what? Like, they just totally blew us away and we've been fans ever since.
A couple years later we got to tour with them. They took us out on tour and it was such a blast. And it's really cool to reconnect with those guys again after all this time. And those guys are just like, still the nicest dudes and just the consummate professionals and it's such an awesome band to just to sit back and watch man. And yeah, we feel really honored to get to play with those guys again.
Both Static-X and Fear Factory are gonna be part of the Sick New World Festival. The festival is just another sign of the resurgence of Nu Metal. What are your thoughts on a whole new generation of kids taking interest in your music and bringing it back to the forefront again?
It's great getting to see a whole new generation of kids getting into the stuff we did 20 plus years ago. We've been doing these shows and not only our like our older fans bringing their kids, but we're seeing like just young kids on their own coming out and checking out the shows. So that feels really good seeing that young energy out there.
And if we can talk about Project Regeneration Vol. 2 we've got a great cover of Nine Inch Nails, "Terrible Lie" as a bonus track. Obviously industrial music blows through your evil disco. I was curious why Nine Inch Nails was the pick for a cover and who some of your other industrial influences might be.
The reason that particular song ended up on the record was just that was a demo that we found of Wayne singing that song. And we just built a track around his vocals. But I'd say like 2004, 2005, I remember we were messing around with an idea of doing a covers album and we jammed out some Nine Inch Nails, some Alice In Chains and a couple other things. Then we just got busy with touring and the covers album never happened.
But we've managed to do a few covers throughout our career. I remember we did one of the earlier ones we did was a Ministry cover and Ministry's a huge influence on the evil disco sound. I often say the two bands we ripped off the most were Ministry and Prong, Those guys are big influences on us and lucky for me as a fan, I got to play with both those bands. So, it's really, really cool to get to connect with those bands in that way.
Static-X, "Terrible Lie"
Tony, there's a great new animated video for "Zombie" out there now with Edsel Dope's direction. Since Static-X have returned, you've made very solid choices for your videos. I wanted to get your take on this song and video and Edsel's contributions to it.
Yeah well the song started out as one of Wayne's last demos and "Zombie" was actually the working title for it. And we just decided to stick with that title. We built up the song and I think it came out really cool and so we decided to do a video for it. We'd already done a bunch of performance videos, so Edsel came up with the idea to do something animated and we'd never done anything like that before, so I was all for it. And I think it came out killer. It's a cool, putting tongue in cheek kind of vibe to it. I'm really happy with how that came out.
And hey, Tony as this is coming up on Project Regeneration Vol 2, honoring Wayne and the classic lineup is back intact, what are your thoughts on continuing beyond this with Xero? Would you look to do music beyond what this reunion has brought us?
Yeah, I mean as far as I can tell with my interactions with the fans they all seem like they want us to keep going out there and doing shows and and making music. And we've already done a few completely new compositions on both Volume 1 and Volume 2. So it's definitely something I think we will probably keep doing. I do want to keep doing other things as well.
I'd love to keep playing with Fear Factory and I got a few other projects that are in the works. But as long as the fans are down you know, me, Kenny, Koichi and Xero we're all getting along great and we love jamming together. So if the fans keep letting us do it, then we'll keep doing it.
Tony, I wanted to get in a Fear Factory question. Obviously Aggression Continuum was about completing a long awaited work, but having spent time on tour with the current lineup, can you speak to where things might go from here creatively, and how much input will the collective group have in what comes from Fear Factory moving forward?
From my last discussions with Dino on the subject of a new record with the current lineup, he actually wants us all to get in there and contribute. It's funny, Dino's been a friend of mine for over two decades and I think may have been like the last 10 years or so, I'd been begging him to let me play on a Fear Factory record. And I told him, I do it for free, just let me play on the thing, you know? And now he's finally taking me up on my offers. So yeah, I'm looking forward to that opportunity to get to finally play on a Fear Factory record.
That's great news. Tony, before we go, can you talk about your schedule for '24? You always seem to have to have a lot going on. What's in store for 2024?
Off the top of my head, I don't have all the dates in front of me, but off the top of my head I know we start up leg two of Static X, Sevendust, and Dope in February. And then I think Leg Three starts in May (Editor's Note: Leg 3 kicks off April 28 in Salt Lake City) with Sick New World. And then I think that takes me up to June and if the timing's right, I should be able to go do some European festivals in the summer with Fear Factory. And then after that, I'm not sure.
Thanks to Tony Campos for the interview. Static-X's Project Regeneration Vol. 2 is available now. You can keep up with the band through their website, Facebook, X, Instagram and Spotify accounts. Also keep an eye out for Fear Factory's activities through their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify accounts. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
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Gallery Credit: Chad Childers, Loudwire