Monday, November 3, 2014

11.3.14 Hero of the Day: Wayne Static

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on



Name: Wayne Static
Age: was 48
Occupation: former lead singer, Static-XWes
Last Seen: Joshua Tree, CA
Awarded For: helping to keep rock alive
---In the world of hedonism, there's an old expression called "wine, women and song". But thanks to Ian Dury, we simply know it now as "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll".

Many have lived that lifestyle and all paid the price at 27: Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse just to name a few. But somehow, God gave Wayne Static an extra 21 years. And if he stuck around for another three days, 22.

With his trademark vertical hairstyle that the oil companies happily profited from and chaintail beard, The man born Wayne Richard Wells in Muskegon, MI was one of rock's colorful characters. At a young age, his parents knew that he was quite musical. At age three, he was given his first guitar and at seven, his first real guitar. He received guitar lessons and a year later, he won a talent contest playing "Skip to My Lou".

At age 12, Wayne was in his first rock band, playing in clubs and other local gigs. He attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where he got acquainted with the town of Otsego, a town of about 4,000 souls about 20 miles north of Kalamazoo. Three miles west is Plainwell, also a town of 4,000. Since the two towns are just off US-131, both share plenty of gas stations, supermarkets, big box stores and restaurants. According to Wayne, Otsego was sad and depressing, but knew a guy with a fake ID there. He would often pay tribute to the town with tunes with names such as "Otsego Unraveling", "Otsegolation", "Otsego Undead" to name a few.

Wayne moved to Chicago in 1987 when he formed Deep Blue Dream with another future rock legend, Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan. However, a few years later, several members of the project moved to California and Static-X was born. Critics have compared the band to Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy and other industrial bands.

In 1997 as nu metal was gaining in popularity, Static-X was signed to Warner Bros. Records and in 1999, their first album, Wisconsin Death Trip was released. That album was a success, selling over a million copies and spawning four hit singles: "Love Dump", "I'm With Stupid", "Bled For Days" and their biggest hit, "Push It", which peaked at #20 on the rock charts and even cracked Billboard's Hot 100. Their next album, 2001's Machine was also a hit, selling over 500,000 copies. In all, Static-X recorded six albums, ending in 2009 with Cult of Static, which have rave reviews from critics and sold decently despite a lack of radio hits.

Static-X officially broke up in 2010 so Static could focus on his solo project, Pighammer, which he self-produced, played all instruments and self-distributed on his Dirthouse label (named of course after one of Static-X's most-popular songs). The only other crew member on the disc was his wife, porn star Tera Wray, who provided backup vocals. However, he formed a new Static-X not long after, only to end up with a feud with former bassist Tony Campos, who claimed that he also owned the name. Again, Static-X broke up.

In the past few years, Wayne had been working on another solo album and was embarking on a solo tour supporting fellow nu metalists Powerman 5000. However, it came as a shock on Saturday night when it was announced that he was found dead just two days shy of his 49th birthday.

Static, an atheist and vegetarian truly lived that life of women, wine and song, or sex and drugs and rock 'n roll. He was married to a porn star and was a rock star himself. However, drugs were his true downfall. According to my cousin - a former rock star himself - he interviewed Static for a magazine many years ago. He waited two hours for him to get ready - of course he didn't want to be seen without his big hairdo - and to top it all off, he swallowed a bottle of Xanax with half a bottle of whiskey. In his words, he was shocked that Static lived to see 48.

True, we shouldn't honor Wayne Static the drug addict, but Wayne Static the producer, guitarist, programmer, multi-instrumentalist and singer. In a world overrun by cheesy pop singers and dorky indie bands, Static-X was one of rock's strongest and hardest bands. I do wonder and hope that there's a lot of bands out there influenced by their sound waiting in the wings.

If God does accept Wayne Static into Heaven, I hope he has a big halo to accommodate his hair.


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