It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time once again for a backward glance at the metal of the past. I will undoubtedly get some eye-rolls at today’s selection, but I have some personal nostalgic reasons for doing it.
Static-X was founded in 1994 by vocalist/guitarist Wayne Static after his previous band Deep Blue Dream dissolved following his bandmate Billy Corgan’s decision to concentrate on his other band Smashing Pumpkins. Static-X signed with Warner Bros. Records for the 1999 release of their debut album Wisconsin Death Trip, an album that went platinum in 2001. Five more albums followed, but in my humble opinion none of them was as good as the first one.
Wayne Static died about a year ago at age 48, with a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol in his bloodstream. Long before then, I had grown tired of his off-stage antics as well as the direction of his music. But Wisconsin Death Trip still holds a special place in my disintegrating memory. Once upon a time I loved the hell out of that album, and now it’s associated with a lot of good recollections of people and of things I was doing 15 years ago.
Nü-metal is a dirty word now in most metal circles, but it wasn’t always so. Maybe you took your own Wisconsin death trip once upon a time, too.
As for the title of the album, I learned for the first time yesterday, from this source, where it came from:
The album’s title was taken from Michael Lesy’s 1973 book Wisconsin Death Trip. This book, responsible for capturing the imaginations of the band and inspiring the album title, contains a collection of photographs cataloging deceased persons previously residing in the Black River Falls region in the late 19th century. When interviewed about the source of the title inspiration, Wayne Static explained, “[It’s]actually a book title that we stole. It’s been out of print for about 20 years. It’s a historical book about life in this small town in Wisconsin from 1890 to 1900. And it’s about everything that happened, but it focuses on people dying and how they died. And there are pictures of dead people as well as stuff about natural disasters and fires and stuff like that.”
I saw them on their first major tour opening up for Fear Factory back in 1999. I can’t say I’m a big fan, but they did put on a great show.
Shadow Zone, Machine, and Cannibal all have some fairly deep cuts that I enjoyed quite a bit. I saw Static X a while back when it was just Wayne with his solo band and I believe he passed away a year later.
I remember reading that he was performing Static-X songs while touring with his solo band. And I also found some songs to like on the later albums, but whether due to my own evolving tastes or to the band’s diminishing quality, I didn’t think any of them were as solid as the first one.
Oh shit! I did a site search to see if we had ever posted anything about Static-X and found your review of that Wayne Static solo show in 2012:
I had no idea they had 5 albums after Wisconsin death trip. I stopped paying attention at shadow zone. But yeah, definitely some nostalgia at play with Wisconsin.
Never had really gotten into these guys (I was 4 when Wisconsin Death Trip came out), but they remind me of some of the bands that were my gateways into extreme metal – namely the one I spent a bit of time listening to yesterday, As I Lay Dying (not very similar stylistically, yet for different subgenerations, nu metal and metalcore served similar purposes). Obviously AILD’s named has been poisoned due to Lambesis being a scum of a human being, but before that they were my gateway, and I still really love their first four albums, especially An Ocean Between Us and The Powerless Rise.
I loved those albums too. In fact, there are a couple songs from them I still listen to a few times a year, and not just for nostalgia reasons.
with the exception of Shadow Zone and Start a War, I’ve always found Static-X albums to be a helluva lot of fun. Loud, cheesy, aggressive, infectious metal that never took itself too seriously 🙂
The only album from them that I didn’t enjoy was Cult of Static. I too have found their music to be a lot of fun to listen to, especially Cannibal. I don’t know why but, when I bought and first played that album, I was laughing and jamming out to it in the car. I haven’t had that much “fun” while listening to an album in awhile.
Im going to go ahead and let this slide by without comment…consider it your Christmas miracle
I knew there was a Santa Clause!
I got into metal (and even music in general) kinda late (by my standards). I started listening to Metallica around 16 or 17 and began to branch out from there. I got into Mudvayne, Chevelle, and other hard rock acts before discovering Static-X’s Shadow Zone by way of commercial advertisement. I enjoyed that album a lot. I worked my way backwards and played tons of Machine and WDT. I probably lose credit for this cause they were never nearly as developed or intelligent as other bands out there (before, during, or after their time) but I’ll always appreciate them for how they helped advance my interest in metal. WDT was a fantastic record and I have no shame.
I was into Mudvayne and Chevelle, too, especially the latter. Actually, this comment thread is reminding me of lots of bands I spent tons of time with and haven’t thought of in a long time.
I really liked static x as a teenager. It was sad to read last year Wayne passed away. Personally, I like a subset of their material spread out over pretty much all their releases, hence I don’t think Wisconson Death Trip us much better than their other albums.
Great to see ncs think out of the box on this rearviewmirror 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it. Probably won’t be the last time I engage in a nostalgia trip that’s outside what we usually cover around here. 🙂
Wow, really surprised to see this on here! I too was one of those who got into this album and cranked it hard. I think at the same time Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe hadn’t been out that long (or at least, I had discovered it only a little before) and they both had that driving solid beat mixed with metal. I loved ’em both.
I listened to pretty much all their albums except Shadow Zone. Cannibal was a real return to form – I think helped by Koichi Fukuda coming back to the fold, the closest album to the WDT sound. Also, after all these years I had no idea he had been in a band with Billy Corgan.
I also found out about the band with Corgan only after doing some reading for this post. And I think by the time Cannibal came out, I wasn’t as interested in the band as I had been before. I doubt I gave it a fair chance.
Thank you for this article!
So many great memories with Static X.
For anyone interested I made my own Wisconsin Death Trip tribute video on my channel.
I played all the riffs in just under 13 seconds and then re-edited the whole take to recreate the full song.
You can watch it here : https://youtu.be/EEHMUP1VtN4
Keep Disco Evil !