In Memoriam: Wayne Static

I’m sure that at this point, everyone in our extended metal community is aware that another star fell from our ranks recently. Sadly, Wayne Static of Static-X passed away on Nov. 1. Many speculate as to why, and there’s plenty of time to talk about that coming up, I figure. I’d rather focus on what was gained, and what was lost.

I am definitely fuzzy on some details surrounding my introduction to Wayne and his band; it came at a whirlwind time of my photo career a couple of lifetimes ago. It was in NYC at either a McGathy Party, CMJ, or both possibly that I stumbled upon them. It was at a place called Downtime, I think, somewhere in the West 30s. I was enjoying a few beverages with fellow photogs and publicity pals when this really weird pounding almost industrial band started up. What caught my attention beyond the singer’s weird hair standing up were some seriously catchy hooks running through the bombardment of guitar, samples and drums. I remember thinking this clearly: “Wow…this band is gonna blow up.”

And blow up they did. But before they got derailed with movie videos and the other trappings of major label excess, they were a helluva shitload of fun to hang out with. They were in that sophomore class of Ozzfest back around ’97/’98 that ruled the second stage, rivaling the main stage in my opinion. Backstage was a rotating swarm of fun and adventure with Static-X, Fear Factory, System Of A Down, Snot, Sevendust, Life Of Agony, Soulfly, and many more.

To be fair, I didn’t know Wayne particularly well; I definitely fell in more comfortably with the rest of the band at the time. I did a lot of crazy fun and partying with Ken Jay, Tony Campos, and Koichi Fukuda. I know ’cause I have the pictures to fill in the many memory gaps. Wayne, I’ll say out of respect, was a bit more reserved, aloof maybe, very soft spoken the few times we did exchange banter or conversation. But he was always cool around me, and certainly gave me plenty of photo access of him and the band, which in turn made me some decent scratch. Those were great times—some of the best of times—and I thank him and the rest for the opportunity to include them in my life experience. You will be missed by me and many others, no matter how things recently may have shaken out. We are all part of each other in some small way. And I have no hard feelings for him along with my friends and the rest of the band for leaving me passed out in the parking lot next to the bus when the cops showed up. Well played kids, well played. Like I said, the best of times. All the best, Wayne. See ya sooner or later.