I don’t even know where to begin with this one. As I write this I am still in disbelief. Wayne static, founder and driving force behind STATIC-X has passed away at age 48. I had the opportunity to interview him by telephone on Easter Sunday and he was a total gentleman in a business full of sharks and monsters. We enjoyed quite a few laughs as well, and the concert a few days later at Trees Dallas was one for the ages. The how or the why he is gone is irrelevant at this time. What matters is the music he left behind, which in this week’s Classic Albums we will celebrate and hopefully focus on how much joy it gave us. So with that in mind, and in honor of its fifteenth anniversary let’s take a look at the landmark record Wisconsin Death Trip.
Opening this can of Evil Disco Whoop-Ass is “Push It” a song that stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I heard it. I was living in Awfulville, NJ and folding laundry one January morning in 2000 and I had MTV on (this was back when they still showed music videos). After some sucky songs from COAL CHAMBER and P.O.D., I remember hearing the start of this one and being like “HALLE-FUCKING-LUJAH!!” For two and a half minutes I actually air-jammed and banged my head I was so enthralled. My next move was to hop in the car and haul ass to Sam Goody to grab the album. Disc-paid-car-CD changer-PLAY and off I went. When I FINALLY got past the opener I was immediately taken by “I’m With Stupid” which remains my all-time favorite to this day. I used to offer up a $100 cash prize to anyone who could recite one full line from this one. No one ever did. “So I grabbed my shovel” was something I ran around saying a LOT back then.
“Bled for Days” and “Love Dump” while similar in tempo could not be more different. Especially the latter which as crazy as its subject matter is it has such an infectious melody and beat you can’t help but love it. “I Am” was another instant favorite and on the trip to visit Mom the next day I had to stop myself from hitting 120 on the NJ Turnpike! That’s where my best memories of these songs come from. This album didn’t leave my changer for about a year and it was always a great road-trip CD. I spent many hours driving to PA, NY and other places with this one in tow. “Otsegolation” is another track with a hypnotic rhythm that really showcased how different what STATIC-X was doing was from all the other rap-metal sound-alikes out there. Wayne’s delivery on “Stem” still gets me going every time I hear it, and again it was fucking awesome live at Trees.
It really doesn’t get any more Evil Disco than “Sweat of the Bud” now does it? If this song doesn’t make you wanna dance or fuck, you’re doing life wrong. “Fix” has always felt like more of a brawler to me complete with some crazy-ass noises and squeals and it bleeds perfectly into the title track which has some of the chunkiest riffs on the album. It’s also got this incredible in-your-face quality. The whole album does, but this one always stood out for me. A needed rest comes in the form of “The Trance is the Motion” which has a slowed-down tempo allowing Wayne to bark the lyrics over an almost tribal beat before the disc ends with the haunting and ethereal “December.”
The memories that my friends, girlfriends, and I made to Wisconsin Death Trip will last a lifetime, as will the new ones I got to share with Tom from FiXT Publicity, Jordan from Darkhouse Image, and Paul Wilkins Photography. And while Wayne Static is no longer with us, I know that he will be smiling down every time one of us presses PLAY and “Push It” comes racing out of the speakers. He knows that none of us can ever let it stop there and the whole album must be played start to finish. Such is the power of STATIC-X, such is the power of metal, and of Evil Disco…forever. I hope you are at peace now, Wayne. You will be forever missed. ~dc
FOR MY GOOD FRIEND, TOM GEORGE