Mention the name Static-X to metal freaks, and invariably they position their hands about 18 inches over the top of their heads and blurt out, "Yeah, the dude with the hair."
Not since four musicians with dodgy abilities slapped on some whiteface makeup and named themselves Kiss has a band been known so much for its look or, in this case, the haircut of the band's leader, Wayne Static. And therein lies a story. Ten years ago, Static was trolling the bars of Los Angeles, trying to figure out not only what kind of music his band would play, but more important, what he would do with his hair. What to do? All the other bands had jumped all over the freshly unearthed-corpse affectation championed by Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson -- that style was as dead as they looked.
"I was studying all these local bands, checking out what I liked and didn't like, but they all had these cool looks going on. I had to do something," says Static, whose tone is disturbingly serious. "I started growing a goatee and had a shaved head at first."
Yeah, Static and a thousand other metal geeks, all of whom had piercings and tattoos too. So as the hair grew out on his shaved head, Static began experimenting with a secret elixir that eventually yielded this funky, evil, Abe Lincoln top hat made of hair. Naturally, that invites another question.
"Yeah, dude, on the weekend, if I'm just hanging out with my girlfriend, I'll let it down. I don't think that Kiss spent their time off with all that shit on their faces."
Static-X's multiplatinum 1999 debut, Wisconsin Death Trip, featured a beat-laden, hybrid metal-industrial sound that Static has often described as "evil disco." The band went gold with its follow-up, Machine, and last month released Beneath . . . Between . . . Beyond, an 18-track collection of demos, soundtrack releases, and the inevitable brand-new, never-released songs. For some bands, this odds-and-sods-type of album might be a signal that they have nothing left to say, but Static claims that Beneath is the first step in his plan to become the hardest-working mutha in metal. Like the pop bands of the '60s, Static-X plans to release a new album every year, alternating original releases with quirky stuff.
"This is our choice," he says. "We've been touring for so long, and we have this momentum built up -- we don't want it to stop. Now that the big labels are having all these problems, it's hard for anybody to get noticed, and if you aren't out there all the time, the kids move on to something else. Man, everybody knows I'm a workaholic."