Interview with Tony Campos Of Static-X
On May 5 I had the pleasure of interviewing a member of one of the bands my friends and I grew up on and got into metal because of - Static-X. After ritually going to see them for my birthday with my friends for the past 3 years, I was finally able to meet one and talk with one of the members of Static-X, I was able to interview Tony Campos. Tony was fun to interview. He was watching "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" when I got on their bus and we talked about it a bit before the interview. During the interview I was partially star struck, as I could not believe that I was interviewing someone I grew up listening to and always dreamed that I would be in this situation! Although I stumbled through some of it, I hold it as one of my best interviews. My questions to the Static-X bass player are as follows:
Savagebutcher: How's the tour been so far and are there any shows you have enjoyed particularly or that you're looking forward to
Tony: It's all been great man, we've been selling out pretty much everywhere we go and the crowds have been great, so, it'll all be good.
Savagebutcher: You just put out you're 6th full length album over a 13 year career which also includes 2 EP's, 3 DVD's, and countless soundtracks, how does that make you feel?
Tony: IT'S PRETTY COOL! You know, fuck, it's a lot more than I ever thought I'd accomplish, so it's all killer! And we're still doing it!
Savagebutcher: Cool, you guys are considered to be one of the most successful bands; your debut album went platinum, looking back on everything, how does that make you feel?
Tony: It's been a hell of a ride man, you know? Luckily we're still around and we're just going to keep writing stuff and see how far it takes us.
Savagebutcher: You guys have never switched record labels, but now you're on Reprise records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records, why the switch?
Tony: Yeah, it's pretty much the same, just different people; it's the same building, ha-ha! We did it because one of the people we worked with, we had a really good working relationship with at Warner Brothers and he switched over to the Reprise side so we decided to switch with him.
Savagebutcher: So just for the one guy?
Tony: Yeah, yeah, pretty much, you know?
Savagebutcher: How do you feel about having the old line up?
Tony: It's great man! When we first got Koichi (Fukuda, original guitar play that was replaced by Tripp Eisen) back I had forgotten how good he was! Then, having Nick (Oshiro, drummer that replaced Ken Jay on the last 4 Static-X albums) is like having the original line up with a better drummer, you know? So, it's killer!
Savagebutcher: Your new album sounds reminiscent of your first album, "Wisconsin Death Trip," yet with more complex guitar work, how did the decision to include the guitar solos come about and how were you challenged with "Cannibal"?
Tony: Well, we were talking about it, before going into the studio and doing the record, we were talking about doing really heavy stuff and we're always experimenting and trying different stuff. So, every record something different comes out and on this record we just said, "let's go back to the original idea behind the band which was to write heavy ass guitar riffs and put disco beats over it and that's how it all started.
Savagebutcher: How did you guys come up with the label, "Evil Disco," for yourselves?
Tony: Yeah! I came up with that as a joke! One of the first interviews we did with a local magazine in Los Angeles asked us, "What do you call yourselves (meaning their music)", I jokingly called it "Evil Disco" and it stuck.
Savagebutcher: You guys are constantly pigeon-holed as a "nu metal" band. People say you should've broken up back in the 90's, so, do you have any words to the haters?
Tony: As far as the haters go, they can hate all they want, I am still here! I don't care what they fucking say! You know, personally, I never got the whole "nu metal" tag. A lot of that stuff was really hip hop influenced and there's none of that in Static-X.
Savagebutcher: Yeah, I think it may have started with "Wisconsin Death Trip" because the lyrics come out faster, like rapping, so maybe to the narrow minded people that have never heard a rap album, it sounds like rap to them.
Tony: Yeah, but fuck them.
[Drum tech interrupts the interview, does a jig and other things, we all laugh, and then interview continues]
Savagebutcher: You guys use a lot of samples in your songs, who decides which samples to use and when to implement them in the songs? Also, who does the samples when you guys are performing live?
Tony: All the samples and programming are on tape, our drummer or the tech runs a click track in his monitors. So, he follows the drum beat and the click track and that's how that works!
Savagebutcher: Cool, so most people portray you as the extreme metal guy of the band, how do you feel about that?
Tony: Yeah, I guess, I mean I do listen to a lot of heavy shit. If that's who people want to see me as then go ahead.
Savagebutcher: So, I have couple of bass questions, do you play slap bass or use a pick? And growing up, did you initially decided to play bass or was there another instrument? How did you get into playing bass?
Tony: I got into playing bass because an old buddy of mine, growing up we were best friends, then he moved, and in junior high school he moved back, he was a guitar player and a metalhead, he said, "Dude! You should go buy a bass!" So, during the school break, I worked at my uncle's sweat shop and saved up money to buy a bass and I went to my friend and said, "Alright dude, let's jam!", but he said he had already found a bass player, so I just stuck with it and now he's a crack head out in the desert and I managed to make a living off it. So, I think I got the better deal out of it!
Savagebutcher: So slap or pick?
Tony: Ah, I mess around with slapping, but I don't do any of it in Static-X because Wayne hates it. Most of the songs I play with a pick, a few of them I played with my fingers, but for the most part I'm a pick player.
Savagebutcher: So, from when you were growing up, how has the music scene changed and do you think it's for the better or worse?
Tony: It's funny because it's all coming back! The stuff I used to listen to growing up like the old bay area thrash scene, underground death metal, it's coming back with bands like Shadows Fall, Chimaira, I call it the new thrash scene and it's cool! It's like they're doing the same old vibe, I mean they're putting their twist on it, but it's pretty much the same old thrash scene and it's really cool.
Savagebutcher: So, what are Static-X's plans after the tour and what's some advice you can give to people looking to get into the business?
Tony: Quit! Ha, I stole that from Cliff Burton from the "Cliff Em All" video. They asked the same question and Cliff sticks his head in and says, "QUIT!" After this tour, we're going to try to jump on one of the big summer tours and then maybe go to Europe, Australia and Japan then finish the year with another headline tour.
[I swear this was before Static-X was announced to be on the main stage of Ozzfest!]
Savagebutcher: So, possibly another Static-X at Ozzfest?
Tony: Possibly, we're working on it! We haven't done it in years and it'd be awesome to do it again!
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