EDSEL DOPE: 'I Have No Interest In Being The Frontman, Face Or' Being 'Known As The Singer Of STATIC-X'
December 24, 2022
DOPE leader Edsel Dope has shared his thoughts on "Xer0", the masked frontman of STATIC-X who is widely believed to be him. In a recent interview with BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Edsel talked about the unique position of fronting STATIC-X in place of deceased vocalist/guitarist Wayne Static while trying to remain faceless.
"The motive behind it is that I, Edsel Dope, have zero interest in being the frontman, face or [being] known as the singer of STATIC-X," he said. "I feel like as long as we never put another face to STATIC-X, Wayne will always be the face of STATIC-X. It's appropriate. That was the number one most important thing. I'll help my friends. This all started in 2014. In 2014, I moved to L.A. I was working on the DRAMA CLUB project and I really, really wanted to produce another band and make a great record without me being in the band. I just wanted to move the controls, do what I do and help another band sound great. I had done it with a couple of other bands that I produced, but I wanted to do it with a band of note.
"When I got to L.A., the first thing I did was a short West Coast tour with DOPE and Wayne Static," Edsel continued. "I purposely did this because I wanted to reconnect with Wayne and start the conversation with him about — I'm a businessman and energy guy. It made no sense to me that Wayne Static was on tour celebrating the anniversary of 'Wisconsin Death Trip', playing the album in its entirety as Wayne Static to small crowds. Sadly, even though it's Wayne Static playing STATIC-X songs, it's not the same as STATIC-X. The amount of people showing up to see Wayne Static was infantile to what would have been if it was STATIC-X. I started having those conversations with Wayne on that tour. They went really well. I didn't understand at the time the depth of addiction that Wayne was under. I thought there was a 'Yoko Ono'. [Editor's note: referring to Wayne Static's wife, Tera Wray, who passed away in 2016] That was what I was going to have to worry about. I can handle 'Yoko Ono', but the drug addiction and the fog were what I realized when I was out there with him was this was going to be the biggest challenge. 'I'm not sure without rehab it will be possible.' I really felt like it was because I'm a big believer that if somebody wants it, they can do it. Long story short, obviously, we know what happened. Six or eight weeks after that, Wayne passed away. That idea disappeared."
Edsel then discussed the role he's taken on to ensure Wayne Static's legacy is handled properly, including the 2020 "Project Regeneration" album that consisted of Wayne's last recordings. "For me, when coming onboard to help complete the last bit of music that Wayne left behind, which ended up accidentally stumbling into what became a treasure trove of content, which I'm so excited and so blessed to have been the guy who got to uncover it," he said. "In many ways, I'm not a big afterlife person, but in this very room, I have felt him tapping me on the shoulder going, 'Don't fuck this up, man.' I have a really great relationship with his family. If there was any pressure, it was self-induced because I try to imagine what it would be like if someone were doing this for me and how much I would want them to care and how much I would want them to make sure it was done right. That was the number one focus. That was where all the energy went.
"When it came time to put it on stage and take it on tour, it was, 'There should never be another singer of STATIC-X that's a person.' The entity idea became where it was, 'Let's put a mask out there.' A lot of it was predicated on the 20th anniversary of 'Wisconsin Death Trip'. We want people to come and have a 'Wisconsin Death Trip' experience. How can you do that without the dude in the middle's hair standing up? I couldn't imagine people in the crowd hearing those songs and not getting that. What are you going to do? If it were me or if it were some guy named 'Steve,' are you going to walk on stage with your hair standing straight up? It's stupid. The mask allowed it to have anonymity. It's also funny because that guy standing in the middle of the stage, playing guitar, singing all those parts and in many ways, the entire thing is reliant on that dude doing a great job, but at the same time, it's like, 'Pay no attention to the guy in the middle holding it together. But if that guy sucks or fucks it up, this whole thing is going to sink.'"
Back in October 2019, a photo was posted online clearly showing that Dope and Xer0 shared the same neck tattoo. However, Edsel later posted a lengthy statement on his band's Facebook page attempting to quash the rumors, implying Xer0's distinctive body ink was in fact a Photoshop job. Dope even provided a photograph of himself supposedly observing a STATIC-X performance sidestage to prove he and Xer0 were not the same person.
In July 2020, STATIC-X released "Project Regeneration Vol. 1". The first of two volumes, "Project Regeneration Vol. 1" featured 12 brand new tracks, containing many of the final vocal performances and musical compositions of Static, along with bassist Tony Campos, drummer Ken Jay and guitarist Koichi Fukuda. Both volumes are being worked on by longtime STATIC-X producer Ulrich Wild.
Static died after mixing Xanax and other powerful prescription drugs with alcohol, according to the coroner's report. The 48-year-old, whose real name was Wayne Richard Wells, was found dead in his Landers, California home on November 1, 2014.
Static founded STATIC-X in 1994 and achieved commercial success with "Wisconsin Death Trip", which included the rock radio hit "Push It".
The group issued five more studio albums before disbanding permanently in June 2013. Static had been pursuing a solo career at the time of his death.
Two years ago, Campos discussed STATIC-X's comeback during an appearance on "The SDR Show". Speaking about how the idea of Xer0 wearing a mask in the likeness of Static came about, Tony said: "When we were trying to figure out how we were gonna do this live, the first thing that came up was the hologram thing, and that got shot down pretty quick.
"The thing about the band for us was the energy and the vibe that we all got from the interaction the four of us had on stage, and you just don't get that with a hologram. So that got chucked out the window pretty quickly. So we figured out it had to be somebody. Once we found Xer0 and saw and heard that he could do the job, we were, like, 'Cool. How do we present this in a cool way that doesn't make it about…?' 'Cause we didn't wanna come out and, like, 'Hey, here's STATIC-X with their new singer.' That's not what we were trying to do. It was about remembering Wayne and remembering the good times we had back in the early days and remembering the fun we all had together 20 years ago touring on 'Wisconsin Death Trip'. And so we really wanted to keep the focus on that and not on the new singer. So the idea of a mask came."
Campos continued: "Initially, we came up with a helmet that looked like the robot from the 'Push It' video and even shot some video footage of Xer0 wearing that, and it looked great. Logistically, it wasn't gonna work, though, 'cause you're blind in the thing. And so, what are you gonna do? Have somebody walk him out to the front of the stage, make sure he doesn't fall off the stage? So we were, like, 'Okay, what else can we do?' And so we thought of all these different merchandise items that we had, with skulls, with Wayne's hair and beard, and thought, 'Well, let's try something like that.' So we gave the idea to a friend of ours who designs masks for the SLIPKNOT guys, John 5, various other people, and she came back with that Xer0 mask. And then once we put the hair up, we were, like, 'Oh, yeah. Dude, that's it.' And so we went with that."
Asked if STATIC-X was still keeping Xer0's identity a secret even though "everyone knows" who he is, Tony said: "Yeah, but I still like to keep that distinction, 'cause, again, I'm trying to keep the focus [on remembering Wayne]."
According to Campos, Xer0 wasn't the only singer who was in the mix for the STATIC-X frontman job. "I had a few ideas in my head, but he was the first to come up and actually demonstrate that he could do the job," Tony explained. "So I was, like, 'I don't think I need to look any further.' [Laughs]"
Campos went on to say that he "knew there would be some negativity" on the Internet once STATIC-X had announced its comeback. "It was definitely a talking point, for sure," he said. "But I think once people heard our story and heard that Wayne's family had given us their blessing to do what we were doing, and then once they actually saw it, I think that was the big turning point. Once people came out and experienced the show and saw what we were doing, I think it made most of those people turn around."
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