It’s not the greatest feeling in the world to hear that the concert you were to attend was cancelled – especially if you were to interview and take photos of the two main performers. But, when you get a call from a tour manager, asking if you can be back at the venue in twenty minutes, and that the interviews (at least one of them) are still on, it’s easy to pick your heart back up from the floor and replace it with your foot on the gas pedal.
I saw Tony Campos walking through a group of fans, trying to get back to his bus, as soon as we arrived back at the Palladium Ballroom.
“Tony!” I called out.
He turned from the bus’s door to find me standing two feet behind him.
“I’m Micah with…”
“Yeah, you’re here for the interview,” he interrupted with a smile. “Let’s go back in to the dressing room. We should at least be able to use it for something, since we don’t get to play tonight.”
Here is where I must rewind. During my preparation for the Static X interview, Koichi Fukuda and Nick Oshiro agreed to do email interviews, as time would not allow an in-person at the venue. Be sure and read my short interview with Koichi, also on Revenant Media, and be on the look-out for Nick’s, but be patient. I think you’ll understand why, at the beginning of my interview with Tony.
Micah (RM): So, what happened with Nick?
Tony: He, uh, fractured a bone in his hand or something.
Micah (RM): Do you know what he was doing when he broke it?
Tony: Yeah, he was bein’ a drunk jackass. (laughs)
Micah (RM): When, exactly, did it happen?
Tony: Last night… Last night on the drive.
Micah (RM): Do you have any info on when you guys might be able to get back to the tour?
Tony: Um, we just lined up a replacement drummer. Um… We got the day off tomorrow. So, we’re gonna rehearse tomorrow, and uh, if everything goes as planned, we should pick up on the next show, which is in Houston, on Friday.
Micah (RM): Ok, we can get to the questions I had lined up…
Tony: (laughs) Before… Before the accident…
Micah (RM): Right. I read that Wayne Static said that Cannibal is the most metal and arguably the heaviest record Static X has released. I feel that’s pretty accurate. I think that Static X has had their…your own evolution of sound, and Cannibal seems to get back to the heavier shit…
Tony: Yeah, I stand by that statement.
Micah (RM): You do?
Micah (RM): Do you think that Cannibal is the best, yet?
Tony: Yeah, I think so. Um… You know, it’s a… it’s a culmination of, you know, years of trying different things. You know, we’re at the point where, you know, we just go back to, like, what we were doing at the beginning. Just write some heavy songs, and come up with some heavy guitar riffs, and put some disco beats over ‘em. You know? And there’s not that big concern of, ya know, havin’ a big radio hit, or, you know, that pressure from the label anymore.
Micah (RM): That kind of brings me to my next question. There are some other bands that started heavy, then went in other directions with their follow-up albums, some finding themselves on “pop” radio stations. Do you think it could prove beneficial to some bands to try and get back to their heavy roots? If so, in what ways?
Tony: I mean, ya know, if they’re having success doin’ what they’re doin’, then… ya know, why… why mess with the, you know, um, winning formula, I guess, ya know? If you can sleep at night doing that, you know… By all means, go right ahead.
Micah (RM): Let me pause for a second. Would you mind if, during the interview, we snap a few pictures?
Tony: Yeah, sure. Let me put my shades on, so I’ll look cool. (laughs)
Micah (RM): Ok. Wayne [Static] said he wrote “Reptile,” because it’s a cool word, and that he, actually, imagined himself being eaten alive by a giant reptile. Does he really have that big of an imagination, or was he watching Godzilla movies at the time?
Tony: (laughs) Uh, I guess so, man. Uh, you gotta have an imagination to come up with the stuff he does, man.
Micah (RM): Do you think that writing songs, derived from nothing more than a good word like, “reptile,” can be just as therapeutic as one where the artist bares his or her most personal issues and emotion in their lyrics?
Tony: Yeah, I mean, you know, music, it’s not soley just about the lyrics, you know. It’s emotion that’s the song as a whole. In the music, you get the energy of the song. You know, you could be, like, singing the… the wimpiest, wussiest love ballad, but if you’re doin’ it, ya know, in a death-low voice or a blast beat, you know, it’s still gonna come across like angry and so, ya know, it’s.. To me it’s always been more about the delivery, than the actual lyrics.
Micah (RM): Is there anything, in particular, that always motivates or inspires you or Wayne to create music?
Tony: Yeah, ya know… It could be anything, but like “Reptile,” for example, um… He [Static]… He got the inspiration for that from something he… He’s got a house out in the dessert and uh, you know, he goes out there on weekends, and I guess he was at a Country bar out there, and he saw this Country band, playin’, and he liked that beat, so he’s like, ‘Yeah, I gotta write a song with that beat, so… yeah.
Micah (RM): It really is a cool song.
Tony: Yeah, and to me you know, it was like, ‘Dude, this is totally like a Primus song,’ and I’m like a huge Primus fan, ya know…
Micah (RM): Yeah, it does kind of have a Primus feel to it.
Tony: Yeah, so I started doing like a Primus type bass line on it, and ya know, it just went from there.
Micah (RM): I think my favorite song, right now, from Cannibal is “Destroyer.” Do you have a favorite?
Tony: Um… Personally, I like, uh… ‘No Submission.’
Micah (RM): Another great one.
Tony: Yeah, that one’s just the coolest track on there, I think. It’s definitely got the… the most death metal, thrash, you know like, guitar riff… on the record.
Micah (RM): You’ve been with Static from the beginning, right?
Tony: Pretty much, yeah.
Micah (RM): What, besides great music, has kept you with Static X?
Tony: Uh, you know I just still enjoy the song writing process, ya know. I still enjoy the touring. It’s still fun, ya know? I said this from day one, you know, that the day this stops being fun, I’ll go find something else to do.
Micah (RM): Has there ever been a time when you thought about leaving to further pursue your other project, Asesino, or for any other reason?
Tony: No… I mean, Asesino is strictly a side project. Man, it’s just me doin’ old school stuff for the sake of, ya know, havin’ fun doin’ the old kind of stuff that I grew up listening to. Ya know, try to write the sickest, most depraved, evil lyrics I can, in Spanish.
Micah (RM): Right. I’ve recently started listening to you guys…
Tony: Yeah, it’s really cool, fun stuff to do, ya know?
Micah (RM): You back Wayne up with some killer vocals. Is there anything you do, personally, to warm your voice up before a show?
Tony: Not really, man. Do a couple of roars out there, ya know, to get things goin’, but I don’t really have, like a regiment to warm up. Even when I do full sets with Asesino, it’s just a couple of roars and then just get goin’ with other stuff, and just go.
Micah (RM): Static X has had songs on numerous movie and video game soundtracks. How does the process of creating such songs differ from doing the same for your own album?
Tony: Well, it doesn’t, really, because… Well, what happens, is we go into the studio and track like 14… 14 to 16 songs and, obviously, all of them aren’t going to make it on our record, so we got some left over songs and when an opportunity like that comes up where they’re like, ‘Hey, we need a song for this game,’ or ‘We need a song for this movie,’ or what have you, we’re like, ‘Alright, cool. We got this one.’
Micah (RM): Is there a soundtrack that you’re most proud to be on?
Tony: Uh… Let’s see, uh… You know that first ‘Bride of Chucky’ movie – the one we were on. That had some really good songs on it. Slayer had a song on there. Motor Head was on there. That was a good soundtrack. And that was really our first big break, ya know? We really got the word out on there.
Micah (RM): What’s it been like, touring with Otep, so far?
Tony: So far, man, it’s been really good. You know, they… They get out there and pump up the crowd and put on a killer show, so… When we pick bands, to open up for us, you know, we want to make sure that they’re kicking ass and that they’re gonna entertain the crowd, and that the whole show, from the opening band, till the time we get out there on stage… We want the whole thing to kick ass – not just to have whatever crap band, and having people sitting around, bored, waiting for us. You could have the whole night just kick ass, ya know? That’s what we always try to do – get bands that we think are gonna kick ass right after each other, so the whole night is a killer experience.
Micah (RM): We, as concert goers, appreciate that. I’ve been to many shows where it’s like, ‘will they just hurry up?’
Tony: Yeah, man. (laughs)
Micah (RM): Otep has quite a following. Otep [Shamaya] has strong political beliefs. Do you guys have any political beliefs that you’re that passionate about?
Tony: Yeah, I wouldn’t say passionate. (laughs) But ya know, yeah, we all have our, uh, things, you know, that we gotta stand behind, I guess. We all, like, differ on opinions, on different issues, but you know, we don’t want to let that stuff get in the way of, I think, the main goal of this band. It’s just, you know, we’re not out to try and preach to people. Ya know, we’re out there to show people a good time.
Micah (RM): Is there someone you would, personally, like to see in the White House next?
Tony: Yeah… They’re all a bunch of crooks.
Micah (RM): Good answer.
Micah (RM): What is your most fond memory in the time you’ve been with Static X?
Tony: Um… Man, that has to be the uh… the Extreme Steel tour we did. I think it was back in, like, 2002 with Pantera, Slayer and Morbid Angel. I liked getting to see three of my favorite bands of all time, every night for a month and a half. You know, get to party with the Pantera guys and the Slayer guys. Ya know, it don’t get any better than that. If I do nothing else, ya know, I… I can rest a happy man.
Micah (RM): Is there a worst memory?
Tony: Uh… Yeah… Uh… After a long night of partying, I blacked out and I had to do a big show and… We were in Springfield, Missouri, in the middle of the winter and uh… the club didn’t have a dressing room, so we had to get dressed on the bus, and the bus isn’t parked anywhere around, at the venue, so we had to walk around the block in, ya know, twenty degree weather, and then get in a sweaty, hot club, ya know? It was nasty. Walls dripping with sweat… And I’m all hung over and just eeuuhh… all exhausted, and you know, I did the show and right after our first song, I had to tell my tech, ‘Man, get a bag or a box, or something ready. I’m gonna puke.’ And sure enough, second to last song, I spent the whole song off to the side of the stage puking… But I played the song… a heck of a… but yeah I spent the whole song off to the side pukin’. That was like the worst experience.
Micah (RM): That’s pretty much the end of the interview. Is there something you would like to add that I didn’t cover?
Tony: Um… I don’t know… Yeah, we’ll keep touring on this headline run until the end of June, and then we’ll probably be out on a festival tour, this summer. We’ll probably be heading out to Europe, late summer, and be doin’ Japan and Australia again. The video for our first single, ‘Destroyer’ – that’s out right now… Just got added to Uranium, so that’ll be spinnin’ for a couple of weeks, out there. We just finished up the video for Cannibal, so hopefully, in the next couple of months, that’ll be out, too.
Micah (RM): You guys look like you had some fun in the ‘Destroyer’ video.
Tony: Yeah… Yeah… That, so far, has been the… has been the funnest video shoot we’ve done. Like, the last four or five videos we’ve done have just been us, ya know, in a room, jumpin’ around, being morons… (laughs) But, this one, we actually got to put on costumes and be morons! So uh, yeah… That was a lot of fun.
Micah (RM): Everyone seems to like the mustache on Nick [Oshiro]
Micah (RM): Well, Tony, that’s pretty much it. You’re awesome for this. Thanks.
Tony: Cool, man. Thank you.