DOPE leader Edsel Dope, who is widely believed to be Xer0, the masked frontman of STATIC-X, was asked in a new interview with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio about the decision to keep Xer0‘s identity “private” and not publicly name the person who has spent much of the last three years performing and touring alongside bassist Tony Campos, drummer Ken Jay and guitarist Koichi Fukuda. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Really and truthfully, it’s not so much about it being private as it is about respecting the brand of STATIC-X and retaining the respect when writing or discussing it. And a good example I can use for that is GHOST. Everybody knows that there’s a dude called Tobias that’s behind the paint, but when people write about GHOST, they don’t call him Tobias; they respect the entity and they call him Papa whatever the fuck he is. And that’s because they respect the creative, they respect the artistic integrity of it enough to honor that.
“With STATIC-X, we knew very early on that we were not going to have the overwhelming support of the media and the community,” Edsel continued. “And in the world that we live in, most people’s goal is not to be supportive; it’s to try and tear things down. It’s to try and be the one to uncover and let you know that there is no Santa Claus or whatever it is. So, for me, it was more about making sure that STATIC-X was properly represented, because I would never be interested in looking at a photo of STATIC-X or reading a liner note that mentions me as being the singer of STATIC-X. Edsel Dope has no interest in being the singer of STATIC-X. There’s one living, breathing singer of STATIC-X, and that’s Wayne Static. And then there’s a character, an entity, for lack of better words, that was created in order to allow STATIC-X to have a future and to continue and be the legacy act that they are and tour and perform, and we gave that character a name that is respective to STATIC-X and fits the branding of what STATIC-X is, and that’s what the importance is. It’s the importance of recognizing the character as opposed to recognizing the person behind the character.”
Dope added: “You have to understand that if we didn’t make that an absolute mission of ours that people would shit all over it and they would have done everything they could to discredit it. And if it wereEdsel Dope singing for STATIC-X, it would be, ‘Oh, it’s STATIC DOPE.’ Or if it was Burton [C. Bell] from FEAR FACTORY, it would be, like, ‘Oh, STATIC FACTORY.’ It’s, like, ‘Go fuck yourself.’ You can’t give people the ability to control your narratives or else they’re gonna control it in the worst fucking way possible, because, for whatever reason, that’s the culture that we currently exist in. If it was 25 years ago, we wouldn’t have any of this mess because we’d call the editor of fucking Rolling Stone magazine and go, ‘Hey, dude, we’re gonna let you in on what’s happening,’ and they would go, ‘Oh, this is great,’ and they would get behind it and they would properly help you tell your story to the world. But in the world that we currently live in, that’s not the goal. The goal is, as I said, to be the naysayer and to be the one who lets you in on the fact that there is no Santa Claus and ruins the parade for everybody because they’re just dicks.”
When Erickson noted that social media has given everyone a voice, which in turn has turned out to be more of “negative than a positive”, Dope concurred. “A hundred percent,” he said. “And it’s not just the people on the message boards. It’s the people that deliver the news too. And it’s really sad because heavy metal, whatever you wanna call it, we’re absolutely the minority when it comes to the overarching pie of music listeners. There’s no doubt that heavy metal music is a much smaller demographic than pop music or rap music or any of those things. So you would think that the news outlets that are popular for being the news-gathering outlets for this type of music, you would think that they would go more out of their way to paint artists in this genre in a more favorable light. But if you notice, half their goal is to rip everybody down, half their goal is to create drama for clicks or to put the worst picture that they can of Sebastian Bach up when they talk bad about him, or whatever it is; they just have these motives. Why would you do nothing but tear down the artists in the genre that’s already struggling so hard to stay alive? Why wouldn’t you paint those artists in a better light? Why wouldn’t you be more supportive? Everything’s a joke; everything’s a dig. It doesn’t mean that I have thin skin — I have thicker skin than fucking anybody — it just means that I don’t understand the motive behind it except for that you’re just a money-grubbing scumbag who wants clicks. Meanwhile you’ll rip on everybody else’s integrity, but what are you doing? You’re not doing anything for the betterment of the cause. All you’re doing is pitting people against each other and tearing a community down to a lower spot. It makes no sense to me.”
Circling back to the original question, Edsel said: “So, unfortunately, we had to take this approach with STATIC-X and with the character of Xer0 to avoid people from spinning their own narratives and turning it into something that was different from what it actually was. I think we’ve accomplished that. And again, I say the same thing: Edsel Dope has absolutely no desire to be known as the singer of STATIC-X; it’s not my gig. You wanna talk to me about the creative process? All day long I’ll talk about producing the records, I’ll talk about being their friend, I’ll talk about managing the band and the strategy that goes into it and the infrastructure of starting their own label. Because STATIC-X is a band that up until ‘Project Regeneration’, every album that they ever released was on a major label — it was either on Warner Brothers or on Reprise. Whereas DOPE became an independent band very early in my career, so I was able to go and build an independent infrastructure and understand how all that works. But my friends in STATIC-X had no fucking clue; they don’t know how to run a record label, [and] they don’t know how to run their own business. So when I’m sitting in a room with them and going, ‘Guys, if we’re gonna do this, this is the most logical way to do it to remove the gatekeepers from in between you and your fans,’ they had somebody to rely on that had that experience and had that infrastructure and wherewithal.
“So it’s been super beneficial for all of us,” Dope added. “And we were always friends, but now we’re like the best of friends. And we owe each other a lot. I’m grateful for the opportunity because without those guys and the years of work they put into building STATIC-X, I wouldn’t have a project to land all those efforts too. And for them, without my efforts to help them survive and exist in the modern day, they would have this band that is no longer around. For lack of a better word, we literally brought STATIC-X back from the dead. And it took all
of us to do it.”
STATIC-X‘s eighth studio album, “Project Regeneration: Vol. 2”, is scheduled for release on November 3. The LP is a collection of 13 brand-new songs that contain the final vocal performances and musical compositions of founding vocalist Wayne Static, along with the original “Wisconsin Death Trip” lineup featuring Campos, Fukuda and Jay. The new album was produced by Xer0 and mixed/mastered by longtime collaborator Ulrich Wild.
All of the music associated with “Project Regeneration: Vol. 2” is the result of collaborations between the four founding members along with their new vocalist/guitarist/producer Xer0. No additional guests appear on the album and there were no outside contributions to the songwriting, musical compositions, or the performances on “Project Regeneration: Vol. 2”. Between the two releases, STATIC-X fans around the globe have been treated to over two dozen brand new songs — most of which feature Static on lead vocals — and all released after his untimely passing.
STATIC-X — featuring the lineup of Campos, Fukuda, Jay and Xer0 — will hit the road in 2023, headlining the “Rise Of The Machine” tour with FEAR FACTORY alongside DOPE, MUSHROOMHEAD and TWIZTID. The 42-date trek kicks off February 25 in San Francisco, California and wraps up April 15, in Los Angeles, California. Dates have been selling out across the country, with select markets upgrading to larger venues to meet the demand for the tour. STATIC-X also recently revealed plans for a tour of Australia and an appearance at the Blue Ridge Rock Fest this year.
Edsel is currently promoting DOPE‘s new album, “Blood Money Part Zer0”, which will arrive on February 24.
With just over four weeks until the release of “Blood Money Part Zer0”, New York City electro metalheads DOPE have shared another piece of new music from the upcoming seventh studio LP. “Dive” is the sixth track from the collection of twelve all-new songs scheduled for release on February 24. The track showcases the sound that catapulted DOPE to massive global appeal and garnered them a loyal legion of fans that continue to make DOPE one of the top streaming artists of the genre.