Skip to main content

Static-X Frontman Wayne Static Dead at 48; Rock World Pays Tribute

Wayne Static, the frontman of industrial metal act Static-X, died Saturday, November 1, at age 48, only three days shy of his 49th birthday.

Although no official cause of death has been announced as of this writing, the following message was posted 11 p.m. Saturday on Static-X's official Facebook page:

"Platinum-selling musician Wayne Richard Wells, better known as Wayne Static, passed away at the age of 48.

Static was the enigmatic former frontman and namesake of Static-X, who later forged a successful solo career. Wayne was scheduled to co-headline tours with Powerman 5000 and Drowning Pool over the next several months.

No additional information is available at this time."

Responding to rumors that Static died due to a drug overdose, publicist Nancy B. Sayles sent out the following press release:

"Wayne Static of Static-X passed away quietly in his sleep at his home last night. The couple was getting ready to leave for a fall/winter tour this morning. They were to have left the night before on Halloween but decided they would head out early in the morning of November 1.

"The couple, known for partying heavy, had left hard drugs in 2009 and had not touched them since. Static’s first solo album — Pighammer — was a tribute to his new non-drug life and hoped it would help others to get clean from hard chemical drugs.

"More official information about his passing will be released in the following days. This is not a drug-related incident or an O.D. Please be courteous to his family and wife and leave positive messages."

Tributes to Static, best known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and music sequencer for Static-X, poured in via social media all weekend long and into Monday morning. Here are some quotes via Twitter:

OZZY OSBOURNE: "Very sad to hear of @IAmWayneStatic's passing. Spent a lot of time together on @TheOzzfest tours. A tragic loss. Love to his family/friends"

COREY TAYLOR: "I am absolutely devastated to hear about Wayne Static's death. A good man and a good friend. My thoughts are with his family and friends."

BILLY CORGAN: "I am shocked to hear that Wayne Wells (Wayne Static) has passed away. I played with him in his first band, Deep Blue Dream, in 1987/88"

JOHN 5: "Shocked and saddened to hear that Wayne Static has passed away. My thoughts are with his wife and family"

LAMB OF GOD: "Rest in Peace Wayne Static"

OFFICIAL DIO: "Our thoughts and love go out to family, friends and fans of Wayne Static. You will be missed."

JOSE MANGIN: "Saddened about the news that Wayne Static passed, thoughts/prayers w fam/friends, he was always cool to me.."

OFFICIAL MOTORHEAD: "We are very sad to hear of the passing of Wayne Static."

DAVID DRAIMAN: "GOODBYE OLD FRIEND; Static X Frontman Wayne Static Dead At 48"

SCOTT IAN: "Goodbye, old friend; Static X Frontman Wayne Static Dead At 48"

EDDIE TRUNK: "Didn't know Wayne Static personally but played some of the early Static X stuff on my shows. Sad to see anyone pass away that young. RIP."

Perhaps the most poignant (and potentially helpful) tribute came from JACOBY SHADDIX of Papa Roach, via Instagram:

"RIP WAYNE.... THIS IS SO SAD. TOO MANY MUSICIANS ARE DYING FROM OVERDOSES. I'M SERIOUS, ADDICTION IS REAL AND TAKES FOOLS OUT. NO ONE IS INVINCIBLE. SO GLAD I LIVE A SOBER LIFE TODAY. THE NUMBER OF FRIENDS I HAVE LOST TO ADDICTION IS CRAZY. IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION, GET SOME HELP BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. I KNOW DRUGS AND PARTYING ARE PART OF THE "rock n roll lifestyle," BUT DAMN HOW MANY MORE GOTTA DIE? FUCK THE LIFESTYLE, I WANT LIFE! SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE, WAYNE..."

Static formed his namesake band in 1994, releasing Wisconsin Death Trip in 1999; the album went platinum. They'd go on to release five more albums, culminating with 2009's Cult of Static.

"I’m good at screaming, coming up with great loops and groovy drum loops, and I think I’ve got one of the best right hands for picking the guitar," he told Guitar World upon the release of Pighammer, his only solo album, in 2011. "I’m very influenced by people like James Hetfield and Tommy Victor from Prong, and that kind of precise-picking type of thing. Not a lot of guys can do that.

"It took me a couple of years when I first started getting into it. Early Pantera and Metallica was the first time I heard that kind of playing. It’s a whole different approach, more rhythmic than melodic."

Read the rest of this interview here.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor, and his non-Pulitzer-Prize-winning stories have appeared in Guitar Aficionado, Vintage Guitar, Total Guitar and countless other publications, including 13.7 metric tons of daily newspapers. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton and Ty Tabor chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (one of which appears in the 2015 Disney film 'Tomorrowland' starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson). He's in two NYC-area bands and plays Teles with four-way switches, B-benders and semi-snazzy aftermarket pickups. He quotes Terry-Thomas twice daily.