Richard Patrick and Filter ripped the bottom out of the rock charts with 1995’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot”. The driving, crunchy guitar line propelled the ode to Budd Dwyer’s suicide on live TV, and also introduced the record buying public to the multi-faceted genius of Richard Patrick. That first single set the table for Filter’s first record, “Short Bus”. The heavy, industrial music was suddenly in vogue, with other noted artists like Marilyn Manson and Patrick’s first band, Nine Inch Nails also enjoying massive success.
Filter struck again with 1999’s “Take a Picture”, a paean to stripping down to his boxers while traveling on an airplane. The softer ballad approach opened more doors for the band, drawing in more listeners that didn’t normally wear black nail polish. The band was flying high and success was inevitable.
The band’s next record, “The Amalgamut”, was released in 2002 to big expectations. The album started strong, but sputtered when Patrick checked himself into rehab and left Filter’s fans devoid of his brand of aggressive landscapes topped with intuitive lyrics and howling vocals. Many considered the band done when the obligatory greatest hits package was delivered in 2009.
News came out that Filter was getting back together with a new album on the way. Bands that have been out of sight for that long are usually met with rolling eyes and cries of “Guess who needed to pay their lawyer’s fees”? However, “The Trouble With Angels”, was eagerly anticipated by most without a hint of derision. The album’s first three cuts rewarded the faithful that wanted the older, heavier Filter back in their CD players and I-pods. Former Korn contributor Rob Patterson brought his frenetic guitar work to the album, and his girlfriend Carmen Electra is in the video for “No Love”.
Filter is in the midst of an East Coast tour, having returned from the Middle East to play for our nation’s troops. Patrick is a big supporter of the troops and has been over to play for them several times. He spent 30 minutes on the phone with me talking about his new record, band history and who would win in a footrace with his brother.
SIL. You did a really good job of letting fans know when your record came out. We had several people here on street date looking for it.
- Really? Thanks, that’s awesome.
SIL. The reviews from the customers when they came back were overwhelmingly positive. A common theme I heard repeated was the return to the classic Filter sound.
- Over the years, I had heard so many times how much they liked “Short Bus”. So I made sure that I had at least two songs written from a guitar standpoint. “Absentee
Father” and “Inevitable Relapse” are literally written from the chord progressions that I used on the first record. The reality is that I have a drummer now, not just a machine. I am still based in 2010, but I just wanted to hit that chord structure. Our producer wanted to hit that classic sound, but still be very much rooted in today’s charts, along with Muse and bands like that. When I wrote the lyrics, I had paragraphs for the chorus. With “Nice Shot”, I had four words. We had to achieve that classic sound, but still sound contemporary. Anyone that is realistic knows we have to have that balance. I still want U2 to sound like “Unforgettable Fire”, but it just is not going to happen. Most of the fans have cut us a break.
SIL. How did “No Love” come about?
RP. It’s about learned behavior. One of the most amazing things about humans is the emotional bond we have with one another. Since the start of humans, when they have an emotional attachment, they become very protective. The byproduct is the intelligence you gain from it. Babies only know love, but they don’t understand hate. Hate is learned. I learned it from events twenty years ago. Because of that, it was poured into areas of my life that I didn’t like. The song is about learned behavior, instead of instinctual reaction.
SIL. Who makes up the crowd at a Filter show now?
RP. They were all kids in the beginning. They have all grown up, but now there are new kids to take their place. The original fans bring their kids. Much more broad base than we had before.
SIL. You have developed a reputation as a big supporter of our troops.
- I’m a big history buff. The biggest thing we did for the world was for about forty years we eradicated tyranny, including the Cold War. People forget about Hitler, but it was a huge deal.
When I spoke with Commander Sergeant Major Coleman over there, he pointed out quite a bit about the conditions we have in the Middle East now. Historically speaking, we’re at a very critical point and sometimes we forget that the meat and bones of what we ultimately accomplish is our soldiers. They don’t know why they are there, but they still show up and do it every day. They often pay the supreme sacrifice, and get divorces and are cheated upon. They have tough lives, but they still risk it all for their country. I think that’s awesome.
It is so good for me to go play for them and such a reward to shake their hands and sign autographs. If I can get them out of their heads for a couple of hours, I love it. I’m writing a piece about them for Blabbermouth that should be huge.
There was this kid named Justin Eyerly that was fourteen years old and a huge fan of Filter. He said he built a site on this new thing called the Internet. We kept tabs with him. He was friends with a friend of ours named Adam Hubka. Adam told us that they we had a huge Filter fan serving in Iraq. I was literally buying him a card to include in a care package, and I got an email from Adam. It said that Justin was killed last night. So I dedicated the record “Anthems For the Damned” to him.
SIL. I saw the piece you recorded for “Record Store Day”. That was much appreciated. Do you still shop in indie record stores?
RP. I do. I shop at Amoeba in Los Angeles.
SIL. Anything that you want to buy now?
- I still need to pick up the new Deftones.
SIL. What have you bought that might surprise Filter fans?
SIL. What Filter song would you like to redo?
- Jurassitol. I sing it so much better now.
SIL. Are you a sports fan and do you have any memories to share?
RP. I went to two World Series games at Jacobs Field with my dad. They didn’t win, because we’re Cleveland, so let’s not get carried away.
SIL. Were you into sports as a kid?
- A little bit. When the other kids got really interested, I was still really thin. I’m just kind of a skinny kid. I liked to ski with my father in Colorado.
SIL. I would assume that you could run really fast. Your brother looked really fast in the Terminator movie. He looked like he was going about 160 an hour.
- Robert! He’s fifty-two, I don’t know how fast he can run anymore.
SIL. You should challenge him to a footrace.
- I’m not that competitive. He would probably do something dirty, like trip me.
My brother, Robert, is such a sweetheart. I love him, and he’s so awesome. Growing up with the Terminator was so awesome. When I was in Nine Inch Nails, the band went to see the movie. At the end of the movie, they all gathered to walk out and wondered where I was. I was still in the theater, waiting for the credits so I could see my brother’s name on the screen. Trent was like, “Come on, Piggy”.
SIL. That’s great, that you were both hitting your career stride at the same time. Your parents must have been really proud.
- They really were. They still are. I want to get into acting, too. At the ripe age of 42, I find it really interesting and think I could add something. Rob and I have an amazing comedy written about our lives. We’re going to get a production company to do that.