Filter are a band that unfortunately never made it super huge in Australia, sure you can still hear their hit ‘Take a picture’ on the radio every now and then but what you may not know is that Filter and Richard Patrick never went away, releasing albums and various singles for soundtracks, working on different projects throughout the years all now culminating in the release of their newest record ‘The Trouble with Angels’ which many are saying it’s a return to the Filter of old. The sound is back, the lyrical content is amazing and it’s just such a quality album.
It was so cool to be able to talk to Richard Patrick about the new album, his time in Iraq, and how they spent a small fortune of being cutting edge back in the early 90’s. So let’s kick it off with the obligatory hello.
Hi Richard how are you?
I want to kick off asking about the new record ‘The Trouble With Angels’ if you don’t mind?
You have been receiving some great reviews for it, is that something you take note of or do you just set out to make an album that is going to make you happy?
You know I’ve been pretty indulgent the last 10 years I took a long time off and did that record with the DeLeo brothers, that was called ‘Army Of Anyone’ up here and had a lot of fun on that and then a friend of mine died in the Iraq war and I wrote that big old political record for ‘Anthems For The Damned’ you know about the kids that have to go deal with the Iraq war and then I kinda went on the road and realised my fans were like ‘hey man we really want something like ‘Title’ we really want something like that’ and at the end of the day they’re the only ones that really matter to a band, the fans. So I set out to make a record for them, its just a fans record. At the same time it totally coincides with, you know I mean I love music and it just gave me some direction and I went ‘oh ok lets do it.’
So how did the song writing come together for the album?
You know, it was great. Mitch Marlow is a musician, there are a bunch of musicians around me. Mitch Marlow, Bob Marlette and John 5, myself and I just sat there and worked with some different folks and it was great it just all came together. Bob and I would come up with some melody stuff and then I would focus in on the lyrics and I would talk about Bob encouraged me to write about not only the good times in my life but really wanted me to focus on the bad times because that was when I was going through all that crazy stuff in the 90’s I made some really great music. I mean the songs like ‘Drug Boy’ ‘ No Love’ or ‘Inevitable Relapse’ ‘no re entry’ and all that stuff it tied it all in, so it was really great to write in, it was very therapeutical.
I wanted to ask about the studio updates, you released those while you were recording the album, what was it that made you want to share this experience with the fans?
You know, its really easy to just send these things in and just upload them and I think that’s its really important to always stay connected to your fans now its almost too crazy, there’s so many things you have to do for everybody that its always hard to dump of a little video of what’s going on but I try and keep them really involved in what its like being around us and you know I think its important on twitter, facebook, on every level to really sit back and try and be as available as possible you know.
Now you have been out on the road with the new album, how’s the new material coming across live?
Um, its incredible, its such a breath of fresh air, that when it happens, when you do the new stuff and that’s when the audience lets you know if its OK or not, its great because this song is taking off here in the states , the song ‘No Love’ our second single and it just has that very familiar vibe of when ‘Hey Man’ or ‘Take a Picture’ when that started to spark you know what I mean, its so nice to have that reaction, DJ’s are always like ‘oh Rich, this is the shit, we’re so behind it, we just added it today.’ It’s just nice to hear that.
I did see recently that your brother Robert joined you on stage in Dallas, any chance of a ‘Patrick Brothers’ album anytime soon?
Ha ha yeah, little Robert, um we’ll see I mean obviously Robert is a very, very aggressive singer and it’s great he was just there on a fluke, my brother Rob is in a motorcycle club called ‘The Boozefighters’ which is a motorcycle that started with Vets originally with World War 2 vets and then half of it broke in to two parts , the Boozefighters went one way and the Hells Angels went another and so it gave birth to Hells Angels but at the same time they’re always doing tonnes of stuff all over the country so they were in a big huge meeting or something in Dallas and I played Dallas with ‘Bush’ and wouldn’t you know it he was there so I said ‘why don’t you come up and scream ‘So I quit’ tonight?’ and he was like ‘Alright’ its just one of those things, you can totally just tell it’s a hoot, I mean under the guidelines I would view this band as being like The Clash, I see it as being very similar to The Clash and as far as I’m concerned under the guidelines of real punk rock it made total sense to have him come out there and just totally destroy the song and just be insane and crazy and that’s why it worked so well.
Well you’d expect a Terminator to destroy everything…
Ha ha ha yeah…
I want to go back to a number of years ago with the song ‘Take A Picture’ that song still gets airplay here in Australia, what are your thoughts on the legacy that the song has paved for you?
I mean my kids definitely are happy because they’re getting fed from it and it’s nice to have a big old hit out there like that.
You’ve had an affinity with doing soundtracks, what is it that you love about doing songs specifically for movies?
I see myself as getting in there and acting one day and working, movies are a part of our culture and obviously yours too and its like you’re attracted to this industry and when you’re a musician I was brought ion really early to write for The Crow 2 and a lot of stuff like that and so I don’t know, any time its available I try and run off and do it.
Now it’s been about 15 years since your first record, how do you feel that you’ve changed not only as an artist but as a performer in that time?
I just get it, back in the 90’s Trent and I when we walked on stage we abused ourselves and we abused the audience and it was like we’d throw cups of beer on them and throw fuckin’ water on them and I remember one time we actually threw Chinese Food, we had a bunch of Chinese food and we just dumped it on the audience and they went crazy, it was like it was appreciated because it was so insane, now for me live it’s really important for the audience to know without them this is just us playing music, it takes their activity and it takes their participation and it’s a reciprocal thing that the audience gets crazier and then we get crazier and then they get crazier and we get crazier, you know to me I finally discovered that it really is all about them and all about entertaining them. You know when you go to Iraq and you play for the troops out there its real stuff its like guys don’t even get up, just sit down and we’ll sit here and play for you.
How did the Iraq thing come about?
You know we just put it out there and it came back and they offered us some stuff, its pretty insane, my thing is its fun to play and be around there but I really want to learn more about the Mid East because to me that’s World War 3 coming, these crazy religious folks, I’m talking about Christians too, these crazy religious cultures are fighting each other and they’re calling each other names and one’s gonna lob a nuke over there and the other ones gonna lob a couple of nukes and its just going to be insane. And if we don’t really get a handle on enlightening them a touch and getting them out of the Stone Age, you know what I mean, because obviously their insane, obviously their culture has just completely run amok, I mean I didn’t like the way Bush had to use Christianity to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes ‘well God told me this is the right answer and I’m on a crusade’ I don’t like the religious overtone in our world period but we’re just gonna be a passenger on this unless something happens so for me to get over there and be there and just ask questions its all educational. Second to performing for the troops and getting to know them and offering some entertainment, there’s an amazing piece I wrote for Blabbermouth.net it’s a full piece that I wrote about my experience over there and I recommend it.
Now back in 1993 when the band first started, digital technology was somewhat of a pipe dream back then it was only just beginning, how has what’s so readily available now assisted you in taking Filter to where you want it to be?
We actually paved the way to a certain degree that the way we do it now, we had pro-tools, it was 4 channels but we had pro-tools and we paid 3 or 4 thousand dollars for a gigabyte hard drive which was two rack spaces big, we were cutting edge back then and we did our whole record digital back then and we did ‘Short bus’ with a fuckin’ drum machine because we didn’t know any drummers and so we’re proud of our crazy little record that was really using cutting edge technology at the time and making belligerent insane rock music with it and not even having drummers and guitar players, I play it once right and take it and chop it up and make it sound like 15 guitars and ‘yay we’re done’ lets drink’ its insane. I’m proud of my little retarded record, I view it as the underachiever, its like this band, we kind of like, we’re on a grass roots tour right now in America and its just fun, sweaty little clubs, people dripping off the walls, mosh pits , insanity, scuffed faces on the ground. Its awesome, we’re having a good time.
Now you’ve only been here to Australia once back in 2000 correct?
Yeah, that was the one time, it was back with ‘Title of Record’ and unfortunately it was back when I was a little crazy and I remember some of the shows were a little unhinged, I remember I’d get wasted and talk and be belligerent, but you know that’s what it was, in many ways it was the Replacements, it wasn’t this refined fuckin’ show, we don’t stand behind video screens and walls of fuckin’ lights and shit, we’re in your face, its aggressive but then we’ll play something like ‘Take a picture’ or we’ll play something that has a little more heart to it like ‘Skinny’ so we’re gonna take you somewhere in our shows, we don’t need gimmicks and special effects to make our music work, we just get up there and play. And obviously if I felt like having it, sure Id have it but right now its so much more fun showing up with barely any lights and just being a raw musical experience not like this shiny Pink or Lady Gaga you know what I mean, we don’t need all that stuff.
And bands like U2?
Well I love U2, at least they’re still engaging and its 360 and there’s a whole chunk of people right there. They’re actually the ultimate band, they’re doing the stage because they can, it’s just like whoopee, they’re probably the last band that’s ever going to do that. There’s no rock bands that are gonna get up there and do that. So nothing will possibly top the 360 tour. It was great when I saw it.
Are you gonna come back and see us anytime soon?
I mean, I want to, I want our record company to get us out there and do their job promoting us and get us on the radio, we’ve got this new single we’re really proud of we need to get on all the radio stations out there and see if we cant get a hit going because that always helps us to get down there. Its very expensive to get us all the way out there, you’ve gotta spend $60,000 on plane tickets before you even get there and when you get there you’ve gotta house 9 people and all that stuff. I’m hoping, I really do, I love Australia, I love the people, I really do and I love the music scene down there and I think it’s awesome and I would hope and I would expect it. Just gotta hope a few things fire off right and I’ll make sure they will.
Thanks for your time, look forward to you coming back here and we’ll have a drink when you get down.
I appreciate it. Ooh can I make mine a sarsaparilla? That sounds fun we’ll have some sarsaparilla when I get down there.
Band Members: Richard Patrick – Vocals, Mika Fineo , Rob Patterson, Phil Buckman
Latest CD Release: The Trouble With Angels – out now. (Nuclear Blast/Riot!)