2016, Features, Interviews — April 7, 2016 at 7:00 am

Richard Patrick of Filter


Richard Patrick
“This record was the I don’t give a fuck I’m doing what I want record, it was the I truly, literally don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks, I’m doing what I want to do and if you can get down with that, great. If you don’t then it’s going to suck for you.”

From Release: Reconstruction requires deconstruction. The institutions must be razed in order to clear space for the future to flourish. You tear down the old and build up the new. FILTER founder, singer, guitarist, and producer Richard Patrick knows this dance well. It’s what established the group as a multiplatinum industrial alternative luminary, and it catalyzed their seventh full-length album, ‘Crazy Eyes’

We had a great, extremely lengthy chat with Richard Patrick of Filter, where we talked about the new record ‘Crazy Eyes’, making it with Pledge Music, making a record now compared to 1993 and then we get political… you’ve gotta check this out!

It’s great to chat to you again, Richard, we last spoke about six years ago…
Shit… well good I’m glad to be hanging out with you…

Yeah and I’m glad I’m still doing this and you’re doing that, so we’re on to something…
Dude, music is fuckin’ dope, right? Music is fuckin’ fun!

Now where do we find you today, Richard?
You find me in lovely Southern California, the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles, I am just over the moon about this new record, and I’m excited and talking to movie producers right now about a file score and it’s just music, music, music, I’ve got kids, I’ve got a wife, I do the thing and make the kids ears bleed and I love it.

‘Crazy Eyes’ is released in April, in the two years since ‘The Sun Comes Out Tonight’ what was it that shaped this record into what it has become?
This record was the I don’t give a fuck I’m doing what I want record, it was the I truly, literally don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks, I’m doing what I want to do and if you can get down with that, great. If you don’t then it’s going to suck for you. Listen, I wrote a song called ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’ about a guy that blows his head off at a press conference named R. Budd Dwyer, it was inspired by him and I didn’t think anyone would listen to it, I didn’t think anyone would care but I liked it, and in the last couple of years you start making these records and everyone keeps telling me man I’ve gottta get on the radio and everyone’s telling me it’s gotta do this and at some point you’re just like fuck it, man. I want to listen to music that makes me happy in my car, in my headphones, I just want to get back to that guy because when I did ‘Short Bus’ it was me and that’s it, me and a computer and a friend of mine and that’s the difference in this record. You know ‘Mother E’ you know the first song on the record is what does a mass shooting sound like? What goes on in these fuckin idiots these crazed lunatics, what does it sound like in their head and I just started working on it “I’ve got my reasons and my reasons are sound” and it’s like him convincing himself that he’s right. You know Justin Bieber’s not gonna write this song, Adele’s not gonna write this fuckin song, someone has to write this song, and all of my heroes in music stuck to their guns, they stuck to who they were and I think that’s why everybody likes this record a lot more than the stuff I’ve done recently, they all go wow this sounds like old school Filter, and the reason it sounds like old school Filter is it’s not the guitar, there’s barely any guitar on this record at all, it’s the attitude, it’s the I don’t give a fuck approach, it’s punk, it’s not punk sounding, it’s punk ethically.

It’s like when Duchamp took a urinal and put it on a pedestal and said this is my sculpture it’s called fountain, and the French were like you can’t do that, and he’s like no, it’s 1922 and I’m doing it there it is, it’s art, it’s modern, there you go. That’s the thing, it’s art because I intended it, it’s art because I want to scream and yell, I don’t want to be sweet, I like being sweet when I wrote my song ‘Take A Picture’ that was a punk prank, everyone thought I was going to do ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’ part two and I came out with this song take my picture, now why is this punk? Because it sounds like this gorgeous beautiful bed of music but it’s absolutely about being high as fuck and destroying my life through alcoholism, and you’re saying ‘could you take my picture because I won’t remember’ it’s not because you’re happy it’s because you can’t remember anything because you’re blowing the shit out of your brain with drugs and alcohol and that was the prank that I had with everybody. Like yeah, this song it’s heavy as fuck, it sounds like it’s this gorgeous piece of music but you don’t get it, the music is the sound of the effect of being high on drugs and the lyrics are about what the reality is, you can’t remember anything, your thought are completely screwed up, you’re worried about what your Dad says when you’re calling him from jail, you know “Hey Dad what do you think about your son now? I’m in jail, Dad” like that old song off of that record from the Repo Man soundtrack that came out in like 1982 or something.

So what was the experience like using the pledge music platform to assist in creating the album?
Pledge.com is the greatest fuckin thing. Ever. When it comes to making a record and I’m going to tell you this absolutely from the bottom of my heart. People are buying the record before they even hear it and you’re saying well here’s an update from the studio and I’d just videotape a speaker and I got really creative with my updates because I was like look, this is what it takes to make a record here we are and I’d update the video from a speaker in the studio and say this is what we’re doing, what do you think of that? They would instantly respond and be like ‘Oh that’s fucking great’ or ‘That sounds Industrial’ or ‘Wow that’s different but it’s cool’ then they’d tell all their friends on Pledge music hey go check out what Filter’s doing and they would come in and be like ‘oh we approve’ and to put our money where our mouths are we’re going to buy the download and the spined CD and the vinyl so you literally have this community of people who are literally putting their fuckin money where their mouths are and they’re saying we agree, go this way. The weirder I got they happier they were, so when I wrote ‘Mother E’ and had some updates of nothing in my head, they were like ‘That’s cool’ so it was embodying me with all this confidence of like great, I can literally be who I want to be, do my own thing and you’re backing me by literally fucking your money.

Let’s face it, ever since socialism, the unrequested socialism that happened with the internet wherein music became free, when we had kind of no idea what you wanted. The audience said well fuck you we’re not buying music anymore we get it for free on this Russian site called all MP3.com or whatever, like I just bought the Led Zeppelin catalogue for seven cents, you know what I mean? Ever since they decided to push the industry out of it we were like ok, well how do we stay in touch? How do we know what you want? So for Pledge, it’s literally this thing of I’m gonna make this video of me being homeless in a parallel universe where… listen, you understand what the internet has done, right? Let me give you an analogy… let’s say you’re a hamburger shop and you’ve got this great ingredient and you make great sandwiches, and someone invents the food replicator and the food replicator sits in your house, and it burns not CD’s but it burns food. You’ve got this great thing and someone gets your intellectual property which is your recipe and your ingredients and they just go and print it up in their house. If you’re a sandwich maker and someone’s got a food replicator you’re out of business, you’re done, you don’t sell hamburgers anymore, you sell the idea of a hamburger and nobody fuckin cares because they’ve already bought it, they’ve already downloaded it a thousand times and you’re not getting any money. You see what I’m saying? Like if you had a food replicator and you owned a McDonalds and no one went to your store you’d go out of business, the food printers would be making money but that’s it, the intellectual property is free, it’s gona, it’s out. So that’s what happened to music, everyone went ‘wait a minute, it’s a fuckin blip? It’s a tiny little MP3? I can have this for free? Fuck you musicians I’m gonna fuckin take it.’

So we’ve all been sitting back going ok, well let’s make our videos cheaper, so instead of making gorgeous videos for three hundred grand we spent five grand and then we make records cheaper, and then they fired three thousand people from Warner Brothers. When I was at Warner Brothers there were three thousand people that worked in LA alone now there’s like fifteen people, so they fired everybody and there’s this massive upheaval and now with Pledge music you’re saying I want this, I want to be a part of this, I want the updates, I’m gonna fuckin buy this record and watch these guys make it. They have funded the album and like at a certain point you’re not paying for cheaper studio time you’re paying for people to eat at a certain point because that’s just the way it is. A friend of mine when their record came out was number 8, In This Moment it was number 8 because they sold like 25,000 copies, that’s insane, 25,000 copies is $25,000, think about your monthly nut, you know what I mean? It’s gone, there’s no money in music anymore, so when people do Pledge they’re literally putting their money where their mouths are and they’re saying I’m into this, keep me updated, so it’s immensely amazing and incredible and it lets underground bands like Filter, bands that have always maintained their integrity and stuck true to themselves it’s helped bands like ours stay real as opposed to trying to get on the fuckin radio every time you release something.

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?
See that’s the thing, a lot of people think that being a good singer is a part of it, it’s not, it’s knowing, it’s what Quincy Jones said about young Michael Jackson here’s a seven or eight year old kid singing and Quincy Jones saw him sing and it’s knowing… Michael sang with this sense of knowing. It’s an it factor, you see people sing and you’re like yeah you’re a good singer but you’re boring, there’s nothing there. When a guy like Chino from Deftones sings he is an artist, he is completely on another level, no one sounds like fuckin Chino, he is completely an original creature from another planet and that is to be adored because he’s got IT he’s got this thing and that’s the reality. The gear is secondary, big nice studios are shit if you can’t write a great song and see that’s the thing, I’ve never used technology that was based. When I saw ‘Sound City’ with Dave Grohl and he was talking about how he made records and I was just like wow, I’ve never fuckin cared, like I used a drum machine on my first record because I didn’t know any drummers, I don’t give a fuck. This puritanical ethic of being a musician that plays in a studio, like Dave, you’re great but you’re fuckin Dave Grohl, you’re the fuckin greatest drummer in the world and everybody knows it, not everybody has a Dave Grohl in their life, for me it was a Mac SE and a bunch of samples I stole *laughs* I do things my way and don’t shit can me and he wasn’t, that’s the thing. It’s music, you’ve gotta make people’s heads move, you’ve gotta make them feel emotion and that’s where it’s at. When I get fan mail from people saying ‘It’s My Time’ really made me feel, it was just me and a piano and I didn’t play the piano my friend did, I asked my friend to help play a song I wrote about dying and realising you’re dead, and I wrote it for a crappy TV show and they didn’t even use it, so I was like fuck it, this is such a gorgeous piece of music I’m going to keep it and put it out on a record.

OK, so being in Australia, it’s not my place at all to talk US politics, but I was watching your facebook the other day and just the interaction when you posted something political was insane, to watch people all of a sudden turn on you because of your opinions. How does that make you feel about your ‘fans’ when they’re just willing to turn their back on the music they like purely off the back of a political post?
It’s fair, if they hate me because I’ve got a brain and I do my own thinking… listen, my great great great great great grandfather Jacob Patrick fought in the revolution, and his son Matthew Patrick fought in the war of 1812 and later on down the line one of their daughters married in to the Ballou family, and Sullivan Ballou wrote ‘Dear Sarah’ a letter to his wife about why he was fighting in the Civil War, and my grandfather The Colonel Samuel Patrick fought in World War 2. The reason that these guys fought for something was because they wanted me to have the right to say what I want to say, and Donald Trump and the Republican conservative party have done everything they can to fucking rape this country. Be it the wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan, obstructing President Obama on every single issue, they have made it such a mess that now this monster… The Republican Party is like Frankenstein, and Trump is the monster, they’ve been spewing this shit out Birther movement, they’ve been picking on The President on FOX news for fuckin eight years, saying all this crap to fight The President and all of a sudden a bunch or rednecks are super fuckin furious and they want to quote unquote take their country back and here you are with Donald Trump and they wonder what happened? They have been on the wrong side of history for fucking thirty years, they’re wrong about religion in government, they’re wrong about the wars in the mid-East, they’re wrong about immigrants, they’re wrong about Muslims, they’re wrong about marriage equality and whether people want to be gay or not, which it’s not a choice people are gay or they’re not, who gives a fuck? They’re wrong about racism, they say racism doesn’t exist in America, that’s completely false and I’m absolutely never gonna shut up and if I lose some fans because I’m a normal person and have thoughts on the matter of politics in the United States of America, because I’m not just an entertainer who wants to suck your dick to get your money to fuckin’ buy a fuckin’ Ferrari? That’s not who I am, that’s not what my forefathers literally fought for. When I see wrong I’m gonna fuckin say it and Donald Trump is pulling the same shit that fuckin’ Hitler did in 1932 in Nuremberg and anybody that follows history can see that his divisive, hateful, racist bigotry is fuckin’ doing the same shit and it’s very, very horrifying and it’s very aggravating and this is what happens when oil companies buy congress, this is what happens when big energy, big profit and big money and greed buy fucking congressmen and senators.

Whether it’s Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, I am gonna fuckin not only back those guys, because I’ve been a Democrat for fuckin’ ten years, you know why? Because they aligned themselves with my way of thinking, and everybody on this planet, this is my liberal agenda and I’ll stop because your readers don’t care about this… but my liberal agenda is simple, number 1: be cool to each other, that’s Earthlings, that’s global citizens, be cool to each other, number 2: be cool to the planet, and number 3: everybody deserves a fair shot, just because your parents aren’t rich doesn’t mean that you get overlooked and fucked over your whole life and that’s what’s going on in America. People are poor and they get fucked over by the rich guy and it’s bullshit, everybody deserves a fair shot, whether it’s socialism, look I’ve been a socialist for fuckin ten years because people don’t give a fuck about paying for records they want it for free, so I ether fight it or I join the club and go look, if you want me to fuckin cut my record budgets back I’ll find a way because I love making music and I’m gonna do it.

You adapt, and when you’ve got the religious rights people saying gay people can’t exist because Jesus walked around on water fuckin three thousand years ago and I get my thinking from the bronze age I can’t have that, I can’t fucking in good faith walk on the planet and think to myself that my gay brothers and sisters or the people in my life that are gay are not treated the same, just like my black friends, and just like my Muslim friends and just like all these people that are just Americans when it comes down to it, they’re not different they just believe in different shit. That has to be fought for and I’m gonna fight, and if I piss off some facebook fans because I’m not a bigot, because I don’t back Donald Trump, I don’t care, I’d rather be poor and fuckin’ die knowing that I stood for what’s right than fuckin’ shut my mouth and let haters, you know, white supremacists fuckin’ buy my records. If you don’t get it, fine, but I’m not going to be part of some horrendous, disgusting presidential candidate or party any longer, I will not do it. Sorry, I haven’t talked politics all day so unfortunately you got the brunt of it… Half of this country is liberal and we’re sitting here watching this shit and we’re embarrassed of it. Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders we’re fine with them, Ted Cruz is a fuckin’ lunatic, he’s a religious fanatic lunatic who shut down the government because he didn’t want to pay himself, it’s fuckin ridiculous. Hate that guy, they’re all shit.

Well I hope it all works out…
It’s gonna, and if it doesn’t, there’s gonna be a war. You can expect a war in like five years if the Republicans get in. Not a war on you guys but an internal civil war if he became President.

I do have to go, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you…
Thank you, I love ‘Crazy Eyes’ I want to come to Australia, build up some interest for us! We want to get down there and play it for you and be the alternative to the sugary sweetness of Bieber and Adele.


Essential Information

From: Hollywood, CA, USA

Band Members: Richard Patrick

Website: http://www.officialfilter.com

Latest Release: Crazy Eyes (Out 8th April – Wind-Up Records / Caroline Australia)

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