TAP Exclusive Interview: Richard Patrick of Filter

On Tuesday August 17th, Filter returns with their brand new album The Trouble With Angels. Richard Patrick, the main brain/frontman/songwriter of Filter, took some time to chat with us about the new album, his sobriety, one of his biggest regrets involving the hit song “Take A Picture”, and a lot more. Check it all out below and be sure to pre-order The Trouble With Angels (August 17th, Rocket Science Ventures). Head over to www.officialfilter.com for the latest tour dates and band updates from Richard.

The Audio Perv The title of your new album is The Trouble with Angels. So, explain the title. What do you find to be so troubling with angels?

Richard Patrick For every single homeless guy that gets a free meal, and every orphan that gets a hand from the church and stuff like that, there seems to be this dark side to religion. When Galileo invented the telescope and pointed it up to Jupiter and Saturn, he said to the Church “Wow, there’s some planets out there and guess what- they’re revolving around the sun- and I think we’re revolving around the sun” That went against the teachings of the the Church, so the Catholic Church imprisoned him for nine years. I’m just kind of concerned that the belief in the supernatural and spirits and ghosts is kind of interfering with our growth as a species, whether or not its a hindrance or its a good thing. I get inoculating people and spending money on homeless shelters in the name of God, I think that’s nice, but for every good thing there’s this dark secret, this darkness based on what many of us- I’m just a non believer and I’m questioning whether or not [religion] is really that good for us or not.

The Audio Perv Your previous album Anthems For The Damned stretched the band’s boundaries from lyrical content to the music itself. How does The Trouble With Angels compare with Anthems For The Damned?

Richard Patrick Honestly the only song that really touches on something that is super kinda like politically kind of daring is “The Trouble with Angels”. Everything else is kind of like back to what I know best, which is my own internal issues and problems. “The Inevitable Relapse” is my version of a love song. “Drug Boy” is just about the insanity of when I was a youngster and we used to just take whatever and walk around the cemetary at night. Inevitably, someone would come back with a skull or something. It was a really crazy time in my life. “Hey Man Nice Shot” and “Take A Picture” are based on different personal issues I’ve had in the past. Honestly the music from Anthems was completely dedicated to the soldiers of the Iraq War and how pointless that war is. It was kind of inspired by this fan Justin Eyerly. He was a big, super fan. He was shot down in the streets of Baghdad. I just thought there’s this 21 year old kid and what’s he dying for. So I wrote a whole record on that. I’m glad I did it because when my children grow up and my children ask “Why were you so horrendously addicted to oil?” I’d say “Well we weren’t all behind it and this is what i did, this is my protest against the addiction of oil and invading countries to secure it so that we can drive cars”. I want my children to know that I fought against it. This record, The Trouble With Angels. It’s just way more about what I used to do in the beginning. It’s almost like I’ve returned to my roots and I made a record for fans who liked Short Bus and Title of Record, kind of a new version. For instance, “The Inevitable Relapse,” is the closest thing that I can come to Short Bus but of course I threw on Auto-Tune on my vocals because I thought it was just a funny spin on what people are doing on mainstream pop and i thought it was interesting. There’s a new vibe on it but all the chord progressions come straight off of Short Bus.

The Audio Perv Every Filter album seems to have one explosive rockin ripper song and one sweet melodic alternative rock track. Does this occur on the new album as well?

Richard Patrick Yeah. Honestly, I’ve loaded it up front with all the other songs, just like Title of Record, or The Amalgamut or Short Bus, and then halfway through there’s this big huge change. We have the song “Fades Like a Photograph”, which was actually introduced on the 2012 Soundtrack, but I did a new version of it and it’s just this gorgeous beautiful bed of synthesizers and piano and stuff like that. I really do expect my fans to be as eclectic as I do. I don’t want to give them eleven songs that are all exactly the same. There’s only so many times that you can write “Take A Picture.” I really believe that’s a good thing to be eclectic, even though its been criticized by some people that are like “You can’t do this, be so musically diverse like this, you have to stick to one thing.” It’s probably been harder for me to be promoted. Are you heavy? well, yeah. Then put a ‘666’ on your drum and dye your hair black and make all your instruments black and throw some devil stuff on your album cover, and there you go! Be heavy!” Well I don’t wanna do that. I don’t want to do that for the sake of fitting into a genre, promoting it to a huge audience of people that are just spoon fed the same thing every day- I don’t want to do that. I want to be as diverse as possible. Essentially, we’re an industrial grunge band. We have more in common with Kurt Cobain at the time then we did with Skinny Puppy.

The Audio Perv Two years ago, you had performed in Kuwait for the military where you briefly reunited with your old bassist Frank Cavanagh who was serving in the army at that time. Do you have any plans on returning overseas to perform for the troops again?

Richard Patrick Well the thing with overseas is you can’t really talk about it, because then you immediately become a potential target. I can say that I’m going to the Mid-East sometime this year. I can’t really talk about when and where I can only say that sometime this year I will be going overseas to play for the troops. Ever since “Soldiers of Misfortune” and Operation Myspace to me these kids- they view the military as their family and they view them as something that they’re extremely proud of, there’s a lot of honor and tradition when it comes to the military and these guys in my view- a lot of these kids are like “What are we doing over here, what is this particular war about?” For me to go over and just play music for them and take their mind off of it even if its an hour or something like that, it usually ends up being an incredibly fulfilling thing for us. We were in a rocket attack. The base was fired on with rockets, one minute you’re signing autographs, the next everyone’s running for cover. “Get down! Hit the ground! We gotta get to a fucking shelter!” It’s like, what! Is this real? Is this really happening? When you experience that kind of terror, literally there’s no other kind of word for it. You just think, oh my god, someone is gonna die, someone’s gonna get hurt. One of these people, maybe me! You realize that, these guys are here because someone’s got to protect the guy next to you. It’s just like in Black Hawk Down, they don’t realize it but it’s about the person right next to you that you can help. It truly is. It’s about the camaraderie of the other guys in the troop.

The Audio Perv You’ve had quite a few songs appear in movies or on movie soundtracks. Is there a movie that you wanted a song to be on that didn’t happen?

Richard Patrick Yeah, there was a movie called American Beauty and they asked to have “Take A Picture” for the end credits. That was probably one of the bigger mistakes of my career because that movie won an Oscar. It was such an amazing piece of work and to have my song be in the end credits would’ve been great. But at the time, [the record label reps] were worried about “Welcome To The Fold” as a single. They said that it’d disrupt what they were doing with “Welcome To The Fold” which they had already put a lot of time and energy into because it was the first single off of Title of Record. “Take A Picture” was a huge hit but we wanted to buy a few more months off promoting “Welcome To The Fold” which was completely messed up because they was a radio station that started playing “Take A Picture” and it totally screwed up our work with “Welcome To The Fold.” Nevertheless, there’s always could’ve/should’ve/would’ve moments in a man’s career. “Man i wish i would’ve been in the end credits of American Beauty, that would’ve been great.” But you know, there’s a lot of movies that I’ve been in over the years. In the movie Stepfather, it was so amazing to hear “Happy Together” come in and it’s literally the loudest thing in the movie. My voice is louder than the actors. It worked out great. The director even said “we should’ve put you in the beginning, too!” I love movies and I love working with producers and directors. I’ve worked closely with Harald Kloser. He wrote the music for the song “Fades Like A Photograph” with his buddy Thomas Wander. I rearranged it, played a bunch of guitars on it, made it Filter. It was a great experience. I love Hollywood. I will always work closely with those guys because it’s another way to be creative.

The Audio Perv Although you’ve worked with a lot of musicians on Filter albums over the years, Filter has always been your band, your project, your baby. Why has Filter had so many different band members?

Richard Patrick There’s two things I’d like to say about that. Number 1, the only real member of Filter, this sounds kind of cold, but the man responsible for all its music is me. The first record, we didn;t even have a drummer. We had a drum machine. The entire first record was programmed drums. It was my songwriting, my guitar playing, my bass playing, my arrangements with the sound designer Brian Liesegang. He engineered and produced it. The second record, I was like introduced to new musicians. “Hey Geno, hey Frank, hey Steve Gillis! Llets work on this record together.” I’ve always been open to working with other people. I just have always been the main guy responsible for everything. When I’m in that kind of particular version of the band, I’ll promote the people around me. So when Brian did that record with me and we did Short Bus, he was lie an engineer, he played a little guitar. He was kind of like a studio guy and “Hey we’re gonna go on tour together, why don’t you play guitar and lets have fun.” So when that came to an end after “[Can’t You] Trip Like I Do” and stuff like that, there were all these people that I was introduced to. After The Amalgamut, I went onto work with Dean and Robert DeLeo and we did Army of Anyone. And then after I came back from that, well who was around then? I didn’t have that many people so I did that record primarily by myself and a studio guy named Josh Freeze on drums and some guitar stuff from John 5. That’s just where I was in that time of my life. I wasn’t really hanging out with Geno, Frank or Steve. I decided to try some other new people. That’s just the kinda way it is. It’s always going to be the Richard Patrick Show, always what I want to do. I never really wanted to market myself as the only guy in this is me because I left a band where how the guy had promoted it like ‘it’s my thing’. I didn’t wanna be like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty. I didn’t wanna have that. I always wanted it to be this ever-changing thing. I never promoted it as Richard Patrick. I’m the only real original member. I’m the only person who’s been in charge this whole time. Although D do promote the guys in it at the time. There’s no such thing as an ex-bandmate. If I’m in Iraq or Kuwait playing a show and my bass player Frank Cavanagh’s in the Army and jumps on stage, he’s welcome to come back into the band and play at that moment. When it comes to Brian Liesegang, Brian’s done some sound design on this record, for the song “Fades Like A Photograph.” There’s probably one dude who’s totally blown it with me who will remain anonymous that I can never work with again because hes far too out of control and i cannot tolerate his behavior. Everybody else is welcome to come back but they’ve grown into their lives. Steve Gillis has a beautiful studio that he works out of in Chicago. Frank Cavanagh has someone that he works with and a beautiful family in Austin and he’s grown into that life. Even Mitch Marlow. Mitch is a great guitar player. He wrote 3 or 4 songs with me for this new record but for whatever reason it didn’t seem right to take him on the road because there were some other things that he wanted to and going on the road is an all consuming thing. There’s Rob Patterson. Rob’s doing a remix of the 7 inch single, the limited edition of “The Inevitable Relapse”. There’s this new guy Phil Buckman. Phil and Rob wrote a song with me, “Shot For The Sun” that’s gonna be a bonus track on one of the versions of the record either Best Buy or iTunes. it’s kind of like Bruce Springsteen, he’s gonna use bits and pieces of stuff, h has two guitarists and one guy was after Little Steven when he left they replaced him with this other guy. You gotta role with it. Same thing with Tom Petty. He has this arsenal of people he can play with who are available or not. You just kind have to roll with it when you’re the figurehead or principal songwriter of the band. Rob Patterson went on tour with Korn for five years. Phil Buckman’s a new face on the scene. Mika Fineo is an amazing drummer. It’s like Queens of the Stone Age, same kind of thing. It’s like a growing living organism that changes. Its an ever-changing task but i always put the best people out there.

The Audio Perv On your website, the numbers 2809 are listed along with image art for the current single “The Inevitable Relapse”. What’s the significance of those numbers?

Richard Patrick We were talking about relapse, a lot of people think about drugs and alcohol, and my struggle with drugs and alcohol so I just thought it was appropriate. I’m talking about the inevitable relapse, I might as well put my sobriety date in there, we love numbers in our artwork. Deborah Norcross is doing all the art again. She did the greatest hits record, she did Title of Record and Short Bus, and now I wanted to bring her into this because this record is kind of a return to those two records. She always has these numbers, and since the first song is about my inevitable relapse- it goes into how many years I have been sober, and I’ve got 7 years coming up on September 28th.

The Audio Perv
It’s been a while since Filter has been on a full headlining tour. How soon can we expect one? Have you picked out any bands for support yet?

Richard Patrick We’re piecing that together right now. We’re trying to figure out what tour we wanna do, whether or not we want to open for someone or go it alone. Do a co-headlining type thing. We did a co-headlining tour two years ago with 10 Years, actually it was more like they opened up for us. We’re piecing that together right now. Right now its the early days on the record and we just wanna get this single going and promote this. We recently played a show at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel which was amazing and we do these little spot shows just to keep the gears moving. But that’s to be announced, there’s a lot of great offers out there we just have to figure out which ones we wanna take.


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  1. Galileo did not invent the telescope, he did however refine it and he was never formally imprisoned. His sentence for suspicion of heresy was house arrest but even that was not strictly enforced since he had many influential friends in the Catholic church. It’s important to note also that his most impressive contributions to science were made after he was tried for suspicion of heresy and that he remained a devout catholic until his death so religion in no way held him back or restricted his pursuit of knowledge.

  2. Nice interview. I know Josh Freeze does a lot of stuff for many different bands, but the way he put it “And this studio guy Josh Freeze” just makes him [Patrick] sound really arrogant. Like Josh is a nobody.

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