Interview: Filter’s Richard Patrick Talks Collaborating With NIN Members & Praises Alternative Nation

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Having conducted seemingly zillions of phone interviews over the years for either mags, sites, or books, there are a select few people that you can always count on to deliver a good interview. And one gentleman I always look forward to chatting with is Filter’s Richard Patrick, having interviewed him previously for Songfacts (check it out here) and for the book ‘Survival of the Fittest: Heavy Metal in the 1990’s’ (of which an exclusive excerpt/ordering info can be detected here). Recently, Richard spoke to Alternative Nation about Filter’s forthcoming seventh studio album, ‘Crazy Eyes’ (dropping on April 8th via Wind-Up Records)…and his fondness for a certain website.

Let’s discuss the new Filter album.

The record is called ‘Crazy Eyes’ – I produced it. I worked with a lot of different people. Oumi Kapila co-produced some songs, Blumpy – Michael Tuller from Nine Inch Nails – co-produced a couple of songs, Danny Lohner co-produced songs with me. It’s kind of where I sit in the world of electronics. It was way more focused on electronics and less on guitar. The last two records have been these big, huge guitar records – heavy, dense, all-consuming guitar records. And I just decided that I love the guitar, but I didn’t want it to suck up all the frequencies. If you make them smaller and you make them a little bit more designated in the frequency when you’re mixing it, the electronics can come out a little bit. And that was the focus – way more electronics. It’s got new and old industrial vibes to it.

“Take Me to Heaven” is the first single.

That song was written in a time period when my father passed away. And as a lyricist, where do you start? You’ve got to kind of ask the big questions. When my father was passing away, I looked into his eyes, and he looked at me, and focused right on me. He looked grateful, and he passed away. I remember thinking to myself, “Did he see me? Was he grateful that I flew in and saw him for the last time? Was he grateful that he was passing away? Was he just high on medicine?” You know, the “end of life medicine” they give you is like morphine and stuff like that. There was all this question in my life – “If there is a heaven, is it real?” People talk about it – they’ve been talking about it since the Bronze Age, at least. And science leaves a pretty solid conclusion that once blood stops flowing inside your mind, it just shuts off. That question, “Who am I? Where am I? My existence, is it real? Take me to heaven, watch me go by.” It became about, “If there is a heaven, please take me, because I’d rather go with you than stay here.” This record, I don’t like giving away all the magic – I want people to come to their own conclusions on the lyrics. But to me, it was written at a time when my father passed away. I’m proud of that song.

You mentioned that you enjoy the Alternative Nation site [before the interview began].

It just keeps popping up on my newsfeed, and I see it’s accurate and it’s informative, and you send out two or three news stories a day or something. You keep me up to date on bands that I like! Rolling Stone will keep you up to date on Miley Cyrus – I don’t want that. I want the bands I like. I like finding out about all the stuff and I instantly see it on Alternative Nation. So I’m happy to be on that site – that’s cool.

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Bio: After having his articles posted from other outlets on Alternative Nation (and before that, Grunge Report) for years - heck, he was even interviewed by GR back in 2009! - Greg Prato finally began contributing articles to the site in 2014. He has written for various sites/mags over the years (Rolling Stone, All Music Guide, etc.), and is the author of quite a few books. And as evidenced by such titles as Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon, and Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets, he also has a deep fondness for alternative rock n' roll music. You can check out info on all of Greg's books here, see what he's up to on his Twitter page here.
  • Felonious Punk

    I wonder what ever happened to that Filter album he was working on with Ken Andrews between The Amalgamut and the Army of Anyone joint?

    Eager to hear this newest album, and hopefully it’s as weird as he’s saying it will be.

    • Jimmy Intense

      Makes me wonder if he’s posted under an alias.

      To answer your question: Richard went to rehab in between those albums. Makes me think the material was shelved. As an artist, you’re always looking to push forward. I personally wouldn’t fixate on completing an album from one of/the most dark periods of my life if I had in essence freed myself from whatever burden.

      • Billy

        That would be awesome if he has posted or if anything other featured musicians have

        • Corndog

          Ok. I admit it. I am Eddie Vedder….

          • Billy

            and the mask comes off!!! i must applaud your efforts in moderating a website whilst fronting one of the best rock bands in history. You truly are a workhorse 😉

          • Corndog

            Sometimes you just gotta multitask;)

          • Felonious Punk

            I fucking KNEW it! Only Eddie himself would refer to him as “Uncle Eddie”

          • Corndog

            Yeah, and I said all that stuff about my voice going to shit just to throw you off;)

      • Felonious Punk

        But I thought the Ken Andrews sessions were *after* his rehab stint. He released Amalgamut in Summer 2002, then couldn’t promote or tour behind it when he went into recovery. Hence why that album is one of his best and gets criminally overlooked.

        I can almost swear that the KA sessions were for the 4th Filter album that resulted in him brining in the Deleos for a few tracks, which morphed into AOA. Certainly those songs or the ones that made AFTD weren’t the KA-assisted ones. I wish Prato would ask him stuff like this the next time he interviews him.

        • Jimmy Intense

          Ah that could be…good point about AoA. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least *some* of those songs existed prior to the band’s formation.

          Agree about Amalgamut too; it’s really the perfect…ahem…amalgamation of their sounds and my favourite

          • Felonious Punk

            I’ve always been a big fan of Short Bus, even to this very day. Title of Record is decent and has some good stuff on it, but it’s always sounded too polished and dated to me, more and more as the years go by. When he came back just a few years later with Amalgamut, it was like he’d found the perfect balance between the heavy industrialness of SB and the more mainstream sensibilities of TOR.

            The Only Way, The Missing, WDWGFH, Goddamn Me, Columind…those are some of my favourite songs he’s ever done anywhere. Even ‘Drug Boy’ from Trouble With Angels was written during the Amalgamut sessions, and that one is a banger, too

        • AOKRCEO

          Some of the stuff they made for The Damning Well was supposedly “recycled” for the first Black Light Burns album “Cruel Melody” (the studio band for it were Borland, Lohner and Freese, TDW without Patrick), which I think that is pretty good.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R6gSfv0XPI

          • Felonious Punk

            Cruel Melody is a good one! Wish they’d release a vinyl pressing of it. Maybe next year for its 10th anniversary

    • Billy

      vive la AN!!!

  • Mr. K

    Richard’s one of the good guys. Probably the nicest and most professional of pro musicians I’ve met yet…

  • AOKRCEO

    Huge Filter fan. I want the album now.

    http://i.imgur.com/lhjhbB9.gif

    • Felonious Punk

      Apparently the new Deftones record is out the same day. Apr. 8 is gonna be a good one for music!

      • AOKRCEO

        They should tour together!!!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfrPccgbjfU

        • Felonious Punk

          That’d be worth seeing. Grab a third band and do a joint tour like they did with AIC and Mastodon back when Diamond Eyes was released.

      • Corndog

        Do you like Skunk Anansie? Think they just released a new one. Their first couple of albums were great.

        • Felonious Punk

          I do! I have those first two albums on vinyl and they are indeed mighty. I’m especially fond of their album Stoosh. I heard they have a new one out, but the only way to get it on LP is via import and it’s pricey right now. I remember when I was living in Europe and their comeback album Wanderlust came out, it was super expensive on vinyl. I held off for a few months and ended up finding it brand new online for about 10 euro. I’ll definitely get the new one eventually though.

          Have you ever heard Skin’s duet with Maxim from Prodigy? Kinky stuff!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXTxhNNuaL0

          • Corndog

            I don’t own any vinyl at all. I don’t even have a turntable anymore. Stoosh is a great album but I think I prefer Paranoid And Sunburnt a little more. It’s one of those albums that just keeps on giving. I don’t think there is a bad track on that album.

            Hey thanks for that track. I’ve never heard that before, but I really liked it. Skin intrigues me. I’m both frightened of her and attracted to her in equal measure:)

          • Felonious Punk

            Yea, Skin is freaky looking, for sure. But she’s got a great heart. Paranoid and Sunburnt is a good one, too. Great music videos for its singles. Even Rod Stewart covered ‘Weak’ at one point..

            http://youtu.be/nPglNjxVHiM

  • — J —

    Really looking forward to this album. Did the Pledgemusic deal, so I get to listen to it on vinyl. Hope Army of Anyone makes a return in the future too, Rich is so full of great melodies, I just hope he never stops.