Q&A with Filter’s Richard Patrick
Following another mid-December day at a California recording studio where he’s currently working on the band’s fifth original studio album, Filter frontman Richard Patrick visited with Fender News for this Q&A…
Q: Before getting into the upcoming album, we wanted to ask about your latest song “Fades Like a Photograph,” which was written for the recent movie 2012. How did that come about?
A: Well, I think doing music for video games and movies is where I’m headed. I love being in a rock band, but at the same time though, I really kind of like not being on tour and that way of life that takes me so far from home.
I’ve been doing movie soundtracks since early-on in my career, and so I’ve always had a lot of friends in that industry. Ben Stiller came to our show once and was like, “Dude, can I use ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’ for the Cable Guy?” I was like, “Yeah, I totally agree. That would be ridiculous there.” It just made so much sense to see Jim Carey running back and forth to this demonic music underneath it; not even demonic, just industrial. I got the gag and it was funny. So ever since then, I’ve had people come to me with opportunities like that. Nelson McCormick came to me and asked me if I could do something to the Turtles song “Happy Together” for The Stepfather and I instantly knew I could totally creep that song out. It’s just a really fun community to work in so I was thrilled when Harald Kloser called me about doing something for the ending of 2012, which is this huge end of the world adventure—from earthquakes to the towering inferno. So he called and said, “I’m driving in the desert. I’m pulling my car over and just going to watch the sun go down out here and I just want you to write a song about moments like that.” Life really is precious and we really do have it good so it was just a song about capturing those special moments and trying to remember them for forever.
Q: Did you read a script or see any scenes from the movie to help get additional inspiration?
A: They brought me in really early and so I had to visualize some of the special effects since not everything was complete. Still, the scene (SPOILER ALERT) where they leave Santa Monica airport and you see downtown Los Angeles falling into the ocean essentially was already amazing at that point. So I saw enough of the film to know what he wanted, but it was mainly writing with Harald. He would call me up and ask me to take a look at a certain verse and maybe rethink something and that’s how it worked.
Q: You also reunited with Brian Liesegang on “Fades Like a Photograph,” the first time in over a decade you guys have collaborated?
A: Yes, Brian did the sound design—all of that layering, gorgeous inverted guitar melody that comes in and is all backwards and stuff. It’s truly gorgeous, and that’s what Brian is really famous for—what he does with the computer and instruments. He might be involved in the new record as well.
Q: You’ve been showing some video clips from the studio on your website and promising that the new record is going to be “heavier.” How did you reach that decision?
A: That song “Fades like a Photograph” is really beautiful and I’m really proud of it, but at the same time, I want to rock more. I want to have a lot more fun. My fans have shown up at the shows and they are like, “Dude, we love all the mellow stuff and it’s really pretty, but let’s rock.” So I’ve met up with a guy named Bob Marlette, who is a very famous producer. He’s worked with a lot of different bands and I told him the criteria for me on this record is to reestablish and reconnect with my heavy fans and give them what they want. We have a couple of songs that are just way more like our first record Short Bus. Even on Short Bus, there were moments of melody, mellowness and anthemic stuff and so we’re still going to have that, but we are really going to make sure that up front there are three or four songs that are in your face heavy.
Q: Your last record Anthems for the Damned was labeled as a political record. Will we see those themes again on this upcoming album?
A: It was a very important record for me because I felt like I needed to go on record and take a political stand. It was the “I’m mad at the Bush administration and I am against this war” record. There was a big fan of Filter, he was like a 21-year old kid and he was killed on the streets of Baghdad. So I had a lot to say and not many people were saying it. The public just doesn’t want to think about it, and every Hollywood motion picture done about the Iraq war tanks. It’s not a very popular subject. I’m very proud of making a politically indulgent record and I needed to do that for me, but again, my fans would show up at shows and tell me, “We love you for trying to change the world, but we love the heavy stuff.” So realizing that my fans just want me to rock and get back to basics, that’s what I’m about. This record is all about the fans.
Q: But you do also have fans who love your melodic stuff, too; “Take a Picture” was a huge hit. How do you balance that?
A: I love my “Take a Picture” fans. I love my fans who have been there and love that softer sound. My music is diverse. That’s been a big criticism. The nice ladies who went out and bought “Take a Picture” also got smacked in the face with “Welcome to the Fold” and “Captain Bligh” and that kind of stuff. My audience is, I hope, eclectic enough and diverse enough to understand that the same band that can do “Welcome to the Fold” and “Hey Man, Nice Shot” can do “Take a Picture” and “(Can’t you) Trip Like I Do.” So we’ll always be about that, but the first five—three or four songs for sure—are going to be a return to Amalgamut and Short Bus.
Q: When do you expect to put out this album?
A: As early as March. We’ve got about 15 songs to go through and polish. We just did drums last week and then started on bass this week. We’re fielding offers right now from different record companies and we are going to pick the best people with the best vision of what we’re about as a band. It’s going to be exciting; I love negotiations. We’ll get that done the earlier part of the year, finish the record in the earlier part of the year and then boom, put that bad boy out in spring because we want to hit the summer touring.
Q: You tend to pull a lot of your lyrics from your real-life experiences. Where did you get your lyrical inspiration for this particular album?
A: A friend of mine told me a long time ago when I was 20 that I hadn’t lived long enough for my writing to always be on tap. Now that I’m 41, I just open a lyric book and it pours out. I have a lot to say—all my songs are about the craziest shit you can think of. I’m a loaded weapon. I used to get drunk and be a complete lunatic and terrorize flight attendants on a plane and write about that (“Take a Picture”), or write a song about people blowing their heads off at press conferences (“Hey Man, Nice Shot”). Just everywhere I look there’s just absurdity.
We have this song “Catch a Falling Knife” that is inspired by someone like Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped and someone’s slave for 18 years. It’s not her life story, but it’s loosely based on how someone in that situation copes. That to me is interesting fodder for heavy rock music. So many heavy bands write things like “Call the beast” or they sing about Satan. For me, there’s enough stories to read out of a newspaper that inspire heavy rock.
Q: A few of the rumored titles for the new album include Cutter, Tried to Trust and Drug Boy. Is there any truth to any of those titles?
A: Those are song titles, and all of those songs didn’t make the record. But I don’t want to talk about the title yet because there’s about three different title ideas and I might even start a poll and let the audience choose.
Patrick also said he was “just dying” to give Fender the scoop on an addition to the band, but his conscious got the best of him since he “promised my manager I wouldn’t say anything yet!”
Since Patrick had to get busy working on his daughter’s holiday present, Fender News didn’t press him on the matter. So keep an eye on the Filter website for more breaking news…