Richard Patrick Talks New Album, Filter’s Return to a Classic Sound and More
By Michael Walsh
For Filter frontman Richard Patrick, 2010 is all about a return to the style of music that helped make the industrial rock band one of the music world’s most fearless bands in the mid-nineties.
“We wanted to really remind people of our now classic sound of the band since we’re now so old,” said Patrick. “This was the return to the full-on Title of Record, probably our most popular record, and it was just important to get back to that.”
Filter, who is set to headline the “Block Out Block Party” on Allyn Street in Hartford Friday night, released The Trouble with Angels, their fifth album, on Tuesday.
But for Patrick and the band, the return to a sound more similar to the band’s roots wasn’t met with complete ease. The first single, “The Inevitable Relapse,” had some critics questioning the choice to use auto-tune as a vocal effect.
“The only reason why we did it was because we thought it was fun. There’s nothing more beyond,” said Patrick. “People are like ‘Wow, what are they doing, oh my god, is this some kind of attempt to get to the kids?’ I’m like oh my god, stop talking, you’re such a ****ing puritanical.”
“The funny thing is it’s the only time I’ll probably ever do it. It’s not me, but it was interesting for what I was doing at that particular time in the song. It’s only 16 bars. Get the **** over it. I’m not even that precious about my voice,” said Patrick.
Patrick went on to admit that he can understand the reaction as it was the first single released from the new album and that he puts his fans through a lot. He canceled a tour supporting the band’s 2002 record The Amalgamut and was unable to support the album. He then came back in 2006 with the completely new band Army of Anyone, a group comprised of Stone Temple Pilots brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo and Ray Luzier, who is now with Korn. After 2008’s tribute-style album Anthems for the Damned, Patrick gave his fans what they wanted.
“I give them a little old school but I throw on a little effect. It could have been a vocoder, it could have been any little thing sitting there. It was probably the first thing that popped up when we scrolled down in effects on the Macintosh,” said Patrick. “But because I deviated from the pattern and tried to hinge it in 2010 it became this massive thing. It’s just ridiculously funny.”
The attempt at something new shouldn’t come as a huge surprise for fans, as Patrick has a history of changing styles from mellow to heavy and being an eclectic musician.
“Back in 1997 my label was like ‘So, let’s hear the record.’ And I played them a little bit. They were like ‘It’s a pretty big departure from ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot.’ Even on that record [Title of Record] I had some mellow songs like “Stuck in Here” or “So Cool,” said Patrick. But you know what, I said ‘You signed an artist, and I want to be an artist.’ I envisioned people moving out of a genre and kind of owning different songs. I didn’t get into music to conform to some niche in society.”
“Like ‘Fades Like a Photograph,’ there’s not one electric guitar in there. It’s all acoustic and that’s like the first time I’ve really done that since Short Bus,” said Patrick. “Just don’t box me in. Don’t box me in.”
Friday night’s show will be the band’s first on-stage appearance since the release of their newest album.
“We’re looking forward to it. We have noticed, and this is a great thing for us, there’s a lot of people that want us to play the new stuff,” said Patrick. “So we’re actually going to pull out a few new ones from the record and eventually, we’re gonna add two more songs. And plenty of old stuff. We even brought out ‘Under’ for the first time in a long time.”
And when Patrick takes the outdoor stage in Hartford, it will be a lot easier and more fun for him than it was during his early years.
“Back then it was just so brutal. I was always hungover or I was always really drunk. Living in that world there’s a ton of anxiety that goes with that. There’s all kinds of issues,” said Patrick. “I was always forgetting lyrics in a bad way. It was very hard to get up there and sing and do everything. Now it’s just really easy, it’s just really fun. I get up there and sing and it’s a joy, it’s amazing.”
Patrick is quick to admit how the quality of the shows have risen over the years, lending thanks not only to the in-ear monitors, but to the group of musicians he has surrounded himself with.
“I’m super proud of the record. It’s just really fun to be in this band and it’s really fun to be with these guys too. I’ve surrounded myself with some really talented guys,” said Patrick of drummer Mika Fineo, bassist Phil Buckman and guitarist Rob Patterson.
“[Rob and Phil] have great voices and have such unbelievable chops on their instruments. I’m also proud of Mika Fineo because Mika played all the drums on this record. And this is his record. So it’s as just as much his as it is mine and all the other folks that worked on it,” said Patrick.
Admission to the block party, which starts at 5 p.m., is free before 7 p.m. Tickets from 7 p.m. and on will cost $15.
WATCH: Filter performing “Drug Boy” off their new album in Corpus Christi, Texas on 7/25/10.