Filter Are Back in the Fold
Richard Patrick channels his anger into "Title of Record"
Posted Aug 24, 1999 12:00 AM
"You gotta see it from the beginning," Richard Patrick says calmly before he presses play on the VCR remote control. "The speech before it is the scary part. That's really the horrifying part because you know this motherf---er's gonna kill himself." And then we watch as indicted Pennsylvania treasurer R. Budd Dwyer reiterates his innocence to a press conference gathering, reaches into a manila envelope, pulls out a handgun, sticks it in his mouth and pulls the trigger.
"That's his last breath, right there," the Filter frontman says as blood pours from Dwyer's nostrils, his body goes limp and women scream in horror. "It shakes me up still." This gruesome suicide, captured live on TV in several U.S. markets twelve years ago, including Patrick's Cleveland hometown, inspired Filter's single "Hey Man Nice Shot," from their last album, Short Bus. But to this day some believe it was about Kurt Cobain.
"DJs started to say it was about Kurt Cobain which is absolutely fucking bullshit," he says from his Chicago loft/home studio/rehearsal space, where some of Filter's just released Title of Record was recorded. "I have the copyrights to prove it. And when it started to come out that it was about Kurt Cobain, that really freaked me out because the last thing in the world I want is Courtney Love or Krist Novoselic or Dave Grohl to think that I'm pushing my song's success just by saying it's about [him]. That's a horrible thing. That just drove me crazy."
Several years have passed since "Hey Man Nice Shot" was mistaken for a Cobain requiem and Dwyer's widow made an angry call to Filter's record label demanding an explanation. It's been even longer since Filter released a new album -- four and a half years, to be exact. In that time, only a few contributions to film soundtracks have satisfied Filter fans' urges. A messy break-up with Patrick's girlfriend, about which Title of Record's embittered "I'm Not the Only One" and heartrending "Miss Blue" were written, and split with guitarist Brian Liesegang are partly to blame for the delay.
"Isn't it interesting," Patrick begins regarding Liesegang's departure, "I quit Nine Inch Nails, and two weeks after I'm signed to Warner Bros. No problem. I had seven major record companies banging at my door. Well, I don't think that's happened to poor Brian."
Liesegang, in response, says he's weighing offers from three major record labels, including Atlantic, having just produced Veruca Salt's forthcoming release for girlfriend Louise Post, done work with Ashtar Command and started a new band with former Filter drummer Matt Walker. "In all the press I've done, I haven't made any slights of character," Liesegang says. "I'm just sick of this guy. Why is he so obsessed with me?"
Bitter anger, it seems, is Patrick's specialty. Title of Record's first single, "Welcome to the Fold," was written about people trying to steal his money. "Some girl got hurt," Patrick says. "Got a combat boot in the face out in the desert playing some gig and, 'hey, I got hurt.' It's all about the lawsuit and you take my money." Quoting "Welcome to the Fold," he continues: "'You think you're great. I think you're shit. I hate your face.' It's almost like my lyric writing can be as juvenile and retarded as an eighth grader."
When Patrick learned his "Miss Blue" muse was cheating on him, the frontman punched one of his platinum records. His fist went through the Plexiglas, through the record and through the wall, breaking his fifth metacarpal. "It still hurts to this day," he says. "Before they took me to the [hospital] I'm like, 'Put me in front of the mic now.' And that was the whole first verse of 'I'm Not the Only One.'"
Scary stuff. But it's that overly intense emotion that coats the subject matter of Title of Record, a less sonically abrasive album than Short Bus, but even more aggressive lyrically. The new record is a musical quantum leap from Short Bus with Patrick adding texture and melody to his hostility and programmed effects.
Filter are currently rehearsing new and old material at Patrick's domain with guitarist Geno Lenardo, bassist Frank Cavanagh and drummer Steven Gillis in preparation for the forthcoming Family Values tour, which also features Limp Bizkit, Crystal Method, Method Man, Redman and DMX. Though it's crystal clear Filter is forever Patrick's project, like Nine Inch Nails belongs to Trent Reznor, Patrick says he likes the other guys in the band and works well with them, "but it's always gonna be my band and they're gonna have to know that," he says. "Geno can write songs but if you don't put my vocals on it, it ain't Filter."
BLAIR R. FISCHER
(August 24, 1999)