Lead singer of Filter won't subscribe to a label

By Max Sullivan
On February 23, 2012

  • Indie breakout band Passion Pit rocked out during a sold-out show at the UNH Field House on Thursday, Oct. 14. Tyler McDermott/Staff

Richard Patrick is completely pissed off.

He has spent the last year on the road with Filter, touring the world from the U.S. to Germany and back. He's performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and he's working with his band mates on a brand new album, scheduled to come out this summer. He'll be the first to tell you that "it's been a hoot."

Still, Patrick is as angry as ever. According to Filter's front man, you'll hear plenty of fury in his trademark scream on the upcoming release.

"I'm screaming my ass off (on this new record)," Patrick said. "I've definitely got the aggression. I'm definitely pissed off about a lot of things in my life."

The album, to be named Gurney and the Burning Books, will be a return to the Short Bus sound in some areas, with a slight departure in others. According to Patrick, Filter fans have grown accustomed to hearing different sounds and expecting the unexpected.

"My fans get it," Patrick said. "It's not always murky and swollen and sad. There's a whole variety of feelings. For me, it's like covering all your bases."

Patrick's first major introduction to the record business was playing with Nine Inch Nails in the early 90s. He said he grew accustomed early on to putting originality far ahead of record sales.

"When I was back in Nine Inch Nails, we were like, ‘This (sound) hasn't exploded yet, but we're 20, and this is what we're going to do.' We were of age and we could be inspired like that," he said.

After leaving NIN and finding success with Filter's hit "Hey Man, Nice Shot," Patrick still had that mentality ingrained in him, and it led to confrontations with his bosses at the record company.

"I was sitting there, talking to a guy at Warner Brothers–and this is the head guy–and he goes, ‘Well, Rich, you've got this song "Take a Picture," and it's super light, and it's this beautiful song. Don't you see that as kind of a problem?' And I go, ‘Why?' And he goes, ‘Well, because you're famous for "Hey Man, Nice Shot." You're going to lose all those heavy metal fans … Look at our band Disturbed. Those guys know what they're doing. Those guys are selling to their audience and they're keeping their audience happy,'" Patrick said.

"And I'm like, ‘Yeah, but, how can you grow as a person? How can you develop as an artist?' If you have to have your hair cut exactly the same way for years, you're going to be f**ked. You're going to go insane."

Patrick has faced criticism in recent years, too. On 2010's The Trouble with Angels, the use of auto tune on "The Inevitable Relapse" drew a lot of criticism from many fans. This took the singer completely by surprise.

"This one tiny little effect, for this one tiny little percentage of the record … Because I said this is kind of like Short Bus, my old-school audience was almost offended that I used auto tune," Patrick said. "And for me it made perfect sense, because it was tongue-in-cheek."

For Patrick, limiting himself to one predictable sound would be maddening. Instead of categorizing his music as rock, grunge, or alternative, he just looks at it as making a Filter album.

"I'm not making a rock record," Patrick said. "I don't want to be a cookie cutter and pump out the same s**t, and I think that is important as an artist. I think the new record is going to sound like a brand new Filter record."

The new album, Gurney and Burning Books, is still in the works. Patrick has been writing the new album with current Filter guitarist Jonny Radtke. The two are experimenting with the key of C as well as drop B, relatively new sounds for Filter. The album will have hills and valleys, which Patrick said is important for any record to remain interesting.

There is also a possibility of a live album coming out this year, the recordings taken from a show in Germany. Patrick assured that the sound from the live disc will be "gnarly and big."

See Filter at Wally's Pub in Hampton Beach on Thursday, March 1 and at Boston Billiard Club in Nashua on March 3. For more information, visit the band's website at www.officialfilter.com.


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