Many know Richard Patrick as the only static member of the band Filter. Prior to the formation of Filter, Richard cut his teeth in a band called Nine Inch Nails. He also formed a band called Army of Anyone with Robert and Dean DeLeo [Stone Temple Pilots], and Ray Luzier [Korn, David Lee Roth]. Filter recently released their seventh record. Richard remains one of rock and roll's most outspoken frontmen and proves it in the following exclusive unfiltered interview.
UG: Tell me about "Crazy Eyes." It's not really a "guitar-heavy" album in the traditional sense but you do explore some interesting creative space with the guitar.
RP: Well I'm blessed because I'm the leader of the band and if I want to get together and work with someone, I can do that. So I got together with this guitar hero from Australia named Oumi Kapila. He's won a few awards and he's amazing. He programmed the record with me. We sat there with our computers and did all kinds of crazy stuff. He did some really good solos on there too. He even brought back some of the Van Halen finger tapping stuff which I thought was hysterical. I was into it because it was ironic. I was like, "wouldn't it be great if we actually did that?" and he was like "Yeah!" We've always been anti-guitar hero. But we had a blast. I was the crazy avant-garde guitarist and he was someone who took the time to learn scales and all that kind of stuff.
One thing that always exciting is the consistency of lineup changes in Filter. You change it up on almost every album.
Yeah it's the ultimate freedom. I did a couple records with Geno [Lenardo] and that kind of went south. I love him. He's a great guy. But maybe Filter wasn't the band for him. Maybe he should have done something else but it wasn't feeling right so I did something else. After that I got John 5 to write with me. Then I play guitar a lot, especially on "Anthems for the Damned." Mitch Marlow was a cool guitar player. Jonny Radtke was amazing. So I get the benefit of always having these new amazing people and there's always this explosion of creativity because you've never met and you've never worked together before.
Your guitar playing has always interested me. We've talked about this before, but you use a lot of somewhat unique chords.
Yeah, the ninth. I'm a fan of the ninths and I kind of made it my thing. I used them on "Take a Picture" and on the new record, the song "Your Bullets" was my song from the ground up. You can tell that one was all me. I used a lot of ninths on that one. I went and overdubbed the tracks with a small amp cranked and I love that shit. That's so Filter.
Is that the source of your distorted sound?
We were one of those bands that embraced technology. So a lot of my sound comes from plug-ins. I'm not afraid to use plug-ins. There are some great ones out there. You can keep them on your laptop. For me, that's what we do. Back in Nine Inch Nails we used these little GK amplifiers that were loud and that sounded really little but really distorted. Plus they were super portable and didn't take up that much room in the van. I always respected Trent for doing that, like "Fuck it, let's just use this." We didn't need to mic amps. I really agreed with his decision to do things that way. I'm using a Zoom G5 [multi-effects processor] for a score I'm doing right now called "True Crimes" with Jim Carrey. I go right from the pedal into the preamp, add a compressor, and make sure the levels are cool and I record guitar just like that. It sounds awesome. It sounds unique.
"My job in Filter is to look into the darkness and the insanity of life. That's why I'm here. Trent Reznor is about self-misery. Kurt Cobain was about apathy. My thing is writing about insanity."
There's a beauty in simplicity.
Yeah, the Zoom people have been really cool to me too. I actually did a lot of the programming on the G5.
You produced this record too. You say you learned a lot from Trent [Reznor]. Did you learn anything about producing your own records from him?
No but there was a lot of stuff I learned. I went back and I thought about what people liked about "Short Bus." But doing the PledgeMusic.com stuff, I was interacting with the fans a lot more and they would tell me what they liked about it. They said, "We want the nutter. We don't want this well-kept, nicely groomed adult make you've turned into. We want the fucking nutter. We want crazy" and he's always been here but then I started think about it and he's been refined by producers. They wanted to take away the rough edges and make it more friendly. So when I did "Mother E" I thought, "Get a load of this shit." I you had any idea the subject matter of that song, I would fucking be protested because with that song, I'm trying to understand the insanity of a human being who has the audacity to show up and kill another human being in a mass shooting. I'm trying to approximate, you and I are normal people, 95% of us just want to live comfortably and raise our kids right. But there are a small percentage of people who are just fucking insane and we will never understand that rage. So the objective was to make the music sound like their insanity so that we can understand them going back to "Hey Man Nice Shot," what makes a man show up at a press conference and say "I'm not going to jail" and he fucking shoots himself. You know what I mean? So "Mother E" is about this kid who is a fucking nut and what does that sound like. What does the rage in his mind sound like? You know what, Taylor Swift can tell you all about how love sick she is and it makes all the little teenage girls understand that sometimes love hurts. But my job in Filter is to look into the darkness and the insanity of life. That's why I'm here. Trent [Reznor] is about self-misery. Kurt Cobain was about apathy. My thing is writing about insanity.
Does working in that space effect your own personal psyche at all?
No, I bring it up on stage and I let it out up there so that I don't bring it home. You shouldn't be handing out shotguns. The second amendment should be fucking changed to everybody has the right to own a guitar. If there were more kids with guitars, maybe you wouldn't end up with 28 dead children. Mom shouldn't have watched that happen. She should have given the kid a guitar or her Walkman from the '80s and let him trip out on that. My ADHD was so off the charts when I was a kid, there were a lot of similarities to autism. Now there are all these studies about how much music helps autistic kids. I loved just sitting there listening to music. The only reason I can write songs now is the appreciation I had for music growing up. I sat in a basement, voluntarily, in a rocking chair from like 6th grade until I was a senior in high school just listening to music. I was playing in bands and stuff then but my favorite thing to do was just to sit and listen to music with my headphones as loud as it could go. If we could do that with more kids in the world, maybe there would be less shit. ISIS doesn't need a new rocket propelled grenade launcher, they need a fucking guitar. They need to get music back into their lives. They have laws taking music out. That's bullshit. Those guys need to start not fucking raping - they need to get over their sexual hang-ups. If they did that the world would be a better place. Fuck their religion. Their religion is preposterous.
"The second amendment should be fucking changed to 'everybody has the right to own a guitar.' If there were more kids with guitars, maybe you wouldn't end up with 28 dead children."
I completely agree that music has therapeutic qualities. It's a bummer that the US has cut down on music education programs as well.
Yeah that's because the republican right is destroying the government from the inside out. And now Donald Trump is running for president.
Scary days indeed my friend. We cannot let them "take the country back" because that exactly what they want to do. They want to take it back to the '30s when lynching was normal in the South. Where God was feared.
I must say that I do like the name of your tour ["Make America Hate Again"].
Yeah, fuck him. Fuck him if he can't take a joke. I scared the shit out of people when I said if that guy got shot I wouldn't mind. I'm not going to advocate it but if he got gunned down, it wouldn't bother me one bit. It would just prove a point.
You mentioned earlier that you used PledgeMusic to fund this project, at least partially. How was that experience for you?
It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. We got a ton of money extra to go in and do the things we wanted to do. We got a proper studio, I made sure everyone could fucking eat. I made sure everybody could pay their rent. I make sure everybody could work. In a time where budgets are disappearing, we need the support. We need people to be focused on what they're doing. You can just have them running around, having to do extra gigs to pay their rent. The record company was very generous but we needed the extra support. It was really beautiful. It's the best thing the Internet has created since it destroyed music.
Did you feel that it helped you connect with your fans?
Absolutely. People were talking to me and letting me know what they wanted. They said, "Were really happy that you're well-adjusted and you have a family but we miss the nutter." To me that was like, Permission Fucking Granted. I'd rather be authentic, I didn't ask what they wanted to hear. But they gave me permission that I needed so badly to be the real me. The nutter. That's the guy on stage attacking his own fans for wanting the rebel flag to be flown in the south forever.
Did that happen? Did you attack someone?
Yeah. Then once again on Facebook I was like "Scott [Weiland], you're gonna die. Stop using drugs." I got on Facebook and attacked him. I told the fans, let's stop enabling this guy or he's going to keep doing drugs until he's dead. I got picked on. People put it on Blabbermouth and made a big deal about it like "The two old sober dudes are arguing online" blah blah blah. Then like a few months later he was dead. They weren't paying attention. We need to stick together. We have to alert each other. We shouldn't be quiet about it. Everyone tells me I'm alienating my republican fans. I'm not alienating anyone. I'm trying to do my job. John Lennon said let's give peace a chance when the Vietnam War was out of control. What do you think we have going on now? He was John Lennon, so I have to work twice as hard as he did. He had the world's attention with his amazing music. But for me, to be an activist, you have to work twice as hard and you're going to piss a lot of people off. But the truth has to get out there.
That's rock and roll. You shouldn't be afraid to piss people off once in a while. I'm not in a band and I piss people off all the time.
I know! That the wild thing. Do you see [Justin] Bieber or Taylor Swift talking about gun control? They don't want to piss off their southern fans. They don't want to say anything bad about the Internet. Even Lars [Ulrich] did a 180 in 2007. But not me. I said from the beginning that the fucking Internet is killing our shit. People shouldn't be stealing. People didn't want to hear it. I protested the Iraq war and people picked on me for being too late and it's still not over.
Is there a future for Army of Anyone?
I certainly do hope so. I talked to Dean [DeLeo] yesterday. I told him about that Scott Stapp rumor. He said, "Are you fucking out of your mind? You don't know me by now?" I told him I was calling him to kick his fucking ass if he fucking let that happen. I told him, "I'm in Virginia. I'm ready to rent a car and drive out to Malibu and kick you in the butt." I was kidding with him about it. I think Army of Anyone has to do another two or three records. Honestly, it's been 10 years, there should be a stockpile of music in the DeLeo Brothers' archives that we should be able to get. But they do records on the spot in the studio and that's amazing. I've got to be honest with you, "Purple" was recorded in ten days - written, performed, recorded in ten days. They went down to Atlanta and got it done.
Would it ever be you fronting Stone Temple Pilots? It has to have crossed someone's mind.
Well... There was a second where they called me up and said, "What are you doing" and I told them I was scoring the movie and releasing a record in April and it was like "Click." Chester [Bennington] is busy. We're all busy, and they need someone that's going to be there twenty four hours a day and I agree with that. I actually thought that when I heard they were looking for a singer online was a bit of a joke but then I saw some of the entries and I was stunned by some of the kids. There's one guy from Chile and he's really good. The other thing is that he's a baritone which is what Scott used to be. I think that band needs a baritone. So there's a couple of reasons why. In Army of Anyone I'm a tenor so I sing an octave higher than what Scott would do.
I want to touch base with you about scoring this movie. How different has that project been from recording a Filter album?
Well the big thing that nobody really knows is that I've been studying acting for two or three years and my brother is an actor [Robert Patrick - he was the liquid Terminator guy]. I used to read for scenes back in the early '90s thinking maybe I would get into it a little bit more. But that plays a huge part in it because I understand the intent behind the scenes. They had an issue with the director and we just couldn't talk much so we just went for it and tried to really get into it and connect each scene. I'm doing it with this guy named Tobias Enhus [also did the score for "Black Hawk Down"]. He and I just focused on what each scene was saying to us and then it turned out that the producer really liked what we were doing. With everything we do in scoring, we are creating a custom sound from our own arsenal of gear that we have that we have built over the years. So our rigs were custom made to fit this movie. It was really crafted and its very unique. That's why I like it. I said if we're going to do this, were going to do it with the intent of having something very original. It's not a sound you can go pick up off of a shelf. Luckily, we got to do that and the producers were happy. But it's cool, when we started we had this movie and there was no music, there wasn't even much temped in. It was weird. So we interpreted each scene and tried to make the music a fifth character in the film. You have to be the internal thinking and be in tune to what their thoughts might be in a given scene. That was right up my alley. One thing that helped me and will probably help me in the future is that I had a top 10 hit that has as heavy as "Hey Man Nice Shot" and then another top 10 hit that sounded completely different called "Take a Picture." So when you put that diversity into one band, it might actually hurt the band. But as far as scoring movies, I can turn on a dime and create music that fits that scene. So its good to have that.
Interview by Justin BecknerUltimate-Guitar.com (C) 2016