Filter's Richard Patrick: 'If There Were More Kids With Guitars, Maybe You Wouldn't End Up With 28 Dead Children'

"The second amendment should be fucking changed to 'everybody has the right to own a guitar.'"

Ultimate Guitar

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 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.

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 (C) 2016

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comments policy
    But...everyone DOES have the right to own a guitar? I mean I get what he's saying. But yeah.
    Do they? Where does it say so?
    The right to bear arms... it could be construed to mean a guitar as easily as it is made out to mean an assault rifle. I mean, they can both be weapons right?
    The same place it states everyone except guitarist41 is allowed to own a coffee table.
    Does that include basses? What about banjos? The government should start to regulate what constitutes a "guitar". Rob Scallon is going to find himself in a lot of trouble.
    I think what he means is that if the gun nut mentality were applied to guitar on such a grand scale, you'd have less violence. He's not wrong but also meh
    We need more music from Army of Anyone! So glad they asked about that.
    sorry I was looking for Ultimate Guitar not a fucking political debate how about we agree to disagree and start talking about gibsons and fenders opinions are like assholes everybody has one and they all stink yeah it's old but it hits the point.
    Yeah that's because the republican right is destroying the government from the inside out. And the regressive left isn't with all their talk of trigger warnings, safe spaces, and free shit for all?
    I'm fairly sure undermining the economy and allowing the rich to keep hoarding all the available money is a far, far worse blow for a nation than a bunch of left-wingers trying to have abuse victims and shell-shocked veterans not having to fear for their sanity while on the Internet.
    Just because someone disagreed with you on twitter doesn't mean you're an abuse victim.
    Pretending that none of the rich is part of the liberal left isn't helping. Just look at Clinton.
    Are we gonna play this game of "let's poke at the holes in arguments"? Just because you can "pwn" me doesn't mean reality changes magically. The GOP has a gigantic history and you don't erase it just by pointing at Hillary Clinton. Besides, like I give a shit about Clinton anyway.
    When the "hole in the argument" has a chance of becoming the next president, that's a pretty damn hole. I guess I'm just trying to say that yes the gop does have a history, but the liberals are taking their turn at making it.
    Clinton is a bad example. She's diet GOP. That aside, there are plenty of people closer to actual libs that are rich hypocrites, yes. Most American "liberals" are just Authoritarian leftists though, and they aren't the same thing. Not all leftists are Liberals just like not all birds are Corvids. We need to stop allowing them to hijack the word. Americans simplifying politics into a "line" is part of why we have so many stupid people running around.
    Sounds like you're promoting Bolshevism. How'd that turn out in Stalin/Trotsky years? Tens of millions of dead people. Left wingers ran that...and nobody had a dime.
    You know the problem with Stalin and Trotsky? They were doing THE EXACT SAME SHIT - running economies to the ground and hoarding all the resources for themselves. Stalin was also a psychopath that thought he was justified for being an evil SOB because he was gonna be the one writing history afterwards. The thing about communism and its derivatives only working in paper is because the people in power are gonna try to fuck over everyone else in EVERY political system, and capitalism just so happens to be able to withstand that abuse more.
    Second Rate
    Hoarding all the available money? I'm not sure you know how the economy works.
    Pretty sure they mentioned it because it would wreck the economy. Whether or not that's what is happening, and whether or not there are more factors at play, you should probably try harder at reading.
    Uh... no? The republican right want to reduce welfare and sell off public assets where they can. Sounds a lot like destroying the government to me.
    you should have put a trigger warning on your comment! I wasn't prepared for all of the stupidity!
    Those people are fucking up colleges, not the government. The Democratic party isn't really in line with them aside from both taking authoritarian stances on certain intersecting issues. The Democratic party is just diet GOP lol. They're barely "left" at all. And as stupid as it is that an extremely annoying vocal minority wants places like colleges to be daycares rather than places of higher learning, this is always fucking stupid to mention. "but what about the OTHER team?" It doesn't take away from the criticism of the Republican party in its current state. It reduces the argument to "what team is the lesser of two evils" which is part of why we're so fucked. Good job.
    Of course, the political statement is headlined so the rest of the interview is ignored.
    Since I bought a gun, I've became a pretty big deal. I own many leather bound books apartment smells of fine mahogany. So, don't you tell me guns are bad.
    Red_ Label
    Does anybody even remember why the 2nd Amendment was conceived? Like I get people being upset over Gun related deaths, but it's not the sole cause, or even a significant cause of death in this country when you take into account the wide range of ways people die everyday. I'm not gonna throw statistics in here because those who disagree should do their on research. This country wouldn't exist had it not have been for armed CIVILIANS. It's purpose is that of a last line of defense against a tyrannical government (all these controversial police shootings?) and invasion by a foreign entity (the rise in terror attacks worldwide?) People should also wake up and see that political stances should be irrelevant at this point as we're literally being ass fucked by both sides... No reach around. No matter who gets into office they will plummet the economy and involve us in some pointless fucking war, while limiting freedoms in the guise of safety.
    If you think any amount of weaponry and civilians could do ANYTHING to stop it if the US government/military went on the offensive against its own people than I have no hope for you. They would droneroll the population in to oblivion before you even got your pants on. Do you seriously believe that an untrained group of drywallers with AR-15s would have ANY hope defending against the US government if it became tyrannical? Ffs!
    This point should be plastered everywhere for all to read. I get so sick of gun debates boiling down to bullshit about hunting and self defense. No, the point of the 2nd amendment is to level the playing field between the government and the people. People forget so easily that the government is not some higher power. It's just a few people, and as has been proven countless times in history, those few people can and will use their power to push their own agenda against the will of the people. Should a line ever be crossed too far, it's only reasonable that the people have the means to say no and do something to preserve their freedom.
    "The point of the 2nd amendment is to level the playing field between the government and the people" Yeah, leveling the playing field. Sure. Is that why the police over there deploys military weaponry against unarmed protesters? Even if you think the protesters are in the wrong for whatever, the playing field is everything BUT leveled. Are you saying civilians should be given better weapons? At one point we'll end with mutually assured destruction scenarios.
    It makes for good political TV. That and comment sections I suppose, given that we're in the age of the internet. If people from each of our shit tier major parties worked together to actually solve the issue via addressing the various factors at play, including poor mental healthcare and various socioeconomic issues that play into daily gun violence, they would have to come up with new talking points. Which they're obviously too lazy to do, given that we can't even get all of our elected officials to actually show up to work so they can vote on things.
    The U.S. really do need to get their shit together with gun control. It's fucking sad when you hear somebody say that shooting rampages could be stopped if everybody had a gun.
    Like I Is
    A lot of Americans have this patriot-commando fantasy where life is essentially a Call of Duty game, where a grizzled, burly dude singlehandedly takes down 20-25 brown, screaming terrorists to protect the lives of those too weak to protect themselves. Anyway, it's silly and nobody has a good solution. The American public is basically anesthetized to shooting tragedies nowadays. We're not shocked anymore.
    Richard fronting STP. More Army of Anyone. Use of PledgeMusic. Scoring films. Music's therapeutic qualities. Why are we glossing over all the musically relevant points and focusing on politics?
    Because you're on UG's news section, where the tactic of rounding up alt-right guitar enthusiasts and give them articles for them to comment like crazy for the ad hits has been honed to perfection. Enjoy the clickbait.
    Like I Is
    This is the truest statement I've read on this site. It could be an article about the the romantic partners of Debussy and you'd find a comment section filled with references to Hitlery, libtards, and militant anti-PC rhetoric.
    A recent indictment of a Chicago felon and known gang member demonstrates the exact problem those of us who read the Second Amendment for what it’s worth have a problem with background checks and gun control laws of any kind. Three months after buying two guns from an undercover agent, Lazaro Salas, 32, was indicted. He had acquired between 40 and 60 guns while being a felon.
    alt-right guitar enthusiasts must only have one hemisphere running or something because everything they say is nonsensical. That's what happens with gun accidents I guess.