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In this writer’s humble opinion, every album Richard Patrick has ever put out under the Filter banner has been honest, dark and distinctly unique with both its musical and lyrical approach. Filter’s new album Crazy Eyes is a masterpiece of nostalgic industrial, heaviness and catchy melodies. The combination of old-school influences and innovative textures on this record have had me hooked since I first had the privilege of hearing it. Notable stand-out tracks such as “Nothing In My Hands,” “Mother E,” “Tremors,” “The City of Blinding Riots,” “Pride Flag” and “Take Me to Heaven” will have every Filter fan screaming the lyrics and entranced by the music. I was able to touch base with Patrick to learn some of the background behind the latest LP.
Thanks for speaking with me. What is the origin of the album title?
A lot of people are curious about the origin of the album title. Well, if you look at someone like Adam Lanza – take a look into his eyes. There’s this bizarre familiarity with all these mass shooters…And I wanted to kind of understand that and avoid anything having to do with the same old pop stuff, you know what I mean?
I felt compelled to do the opposite of what is considered popular right now.
People really make me sick when they’re like, ‘Oh, we should write something happy.’ So really with this record I wanted to get back to, not necessarily the sound on my roots, but definitely the mentality of my roots. So I was just like, ‘Give me some cash and I’m going to go run off to the studio and work with some old friends, and some new friends; but let me do what I want to do and let me produce it. And they were like, ‘You know what? Absolutely, go do your thing.’
So I ran around and got together with all kinds of people and had a great time in the studio. But ultimately the responsibility was mine and I was the final opinion. I think that’s what led up to the record that we have now. And I also think the reaction from people is exactly what we’ve been waiting for, you know? And I think that when you have the opportunity of being a musician or an artist, you kind of have to be honest and authentic to yourself. And there were these things that happened, all these events, that I couldn’t explain. I wanted to understand it and make the album kind of reflect what was happening, you know?
I’ve always heard that the song “Hey Man, Nice Shot” is about the televised suicide of R. Budd Dwyer. Is there any truth to this rumor?
Yes, absolutely. “Hey Man, Nice Shot” was about that whole thing on the news, with the press conference where the guy committed suicide in front of all the cameras, and you can’t really understand it. I saw the footage and I just didn’t understand this guy. Why did you do it? You know, ‘I wish I would have met you, now it’s a little late, what you could’ve taught me’ you know, it’s just like poetry about this really awkward moment in this guy’s life. I feel like that’s really what art is supposed to represent. It’s supposed to be a little snapshot of everything, including grim realities.
So I decided to reacquaint myself with my roots and just write about the things that are strange and you know weird to me. And that’s how you end up with Crazy Eyes. Because I don’t understand Adam Lanza. I know he was sick, I know he was mentally ill, but I really just don’t fucking understand it. And most people don’t. I really do think that most people are good people who just want to get through their lives. And then there are these lunatics living on the fringes. Whether it’s ISIS, whether it’s Trump, whether it’s white supremacy, mass murderers…
These extremists who just kind of push us around and do these fucked up things and kill us. And that fucking lunatic Adam Lanza, how did he get to be this way?! When you really peel back the mask, you start to see the reality of life. The older I get the more obligated I feel to be the spokesman for trying to really understand the insanity that we are surrounded by. I mean just look at it. And we all know that someone like Taylor Swift is not going to do it. She’s making tons of money, and it’s the same old shit as Donny Osmond, it’s the same old shit as all of that regurgitated crap.
I’d rather be myself and make the music about reflections of where we are. And you know, my honesty has even inspired people on a profound level. Take my sobriety for instance. There were a lot of people who wrote to me and said, ‘Dude, your story about sobriety and your honest approach to it has inspired me to realize that I should get sober as well,’ and clearly the sobriety thing has been a huge part of my life.
And of course things like the R. Budd Dwyer suicide, the craziness of our society, everything going on around us. Look at that euthanasia thing going on in Portland, Oregon where people are like, ‘I’m really sick, I don’t want to live in a hospital for the last two years of my life, I want to go out with some dignity.’ We all have to die sometime, and how do you make that decision? How are you strong enough to do that? That to me is more interesting, subject matter-wise, than something like, ‘I can’t find a boyfriend,’ or ‘I miss my girlfriend.’ It’s like just, ‘Get the fuck over it!’ We live in a very disturbing reality and people are whining about fucking bullshit. There’s all kinds of different shit to think about.
When did you first realize that being a musician was your true calling in life?
In 1974, my dad bought a big massive stereo but my mother was like, ‘Bob, God dang it, I think it’s too loud!’ And he said, ‘I don’t care, Nadine!’ And he loved music. And my dad bought the record Hot August Night by Neil Diamond and he played that fucking record all the fucking time and I loved it. It’s almost unexplainable in a way, it’s like music has just always been the go-to thing about what made me happy. And it was so easy to disappear into music when I was growing up.
Because I came from a big family and I didn’t want to study since my ADHD was off the charts. No one knew it, they just said I was hyper and it sounded too close to a mental problem so it was untreated and ignored. And there was a bit of denial with the whole thing. You know, when I was growing up I suffered through school and I was awkward, hyper and crazy and music just calmed me down. It made me feel like everything is going to be okay. I just always wanted to disappear into it, you know? There were several bands that would kind of make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and I just remember those bands as being like massively important to me. You know, I just love doing it. Sometimes it drives me crazy. I wish I was a better guitar player and all that stuff, but I try as much as I can to do things outside the lines and think outside the box.