Filter - Catching Up With Filter

Last year, Filter were a dark horse - an industrial-tinged hard rock band planning a comeback in an era that no longer embraced Nine Inch Nails-flavored angst. But Richard Patrick and friends defied the odds and delivered Title of Record, a killer album that ignited with the Peter Gabriel-esque track "Take a Picture." The song was plugged on radio, MTV and even VH1, and the album soon went platinum. Now Patrick faces the next crucial step - preparing a follow-up to what some have considered fluke success. Rather than stress out under the pressure, however, Patrick and Filter are enjoying the spoils of their labor. Not that they're sitting back and counting their cash. In fact, Patrick is eager to get back into the studio and start working on his band's third album. He's the kind of guy who thrives under pressure and produces his best work when people expect the worse. And now that he and guitarist Geno Lenardo are working together in the studio more closely than ever, Filter is morphing from what was basically a solo effort into a more unified and multi-faceted unit. During a recent stop in the Big Apple, hooked up with Patrick to discuss summer touring plans, new material and future extra-curricular projects. What's on the plate for Filter through the summer?

Richard Patrick: We've got some festival dates lined up, which is always fun. Playing with other great artists is something I always love to do. A couple weeks ago we were onstage with the Black Crowes, one of the most remarkable southern rock bands of all time. It was really amazing, and to go on stage after them was - I just thought people were gonna be leaving. And everybody stayed. And we're doing this Coors festival with the Chili Peppers, and they're one of the greatest bands of all time. They have such a history. Their songs are great and they put on such a killer show. So it's all great. Are these shows serious gigs aimed at securing a wider audiences?

Patrick: No, the festival vibe for me is to just get up there and have fun. We're done with out tour. When are you gonna start working on more Filter material?

Patrick: In about a week I'm gonna be in my brand new, totally redecorated, Abyssinian Sun Version 2.5, and it's gonna be the most amazing birthday gift to myself. I'm just gonna start writing as soon as possible. I'm gonna move into my new apartment and I'm just gonna bust ass and get shit going. That's really, really what I want to do. I only need three or four days off after a tour before I wanna start up again. It makes me anxious if I'm sitting on a beach for too long. It's changing gears for me. It's a reset button to go on tour. This whole summer it's gonna be like, "Now I'll take two weeks to work on the record. Okay, I'm bored with that. Boom! Let's go play in front of 150,000 people at the WHFS festival." Then it's back to the studio to work. It's a constant lifestyle change and it's fun for me. I don't like this disappearing for a year just to write records. I think it's very healthy to go play gigs once in a while and try new material in front of the audience. Are you still writing almost all of the material?

Patrick: Yeah, but it's more of a band than it ever was. Eight months of touring has brought a lot of wear and tear on us mentally and physically, but at the same time, as far as musicians and songwriters and creative individualism, I think it's really, really made us very tight as a band. And what's cool is that the guys can go and disappear for a week if they want because I write the majority of the music and I like my private time anyway. But it's gonna be a great four or five months. And then the heavy work on the record begins. Have you already written any new songs?

Patrick: I've got a song right now. It's a beautiful ballad, and then Geno and I are gonna turn up our Marshalls and play. I want to find a new level of hardness that we can go to. We're both ends of the map. We want every spectral thing to happen. We want the heavy stuff with the mellow stuff. And I think a great example of that [from Title of Record] is "Welcome to the Fold," where you get this chill-down section in the middle and then you get this big bombastic riff and a very melodic chorus. I think that's what great bands should do. That's what Jane's Addiction and Led Zeppelin and U2 do. And we aspire to be a great band. Any other major projects in the works?

Patrick: I think there's acting in the future. I've been talking to some people, and I wanna do something, but if it's gonna be a big deal and it's gonna take away from Filter, then I dunno. I figure I should, stick with this platinum record stuff for a while. And maybe when we get tired of it, I'll move onto something else. Right now I really love Filter and that's my priority. It's funny because people really want that multi-media stuff from artists now. They want them to act and be in TV commercials and make records and videos. And I think that's cool. In this multimedia room, Neil Young can sit back in his armchair with his millions and millions of dollars and go, "This note's for you," and bitch about bands selling out. Well, back in his day, you had LP records, radio stations and three TV stations. Five movies might have been out at one time. Things are totally different now. Today's world is a multi-media world. I gotta be out there and be a part of it, and if it's a commercial or a movie or anything, you gotta be in the mix.

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