"At the end of the day, it all comes back to Industrial Punk. Or Joe Strummer!" FILTER'S Richard Patrick Speaks to GG!

Published on 16 February 2024


(pic: Chapman Baehler)

 

Richard Patrick is holding up a distortion pedal to his screen: "So, yeah, I think I'll show you this". 

I’m on Zoom call with the Filter frontman and ex-Nine Inch Nails guitarist, and it seems like he has a new toy! We’re meeting to talk about The Algorithm, Filter’s latest lacerating long-player, which has seen the band attract a stream of ‘career-best’ reviews. We’re also due to chatting about the band’s upcoming headline tour throughout the UK and Europe, the first for a number of years. But first things first.  Mysterious new distortion pedals!

We'll get back to that in a second. As a long-time fan of both FIlter and NIN, this is one of those conversations I couldn’t wait to get into! In the end, we chatted for well over an hour (Richard is a hilarious and hugely animated interviewee) and even in this edited form (for length, not content), it’s a good long read! We definitely strayed off the path a number of times, but that to me is the sign of a good conversation. We took in Bono, Trump, hip hop, the NIN reunion and tons more, but I wasn’t expecting to hear about a new Filter distortion pedal! It seems that it’s a direct-only limited run at the moment, but who knows if it’ll get a proper release soon?

We had plenty to talk about anyway, so charge on for some characteristically honest and frank points of view on politics, alcoholism, distortion, Trent Reznor and the Terminator…

 

Contents

Richard Patrick Interview

That Voice

Music, Politics, The Clash, Terminator Brothers

Lyrics & Honesty

Guitar Playing

Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor and Attitudes to Recording

Back to Guitars

NIN Reunion

2024 Tour

 

Richard Patrick Interview

We resume the pedal conversation…

RP: This is the circuit for Short Bus.

Guitarguitar: So you're talking about like the preamp for all the guitar sounds that you got for that record. 

RP: Yeah!

G: Oh, sweet. Who's making that?

My guys, my guys in Prague. They are called Distortion, Inc. It's insane. We added the microphone, the Fostex board, the amplifier that I used, and basically made the entire circuit in here. And it sounds exactly like the guitars on Short Bus. I mean, when I was playing it, literally, my hands were shaking because I was like, ‘this feels like Short Bus!’ It's amazing. It's rockin'.

GG: That's brilliant!

RP: It's coming out. That's the news. We're just going directly to our fans. We're going to announce it on the filter website. It'll be announced like it's it'll have its own production thing and everything.

GG: Can’t wait to have a shot! So, I’d love to talk about The Algorithm, Filter’s latest record.

RP: It's literally one of the best filter records in 20 years, for sure. In my opinion, absolutely. Read the reviews. 

GG: I'd agree! I'm amazed that it's actually 8 years since Crazy Eyes! It was 2016, right?

RP: That feels real to me. I know, time flies. Look at how old I am now.

GG: Well, you know, none of us are getting any younger.

RP: So I'm an old man, but I like being old. I'm okay with it. Well, My voice sounds the same, so what's the alternative?

 

That Voice

GG: You do sound the same, actually. You know, actually, why don't we just start by talking about your voice? Even though this is for guitar guitar!  The first thing I ever heard was Welcome to the Fold. That sign has an incredible vocal, and you've also this consistently excellent - I don't want to call it a scream because it's pitched and it's singing - but it's got a really intense sound to it.

RP: (sings wildly at his studio mic) You Take My Money! You think you’re great!

GG: Hahaha, yeah, that one!

RP: You think it's funny! I hate your face!

GG: Exactly, exactly! Did you always just have that voice? It was there in the first record? So, is that something you've always been able to do?

RP: Yeah, I just gritted up a little bit, smashed my balls and everything's good. (laughs)

GG: And that's it. Okay, so how about looking after it? Like, do you ever lose your voice when you're on tour?

RP: Yeah, you lose it. You know, if I get sick, I'll lose my voice and I have to take prednisone and rehabilitate it through steroids or whatever when I'm sick. But usually it's rocking. Basically I do warmups. I get it warmed up and then I sing and I don't overdo it. I just do what's required per song. And I've been lucky. I knock on wood when I say that.

But I have a new weird thing going on with my neck. I have a couple of herniated discs in my neck so when I scream, it actually hurts. So I'm fearful that it's only going to get worse as I get older and there might come a time when I can't sing because of my neck pain, which is why I'm probably going to have to have surgery. I got the doctor all ready for it and everything like that. Yeah, getting old ain't for sissies as my grandma said. 

GG: Yeah, that's some wisdom there. So, you talked about warming up your voice? Yeah, I would like to know what you do anyway, but have you had to change that on account of your neck problem?

RP: No, I just kind of position my head in a certain way that is kind of comfortable and then I just sit there and do these weird warm-ups like (makes vocal sound like a smooth up and down of a note, then a bunch of mee ma mee ma sounds) It's like if you're working out: there's this way, which is me singing (screams YEAH into the mic) you know, that's that; but then there's also the let down so it's up and then down. 

GG: Nice, okay! And what about looking after your vocal chords generally, is there anything you need to do?

RP: No, I just do the warm ups and I do a little warm down action. And I schedule my shows. I mean, last year I had to do this thing called hitcore, which is a great live performance we played on this thing called hitcore.com. I was singing, I did four shows and then I had to do that TV show. It was very hectic, but I had to manage! Like, okay is tonight the night where I scream a lot, really heavy? Or do I hold it back a little bit and hopefully the audience will still be blown away by my performance, you know what I mean? You have to kind of manage it. You have to really kind of think.

Back in the day, I used to smoke and drink and every night was just crazy, I couldn't keep up with it and I would lose my voice. I just learned the hard way that you have to really take care of yourself. You can't smoke and drink, you can't party all night and do cocaine, you can't do any of that. You have to literally baby your voice. Basically, I try not to talk as much as I want to, you know, I have to save my voice for the shows.

(Pic: Tony Aguilera)

 

It's just a lifetime of learning little tricks and secrets on how to keep it fresh. Cause I mean, it slips every once in a while, you know?

Most of my favourite singers, they've all had moments where they've been like, oh my God, my voice is a little rough, you know? I've heard Bono say that, and he sounds amazing every night!

GG: He does. I saw him last year doing his solo show and he did an opera thing at the end! I wasn't expecting him to come out with that, like!

RP: Yeah! He is the real deal. He is the real fuckin’ deal. I saw him at the Sphere and it was amazing. Like pitch perfect, like pitch perfect! No problem for him.

GG: Talking about pitch, you can go really high. Are there any pitches or bits that you have to sing around? You know that way, like your voice goes up to a certain point and then there's this no-man's land where your voice vanishes and then it comes back higher up again?

RP: No, I’m good. I can go pretty high. I'm blessed and, you know,  sometimes I wish I had a little bit more control or a little bit more…like, I could sing syllables faster because that's kind of a thing. But I just have to concentrate when I'm recording because I do a lot of work with young people like Sam Tenes or Ian Scott and Mark Jackson and we write songs. There's more syllables lately in my music (laughs) and I have to like, run up to it and get in there and make sure it's perfect! (laughs)

We were tracking yesterday and they were like: can you sing this high? I'm like, are you kidding? I can sing as high as you want! It's the low stuff that I have problems with! (laughs) Like, you know, if you listen to Hey Man Nice Shot, if you really listen to that song, there's an uncomfortable little singer in the middle of that in the verses! And it works somehow, and thank God it did! I was pretty uncomfortable when I was singing that.

GG: I love how the bit that's making you uncomfortable, Richard, is the easy-going verse, when the big, supersonic chorus is like: ‘nah, that's fine’!

RP: The choruses and the high stuff is fun. That's where I live. 

GG: It's the opposite to most singers, so I think you should, you should accept your gift! Haha!

RP: I am (laughs) fuckin’ happy as shit! I am not complaining. You know what I mean? I just have to work through it and make it work. 

 

Music, Politics, The Clash, Terminator Brothers

GG: So, in terms of a lot of the writing of Filter’s music, I always feel like from the perspective of being a British guy, it seems like you're dealing with the kind of idea of being an American in modern day America. That seems to be something that kind of continually resonates in all sorts of facets of Filter’s music. Would you say that The Algorithm is sort of continuing that sort of commentary on ‘today’, kind of situation?

RP: It's political. The Algorithm is political. I have stopped bitching about politics in social media, as of like two years ago. I'm promoting my records and showing up for the music, just doing that. But lyrically, I'm attacking the political system as much as I can. A song called Up Against The Wall, or For The Beaten, or Obliteration is more internal, it's more autobiographical, but yeah, my politics are there. You know, I'm saying what I want to say, and I'll leave it at that. It's all there in the lyrics, and I'm proud of them.

GG: Yeah, yeah. Well, I'm actually glad you brought that one up. That was going to be my next question, because it's not just this record: Crazy Eyes was like that.

RP: Yeah.

GG: Soldiers of Misfortune as well. You've never been afraid to speak politics through your music. 

RP: Well, I mean, Hey Man Nice Shot: that was about a politician that blew his head off! Like, I mean, what? The guy held a press conference and killed himself. And I was like, what is that? What just happened? What was the phenomenon that just happened there? Let's discuss it in a song.

Industrial music is great for that. At the end of the day, it all comes back to industrial punk. Or Joe Strummer. You know, my idols are Joe Strummer and Al Jorgensen and, you know, Bono and John Lennon. They were never afraid to fuckin’ say what they wanted to say and I'm exactly like that. When I was a kid, my brother literally knocked the Kiss record out of my hands and he said, ‘You're 12 years old now, you're going to listen to the Clash because you're punk’. 

GG: Nice!

RP: Like my brother, Robert Patrick, the actor? Terminator?

GG: I know him! (laughs)

RP: That guy! He knocked the kiss record out of my hands and said, ‘you're listening to the fuckin’ Clash, period’. Like, that's it.

GG: That's the best thing he ever did for you.

RP: I listened to the clash when I was 12 years old, and that shit was just… EVERY song was about a minute problem of the financial situations in London! (sings) London Calling, you know? And so, I mean, I love pulling up my lyrics and like, and kind of discussing my lyrics. I mean, I'm letting it out and it has to happen. You have to be true to yourself as an artist.

GG: Absolutely. I think that's one of the things that I've always resonated with Filter and with your music, and here's the thing, Richard: you're quite a rarity in that regard. Consider how fucked the world feels right now: why isn’t every rock band making similar noises? But they’re not!

RP: Taylor Swift is like this close to endorsing Biden. It's driving Fox News and all the Right-wing media insane, because she's got so much power. She has so much fuckin’ power. And it's going to create so much hassle for her, if she does that. It's not like politics are like the old days, where you could kind of say like ‘well, whatever! I endorse Biden!’ The venomous hate that you receive in your life. Threats. Swatting! There's this new thing where they fuckin’ call up the SWAT team to show up at your house because they say you have a bomb in your house and you're gonna kill somebody. It's not even fair.

 

"My brother Robert Patrick - the Terminator - literally knocked the Kiss record out of my hands and said, 'You're 12 years old now, you're going to listen to The Clash'"

 

It's like death threats and horrible, horrible shit that you receive as an opponent to Donald Trump. It's gonna take people like Swift and and and all these huge bands to kind of help educate the public on the fact that Trump wants to be a dictator. And he's saying it! He wants to get rid of elections, he doesn't believe in them, he doesn't like them. It's a pain in the ass. He just wants the power.

He likes dictators. He admires Putin, you know, and that's the problem: the extreme Right wing wants to veer into a dictatorship. They want someone who jails their political opponents. He said he wants to do that. You know, he wants total immunity.

GG: You know, see with that subject, for example, when you're like, Taylor Swift and all the huge bands, but the Clash weren't huge when they started talking about this stuff.

RP: Yeah. 

GG: This is the thing I'm not understanding. Even back, I don't know when you got your first record deal and then so on and so forth, but there was lots of money in the industry. So you kind of had something to lose if you spoke out of line.

RP: Yeah. 

GG: But it’s a different world now.

RP: My record company, Warner Brothers, was very vehement, like, extremely like, 'listen: you write the record you want to write'. And I had songs like Dose, which was about Catholic priests, you know, being predators on children.

 

GG: Is that what that's about?

RP: That’s what that’s about.

GG: I've listened to that song for twenty-odd years, I just love the noise of it. The sound of it. I’ve never actually taken it that far!

RP: Yeah! Under is about how I think people should drop acid. Like, I think you should try some hallucinogenic mushrooms! (laughs) I think you should get psilocybin, go to Joshua Tree and fuckin’ flip out. I think everybody should probably do that.

 

Lyrics & Honesty

I'm not… you know, I'm saying there's a benefit to that. This is the rantings of a 25 year old kid back in the 90s, but I've always talked about straight up political shit. I've always been dedicated to that ever since ever since I can remember. Welcome To The Fold started getting autobiographical, it was kind of about my life and how people were attacking me and suing me and all kinds of stuff like that. ‘You take my money!’ You know? Take a Picture was so nebulous and I didn't realise that it was a massive cry for help because I was a severe alcoholic at the time.

And it was a cry for help. ‘Hey, dad, what do you think about your son now?’ That's like, dad, like help me! You know what I mean? I'm falling apart, kind of. 

GG: Yeah, I know what this song was about, but I always took that line as being defiant; as in like sort of, ‘Look, your son’s a success’.

RP: It is. It's got that. See, that's the beautiful thing about poetry and music. There's double entendres throughout the whole thing. It can mean this, it can mean that. I was writing stream of consciousness and just going like, ‘Awake on my airplane', you know, it was all kind of out there in ether, and I wasn't trying to be specific, or allude to anything. I was just playing with words in poetry. People take that song and they have so many different meanings to it and everything.

But I mean, It's not just political songs at all, but...  A Drowning from The Algorithm is about a friend of mine who is just fucking dying from alcoholism. It is brutal to watch. He's losing his mind, he's lost his faculties, he thinks that the whole world is against him. The drinking has blown his neural pathways up to a certain point where like… and so for me as a musician, as a person, I write about things like that because I believe it brings us closer together as people, you know.

 

"Lyrically, I'm attacking the political system as much as I can"

 

By me telling my story of alcoholism and being sober and stuff like that, there's a person that's going to read this interview and go, wait a minute, Richard Patrick was a bad alcoholic too? And he quit drinking and things got better? Is that possible? Yes, it's totally possible. I went to rehab and I did the 12 steps and I continue to do them. It’s totally possible, you can do it.

And so someone's going to hear that and write to me on Tik Tok in a month and go, 'man, I quit drinking a month ago when I heard you did'. It's inevitable, it'll happen. And so I love being honest and revealing in my lyrics and everything. And I just think that's my spot. That's my, that's the one way I can help people. Because people don't give a shit about my political leanings or whatever. They want to know what the music is about. You know what I mean? They want to hear it in music. They don't want to hear it from me personally, they want to hear it from me in my music and that's the one thing that I can kind of give them: honest music.

GG: That's an interesting distinction. On the subject of writing, then, I know Filter have always had the kind of computer software side to the sound as well as the big, heavy guitar thing. And I know obviously you’re a guitar player, probably as your first instrument, outside your voice. This is a tangent, but it's coming back to the writing anyway: do you ever write on the computer to begin with? Is that ever part of the process for you?

RP: Yes. Oh, yeah. I just did a song on my iPad.

GG: Nice.

RP: It's called Snakes and the Grass. It's going to be on the next record that I release and it literally is just like this crazy little beat. It started off there and then I opened it up in my computer and started working on it. I incorporated my guitars and stuff like that and had my bandmates come in. They all play the parts that, you know, that are kind of written, and then they add their own two cents to it, which I love. 

The writing process never ends. I'm constantly, constantly writing and I love it. There's so many new doors to explore.

 

Guitar Playing

And that's why I love the guitar. I was doing things that would make you laugh! You would be laughing! There's some overdubs in For The Beaten that are just like, (makes crazy noise) it's me with a whammy bar and my Sustainer playing feedback kind of stuff. And I'm just doing dive bombs the whole time.

GG: Nice!

RP: But it makes sense. You know what I mean?

GG: That song in particular, For the Beaten. I'm going to call it the riff, but I don't know what it is! It’s not a guitar, but…

RP: It is a guitar!

GG: Oh, cool!

 

RP: It is Zach Munelewitz, he came up with the music to that song. I did some overdubs, but I did the vocals as my main additive. And literally, we had to flesh that out live. It is wild, because some of those guitar sounds are just… you can't like (makes impossible sounds) you know? Johnny and Bobby Miller - Rotten Bobby - are doing a fantastic job of bringing that to life on the road.  But I mean, there's more coming from Zach. We've got a new song called All The Dictators that's amazing, that we're gonna put out  sooner or later.

GG: Brilliant! So, I do want to talk to you about guitars particularly because the Filter guitars have always sounded great. That's going from sort of like things like Welcome to the Fold with like the drop A tuned riffs but also into what I would call more gnarly textural things. A lot of your leads are quite unorthodox. So, I just want to pick your brain! I know, famously, the bassline from Under is like an old Zoom multi effects?

RP: Yeah!

GG: I love that kind of anti-snobbery: you just use it because it sounds good. So what kind of things have you been using lately?

RP: To be honest with you, in the softube UAD world in my interface, I have the Marshall JMP 2203. It’s fantastic and I use that a lot. I also use the line 6 Helix plugin which isn't really compatible right now with the new version of Logic, but I'm sure they'll fix it.

But I do do another thing: I go to my friend Bob Marlett's house, who's a famous producer, and he lets me record my guitars in his house because he has a shack - a literal shack in the backyard - that contains everything: Bogner, Fender, Marshall, all the amps. And what he does is he daisy chains all these amplifier heads and puts them all through the same time in the shack. So all of these things are miked up with 57s and different ribbon mics and all these things. And he has them permanently set up in his patch bay, so literally you can mix like, oh, I love the Marshall, but I also like a little Bogner, so I'll put the Bogner in there and ooh, I love the HiWatt, but I want a little Fender. You mix all five of them together and it sounds insane. I have been doing that with Bob Marlett lately. But there's all kinds of speaker simulators and cheating going on with our guitar sounds.

The guitars in Jurassitol were all DI. We were on the road, Yeah. They're all coming out of the Zoom, whatever that thing was back in the day. And we love that shit. We love cheating. And you know who taught me that? You know, taught me how to cheat like that? Trent Reznor.

 

Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor and Attitudes to Recording

GG: Of course it was!

RP: You know, Trent was like, ‘Fuck it: sounds just as good. Who cares? And then you plug it into a good preamp, like a good Neve preamp and run it into a nice big SSL console, it's going to sound amazing, you know?

GG: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And well, since you mentioned Trent, you were the touring guitar player for Nine Inch Nails for years, and the difference between Pretty Hate Machine and Broken is marked. And so I suppose my question for you is about attitude, because I think that's the biggest difference in sound: it’s that of a big pissed off rock band and it was part of that live band who influenced the change. So, I'm kind of like: is attitude the main thing that's important for you as a player?

RP: Yeah. Yeah, I was listed as an influence on Broken. And I was the guy who was constantly like, ‘we gotta make this heavier, we gotta make this heavier’. Like it's gotta be fuckin’ more Head Like a Hole and less Kind of I Want To. You know what I mean? And I don't take credit for anything because Trent's an amazing artist and he did fantastic work and everything like that but I was constantly in his ear saying, ‘please, we'll make this heavier’. And I think it worked. I mean, because he said, my live band was the big influence on Broken

And, you know, I was blown away by Broken, I just listened to that when I was getting ready for the reunion. I was listening to his catalogue for the first time in 25 years or whatever. And I was blown away by how amazing the production was on that. And that was, again, that was a home studio kind of world. You know, he was on the cutting edge of like, ‘just let's set up some equipment in the house and just do it there’. He was the king of that. And that's why we did that on Short Bus. We were like: we don't need a big studio, we just need gear. We just need the equipment. You know, I want to be in a studio and feel like the ticking clock is constantly there.

GG: Yeah, and you know, I'm going to ask you about the reunion in a second if that's cool, but see that the thing that I really love about what you do with guitars and the people that you've worked with because it’s a Trent thing as well. It's kind of like you're giving yourself permission to not sound like Mark Knopfler or Jimmy Page. It's kind of like once you take away that kind of champagne element to the vintage tube tones, then you all of sudden have this freedom to just paint with all these colours that maybe another guitarist would say, ‘you really shouldn't do that, It's quite abrasive and fake’, and you can go ‘well, guess what? That's the whole point!’

RP: Yeah, I mean, when I went through the list (for the Short Bus pedal he mentioned earlier), I'm like: we used an Audix microphone into a Fostex consumer level board, you know, the whatever that was. I had a Marshall with Greenback speakers in it. And then I had the Marshall 9000 preamp. And that was the guitar sound. And they're like, what? That's wacky. Why aren't you using 57s and blah, blah, blah? I'm like, cause I didn't know any better! And why can't my Audix microphone record something just as good as a 57? There's this puritanical hierarchy of (adopts accent) ‘recording’. (laughs) The recording process, you know, and it doesn't have to be like that.

 

"I love the guitar: it's visceral, it's loud, it's abrasive, it's punk, it's industrial, it's metal. I love metal!"

 

Think of  how hip hop changed the world. Hip hop was: I don't know, get a guy who was a DJ, spin some music, spin a beat, all of a sudden I'm going to rap over it because I'm not a singer, so I'm just gonna rap over this and be artistic this way. It's cobbled together and it's improvised and it's just adapting, like I don't have the… it's New York City, I don't have room for a band to go record in a room. I don't have a band! We don't have… well, just fuckin’ mix the beat from this one James Brown song and and we'll put music over the top.

I'll get a sampler and we'll use a drum machine! Drum machines were dorky back then in the 70s! You know what I mean? Especially the 808, but they just didn't care and they and they used whatever the fuck they had to make their music and it's now hip-hop. It is now this glorious amazing genre, and it has been kicking ass for the past like 30 years! 

That's the thing with rock. It's weird. Like when I see a band like Greta Van Fleet, I'm like: you're just kind of recycling. They're just recycling what has already happened. And, that's why I veer towards EDM and Rezz, and I like Star Lord because it is like they're adapting and they have just as much to say, and he says it pretty quickly! Star Lord's an amazing artist. 

Hip-hop is so massive and because drum machines are so abused, now I'm like I want drums on everything!

(pic: Chapman Baehler)

 

Back to Guitars

GG: What kind of guitars are you excited about right now that you're playing? 

RP: I love my custom built Schecter guitar that I have been playing for the past 10 years. It has a Koa body with a flamed maple - no - a birdseye maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. It's got a Floyd Rose tremolo system and it has one of those infinite sustainers in the neck pickup. I have two of them: one's in drop C, and then the other one's in drop D.

I switch back and forth with them and I've had the same Parallel Axis pickups in all my guitars to make sure that I always have that high-gain output guitar sound.

I have several Fender Custom guitars that they made for me. Telecasters with the Parallel Axis pickups in them. And I like G&L, I like some G&L stuff. And yeah, I love my acoustics, love Gibson acoustics, and I have a Taylor acoustic that I use. And I love my Fender Stratocaster.

And I have one of those special pickups, those humbucking pickups, the single coil humbucking thing in that as well. I can hit a button and it flips over to it and goes heavy if I need to. But I love my guitar. I mean, (whispers) I'm not the greatest guitar player in the world (laughs) but I love the guitar. It's visceral, it's loud, it's abrasive, it's punk, it's industrial, it's metal. I love metal! 

The Drowning is my favourite guitar song that I've written and that's not even guitar. It's digital. It's a bunch of digital shit, a lot of it. 

GG: Yeah, you tend to prefer, by the sounds of things, guitars that are fundamentally ‘Fendery’ over things that are fundamentally ‘Gibsony’, is that fair to say?

RP: I do have two Les Pauls, and I love them dearly. I just like the feel of and the weight of my custom Fender guitars, because see, that's the thing: I make my guitars heavy like a Les Paul. I don't route out any extra, like I don't put a hole or anything to make it lighter. I make my Telecasters really heavy. And so it feels as heavy as a less Paul but it’s contoured so it's not as uncomfortable to sit with. 

And I love tremolo bars. I love being able to grab a tremolo bar and just be expressive with it. 

GG: Yeah, the tremolo thing was interesting to me, because I've seen you playing with the locking tremolos, and of course, you can't drop, you can't just decide to drop tuning, you have to just leave them like that because they're all locked in. So, you're sticking with either drop D or drop C, they seem to be like your kind of wheel houses for writing.

RP: Yeah. Except, except for when I do drop A! I took my Les Paul that I used for the reunion, and I had Trent and some of the bandmates sign it. I'm locking it up. I'll never play it again. It's going to be like my kids' heirloom from that day because that was a huge big day for me.

 

NIN Reunion

GG: Yeah, yeah, I was just about to ask you about that. I want to ask you about the tour, but yeah, let's talk about the reunion first. Initially, with the Nine Inch Nails reunion, was there a sense of vindication because you belonged on the stage as much as anybody else and yet, am I understanding it right that initially, that wasn't going to be the case? And then they changed their mind?

RP: I was not inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame. And I was pissed because I was in the van, bro.

GG: Yeah, exactly.

RP: I was in the fuckin’ van. I wasn't in the bus when it was already an established band. I was there in Pretty Hate Machine, Lollapalooza, like the first four or five years. But technically speaking, because I was only in the band for four years, they said there's a lot more guys that have been in Nine Inch Nails for like 15, 20 years now. 20 years: Robin Finck. So I didn't want to take away from any of that. But I was bummed that I was the cutoff.  And so I kind of…because Trent’s my friend, know? We're friends. 

And I was like, (mimes texting) what's going on? How come I'm not inducted? And he was like, dude, it's a long story, but they couldn't they couldn't let me have like 15 people. They only wanted eight people or something like that. And he explained it to me and he was very apologetic and I said, OK, and then he kind of invented the Cleveland gig.

 

"At the end of the day, it all comes back to Industrial Punk. Or Joe Strummer"

 

And he was like, ‘We’ll have you come out in Cleveland and we’ll have you play'. And not only that, but when it when it really got official and he sent out a big huge email to all 10 of us, like Robin, to Charlie Clouser, Chris Vrenna, Danny Lohner, like he sent it out to them, he said: 'we're going to play. Rich, I want you to come out and sing Eraser. We're going to do five songs from the era, and I also want to do Hey Man Nice Shot'. 

And I was like, ‘fucking what?’ Like, wow, like that. He was like, 'what do you think of doing that?' I said, 'I'm blown away, brother'. I like, I can't believe that you're going to have me sing my own song and he's like, ‘Well, we need it. It's a great song! We need it for the set’. I'm like, ‘Okay!’ (laughs). But it was literally the song that kind of made me quit. You know, the record company heard that song and was like, we'll get you a million dollars, you know what I mean? There's all the controversy about why I quit and the pizza job and everything. There's all that stuff, and that he could put all that aside and have me come out and sing one of his most wonderful songs, Eraser?

GG: Yeah.

RP: And I was nervous and it was kind of funny, you know what I mean?

GG: No, it was good, it was really good. 

RP:  Thank you for saying that. I appreciate that. But like, it was just wild. And it really put his fans and my fans in the same world again. His fans were like, 'good for you, Richard'. And I need those fans! There are a lot of Nine Inch Nails fans who love Filter. And there's a lot of Filter fans who love Nine Inch Nails and I never wanted there to be the big huge discrepancy between the two fanbases. I wanted it to be singular and like, look we can both exist at the same time and look how much amazing music we've put out? The two different bands? 

GG: Oh certainly! It was a huge vindication though, of your significance within the band, but also I think when you guys did the interview, Lizze Goodman made that really relevant point that there were so many talented musicians on that stage, but you're you're one of the only people who's actually making new music and going out touring. That’s a very big point!

RP: Right. I am blessed. I am fucking blessed and I do not take it for granted. People are seeing our shows and they're not seeing some grey-haired old man: they're seeing like, 'Filter’s great and I had a great time!' I'm just blessed to be here, you know what I mean? I'm humbled, and I'm working on new music and I care about the world and I have a family to raise.

And, you know, I hope that all is clear to people, you know? Thank you Trent Reznor. He gave me my start. He’s a huge part of my life and he was very gracious: the reunion was amazing for me. A lot of my fans have been reawakened and reinvigorated with this new record The Algorithm, which I don't think has gotten any bad reviews! I have an alert on my phone and then I read all the reviews and it's not saying anything bad! (laughs)

No one's saying anything bad about The Algorithm.

GG: Why should they? It's a great record.

RP: I'm very proud of it, and a lot of it was like, ‘Fuck it! I don't care, I like this! This makes sense to me’. My producer Brian Virtue was like, ‘Okay! You're okay with this crazy guitar part here?’, and I'm like ‘Yeah, that's my favourite!’ 

 

2024 Tour

GG: Exactly! Now, finally, just to round things off, Richard, you are coming to this side of the world. You'll be touring. It's March, you'll be over this way, right? 

RP: Yep.

GG: What can fans expect?

RP: You're gonna get the best hour and a half show that we can come up with: the best that we've got. It is gonna be us, we're the headliners, we're not doing some weird show with other bands. We're gonna have openers that we really respect and curate, and we're gonna fuckin’ bring it like we've never brought it before. 

It is one of the only times you're probably gonna see us in the next 10, 15 years. I'm not saying that I'm going anywhere, but like… I would come and see us! Like, if you're a Filter fan, don't fuck around! It takes a fuckload to get out to Europe. Each flight is 12 grand just to fly there. Just to fly us and our equipment to Europe, it's fuckin’ 20 grand…so get there! (laughs) So see us, because God knows when we're coming back! Honestly, God knows when we're coming back. I don't know.

GG: Okay.

RP: And I am going to bring it every night. I'm going to be in tip top shape. And I have the greatest fuckin’ band right now. Tosh Peterson is our new drummer. And he's coming out with us and Johnny Radke on guitar, Bobby Miller on bass. And Sean Bevin’s doing our front of house. 

GG: Oh, cool!

RP: Sean Bevin from Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor, that producer, he works with us because he likes it! He doesn't need to do any of this. He just likes to hang out with us and he loves doing front of house, so he's gonna be a part of our show. He's a big part of it. He makes it sound amazing every night. Come and see this show. It is important to see Filter at this stage because we are rocking. 

 

Well, there you have it from the man himself. Filter fans should take themselves to their nearest ticket vendor or jump onto the official Filter website for more details on the tour, the record and the Short Bus pedal.

I was hoping for a good conversation and man, did I get one! In a world of sanitised, safe rock, Filter seem more necessary than ever. Find out for yourself when they play near you this March!

Thanks to Richard for giving such a fun and technicoloured interview, and cheers to Judith for putting us in touch. If you like this one, why not click through to the guitarguitar Interviews page, where you’ll find exclusive interviews with Ministry, Robin Finck and many more!

 

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About the author

Ray

Features Editor, Warehouse

I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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