It’s been 20 years since the release of the platinum-selling Short Bus, which propelled Filter into the public eye. The album contained “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” a top-1oo hit that has endured on rock radio and in sports arenas all these years later, along with fan favorites “Dose” and “Under.”
A lot has changed in 20 years. When I reach Filter frontman Richard Patrick on his phone, he is picking up his kids, a girl and a boy who are 6 and 7 years old. They love Taylor Swift. “Taylor f*cking Swift!” He laughs and stammers ambivalently, “I like it, too… I guess. I can’t not sing it! She’s good!”
When Swift was born, Patrick was working with Trent Reznor as the live guitarist for Nine Inch Nails, until he left to start Filter in 1993. That project’s first song, “Hey Man, Nice Shot” – about the on-camera suicide of Pennsylvania state Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer the day before he was to be sentenced on bribery charges – was, like so much of the material on Short Bus, drenched in anger, frustration, and bafflement. It set a tone the band is revisiting as it records a new album, after straying from that formula on its last few offerings.
“Short Bus really held up amazingly,” Patrick says. “It’s putting my kids through school and it’s the funnest stuff to play live. It’s really informed how I have approached this new record, because I’ve been more emotionally committed and more driven: turn the mic on, scream as hard as I can and exude all the energy and leave it as raw as possible and that’s it. So Short Bus is still telling me what to do every once in a while: Don’t be safe.”
The new songs are anything but safe. Patrick gave Uproxx a sneak preview of the material. The music is intense: contagious riffs and bass lines share their importance with drums and noise. The lyrics and vocals are filled with anger and disgust. It’s Filter, but it’s also something very unique. Patrick explains, “The most important thing that I have to say about the new music is that it’s way more present-tense- and future-oriented. We get lumped in as more of a rock band, and rightly so, especially with our last couple of releases; but this is where we are in the 21st century. It’s so much more cinematic.”
Patrick is producing the album, the first time he’s done so. “A while ago I referred to it, somewhat jokingly, as nu-industrial and some people were excited by that and it kind of stuck. What we’re doing right now is a new industrial sound. I’ve really been pushing my boundaries and I want to take industrial to another level and create a sound that has some guitar and symphonic elements, but also has clanging metal. I was really just trying to be as original as possible.”