Filtered through the eyes of Richard Patrick

It’s been a little over three years since industrial rock legends Filter have toured our shores and 14 years prior to that since they first stepped foot on Australian soil. Last time we saw them was for the Soundwave festival where they gave their fans a long overdue heavy dose of some of the bands best material but for most fans, a festival set just left them wanting more and hoping the band would return a lot sooner.

This September, Filter will return to Australia to support industrial pioneers Ministry on their first ever headline tour down under and Nev Pearce spoke to the bands mastermind Richard Patrick about the tour, their new video for the song Mother E, why movie soundtracks aren’t as awesome as they used to be and how Ministry played a part in his own musical evolution.

For a lot of fans of the industrial genre, this tour is going to be a dream come true. It is rare that we get one band tour Australia in a blue moon but to have both on the same bill is phenomenal. Patrick is also excited to be heading down here to share the stage with one of his musical heroes Al Jourgensen, who helped kick start his inspiration when he was a member of Nine Inch Nails many years ago.

“It’s going to be wild. Because you know, when I was 18 years old, I mean that was the reason why Trent and I become industrial. It was entirely because of Al Jourgensen and Skinny Puppy.

“This is going to be a great tour. This is going to be one for the books, Al Jourgensen’s a hero of mine. I can’t wait to just hear great Ministry songs after I play every night.”

For fans that are worried that they will only get a short support slot set from Filter, Richard has some reassuring words to put their minds at ease.

“We are going to play for probably around an hour. We cram seven records worth of the hits and the album favourites in an hour. We do it like we take very few really quick breaks. In between songs, it will just keep going and make it one long, hour long piece of music. It’s going to be great.”

Last year Filter released one of the heaviest and critically acclaimed albums of their career, Crazy Eyes. The opening track of the record Mother E is nothing short of intense and the video itself is as dark and confronting as the songs lyrical subject.

“It’s just super abrasive and the video was shot in Poland,” says Richard.

“It’s about a Russian squad of World War II soldiers that bump into this family in Poland. They just kind of have their way with them. Very deep. Very heavy. It’s dark and it’s intense and it’s real. It’s like there’s two elements. One is like this supernatural kind of horror. Then one is just like real life horror. I think the real life horror is actually scarier.”

The real life horror that Richard is referring to is the mass shooting of nine African Americans at the Mother Emanuel church in June 2015 by white supremacist Dylan Roof. One of many subjects he believes a lot of mainstream and heavy metal musicians shy away from.

“It seems like a lot of heavy metal just talk about comic books and horror comic books and stuff,” he says.

“If we’re going to be heavy, let’s talk about Dylan Roof showing up at Mother Emanuel’s killing nine black people because they were black. Let’s talk about White Christian terror afflicted on the black people in South Carolina, which is about as heavy as you can get. That’s What Mother E is about.

“That’s the thing, the art has got to reflect what’s going on in society. It’s not. Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, you know, we were talking about what hurt. We were talking the pain of life.”

Filter have never been a band to turn a blind eye to controversial subjects. Their first big hit and fan favourite Hey Man, nice shot tackled the subject of the public suicide of Pennsylvania state treasurer R. Budd Dwyer in 1987. The song was also featured on the Tales From The Crypt : Demon Knight soundtrack which is still one of the most loved movie soundtracks of all time and helped expose some of its featured artists to an army of new listeners.

For many years Filter were the go-to band for movie soundtracks with contributions to the companion albums for films such as Spawn, The Crow: City of Angels and The X-Files movie.
Over the last decade albums like these seem to be rare due to the changes in the industry.

“It’s all because budgets are zero dollars and soundtracks don’t sell as much. It’s really tough out there. It’s not like the way it used to be where kids were like, I’m going to get this record.
You would have a four hundred thousand dollar budget to make a record and sit there and work on it and disappear into it and craft it. Now it’s a different energy because it’s the technology has allowed everybody to make records quicker and faster. It’s all just very different.

“This era of the younger kids and the more select pop singers are doing it. They’re having their time. The pop singers are in charge right now. Katy Perry’s in charge. Rihanna’s in charge. Bieber’s in charge. Those guys, Let them do it. I mean, there was a time, back in my day Ministry was in charge. Al was teaching us. He was telling us what we could do and we loved it.”

And while the industry has changed, Richard Patrick has no plans on stopping anytime soon and has a few things in the works that will make the fans very happy.

“I’m working on new music all the time and there’s a new live movie coming out as well. I think it will be called Crazy Eyes in America. Then there’s two new movies that I’ve scored. One is True Crime starring Jim Carrey and the other one is Last Rampage and Escape of the Tyson Gang, which is my brother, Robert’s movie.”

Richard seems to be genuinely excited about his return down under but he is also a little sad that they won’t be able to take part in the full run of the tour due to budget reasons. He also has a great sense of humour about it.

“I love Australia, so we’re bringing it. We can’t get to Perth for some reason but Al’s going to play there, it’s just too much. Where are the Star Wars hover crafts that skim along the surface at 400 miles an hour?  Elan, stop messing around with them solar panels and make us a God damn hover craft!”

Listen to the full interview with Richard Patrick through the Rabid Noise Podcast.

Catch Filter and Ministry on Sunday 1 October at the Tivoli. Tickets here.

 

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