Filter are an American Industrial Metal band who formed in Cleveland, Ohio, by guitarist and vocalist Richard Patrick, brother of actor Robert Patrick. Patrick had recently left an early incarnation of Nine Inch Nails and, together with longtime friend Brian Liesegang, signed to Reprise Records in 1994 and rechristened themselves Filter. They recorded the album Short Bus in Chicago, which wound up spawning the hit single "Hey Man Nice Shot", which was written about the infamous public suicide of Pennsylvania state treasurer Budd Dwyer, although it was rumored to be also inspired by the suicide of Kurt Cobain, which the band denied. Filter quickly assembled Geno Lenardo on lead guitar, Frank Cavanagh on bass, and Matt Walker on drums as a touring band.
Liesegang was not long for the group due to Creative Differences, and left the band after a string of soundtrack recordings recorded by Filter, which included a collaboration with The Crystal Method for “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do” (for the Spawn soundtrack) and a cover of Harry Nilsson’s “One” (for the The X-Files: Fight the Future soundtrack X-Files: The Album). Recording sessions proved stressful, and the supporting band left out of frustration, briefly leaving Patrick alone. After constructing his own studio, Abyssinian Son, and experiencing some financial setbacks, Richard Patrick decided to maintain the name Filter, reassembled his band, replaced Walker (who left to work with The Smashing Pumpkins) with new drummer Steve Gillis, and finally released Title Of Record in 1999. Filter scored a huge Black Sheep Hit from this album in the more upbeat, acoustic-based “Take A Picture,” a song about Patrick drunkenly embarrassing himself on an airplane flight.
Inspired by the success of this song, Filter’s first single from the next album, The Amalgamut (2002) took the catchier approach of "Take A Picture" and amped the guitars up to eleven, resulting in “Where Do We Go From Here,” which almost matched the previous single’s success. Alan Bailey joined the band around this time as the new live guitarist, but the tour for The Amalgamut was aborted after Patrick entered rehab for his drug addiction. After becoming sober, Filter was put on the back burner in favor of Patrick’s side projects, The Damning Well and Army Of Anyone.
Filter finally resurfaced in 2008 with Anthems For The Damned, released on their new label, Pulse Records, which featured collaborations from Wes Borland, John 5, and drummer/rock journeyman Josh Freese. Filter’s return didn’t make waves like their '90s heyday, but the album met positive reviews, and the band, still having a frequently shifting lineup, persisted with three further albums, The Trouble With Angels (2010), The Sun Comes Out Tonight (2013) and Crazy Eyes (2016).
Despite Richard Patrick's history with Nine Inch Nails, the signature sound of Filter isn’t nearly as textured as Trent Reznor’s, retaining some industrial influences but favoring a more straightforward approach, with heavy rock riffs and occasional hints of psychedelia. Though that changed a bit on their 2016 album Crazy Eyes, showing more Industrial elements than anyone but Nine Inch Nails had in years.
Patrick reunited with Brian Liesegang in 2018, thanks to mutual friend Louise Post from Veruca Salt. Their reunion album was going be titled reBus, and was originally set to be released on PledgeMusic. Unfortunately, PledgeMusic collapsed in the middle of the campaign, leaving the album to be shelved, and Richard Patrick very unhappy. Patrick explained the situation on social media in July 2019, while also announcing that he's working on a new Filter album, The Algorithm.
- Richard Patrick – lead vocals, programming, occasional guitar (1993–present)
- Bobby Miller – keyboards, bass (2014–present)
- Jonathan Radtke – lead guitar (2011–2015, 2018-present)
- Greg Garman - drums (2019-present)
- Phil Buckman – bass, backing vocals (2010–2013)
- Frank Cavanagh – bass, backing vocals (1995–2002)
- John Spiker – bass (2008–2010)
- Tim Kelleher – bass (2013–2015)
- Ashley Dzerigian - bass (2015-2019)
Past drummers include:
- Matt Walker – drums (1995–1997)
- Steve Gillis – drums (1999–2002)
- Mika Fineo – drums (2008–2012)
- Jeff Friedl - drums (2012-2013)
- Jeff Fabb – drums (2013–2015)
- Chris Reeve - drums (2015-2019)
Past guitarists include:
- Geno Lenardo – lead guitar (1995–2002)
- Alan Bailey – lead guitar (2002)
- Mitchell Marlow – lead guitar (2008–2010)
- Rob Patterson – lead guitar (2010–2011)
- Oumi Kapila - lead guitar (2015-2017)
- Brian Liesegang – rhythm guitar (1994–1997, 2018-2019)
"Hey man, nice tropes..."
- Admiring the Abomination: As Richard Patrick put it...Richard: I like to look at the crazy shit and focus on the weirder things in life, like the guy who held a press conference and blew his head off. In Eastern philosophy the kamikaze was the biggest hero. We would never ask our soldiers to fucking knowingly crash a plane into a building, but for a terrorist that's noble somehow. I look at those phenomena, and check that stuff out, and see the worms underneath the rock.
- Album Intro Track: The ominous "Sand" from Title of Record.
- Ate His Gun: “Hey Man, Nice Shot", of course.
- Careful with That Axe: Richard Patrick just needs an excuse to belt it out, and he found a ton of them in their earlier records.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "So I Quit" hits us with this bit of lyrical magic:"Try to take something from me motherfucker? / You're gonna fuckin' die, you piece of shit!!!"
- Cover Version: Of “One” by Harry Nilsson. Yes, the one Three Dog Night did a version of. Yes, Filter gave it their usual patented approach.
- Dream Pop: "Take a Picture."
- Drone of Dread: "The 4th" ends The Amalgamut with eight solid minutes of this.
- Epic Rocking: "Welcome To The Fold" is a very loud seven minutes.
- Eye Open: The cover of Crazy Eyes is an abstract take on this.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Under The Tongue" from Crazy Eyes.
- Female Rockers Play Bass: Ashley Dzerigian, the group’s only female member to date
- From Bad to Worse: As if the band splintering after the first album wasn’t enough, Patrick wound up waiting tables in the interim after the construction of his own studio left him seriously hard up for a while. Of course, it got better.
- Greatest Hits Album: The Very Best Things (1995-2008), as good an introduction to Filter as any, and notable for collecting songs from soundtracks that hadn't been on Filter's studio albums.
- I Am the Band:
- Patrick went on record stating that “Filter isn’t a band, it’s a project.” He is the only consistent member.
- How much this applies depends on the album. For instance, Short Bus and The Sun Comes Out Tonight were both recorded by Richard and one other person (Brian Liesegang and Johnny Radtke respectively), but Crazy Eyes was recorded by a full 5 man band.
- If I Can't Have You…: "Down With Me" details a man murdering a family and himself because of this trope.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Watch The Sun Come Out Tonight," "Consider This," "Stuck In Here," "Thanks Bro."
- Lyrical Dissonance: According to Patrick, "Take A Picture" is about an incident where he got drunk and stripped naked while on a plane.
- Lyrical Shoehorn: The chorus of "Hey Man Nice Shot" is a big offender, with the A MAN/HAS GUN line in the chorus.
- Metal Scream: Big time. "So I Quit" starts with a scream so hard that Patrick can be heard coughing his lungs out afterward. In particular, "Welcome To The Fold," being about Sanity Slippage, has a lot of these.
- Nightmare Face: The title of “Crazy Eyes” comes from this trope, with Patrick noticing how often it appeared in the mugshots of terrorists and mass shooters.
- The '90s: Short Bus embodied the mid-90s, post-NIN industrial rock landscape as well as anyone else. Unfortunately, by their second album, that wave had ended, and Nu Metal completely ruled the landscape. If "Take a Picture" hadn't taken off, Title of Record might've gone overlooked.
- Obsession Song: "It’s Gonna Kill Me" in all its frantic glory.
- Also applies to "Happy Together".
- Rearrange the Song: The Crystal Method's "Trip Like I Do" got vocals from Patrick and loud guitars added to the mix, to become "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do."
- Religion Rant Song: "Dose", directed at people who try to impose their religious beliefs on others, and "The Trouble With Angels", which attacks the very idea of God existing.
- Revolving Door Band: For some reason, Richard Patrick goes through band members like Kleenex.
- Sanity Slippage: Patrick summed up “Welcome To The Fold” as being "based on being a crazed lunatic."
- Shout-Out: The "hey dad" section of "Take A Picture" is meant to be a shout-out to "Hello Dad I'm In Jail" by Was (Not Was).
- Suspiciously Similar Song: Justified example. Guitarist Stuart Zechman accidentally wrote two very similar-sounding riffs for “Hey Man Nice Shot” and “Ungod” for his other band, Stabbing Westward, who stopped performing their song after “Hey Man Nice Shot” took off. No legal action resulted from the incident.
- Take That!: “Dose,” a good old-fashioned rant against Moral Guardians.
- Title Track: “The Trouble With Angels.”
- [Trope Name]: Title Of Record. Amazing that Demetri Martin didn't get to it first. It was meant to be a placeholder for the eventual title (one working title being thrown around was Longbutter), on artwork that was being shown to Patrick for review. He liked the meta humor of that title and kept it.
- War Is Hell: A theme in "Soldiers Of Misfortune," specifically the 2000s Iraq War. It's a subject near and dear to Patrick's heart; he frequently brings Filter to the Middle East to perform for the troops.
- Word Purée Title: "Jurassitol" is meant to be a portmanteau of "Jurassic" and "Geritol".