by Mike Huberty
June 2008

Filter in Maximum Ink in June 2008

Filter in Maximum Ink in June 2008

Coming back onto the scene after a six-year hiatus, Richard Patrick (Nine Inch Nails’ original guitarist) has reformed FILTER, who blazed through the late Nineties with hits like “Hey Man, Nice Shot” and “Take a Picture.” They’re back with a new record, Anthems for the Damned and its lead single, “Soldiers of Misfortune,” about the Iraq War. While Patrick plays most the instruments on the new album, bassist John Spiker (Steve Earle, Tenacious D, and Beck) was recruited to join the band in March of 2008. As he puts it, “When I got the audition, I had to do a double take. One of the craziest parts is that Filter’s sort of been disbanded for about six years. I definitely listened to Filter in high school and even covered Filter songs in bands that I’d played in. I’m really excited to be part of this group. We’re kind of calling this tour the ‘Re-Education Tour.’ There’s a whole new generation of fans that don’t know about Filter. We’re getting out to the streets to get the word out again.”

Spiker makes sure to stress that the new Filter-incarnation is a band and not just Rich and Friends. “The coolest part, and a lot of this is Richard’s doing,” he says, “is that I don’t feel like I’m covering the songs anymore, I feel like I’m part of the band and playing my band’s songs. Filter has always been up to this point, Richard Patrick, with a bunch of musicians playing behind. But now kind of for the first time, it’s a band that he auditioned in. When we work on the next record, it’s going to be a band and not just Richard and a producer. It makes it more real playing these songs. It makes it feel less like it’s a backing band. I played and toured with Tenacious D and still do shows with them. That’s a really really fun gig, but this is a whole different thing. With that group, the music’s important, but first and foremost, you’re putting on a show and making people laugh.”

He’s also excited about playing music with a message. “It’s really fun to go out there and be completely honest with the music. There’s no getting around it; it’s plain old rock n’ roll. Especially on the new record, it’s about as honest as music can get. The single is a real song and there’s nothing funny about it. It’s definitely a change of pace, but it’s a great one. I’m starting to enjoy the serious side of it all and send a message. I think the message is going over great because Richard is the type of person where he’s really outspoken, but he’s not trying to force his message. He’s just trying to teach a little of what he knows. He’s well-studied. I was never a political person, so I was like, ‘How’s this gonna go?’ but then when we were on the bus and he’s sort of…teaching, is the best way to put it, and you realize that this is really important stuff to what’s going on in the world right now. This is a great situation because unlike Tenacious D or Steve Earle or Beck, this is a band. This is four guys where we’re all putting a piece of ourselves into the music. It’s exciting to get the opportunity to write with Richard, who I really respect.”

And while Spiker’s original ambition was guitar, some advice in school helped him get to the instrument that eventually led to his success. “A teacher there that was one of my first musical influences told me that I should pick up the bass, because ‘if you play the bass, you will always have a gig.’”, Spiker says, “I started playing the bass because of that and I moved to Los Angeles, and a couple months later I had my first gig as a bass player. I love music more than anything else and bass is my gateway to that. Now, I love playing bass and trying to play it in a way where people notice it.”

Tthe live show coming to Summerfest on July 1st is better than ever he claims, “It’s one of the most energetic shows that I’ve ever been a part of. For the people that saw Filter 7 or 10 years ago, Richard is now clean and sober, and he’s singing as good or better as he does on the record. When you see him pull the stuff off live, it’s crazy. Even though we’ve been gone for six years, we’re coming back and playing all the classics as well, it’s the old and the new.”

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CD: Anthems for the Damned Record Label: Pulse Recording
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