Fans of the band Filter have more than likely come to expect something of an odd perspective from frontman Richard Patrick.
After all, he is the musician largely responsible for the psycho-suicide hit "Hey Man Nice Shot," as well as the man who bizarrely neglected to mention in recent interviews that his own partner in Filter, Brian Liesegang, had left the band.
And recently, Patrick said that the lyrics he penned for Filter's new collaboration with the Crystal Method (i.e., "I've got the piece of mind of a killer soul") are actually happy.
"The song for me is about self-discovery and enlightenment," said Patrick
of the MTV hit "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do," featured on the soundtrack to the film Spawn (Immortal/Epic). Conceived by producer Happy Walters
(who paired rappers and alt-rockers on the 1993 soundtrack to Judgement
Night), the Spawn collection features collaborations between
stars of electronica and edgy rock bands, such as Prodigy and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, as well as Korn with the Dust Brothers.
For Filter's team-up with the Crystal Method, Patrick set about crafting
lyrics around the Method's instrumental "Trip Like I Do," the lead-off track
from their recently released debut LP, Vegas (Outpost).
"The lyrics are childish," said Patrick, who added that he's not a reader
of the Spawn comic series that inspired the movie. "It's like an
innocent child trying to communicate: 'The understanding of a 4-year-old/ and the rationale of a New York cop.' Essentially it's like I've done
things in my life, why don't you give them a shot? Can't everybody feel
like I do?"
Ironically, the song that features Filter's most techno sound to date is
becoming a modern rock hit even as the band's chief programmer and
electronic proponent Brian Liesegang has left the group to pursue solo
work. "Rich wasn't taking a very active role in what I was doing,"
Liesegang said recently. "I've been making my own records for the last
year, and so I called up and said, 'I quit.'"
But Patrick countered, "Everyone at Reprise (Filter's label), everyone in my
management -- everyone knows that I write all the music, I'm the principle
songwriter. The big important thing that people understand about this is
that Filter is not breaking up. Filter has always been Richard Patrick."
Of course, half of the credit for the success of "(Can't You) Trip Like I
Do" goes to Crystal Method's Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland. Jordan
explained that the two groups began working together when Liesegang chopped up an advance tape of the Crystal Method's "Trip Like I Do" and coupled it with demo vocals from Patrick. Thus began a massive pen-pal style assembly process, during which the song grew to include a massive 48 tracks of material. The project was capped off by a few days of studio sessions by the bands working together.
Jordan said he was quite pleased with the lyrics Patrick wrote for the Crystal
Method's song. "I thought they were great. I especially like the slower
tempo lyrics. My favorite line is, 'I got the patience of the chopping
block.'" He added that he and Kirkland had admired Filter long before he
found out both bands are handled by the same management company. "We had been fans of Filter for a couple of years. We had gone to see them in L.A.
before we had any connection to them."
For Liesegang, Filter's partnership with the Crystal Method was a logical
extension. "For us it wasn't much of a stretch," he said, "because our
whole process is electronic to begin with. I always record right into my
Macintosh, I play guitar into my Mac, I write on my Mac. So us and Crystal
Method were not in very distinctly different worlds at all."
As Filter moves on without Liesegang's input, Patrick said he looks forward
to adding "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do" to his live set when he tours
next year in support of Filter's sophomore album, tentatively titled
Abysinian Son. He added that he might even record his own version
of the track for the album, or use it as a B-side for an upcoming Filter
Meanwhile, Liesegang is happy with the attention the Spawn track has
received, although he's looking forward to moving on to recording his own
material. "I'm proud of that song, but in some senses it's a little overt
in its motive: put rock guitar over synth bleep-blop. While I'm proud of
the song and think it was a good bridge for us, I think it's somewhat
lacking in the sophistication, where I'd like to go in the future, that
comprises using electronics as more of an organic whole." [Mon., Sept. 8, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]