Hey Man Very Nice Shot

re: Filter's "Hey Man Nice Shot."

If you've been wondering which politician convicted of corruption who shot

himself at the end of a press conference is the subject of Filter's "Hey Man

Nice Shot," wonder no more. Perusing the liner notes of the group's debut

album, Short Bus the other day, we noticed that Richard Patrick's

publishing company is called "Buddy Doiwer Publishing." In fact, the song is

about none other than the late Pennsylvania state Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer,

who used a .357-caliber Magnum to do the dirty deed on January 22, 1987.

Dwyer pulled the gun from a bag and fired it into his mouth; it was one day

before he was scheduled to appear before a federal judge for sentencing in a

bribery-conspiracy scandal. Up until that moment Dwyer had maintained his

innocence on charges of conspiracy to accept campaign contributions in

exchange for allegedly giving a Social Security overpayment recovery contract

to John Torquato of Computer Technology. That deal reportedly involved

hundreds of millions of dollars.

Up until now, Filter's Rich Patrick (who wrote the song) and his partner,

programmer Brian Liesegang have been correcting journalists who thought the

song was about Kurt Cobain, but have turned vague and mysterious when asked

to explain it. They told ATN last month that Patrick wrote it after watching

a snuff film. Turns out that Patrick was inspired by a much-copied video of

the suicide (shot by a news crew). Without naming names, Patrick told one

reporter recently: "It's about a guy that kind of made a statement, a final

one. The song is not a celebration of suicide. He had the guts to stand up

for what he believed. I'm wary about talking about it. I'm worried it's going

to turn up in print and I really don't want the guy's family to have to deal

with it. I don't think it would be fair and I certainly wouldn't want us to

sell any records at the expense of this guys family."

Well, so much for that idea Patrick. The story broke the other day. The July

6 edition of the Tribune Review ran the headline "Suicide Song Irks

Dwyer's family." "Oh no," exclaimed Dwyer's widow, Joanne upon hearing about

it. She expressed concern about its effect on her children and grandchildren,

and said she would file a strong protest with Filter's record label, Reprise

Records. "I don't know exactly what I'll say until I make contact," she told

the press.

The song doesn't name the former state treasurer and only vaguely refers to

his public suicide. A statement from Patrick and Liesegang, sent to the media

by Reprise Records on July 7, explains it this way: "The song 'Hey Man Nice

Shot' is a reaction to a well-documented public suicide. It is not a

celebration or glorification of taking one's own life. The phrase 'hey man,

nice shot' is not a reference to the final act itself, but rather an

expression of guts and determination of a person standing up for what they

believe is right. We are extremely sensitive and respectful to the family and

friends of Mr. Dwyer. We have both lost friends to suicide and felt nothing

but sympathy and loss for the victims, and those involved in such a

tragedy." The release was signed: "Richard Patrick and Brian Leisgang,

Filter." Except that Liesegang spells his name Liesegang, not "Leisgang."

Which makes us wonder who exactly wrote that press release? Could it be a

Reprise Records publicist? We hear that Warner Music Group executives are

concerned that Dwyer's wife will sue the Reprise Records and Filter. It that

happens, the suit should be tossed out of court. Dwyer did what he did very

purposely before the media, and if an artist chooses to use that public event

as the raw material from which to create a powerful song, more power to them.