Many thought Richard Patrick was crazy for leaving Nine Inch Nails in 1993, but after millions of fans heard the first album from his band Filter, they applauded him.Filter graced the music world with five studio albums with popular tunes such as “The Best Things,” “Welcome to the Fold,” “Dose,” “Where Do We Go from Here?” and, of course, “Hey Man, Nice Shot” and “Take a Picture.”
Touring in support of the 2010 release The Trouble with Angels, Filter will play The Gig on Crockett Street on Friday, Aug. 12, with doors opening at 8 p.m.Though Patrick has been a steady presence, Filter has gone through several changes since its early ’90s inception, and this is the best the band has sounded. That has a lot to do with drummer Mika Fineo, who joined the band in 2008; and bassist Phil Buckman and guitarist Rob Patterson, relative newcomers to Filter though veterans of the music scene.
Buckman was born in Queens, N.Y., then relocated to Los Angeles and began playing in several bands. But he also has built quiet an empire for himself as a television and film actor. He’s starred in movies such as American Werewolf in Paris, A Very Brady Sequel and The Great White Hype. Buckman was also a regular in TV series like City of Angels, Married with Children and Boston Public.
If you still can’t place his face, it’s guaranteed you’ve heard his voice for promos on The Late Show and countless times on ABC, CBS, NBC, The WB and products for Nestle, Carl’s Jr., Tombstone pizza, Pontiac and a plethora of movies and video games.
Patterson, like Buckman, joined Filter in 2010 and totes an impressive resume. Born in Natick, Mass., Patterson has played guitar in bands such as Korn and OTEP; performs and excels as a DJ; was a contributor to the 2010 novel Sex Tips from Rock Stars; and let’s not forget he’s engaged to Carmen Electra.The Examiner spoke with both Buckman and Patterson in a telephone interview as they prepared for a show in Portland.
Joining Filter last year, were you able contribute to ‘The Trouble with Angels’?
Phil: The reality of it is, Rob and I came to the group after the record was done. We came in when they had one song left and we wrote “Shot from the Sun,” which is a track on the bonus version of the album.
Looks like you had fun with the video ‘No Love.’
Rob: My friend Mark Racco asked if he could direct a video for us. So then I asked my fiancé if she would do the video and she did. I thought it came out really well.
Phil, how did you make the transition from acting to music?
Phil: I left college when I was 20 years old to do music. I saw this band called the Electric Love Hogs, which had members that went on to be in the bands Goldfinger, Orgy and Velvet Revolver, and I literally said this is what I want to do with my life. I had been playing bass for a few months so the very next day, I stopped going to class and just practiced playing the bass. I had been an actor before and when I moved back to L.A. to join the band Tribal Sex Cult, I told my agent that I was back in town but I look totally different and have long hair and earrings and if anything comes along and you need someone who looks like me now, let me know. All of a sudden, I was getting hired like crazy. I always called acting my waiting-tables job because I was just trying to make money until the music thing took off. I never really stopped playing music. Well, I did once when I played in this band called The Imposters. We signed with Interscope records but the deal fell through and some of us took it really hard and stopped playing music. I like performing. There is definitely something really cool about playing in front of a live crowd. Last night, we played in Seattle in front of a crazy crowd that was literally hanging from the rafters. They were out-of-their-minds crazy, and you come off of the stage with this incredible high. I got that when I was doing sitcoms. Wait, let me rephrase that — most sitcoms. Sometimes you didn’t have a script and you’re like, ‘Oh God this sucks.’ You have to perform it and guess who gets blamed for it? We do. When it’s a great show, the writers get the credit. When it’s a bad show, the actors get the blame.
You both have played with impressive musicians. How is it working with Richard?
Rob: We are both kind of veterans for what we do and we have a mutual respect for each other. We have our arguments, but this tour we have been getting along. When we do have our disagreements and this guitar player and singer combination dynamic gets on edge, it sort of helps the music, in a way. That hasn’t happened this tour, so I am going to have to make myself get pissed off before I get on stage.
Phil: We all want the best for this band, and we all have different ways in realizing that vision. In the past, we didn’t really have the respect for what someone else was saying, and it created friction. It wasn’t being an a-hole to be an a-hole. We had a big sit-down and realized we are all on the same page, and there’s no reason for this head butting. Since then, we have taken a much greater respect to what we have to say. It made for a better work environment, and the tour bus is much more harmonious now opposed to situations in the past. Rob and I have been friends for 17 years. We’ve never had an issue.
Rob: Well, this one time, but we won’t get into that (laughs). Going back to working with Rich, what’s really cool is he is always thinking creatively. When I was in Korn, for me it was like being in a cover band. Like, this is what you play and that was it. Aside from getting from the MTV Unplugged thing, when I got to write some extra stuff, that was it. With Filter, Rich wants us to come up with different stuff while we are playing to make it more interesting — to go off the grid, so to speak.
Phil: Almost every single night, we play each song differently. We aren’t bound to playing this verse 16 bars and this chorus has to be eight bars. We can do different breakdowns. We are all good musicians that can follow each other. In the performance ‘So I Quit,’ Rob does something that will blow your mind. I won’t tell you what it is because I want you to see it. Rich also likes to grab cameras from the crowd and take pictures and he does this while we are doing these musical breakdowns. That to me is what playing music is all about.
Any favorite places you need to stop at when you are on tour?
Rob: Starbucks.Phil: Yeah, Rob always has Starbucks’ locations pulled up on his phone.
What would you be doing now if your mother chose your career?
Rob: Exactly what I would be doing now because my dad is a cellist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That, or a computer geek.Phil: I would have probably been a doctor, which I would have been fine with if it wouldn’t have been for all that pesky book learning.
What was the first song you learned to play?
Rob: Oh, that’s a tough one. I think ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC.
Phil: I first started playing bass when I was 19, so it was probably ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ or ‘Lips Like Sugar’ by Echo and the Bunnymen. I started playing guitar when I was 9, though. I played guitar in a cover band while I was in college and the singer played bass. We had another guitar player who was a lot better than me, though. The singer would stop playing bass to sing, so I said give me that thing. Once I started playing bass, I caught on pretty quick. It was a natural fit for me.
What was the strangest thing you’ve seen thrown on stage?
Phil: I was in band a once called Go Betty Go, which were three girls and me. Some dude threw his boxers on stage and missed the singer and hit my feet. That was horrible.
Rob: I had cake thrown at me before, and some fruit. Of course, bras.
Phil: Oh yeah, bras for sure. Last year, a bra was thrown on stage and I put it on my mic stand and Rob took it.
Besides the essentials, anything you have to bring on tour?
Rob: My iPad for sure.
Phil: I brought my longboard skateboard and land paddle with me. It’s like stand-up paddle surfing but on a skateboard.
Opening for Filter will be Beaumont’s own We Were Wolves and CastleLights from Houston. Advance tickets are $15 and doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, visit thegigbeaumont.com.