Sunday, May 30, 2010

Confessions of Mewzak

I feel as though some people get annoyed by my constant posts, links, videos, etc., regarding music. So I felt the need to explain myself.

My love for music is pure. Nothing compares to the sensation of live rock music pulsating through my veins. Some people resort to drugs or alcohol, I resort to music to give myself a high.

My one argument is that those of you who criticize my behavior, are no different. I see numerous, repetitive posts from plenty of you about topics from sports, politics, religion, TV shows, celebrity gossip, etc. I have no issue with those, so don’t have an issue with mine about music or any certain band or musician I’m trying to promote at the time.

Yes, I’ve been smitten with Filter recently. But do you know why? For one, it’s one of my favorite bands. The other reason is, I’ve been trying to support the new album that’s been in the works for the past several months and is now finally due to be out in August.

Instead of just using these social networking sites for gossip and nonsense, I’m actually trying to spread some good music around. I love it when someone shares a song with me that I’ve never heard. You may discover a new favorite band that way.

Did you also know that my original career goal was to be a music journalist? “Mewzak” was my idea for a magazine name and what I now have as a tattoo (the cat with a treble clef tail), was my original idea for the logo. So blogging and linking online is my crutch for at least somewhat pursuing that passion.

So go ahead and talk about your American Idol, Glee, America’s Next Top Model, Redskins vs. Cowboys, Obama vs. Bush, and who’s having Brad Pitt’s next baby; I’d rather listen to some music…and then write about it and post links to it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Filter: New Single "The Inevitable Relapse" and Article about upcoming Album "The Trouble with Angels"

Filter has released the first single, "The Inevitable Relapse" from the new album, "The Trouble with Angels" due out in August.

You can listen to the new song and download it for free at

Here's a recent article from Filter's facebook page:

"Eclecticism has been a hallmark of Richard Patrick’s career in Filter, and it’s administered with crushing efficiency on The Trouble With Angels. Fans weaned on the industrial outbursts and corrosive beats of 1995’s Short Bus and 1999’s Title of Record will be ecstatic to hear Patrick’s unmistakable scream and unflinching honesty dominating the new album.

The prolific multi-instrumentalist couches intensely personal narratives in throwback industrial crushers subject to multiple interpretations. On the surface, leadoff single “The Inevitable Relapse” details a shattered man succumbing to addiction, but can be read as a study of love lost, consumption or obsession, depending on your perspective. Not to mention its isolated bass line and thudding chord collapse both conjure and modernize Filter’s breakthrough smash, “Hey Man, Nice Shot.”

The guessing game continues down Angels’ track list. Is the hammering “Absentee Father” about the man upstairs or an unreliable blood relation? Does the fist-pumping “No Love” take a nation addicted to warfare to task, or is it a flagellation of the narrator’s own selfishness? Patrick prefers ambiguity, but one thing is obvious: The Trouble With Angels boasts his strongest, most aggressive songwriting yet. “I’ve heard people say, ‘Well, Richard is mellowing with age…’ and I was like, really?” he exclaims with characteristic intensity. “Mellow?! You know what? I’ve been looking for an excuse to tear people’s heads off again!”

“The first three songs [on the new record] are for people who are super-pissed and want Short Bus, and then everything after that, it’s like what we did with Title and [2002’s] Amalgamut,” Patrick continues. “There’s one song that’s maybe as soft as [Title’s crossover hit] ‘Take a Picture.’ [But] I truly believe to this day my audience should be as eclectic as I am. If they can listen to Radiohead, then Pantera, they should be able to listen to that within the same band.”

Lyrically and musically, Patrick’s taken it to the next level. Employing the talents of collaborators new and old (drummer Mika Fineo and original right-hand man Brian Liesegang, who contributes sound design to the lush “Fades Like a Photograph”), he unleashes serrated riffs that recall old-school pit-starters like “Dose,” “Under” and “Welcome to the Fold.” Sometimes they even have to be dragged into the world kicking and screaming. “The solo in ‘Absentee Father,’ it’s like total disregard,” Patrick laughs. “A complete and utter fuck you-ism solo that doesn’t follow any rules whatsoever; completely avant-garde, and it’s the third song on the record. It’s the ultimate [example of] At-this-moment-I-have-absolutely-no-regard-for-the-rules-of-music-whatsoever-and-it’s-time-to-break-them-to-make-this-thing-say-what-I-need-to-say.”

For an album of closed fists and open ends, the title track can’t possibly be misinterpreted. Patrick confronts the scientifically-challenged tenets of fundamentalist proselytizers, assuring, “When you take a better second look, miracles fade.” On the other side of the coin, he remains unafraid to explore his own failings and make honest music out of them. Take “Drug Boy”: “When we were kids, we’d trip out on whatever and just walk around graveyards in Cleveland. Somebody would inevitably stumble across a mausoleum, palm a skull and take off with it. ‘12 hours of acid, let’s dig up a casket,’” he laughs, quoting the lyrics.

Patrick is quick to give credit to producer Bob Marlette for not only putting the perfect corrosive “finishing touches” on the record, but encouraging his brutally candid lyrical approach. Ultimately, though, provocative his Angels are, the frontman insists, “I don’t want to come off as if I’ve got an agenda on this record—I really don’t. I want to tell the truth inside of me and relate it to the folks who are going through these lives we lead.”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Take A Picture Brings Back Memories

Take A Picture video

The Making of Take A Picture

In anticipation of Filter's fifth album, Richard Patrick has started posting flashback videos of Filter footage on facebook and myspace. These two videos are very special to me. I've never seen the behind the scenes shots from Take A Picture. This is one of my favorite music videos of all time, not just by Filter.

Watching these really stirred up my emotions suddenly. This is one of the most beautifully shot videos I've ever seen and is also one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. A lot of hardcore Filter fans diss this song because of it's seemingly sweeter nature, but I love it. It's a perfect example of the diversity of Filter's music.

This "pop" song along with the harsh alternative "Hey Man, Nice Shot" are the highest hits on the charts for Filter. I think that combination just illustrates the light and dark sides of Richard Patrick.

Anyway, the reason I got emotional over this song and video recently is because it comes off not only my favorite Filter record, but one of my favorite records of all time, Title of Record. This album pretty much defined my senior year of high school in my personal world. The combination of softer tunes like this, against the thumping industrial tracks, along with the deep emotion in the lyrics, really made a mark on me.

As with most music that makes an impact on us, we associate certain memories with that music. I think anyone's senior year of high school is pretty significant, and it's odd that this is resurfacing for me now when my 10-year high school reunion is coming up later this year. Life does have a cycle and moments like this really make you feel that.

I have fond memories of excitement over this video playing on MTV or VHI back in the day. For those of you who think I just recently became such a hardcore Filter fan, this is really the start of it, in 1999 with this record. And for a bonus comment here, I'd like to say that in my humble opinion, this was also Richard Patrick's hottest era. ;) This video is responsible for me developing a crush.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Filter in 2008--Get Ready for Filter in 2010!

Here's a great article about Filter's last album "Anthems for the Damned." It was posted on, I'm not sure of the original source for crediting purposes. The ending quotes from Richard Patrick are awesome and this new photo rocks. More recent news to come soon!

“Can’t we learn from history … Why’s it such a mystery?”

“Soldiers of Misfortune”

Richard Patrick has had enough.

The mastermind behind Filter’s fourth album, Anthems for the Damned, its first in five years since The Amalgamut, is what Patrick calls his “howl in the night,” a harsh indictment of civilization that doesn’t exclude himself from its vision of a world falling apart.

Featuring such collaborators as guitarist/songwriter John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie), guitarist Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit) and drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses, the Vandals), Anthems for the Damned was produced by Pulse Recording’s Josh Abraham (Slayer, 30 Seconds to Mars, Velvet Revolver, Staind, Courtney Love)

The album traces Patrick’s own anger and shame with the state of things, from the intense alternative industrial blast of “The Take,” “What’s Next” and “Hatred is Contagious,” through the stunned acceptance and ironic sarcasm of the first single, “Soldiers of Misfortune,” the ultimate resignation of “Kill the Day” and “Lie After Lie” to the tentative hope expressed by “Only You” and the ambient soundscape of the closing “Can Stop This.”

“It’s about the embarrassment of being a human in the face of the awesome power of nature,” he explains. “To see what we’re doing to the planet and each other. I’m ashamed about the shape of the world we’re leaving to our children. And I’m not excusing myself either. I’m just asking, ‘Why can’t we get it right?’”

Patrick calls the soaring anthem “Soldiers of Misfortune,” with its U2/Bowie flavor and stacked backdrop of buzzing electric guitars, a “sardonic anti-war/pro-troops song.” The first-person narrative was inspired by a letter from a Filter fan who had enlisted in the Army reserves to get his college tuition paid; in his final year of college, he was shipped off to Iraq where he died from a rocket attack and small arms fire after just a few days of duty. And while the story might be downbeat, the music is as accessible as such Patrick radio hits as “Hey Man, Nice Shot” (from its1995 debut Short Bus) or the Top 15 pop smash, “Take a Picture” (from 1999’s Title of Record).

“I set out to capture the senselessness of his situation,” says Patrick. “The bleakness of the lyrics plays off against the optimism of the chord progression.”

That combination of classic-rock melodies and industrial heavy metal has been part of Patrick’s music from the very start, when the Ohio native first shared his musical theories with one-time Nine Inch Nails bandmate Trent Reznor.

“In Dreams,” featuring Wes Borland on guitar, plainly states, “The American dream is an illusion and we must wake up,” while “Cold (Anthems for the Damned)” is a song about “running away from the world to either kill yourself or to realize the only place for you is in the arms of society,” he says, explaining how his experiences as a recovering alcoholic helped him come to terms with that contradiction. “It’s like what they call the ‘white room,’ where you must face yourself… There is nobody or nothing else to deal with.”

Beginning with strummed acoustic guitars, “Only You,” which Patrick says is rooted in Brian Eno’s theory of the “happy accident,” contemplates how mankind has the potential to simply be erased by our own hand.

The decision to revive the Filter brand after five years came after Patrick’s experience as singer/lyricist with the supergroup Army of Anyone -- with Stone Temple Pilots’ Dean and Robert DeLeo and David Lee Roth drummer Ray Luzier -- releasing a self-titled album on The Firm Music label last year. A single from the album, “Goodbye,” went to Top 3 on the Active Rock charts.

“I’ve always loved collaborating with other people, but the stuff I do on my own is the most fulfilling,” he says. “It was an amazing experience to be in a group with such talents as Robert Dean and Ray, but I felt I had some unfinished business with Filter. And I think they understood that. Filter will always be my legacy.”

Since deciding to part ways with Nine Inch Nails to record Filter’s multi-platinum debut, Short Bus, for Reprise Records, Patrick has seen his own career take off. That first album produced the Top 10 alternative mainstay, “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” as well as such standards as “Dose,” “Stuck in Here” and “Under.”

Title of Record followed in 1999, featuring “Take a Picture,” which was a Filter crossover pop hit, landing at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album’s “Welcome to the Fold” and “Cancer” garnered a strong amount of Active and Alternative rock airplay as well.

At this time, Patrick began writing for films, with his songs appearing on soundtracks like The Crow, Spawn, The X-Files, The Cable Guy, The Girl Next Door and Little Nicky.

The Amalgamut, his final album for Warner Bros., was released in 2002, featuring the single, “Where Do We Go From Here.” Another song on the album, “The Only Way is the Wrong Way,” served as the music for a national Hummer 2 automobile TV campaign.

With Anthems for the Damned, Patrick returns to his indie roots, a move that has creatively revitalized him.

“I’d rather not subject myself to the insanity of the major label system at this point in time,” he says.

Anthems for the Damned is his cry in the wilderness, a protest against the status quo, a litany of society’s ills and, hopefully, a first step on the road to recovery.

“I worked really hard on this album,” he says. “If it’s the last record I ever do, I wanted to make it as big a musical statement as I can. It comes from the only place good music can come from, an honest heart. That’s what really matters. We, as human beings, are the only ones lucky enough to grasp just how vast and remarkable our universe really is, and at the same time, understand our own vulnerability. So, why are we so reckless?”

“Am I always angry? No. Am I always full of hope? No. But even if my lyrics are dark as shit, there’s always something uplifting about the music. I try to rise above my issues.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Birth of Two Rockstars

May 10th marks the birth of two of my favorite rockstars: Richard Patrick and Bono. Oddly enough, they share several common bonds.

Both of these men possess a certain power over the microphone, a belting vocal presence that cannot be ignored. They also display similar stage antics, such as jumping off the stage during shows to get closer to the audience. Bono has a tendency to bring select females onstage to dance with him, while Richard has a trademark of taking cameras from audience members to videotape himself.

Bono has a few years on Richard, so he is better known for his political activism. But in recent years Richard has become very outspoken about his political views as well. They are both trying to make a positive difference in the world through their music.

They also seem to have similar tastes in fashion, from mostly black wardrobes, to stylish sunglasses and leather attire, and even American Flag jackets.

Richard Patrick credits Bono as one of his influences, as well as U2's The Edge for his guitar work. He performed an admirable cover of U2's "Pride, In the Name of Love" with Flyleaf on the Family Values Tour.

These two Taurus rockers are no bull, they're just the shit.