Filter was formed in Cleveland, Ohio in the early ’90s by guitarist Brian Liesegang and singer Richard Patrick after he left his gig as touring guitarist with Nine Inch Nails during the Pretty Hate Machine years. The band’s sound — which was akin to NIN’s roaring Industrial angst — found an audience right off the bat. Filter’s 1995 album debut, Short Bus, featured the breakthrough single “Hey Man Nice Shot.”
The full-throttle rager was omnipotent in the mid-’90s and remains one of the defining songs of the era (as in, if they ever make a Forest Gump movie that takes place in the ’90s, “Hey Man” will play over the scene where Forest is hiding with OJ in the back of that white Ford Bronco).
“Hey Man” also holds the honor of having the most morbid origin story of any Top 40 hit from 1995. Though it came in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death-by-shotgun, the song was actually inspired by a different suicide. Patrick said the song was loosely based on R. Budd Dwyer; the Pennsylvania state treasurer shot himself during a public press conference as local news cameras were rolling. Footage of the suicide went “’90s viral” — it was widely circulated on VHS cassette. Watch the great documentary Honest Man: the Life of R. Budd Dwyer if you want to learn more about the politician’s noble life and tragic end.
Filter’s sophomore album, 1999’s Title of Record, produced a very different sounding hit — the poppy, dreamy “Take a Picture.” Filter’s current tour is in honor of the recent 20th-anniversary expanded reissue of Title. A new lyrics video for "Picture" was released a few weeks ago.
While Filter has never achieved the commercial success of their ’90s heyday, Patrick has kept the band alive with a revolving lineup, much to the delight of their hardcore fanbase. The group’s most recent album was 2016’s Crazy Eyes. Patrick had reportedly been working again with Liesegang, who left Filter in 1997, but plans for the new album fell through after the collapse of PledgeMusic, the crowd-funding site Patrick had used for some of the band’s more recent releases.
Filter will play a free show Saturday on the Roof at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Standing-room general admission is free, but there are also VIP options. Visit hollywoodindiana.com for details.
The band had an interesting experience at another casino while on tour earlier this year. According to a post on Patrick's Instagram page, after making a relatively innocuous statement on social media about Donald Trump before a show in El Paso, Texas, they were informed that the casino was canceling their performance.