Richard Patrick came out against the Iraq war almost as soon as it started.
The raging modern-rock maestro commenced writing what would become his anthemic screed against the conflict, “Soldiers of Misfortune,” in the summer of 2003, just a few months after combat began.
“I was starting to see how this war wasn’t the right kind of war,” Patrick says. “This wasn’t about heroes defeating tyrants like Hitler. This is one of those blurry mishaps we’re going to look back on as one of the worst mistakes this country has ever made.”
It truly hit home for Patrick when he learned about Sgt. Justin Eyerly.
At age 14, Eyerly was the second person to ever create an unofficial Filter fan Web site, when Patrick released his debut CD Short Bus in 1994. Four years later, Eyerly enlisted in the Army National Guard Reserves to help pay for college. He was called up his senior year to go to Iraq. Just 10 days after arriving, he was shot dead in the streets of Baghdad.
Eyerly and others like him are why Patrick dedicated his new Filter album, Anthems for the Damned, to their memories.
“I bit off what I wanted to chew,” Patrick says. “I’ve pissed off a lot of Filter fans, but I’m probably making new ones. I’m going to tear it up. I want to say something thought-provoking.”
It’s not just the war drawing his ire. It’s the seemingly systematic blind eye being turned toward grave issues by our current leaders.
“For 30 years I’ve been hearing about global warming,” Patrick says. “What have we done? In the ’90s everyone bought SUVs. We’re reaping what we’ve sown. We’re fucked if we don’t start acting like the intelligent beings we are.”
He’s not completely jaundiced at this point. Patrick has high hopes for Barack Obama, a presidential candidate he’s publicly endorsing (“He could be the next Abraham Lincoln”). But one man does not equal a social tide. It’s Patrick’s hope that his generation stops waiting with anticipation for Britney Spears’ next nervous breakdown and starts giving a damn about what really matters.
“And if I have to make music to get people involved — or at least thinking about it — then I will.”