You brought up “Kill The Day” and yes, it’s lush sounding. However, there’s a deep vulnerability, lyrically, in that song that makes it just as empowering as a song with its middle finger up in the air.
Exactly. When I sing ‘Take A Picture,’ some of the heaviest fans that I have that are 19-year-olds that are fucking angry at everything, even some of those people in front of the stage get that it’s a song about tragedy. It’s a song about a young person’s life that is being cut down by alcohol. You know, its funny people say, ‘How could you sing the same song over and over again every night?’ That song has changed meanings, like ‘Wow, look what I did? Take my picture, because I am a blackout alcoholic’ to ‘I can’t believe I survived that?’Alcoholism is a fucking rancid, horrid disease. It ruins families, it ruins lives… people don’t understand it. It’s a mental illness. Every family has an alcoholic in it, and it’s a tragic thing. So, ‘Take A Picture,’ when they hear it live, they are like, ‘I get it.’ I call it my wimpy song. But there is a lot of strength in showing your underbelly like that. It takes a lot of balls to fucking write a song like that.
That’s what some people really don’t get. You are totally exposed.
Really. Do you know how hard it is to sing that soft? Sometimes it’s easier to scream. Sometimes it’s really hard than to sing really, really soft. You gotta have a clear a voice. You have to baby your voice. There’s no distortion pedal on that song. You can’t just cup the mic and growl on that song. You have to man- up, and actually have control of your voice.
Have you ever gone to a vocal instructor or are you completely self thought?
Yeah, I finally went to a vocal coach just to learn how to warm up and it completely changed my life. Betwee inner ear monitors and the vocal coach I can sing the best that I ever could in my whole life. I am so honored because now, I can really bring it as a singer. As a singer and a frontman, and I can sing for an-hour-and-a-half or two hours and I can really deliver every night, you know the goods! So needless to say, the live show is really the best part of Filter right now. Really. It used to be the worst part about Filter, now it’s so great to sing this stuff and to take it home every night.
You also spoke about your addiction. Congratulations ongetting it under control.
For me it was just empowering, because when you are a drug addict you are literally taking like 50 percent of your IQ right out of you. You feel good because you are whacked out on drugs or alcohol. It’s bad, you’re a just a dumb ass, so to me like lyric writing, there was really good stuff that I was tiring to do on Amalgamut, but it really felt short, because it was just kind of wacky. So I have my senses back and my writing just got more precise. ‘Soldiers Of Misfortune’ is very skillfully saying soldiers are getting screwed over here, because the Iraq war wasn’t for the right reasons, that’s what that song is saying. Support soldiers without supporting the war. I am proud of all of the subtleties, ‘dig a grave to hold a parade,’ how backwards is it? You can honor them in death, but you are still digging a grave for them.
And, ‘can’t we learn from history, why is it such a mystery?’ War is bad, stop fucking war! I couldn’t do that if…’Take A Picture’ was the ramblings of a madman, but now I see it was my own cry for help. So there are some definite happy accidents when you’re drinking. My drinking definitely started fucking with my ability.
On the flipside of that, in ‘What’s Next’ you also plainly say, ‘George Bush is fucking up.’
Well I was kind of pissed when I was writing that. You got George Bush, the war in Iraq bad. Okay well, where is your exit strategy? ‘We have none.’ Bad. Well, how is getting Osama bin Laden going? ‘Bad.’ George Bush is fucking up. Well how about Katrina? ‘Natural disaster, and I didn’t know what to do for two weeks.’ Alright, well then you are doing a heck of a job?
It just kept getting worse and worse and worse, its like, who’s side are you on? He is practically giving the Iranians Iraq. So I mean, what else can you say at this point, besides he just keeps fucking us up? Again rock music has to say that, and what better way then to finally just say it. I mean, ‘Solders Of Misfortune’ is about subtlety, ‘What’s Next’ is not. ‘Take the baby from his hands, put him in the sand.’That’s what the war in Iraq is all about, what we should have done after 911, we should have stopped dealing with these folks. 9/11 is about us being inside Saudi Arabia, bin Laden saying, ‘Get the fuck out of my country.’ You have got bases, imagine if a bunch of Saudis built a base in Cleveland or in New Jersey, and you got 10,000 guys, they have guns and ammunition. I bet a bunch of young New Jersey men would be pretty pissed off, so the reality is now, not only do you have this horrible tragedy, but what he should have said was, ‘Let’s stop consuming. Let’s get off of oil in the next ten years, let’s build electric cars, go for solar. Let’s really push the technology and get it over with!’ And stop sucking the preverbal oil from the Saudis, but you know, he said the exact opposite. ‘Buy more cars. Consume! Go spend more money, stimulate the economy, that’s what you need to do. Consume!’
We should learn how to conserve, that’s what we should have done. George Bush keeps fucking us up. You have got to say it. Sometimes you have just got to say it!