Filter came to life in the early '90s, created by vocalist and primary member Richard Patrick, who had been a guitarist with Nine Inch Nails during that band's Pretty Hate Machine and Broken eras. In 1993, Patrick decided to leave NIN to form his own band. He met Brian Liesegang through a mutual friend and the pair began to record together. Patrick handled vocals, guitars, bass, programming, and drums, while Liesegang covered programming, guitars, keyboards, and drums. Since they had both experimented with electronics early in their careers, the band's initial sound was reminiscent of a more-muscular brand of industrial than NIN. In 1995, after signing with Reprise, they released their debut full-length, Short Bus, which was recorded at a small house on the outskirts of Cleveland. The album became a surprise hit and -- thanks to the MTV and alternative radio hit "Hey Man, Nice Shot" -- was certified gold by the summer. Eventually, Short Bus went platinum. In order to promote the record, the duo recruited guitarist Geno Lenardo, bassist Frank Cavanaugh, and drummer Matt Walker and embarked on tour.
To keep interest stoked, Filter also contributed a prolific string of tracks to cult favorite soundtracks, delivering "Jurassitol" (The Crow: City of Angels), the Crystal Method collaboration "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do" (Spawn), and "Thanks Bro" and "One" for a pair of X-Files compilations. Despite the band's burgeoning status, Liesegang departed in 1997 over creative differences. Patrick retained the Filter name for 1999's sophomore release Title of Record, which was also certified platinum and spawned an even bigger mainstream hit with the crossover Top 20 single "Take a Picture."
Filter's third album, The Amalgamut, followed three years later, after which the band went on a short hiatus while Patrick entered rehabilitation for addiction. Around 2005, he announced the formation of a new band, Army of Anyone, which he created with former members of Stone Temple Pilots and David Lee Roth's touring band. However, Patrick did not abandon his original group, and Filter returned in 2008 with the emotional Anthems for the Damned, dedicated to a friend who was killed in Iraq. The band's first greatest-hits compilation, The Very Best Things (1995-2008), followed in 2009.
Filter's fifth set, 2010's The Trouble with Angels, marked an unapologetic return to the sound of Short Bus. The Trouble with Angels performed well enough -- it debuted at 64 on the Billboard 200, reaching number seven on the Top Hard Rock Albums chart -- to attract the attention of the hard rock label Wind-Up, which released the band's next album, the Bob Marlette-produced The Sun Comes Out Tonight, in June 2013. The album incorporated an updated sound, adding some harmonies and electronic elements close to musical progeny Linkin Park. Sun Comes Out was also their highest-charting album since 2002. While recording a follow-up, Patrick's supporting band changed again and he was joined by Oumi Kapila (guitar, programming), Ashley Dzerigian (bass), Chris Reeve (drums), and Bobby Miller (keyboards). In January 2016, Filter returned with the single "Take Me to Heaven," which was included on their seventh LP, Crazy Eyes. While charting modestly on the Billboard 200, the album performed well on the U.S. Alternative and Hard Rock charts.
In 2018, over two decades after Filter's breakthrough, Patrick reconnected with Liesegang to craft a sequel to Short Bus. Setbacks eventually forced the pair to take another approach, but to celebrate their debut all the same, an expanded edition of Short Bus was released with a handful of remixes. The following year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Title of Record, Patrick also reissued the album, bundling it with the fan-favorite soundtrack contributions from that era. ~ Neil Z. Yeung & John Bush, Rovi
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