FILTER's RICHARD PATRICK: Why I Quit NINE INCH NAILS
September 22, 2020
During a recent appearance on the "Stop! Drop & Talk" podcast, Richard Patrick reflected on his decision to leave NINE INCH NAILS in 1993 and form FILTER.
"I started in NINE INCH NAILS, but then I quit when I was, like, 26," he said (see video below). "NINE INCH NAILS was the only time I actually had a boss.
"We had just finished Lollapalooza — the first Lollapalooza — and we went to Europe to open up for GUNS N' ROSES, which was kind of a weird thing, because no one in Europe knew us at the time, and they actually booed us off the stage, which was crazy. Imagine NINE INCH NAILS being booed off the stage.
"[Trent Reznor and I] were just two knuckleheads from Cleveland, Ohio — we were not big yet," he continued. "But eventually, we did get big. And there was a point in time where Trent just kind of looked at me, and I said, 'Wow, you're going down to New Orleans to go live in this beautiful house that you're getting, and I'm gonna go back to my mom and dad's house.' And Trent goes, 'Well, go write a record.' And I was, like, 'Wow!' What do you say to that? He goes, 'You should have seen your face. 'Cause you were kind of pissed at first, and then you were, like, 'No. I should.'' He said that to me in Paris. And I remember thinking to myself I'm gonna literally go back and eat out of my mom and dad's kitchen every night, and this guy is gonna go off and write 'Broken' and whatever else he was gonna go work on. But I sat there and I took his words of advice, which was, 'Go do something.' His advice was, 'Go get off your ass and do something. Don't wait for me to do it. Don't wait for me to write a record without you. Just go off and do it.'
"I got close to kind of getting a record deal, and [Trent] didn't know it at the time, but I had already lined up Warner Brothers," he said. "And I was in Los Angeles to kind of work on [NINE INCH NAILS'] 'The Downward Spiral' [album], or just be around, and I had already kind of made a decision on a mushroom trip in the Grand Canyon. I had already decided. I was, like, you know what? I'm only getting on this ball one time, and if I don't step out on my own now, I'm never gonna do it.
"But the final straw was Trent goes, 'Hey, listen, Rich, I know you need some extra cash. Listen. Down at the end of [the street], there's a little pizzeria, and they need drivers. So maybe you can go make some extra cash over there. And I'm, like, 'Wow!'
"This was when I had [FILTER's] 'Hey Man, Nice Shot' was written, and I had five record companies ready to sign me. And I was, like, 'Hey, dude, I hate to tell you this now, but I quit. And I'm so sorry. But I fucking quit. I'm not gonna sell pizzas and I'm not gonna drive for a [pizzeria]."
According to Patrick, he never regretted his decision to leave NINE INCH NAILS.
"There is nothing like being your own boss," he said. "Since that day, I have literally woken up, and the only person I have to answer to is myself or my wife and my kids.
"Have I made mistakes? Absolutely," he added. "Have bad things happened to me? Sure. But at the end of the day, I know every day that all I have to do is apply myself and work and be sober and be connected to what it is that makes me alive, and that's music."
With FILTER, Patrick released seven albums and scored two major rock radio hits, the aforementioned "Hey Man, Nice Shot" from the band's 1995 debut, "Short Bus", and "Take A Picture", from the 1999 follow-up, "Title Of Record".
Patrick went on to say that he and Reznor have remained close over the years.
"Trent and I talk; we text all the time," he said. "[When] it ended [between me and NINE INCH NAILS], it was kind of weird. But how many people have you gone through these experiences with? You've gotta stay connected."