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Filter’s Richard Patrick releases pent-up energy in ‘Crazy Eyes’

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Richard Patrick brings Filter’s “Make America Hate Again” tour to The City. (Courtesy Myriam Santos)

The premise of Mike Judge’s satirical 2006 film “Idiocracy” — about an average Joe (a deadpan Luke Wilson) awakened after an accidental 500-year cryogenic slumber to discover he’s the world’s smartest man because so many dumb people had been breeding — seemed preposterous. It also was eerily prescient, according to Filter bandleader Richard Patrick.

“My wife and I planned our pregnancies, and most really smart people, when they have kids, they think about it,” says the father of two. “But there’s a lot of people out there who are just f—–g and making babies, and now you’ve got all these, well, dingalings.”

Front-running Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, for example, inspired the title of Filter’s new album “Crazy Eyes,“ a socially-conscious industrial assault, and its thematic tour, “Make America Hate Again,” which comes to San Francisco today.

“Now we’ve got a candidate who will riff on Marco Rubio over how much he sweats,” says Patrick, 47. “But when it comes to the KKK? He’s like, ‘Hey, let’s not rush to judgment!’ So that’s essentially what (Trump) is saying: ‘Let’s make America hate again!’ And if Donald Trump is elected? I pity the world.”

Filter formed in 1993 after Patrick left Nine Inch Nails, and instantly scored a hit with “Hey Man Nice Shot,” an anthem still heard on TV and movie soundtracks today.

In retrospect, Patrick says his aggression at the time was scattershot, less politically-informed, and blurred by a hard-partying lifestyle that carried over into some substance-fueled interviews.

“I was out of my mind,” he says frankly of that era. “I was drunk in Germany during their anti-Iraq-war demonstration, and I was like, ‘F—— you! We were hurt and 9/11 was real! So let’s blow the hell out of those bastards!’ And I got in a lot of trouble for that.”

Patrick’s wife Tina pushed him towards sobriety. And on Sept. 28, 2002 — he’ll never forget the date — he entered rehab, was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and began seeing a psychiatrist who helped him lyrically focus his pent-up energy.

“Crazy Eyes” has commentaries like the campus-shooting-inspired “Mother E,” a gay-rights trumpeting “Pride Flag” and “Nothing in My Hands,” which, he says, “is about people running away from being arrested and being shot in the back. He adds, “Writing is now a really reflective process for me.”

For his children Sloan, 8, and Ridley, 6, the concerned dad hopes that “Idiocracy” isn’t coming true. “Because my life now is not for me,” he says. “And I want my kids to grow up with all the advantages that America can give them. And that also gives me a very strong viewpoint on politics.”

IF YOU GO
Filter
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 7:30 p.m. April 13
Tickets: $26
Contact: (415) 522-0333, www.slimspresents.com

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