Alien Ant Farm
'The Light At The End of The Tunnel Discovered'
Alien Ant Farm is back, in more ways than one. Despite a deadly tour bus crash in 2002 and the often career-lethal folding of a record label, one of the most popular and critically acclaimed alt-metal bands of the decade not only has persevered but on 'Up In The Attic' (New Door/UMe), released this past July, returns to the rockin’ spirit of its platinum, much acclaimed 2001 album ANThology.
AAF (Dryden Mitchell, vocals; Joe Hill, guitar; Alex Barreto, bass; Mike Cosgrove, drums) has even returned to its original producer, Jim Wirt, who along with producing Live, Incubus, L.A. Guns, and others, helmed AAF’s 1999 indie released Greatest Hits. Also back on board is ANThology producer Jay Baumgardner, who mixed Up In The Attic and produced its first radio track, “Forgive & Forget.” Baumgardner previously has produced albums from Papa Roach, Coal Chamber, Seether and more.
Also released the same day as Up In The Attic is the band’s debut DVD release BUSted. BUSTed includes all 10 of the band’s music videos (five never-before-released), live footage and a candid, edgy documentary.
Chatting recently with Mike Cosgrove (drums), and noting that back in 1990 they released their debut underground album entitled 'Greatest Hits,' I first wondered if there had been any method to their madness?! "When we did it, we were doing it kind of tongue in cheek. In the artwork, it was suppose to be a girl getting killed, like when you put out a hit on someone to have someone kill them, so the word hit came into play. Also, on your first records there are not really any hits, so it was a playing on that idead, but just a joke; obviously at that time we had no hits.”
As famous as you are today, do you think that people still buy that album thinking it is exactly what it states itself to be?! "In hindsight it proved to the demo for our greatest hits album because it contains both “Movies” and “Smooth Criminal”. I think it confuses a lot of fans. But, our true fans know exactly what it is.”
Has being more publicly known for your version of Michael Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal' hurt or benefited you in the long run? "I really don’t know. I know that we are all better off….I like my life….but, I don’t know if people don’t like our music because we play that song. It would be a silly reason for people not to like us. I think it definitely helped us more that it hurt us. I think the bus accident hurt us more than that song did.”
In 2002, and after the tour bus accident in Spain, did you think that the end of AAF had come and that a new career was to be undertaken? "I definitely thought about that and was fearful of it.”
What are the after effects of that crash musically, personnel wise and mentally? "Musically: I think that it disbanded our band and left us all on our own to think by ourselves for awhile so we came back with all different perspectives. Mentally: We were in shock that everything good got taken from us. We were living our dream and then all of a sudden everyone in our band and crew was seriously injured or dead. Everything changes so drastically in one moment and it doesn’t feel good to see your friends hurt like that.”
Your new album title 'Up In The Attic' is an interesting title, but I'm wondering if it originates from a more personal standpoint? "Whoever knows the band will notice that all of the items in the cover art are pieces of songs and lyrics. The house represents the band and the attic is a collection of all of our songs, it pays respect to our back catalogue as well as the songs on this record. “Up In The Attic” is a lyric from a song on the record called, “She’s Only Evil” too.”
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated AAF at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "In my opinion, I think “Bad Morning” is.”
And whilst we're revealing things, just where did that band name originate ... and what else could you so easily have been called? "Our old guitar player Terry thought of it. It’s a tongue in cheek Alien theory, like Aliens put us on this Earth to watch us for entertainment. We never really considered any other names.”
Now that Tye Zamora has left the band to go back to college, has Alex Barreto slipped in seamlessly ... or were there other replacement choices, perhaps? "I already had already started a side project with Alex, so it was a natural transition. Alex had his work cut out for him, but he’s doing really well.”
For fun, please tell us what was going thru your mind when these four (4) AAF songs were being recorded:
“S.S. Recognize” - “I was happy to do this song because I remember The Deleos were happy to leave it alone in its original form. It has a lot of early Alien Ant Farm energy in it.”
“Smooth Criminal” - "We thought it might do good in a weird way and it’s funny because it went way beyond what anyone ever expected; I was just having fun recording it.”
“Glow” - “That song is about a blow job, so it’s kind of funny recording it. The instrumentation make it a fun song. It’s the perfect way to sing about a blow job.”
“Forgive & Forget” - “This song was written in one day and it was kind of put together for radio purposes. I think we did and okay job.”
If you could choose another '70s, '80s, or '90s (and possibly cheesy!) song to cover in your own way again today, which would it be ... and why?! "Probably “Smooth Operator” because it has the word “Smooth” in it and it’s a Sade song so it seems just as equally obscure as it did when we started playing “Smooth Criminal” at the beginning.”
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of AAF's new CD, just answer this easy question: On what day and date in 2002 whilst traveling in Spain on their way to a gig in Portugal, did the band's tour bus collide with a truck?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 15th with your answer and the subject title 'AAF SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
Back To Archives