An Interview With Alt-Rock Legends, ALIEN ANT FARM!
Posted On 09 Apr 2015
Tag: (Hed) PE, 9:30 Club, Alien Ant Farm, All Access, All Access Music Group, Always And Forever, ANTarchy In The USA, Artist Interview, Bob Marley, Dean DeLeo, Dryden Mitchell, Edie Brickell, Executive Music, Godlike, Homage, House of Blues, Linkin Park, Little Things, Marc Clausfeld, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Papa Roach, Phil Collins, Pledge Music, Police, Robert DeLeo, Sade, Slayer, Smooth Criminal, Stone Temple Pilots, The End Records, Truant, Up In The Attic, warped
Over the course of their four studio albums, Alien Ant Farm’s cumulative sales surpass five million units, a Grammy nomination and 4 top 10 singles.
The band built a massive following on the road early in their career via high profile 2001 runs with Linkin Park, Papa Roach and Warped. They have also toured Europe with Metallica.
Fresh off the heels of their headlining tour, aptly titled ANTarchy In The USA, the group returned with a bang in 2014, releasing the comeback single ‘Homage’, which received rotation on SIRIUS XM Faction.
Their recent album, Always And Forever is available for purchase via Executive Music/The End Records: http://smarturl.it/AAF-iTunes
Learn more about this band in the following interview with the Alien Ant Farm front-man, Dryden Mitchell:
How did the band first come together back in 1995? Where did the band name come from originally? What other names were you considering?
We were all in different bands at the time. We were also all friends and thought we should all do something together. Terry, our guitar player thought of Alien Ant Farm and I fell in love with the name the first time I heard it. I know the name Masters of The Universe was being thrown around. Glad we didn’t go with that one.
What do you think is the band’s biggest accomplishment to date?
Our biggest accomplishment is civility towards each other. Sounds weird, but it’s the truth. It’s hard to travel and keep a sane head with all these guys – myself included.
How do you think your sound has grown from album to album? How different is your soon to be released fifth album, Always And Forever?
There is tons of maturity in the very first record, along with flaws. It’s great to pop in these records every once in a while and remember the feeling we were all going through. Always and Forever is different in a lot of ways. We did co-writes on this record. Having others in the room will change the music for the better and for the worse. We tried to weed out the “worse”.
Tell me about your cover of Michael Jackson’s song, “Smooth Criminal”. Why did you decide to cover that particular song? How much say did you have on the track’s music video?
We used to do all sorts of covers. Phil Collins to Sade… We felt that ‘Smooth Criminal’ lent itself to rock perfectly. It deserved to be pumped up. I feel that we pulled it off nicely. For the video… the band had complete say. Us and Marc Clausfeld who directed the video had a field day with “what ifs” and then we just went to town with a hefty video budget. Those no longer exist.
In May 2002, you guys were involved in an awful bus accident while touring in Spain. Can you describe what it was like getting back into the studio to record new music after that?
I could spend 50 pages on this, but I’ll keep it simple. Once I felt a bit better after a broken neck I showed the guys some little demo ideas I had been writing at home. We happily started brewing what later became a record called Truant. Produced by Robert and Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots fame, Now this was a fun one to make to say the least.
A lot of your music has been featured in video games. What do you think it is about your songs that work so well with them?
I’m not sure, but I do enjoy hearing them in a game. I think it’s as cool as having a song in a movie. If kids dig it, I dig it.
You have not released an album since 2006’s Up In The Attic. Why the long stretch of time?
We have had a lot going on in our personal lives individually. There was a time when this band hated one another. Which brings me back to civility. Its a tough lil road tryin to keep all these macho egos in check.
So Always And Forever was funded solely through Pledge Music. Tell me about that experience?
Pledge Music is an amazing service. We’re still in the process of fulfilling the orders, and the fans have been great in being patient.
What was the inspiration for the album’s lead single, “Godlike”?
These ideas kinda just fall from the sky sometimes. Every comet has a story, and every Nova is a playground.
What other songs on this new collection are you most excited to share with your Alien Ant Farm fans?
I can’t pick songs like that. I love these things. There is a song called ‘Little Things’ on the record that is a sweet love song. There is a real special vocal performance going on in this track and it feels nice on my ear.
What do you think is the best part about being in this group?
The best part about being in Ant Farm is meeting and hanging with people at shows. Nobody in this group is too cool. We just wanna share experiences with other music lovers and partiers.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands have consistently inspired the music that you’ve made?
For me, Edie Brickell has been my biggest influence to date. She’s a word genius. My kind of poetry. Musically? we are all over the map – from the Police to Slayer. It’s ALL in there.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
I remember I humped a girl’s hairy armpit in a bathroom stall. We used that pink bathroom soap for lube. True story. Sorry.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
Just to know we put love into it. and I hope that it shows.
Does the band have any pre-performance rituals?
I use to do a lot of prep/superstitous stuff, so before it got out of hand I completely stopped all that nonsense. I do like to tell all my guys to have a good show, and pace yourselves.
The band is about to embark on a big tour promoting this album. What places are you most excited to play? How has it been going so far playing with (Hed) PE?
Any and every venue is gonna have cool positive people, and it’s share of assholes. I’m excited to meet all of them.
What have been some favorite venues and/or crowds that you have played at in the past?
9:30 Club in Washington DC is a great spot. I do enjoy all the House Of Blues venues. So many cool clubs. England Rules.
Living or dead, what musicians would you love to work with and why?
I’d love to sing a Song with Bob Marley! Why Not?