Alien Ant Farm's debut single is called "Movies," but the song has more ties with classic television.
The Southern California new-metal foursome filmed the video for the tongue-in-cheek love song on the "Leave It to Beaver" set, and singer Dryden Mitchell was inspired to write the song after spending too many despairing evenings watching "Mr. Ed."
"It's a 'Hey, this isn't going to work out' type of love song," Mitchell said of the song, in which he begins, "At slow speed we all seem focused/ In motion we seem wrong," and later belts, "And just like the movies/ We play out our last scene."
"I remember being a kid and in love and getting my heart broken and watching Nick at Nite. Now I look back and think about how stupid that was ... even though that isn't really a movie. I couldn't sing, 'Just like the TV.' "
Mitchell's "punny" songs, as he calls them, make up Alien Ant Farm's major-label debut, ANThology, the first release on Papa Roach's New Noize label.
Alien Ant Farm and Papa Roach have been gigging together in the Los Angeles area for years, and made a pact that if one of them made it, they would bring the other with them.
Along with releasing ANThology, due Tuesday (March 6), Papa Roach are taking their neighbors on the upcoming Raid the Nation Tour.
"Alien Ant Farm was the first group that brought us to the clubs in L.A.," Papa Roach guitarist Jerry Horton said. "Their album is going to be one of the best albums of the year, and I'm looking forward to touring with them."
Alien Ant Farm formed in Riverside, California, nearly five years ago as a side project with several of the area's premier musicians.
"We were just kind of like cheating on our other bands to form this band," Mitchell said. "We were actually going to wear masks, not as any kind of image, but we didn't want our bands to know we were doing other projects. Finally we said, 'F--- that. This is too good. Let's just f---ing quit and be this band.' "
Alien Ant Farm, which includes guitarist Terry Corso, bassist Tye Zamora and drummer Mike Cosgrove, did just that they began practicing daily and performing nearly as often. A few years later, they teamed with producer Jim Wirt (Incubus) to record 1999's low-budget Greatest Hits, which went on to win Best Independent Rock Album at the L.A. Music Awards.
After touring Europe last year, Mitchell and crew entered the studio again, this time with Jay Baumgardner (Papa Roach, Orgy). The end result, ANThology, is a musically complex metal album somewhere between Incubus' Make Yourself and A Perfect Circle's Mer de Noms. Mitchell, unlike Papa Roach's Coby Dick, is a singer rather than a rapper or screamer.
"I like girl singers," Mitchell said. "Edie Brickell is my hero. Fiona Apple is cool. We were just talking the other day about how cool it would be to work with [Apple and Aimee Mann producer] Jon Brion."
ANThology includes a mix of both rock thunder and sprinkle, including a note-for-note cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." "Happy Death Day," like several tracks, is fueled by anger and wit, evident in Mitchell's chorus, "Papa's got a brand new body bag for you."
"Every hook is familiar," Mitchell said of "Happy Death Day." "Everything I like, I've heard before. But the good stuff always has a little change to it. I don't think it's ripping off anyone."
Alien Ant Farm are currently supporting their new album on the Vapor Transmission Tour with Orgy and Spineshank. They will follow with the Raid the Nation Tour, which kicks off March 17, and the Vans Warped Tour. Each of the outings will land Mitchell somewhere he doesn't want to be.
"I don't like stages," he said. "I understand the need to be higher, but it makes a band look like holier than thou. I don't want to pay money to go see a band show me how cool they are. If a band can't interact at the same level as the audience, then I don't care to see them. Playing on the floor is a cool feeling. People react in a different way."
Vapor Transmission Tour dates, according to New Noize:
- 3/5 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Metropol
- 3/6 - Cleveland, OH @ Odeon
- 3/7 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
- 3/8 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
- 3/11 - Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Theater and Ballroom
- 3/12 - Louisville, KY @ @ Jillian's
- 3/14 - San Antonio, TX @ Sunset Station
- 3/15 - South Padre Island, TX @ Schlitterbahn Water Park
- 3/16 - Corpus Christi, TX @ Concrete State Amphitheater
Raid the Nation Tour dates, according to New Noize:
- 3/17 - New Orleans, LA @ State Palace Theater
- 3/18 - Pensacola, FL @ Bayfront Auditorium
- 3/19 - Panama City, FL @ Club LaVela
- 3/21- Birmingham, AL @ Boutwell Auditorium
- 3/22 - Athens, GA @ Classic Center
- 3/23 - Chattanooga, TN @ Highlands Arena
- 3/24 - Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
- 3/26 - Miami, FL @ Bayfront Park
- 3/27 - Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live or House of Blues
- 3/28 - Jacksonville, FL @ Jacksonville Coliseum
- 3/30 - Boca Raton, FL @ Florida Atlantic University
- 3/31 - Tampa, FL @ Entertainment Hall
- 4/1 - Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
- 4/3 - Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
- 4/4 - Salem, VA @ Salem Civic Center
- 4/5 - Charlotte, NC @ Grady Cole Center
- 4/7 - Washington, DC @ Bender Arena
- 4/8 - Norfolk, VA @ The Boathouse
- 4/9 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 4/10 - Baltimore, MD @ Towson Center
- 4/11 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
- 4/12 - Asbury Park, NJ @ Convention Hall