Alien Ant Farm are about to find out how good Stone Temple Pilots' Dean and Robert DeLeo are at the producer type thing.
The DeLeos, whose production résumé is currently the big empty, will man the boards for the Southern California rock band's still-untitled follow-up to 2001's ANThology.
"Them never having produced a record was appealing to us because we figured that a great engineer and them combined [would make an amazing team]," Alien Ant Farm singer Dryden Mitchell said. "It seemed a little bit more exciting not knowing what to expect. Also, anyone can record a record, and [we thought] they were maybe more capable than some producers out there of getting some good songs out of us and being there for the project and not just overseeing all the work."
Signing on with the DeLeos was a leap of faith, but Alien Ant Farm were convinced the guys could pilot them through the record because not only are AAF longtime STP fans, they're also impressed that the band's decade-long recording career has focused more on albums than singles.
"We wanted musicians in there and people who were very aware of harmony," Mitchell said. "I'm sure there are a lot of producers who are great piano players and vocalists, but we wanted someone who fit that description and had also been on the band side of things. We didn't want someone saying, 'This is radio, this is radio,' and by the time you're done you have a bunch of little radio songs, which might not be the best thing."
As pleased as they are about working with the writers of hits like "Sex Type Thing," "Vasoline" and "Big Bang Baby," Alien Ant Farm's first choice was Jon Brion, who has worked with Fiona Apple and Badly Drawn Boy. The bandmembers also considered ex-Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison, who has produced material for Live and No Doubt. But when they met, they didn't vibe with Harrison. Then somebody suggested the DeLeos.
"When we met them it just didn't feel like a meeting," Mitchell said. "That's the kind of recording environment that we wanted — like, having a good time while we're doing it and then when we're done [realizing], 'Whoa, we just finished a record.' "
Alien Ant Farm and the DeLeos have been in pre-production for two weeks and will work on songs for another two weeks before recording begins in Los Angeles.
"We've already decided what songs are going to be used," Mitchell said. "We're just going to work out the kinks and work on the lyrics a little more and then just rehearse in the last week so that we can be a little quicker in the studio."
If all goes well, Alien Ant Farm will have the album done by May for a fall release.
Last year, the DeLeos wrote a batch of songs with Glen Campbell (see "Stone Temple Pilots Saddle Up With Rhinestone Cowboy"), which may surface on his next album. Stone Temple Pilots are on hiatus while singer Scott Weiland works on a second solo record, but the band plans to reconvene later this year.