LOS ANGELES — "We should probably just let down the cover now," former Stone Temple Pilots guitarist Dean DeLeo deadpanned during a break from recording at Swing House Studios earlier this week. "Thursday nights we get together at my place, we have a little card game, and I actually won Filter in a card game. So Rich really had no other option than to do this with us."
This is Army of Anyone, rock's latest supergroup, featuring Filter's Richard Patrick on vocals, Dean and his bassist brother Robert DeLeo and Ray Luzier, from David Lee Roth's band, on drums. And while the band might not have come together exactly as Dean says, it is sort of true that Patrick had no choice.
"The first musical experience we had," Patrick recalled, "they came over to the little studio in my guest house and it was like Siamese twins — they had guitars growing out of 'em. Literally moments later, [Dean] was like, 'Yeah, I think I wrote something on the way over here,' and boom, it was like the most beautiful music I'd ever heard. Within moments, we'd written this gorgeous song and we looked at each other and it was just like, 'Yeah, this is where it's at, right here. This is what we want to do.' "
The song, titled "A Better Place" and set to be released on the band's debut album (which is slated to come out on Columbia in early 2006), kick-started a jam session that lasted some 12 hours.
"We called it the 'Around the World Jam,' 'cause we went to Mexico, we went to Brazil, we went to Pittsburgh, a little polka, a little bossa nova, a little rock and roll, a little punk — we just blended it all in," Robert DeLeo recalled. "Just to be able to do that, to play together with someone and be able to establish that, is a thing on its own."
The musicians, who knew each other from touring with their previous bands, also jelled on a personal level.
"We all knew what we wanted and where we were in our lives separately, and to me that was the first step in getting together and actually calling this a band, which is a big commitment," Robert explained. "It's one thing writing music together and going through those motions, but actually committing to being a band is a huge thing."
Especially when neither Filter nor Stone Temple Pilots ever officially broke up. In fact, since 2002's The Amalgamut, Patrick has been working on and off on the follow-up, although he clearly stated, "This band is my priority right now" as he sat with his Army of Anyone bandmates.
As for STP, "Personally, I wrapped things up with my past a while ago and I don't know whether this signals the end, but it definitely signals a beginning," Robert said. "And I think we're all here because of that beginning."
And for Patrick, Army of Anyone marks not just the beginning of a new band, but a new life: He's making music totally clean.
"I can't believe how I survived on the planet for so long, the way I was living my life before — before this day, actually," he said pointing to a tattoo on his arm with the date he went sober, September 28, 2002. "It's been the most exciting thing in my life. I'm so glad I really have a second chance, and I'm going to take full advantage of it."
Patrick also quit smoking and believes it's done wonders for his voice. And then there's the songwriting.
"Your brain turns on when you get sober, so there's songs that are really personal, there's songs that are political ... I'm really, really proud of these lyrics," he said. "Lyrics were always the thing that I did at the end of the song, but now I really focus and make them perfect."
Army of Anyone, a name Patrick said comes from "the naive hippie thing" of wishing the world was all on the same team, are recording their as-yet-untitled debut with Bob Ezrin, the mastermind behind Pink Floyd's The Wall and Alice Cooper's early hits. The music sounds just like a fan of Filter and STP would want it, with Patrick's soaring vocals elegantly balanced with the instantly recognizable DeLeo riffs.
"I know it seems kind of like the trend to do the supergroup kinda thing," Patrick said, referring to Audioslave and Velvet Revolver. "But for us it's just the natural progression of where we want to go with our lives. And it's about chemistry."
Dean then explained that trend.
"How do you come from Guns N' Roses or Rage Against the Machine and find somebody to fill those shoes, with musicians that are that seasoned?" he asked. "You get Scott [Weiland], you get Chris [Cornell], you get Rich. Everybody kinda has to come into it at the same level where everybody else is. And we fortunately have the luxury of doing that with one another."