LOS ANGELES — With their first single, first album and first tour right around the corner, what are Army of Anyone most looking forward to?
“The fifth record,” answered Dean DeLeo, the former Stone Temple Pilots guitarist who formed the band with his brother/ STP bassist Robert, Filter singer Richard Patrick and drummer Ray Luzier.
“With two different entities getting together and doing something, there are always opinions about that,” Robert DeLeo interjected. “But it’s going back to what I originally said on the first STP record, when there was a lot of criticism on that. It was, ’Wait till our fifth record and then say what you’re going to say.’ And I think [that idea] applies to this [project] as well. It’s our first record, our first attempt at getting something together. And like Dean said, our fifth record, that’s what we’re really looking forward to.”
That’s not to say Army of Anyone aren’t enthusiastic about their self-titled debut, especially since they’ve been talking about it for nearly a year (see “The Newest Supergroup: STP’s DeLeo Brothers Join Filter Singer In Army Of Anyone” ).
Now the band finally has a release date (November 14) and single (“Goodbye”), which happens to be the last track the band wrote together — penned in “five minutes,” according to Dean.
“It’s a song about loss and dealing with the ending of things, you know, how everybody has to go through that at some point in their life,” Patrick said of the aggressive tune. “I’ve lost a lot of friends lately. I don’t know what’s going on. And there’s a full range of emotions that go behind it, like grief and then just anger, and then you feel sad and just kind of dealing with that.”
For the video, Army of Anyone enlisted director Scott Speer, a 24-year-old newcomer whose credits include Switchfoot’s “Stars” and Teddy Geiger’s “For You I Will (Confidence).”
“When he walked into the meeting, I thought, ’Great, someone’s junior manager is in here. When’s the director get here?’ ” Patrick joked on the set. “And then he goes, ’I am the director.’ But he’s got a vision and he’s talented and he knows his way around the camera.”
From many, many angles, Speer filmed Army of Anyone performing in front of a backlit white wall emblazoned with their circular logo.
“This is actually not the video shoot; this is the eye test we’re giving today,” Robert joked on the set, pointing to their logo. “I was really hoping that our first time onstage together wasn’t faking it, but that’s what we’re kind of doing today.”
Still, even lip-synching and playing unplugged guitars can be a challenge when it’s been five years or so since your last video shoot. And it took a few takes for Army of Anyone to warm up. “Eventually you’re like, ’Oh yeah, I have cameras and people and a microphone. OK, it all makes sense,’ ” Patrick said.
Army of Anyone blame the delay of their debut, originally scheduled for early 2006, on family events (children, weddings, etc.) as well as their decision to replace the original mixes of the recordings with ones by engineer Ken Andrews (Pete Yorn).
“He has a little ProTools rig set up in his backyard, and we just went in there and did it that way, getting out of these big, huge ridiculous studios and going in and just doing it on the computer,” Patrick said. “It’s pretty bold that we did that for our debut album, and if the technology wasn’t absolutely right, we wouldn’t do it. But it was really wonderful working like that.”
The album will be the first release from Firm Music. The label is a new division of Army of Anyone’s management company, the Firm, the powerhouse behind Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg and Korn. And the record deal, which gives the band far more royalties than a typical record label would, could vastly change the music industry. (Mandy Moore has already signed a similar deal.)
“The CD industry is fighting and struggling, but the music business is kickin’ ass,” Patrick explained. “And the thing is, when there’s this struggle of trying to maintain bottom lines and all the things that [labels are] trying to do, things get a little crazy. So we just said, ’Why not just have the managers go right to distribution and just put out the record that way,’ because the managers are in charge of everything and they make money off of everything. It’s easier and it’s not so chaotic.”
“Our biggest proponent is now our label,” Dean added. “And that’s a good place to be, man. The other side’s been good to us and, you know, we’ve climbed that ladder. But I’m not so willing to climb ladders anymore.”