As evidenced by classic bands like The Beatles to contemporary rockers like Papa Roach, pop music has always been a buggy affair. But the musical landscape just got buggier with the emergence of Alien Ant Farm.
The band's funk-rock revamp of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" has received immense radio support while capturing "Buzzworthy" status at MTV. What's more, the often-jaded music press has embraced AAF's interpretation of Jackson's tune with open arms. Entertainment Weekly recently wrote: "As Michael Jackson prepares new material, Ant Farm reaps the fruits of his labor, adding crunching guitars to the original's rollicking bass line and an aggro sneer to its chorus of woos."
The members of AAF - vocalist Dryden Mitchell, guitarist Terry Corso, bassist Tye Zamora and drummer Mike Cosgrove - say the Jackson cover is a labor of love. As frontman Mitchell explains: "We're all big fans of Michael Jackson. We were messing with it in the garage one day, and the riff screamed out to be heavy."
"Smooth Criminal" only provides a glimpse of AAF's musical abilities. The band's sophomore album, ANThology, fuses introspective lyrics with astoundingly tight musicianship. Tracks like "Courage," "Movies," "Attitude" and "Stranded" run the gamut from punk and funk to reggae and progressive rock. "I'd say we've got an original sound for a rock band," vocalist Michell says. "The music can be dense and technical at times, but the lyrics bring it back to where the song is something everyone can relate to."
Alien Ant Farm is the first act signed via a joint arrangement between DreamWorks Records and Papa Roach's New Noize label. Hailing from Southern California, AAF's 1999 debut CD, Greatest Hits, captured Best Independent Rock Album honors at the L.A. Music Awards. Featured on the 2001 Warped Tour, AAF continues to display a tireless work ethic comparable to their insect namesakes.