Alien Ant Farm

A year ago Alien Ant Farm were virtually unknown and it took a cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" to take the leap from the rock community to the mainstream. Its pretty safe to say it was the only incident that year that put Jackson in a good light. As the Ant Farm get set to release their second single "Movies" in the UK we caught up with Mike Cosgrove from the band to talk about the new Spiderman song "Bug Bytes" and the possibility of a forthcoming covers album.

Q: The song that made it for you over here was the cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". Do you realize that your cover version was the only thing that made Michael Jackson relevant last year?
A: Kind of, its really weird. He's kind of got his thing and its going to be hard for him to come back...he's got to measure up to Michael Jackson!!! Its kind of hard to be that consistent you know as well. When he did the tribute shows at New York we were invited, then uninvited, invited again and then uninvited again - so we were like f**k him!!! If he wants to be to be f**king real about it then were the only one's who got his song at number 1.

Its going to be hard for him to live up to what he's done in the past - he's made great leaps and bounds for music or career or whatever and he's the king of pop. Why should he give up? There's been a lot of people who have made bad records and come back to be better. It stupid to say should he give up. He's a musician and not every artists piece is brilliant, yer know what I mean.

Q: From Alien Ant Farm and Marilyn Manson to smaller bands such as Godhead and Sugacoma,  the rock cover version of a classic pop song has almost become a set-piece for any rock band over the past 12 months. Can we expect any other cover versions from the Ant Farm then?
A: The thing is there's stigma over playing covers like you're a jumped up cover band but your know what. If you go back in the day a lot of artists were defined by there version of a standard. There was a standard songbook like Gerschwin and all that stuff and Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker would play it - it was the kind of stuff that defined them!!!

I grew up liking Metallica and they had covers on there albums, I never minded it. I really would like to do a covers album or an EP. Its totally fun to play these songs and you learn a lot from trying to play these songs right or trying to do them your way.

Were not scared about losing credibility for being like that because we feel good about our own music too. But it would be a fun thing to do, Primus did it too. If we did a record I wouldn't necessarily want to release a single off it but just do it for the fans. Whoever wanted to buy it could and for us it would just be a case of recording some of our favourite songs.

Q: Alien Ant Farm really stick out from all the other rock bands in the sense that you don't take yourselves too seriously. Is this a fair assumption?
A: It's (depressing rock) just boring and redundant. I've got nothing to be depressed about really except for the girls that we write the songs about. I just love playing music and going around the world and my biggest problem is that maybe that I can't find the right girl or something.

Musically were dead serious about as far as the execution of our notes. Just playing music for real and not having no gimmick other than playing a really rad show. Other than that were not professional speakers or this or that so if we say stupid shit...were just doing it to entertain ourselves and if people take it the wrong way then its there problem.

Q: There's seems to be almost like a unwritten Californian agreement. Papa Roach brought you guys up with them and if i'm not mistaken your helping the support band Dredg break though to the UK as well. What's the story?
A: They come from North California and before we got a deal Papa Roach took off and was doing really good. So us guys and Dredg started playing a lot of shows together. They're a bit younger than us and we just did a lot of independent touring together down the West Coast. Now they got a record deal with Interscope and are just like amazing.

We just brought them out here for the UK and Ireland tour to turn everyone on to them here. They can't believe they've had the chance to come out to Europe and play shows and they're like How can we repay you? Its like just go and help another band and let the karma go.

Q: Since being out in Europe and the UK have you had your ears turned on to any new bands?
A: My favourite new band hat I've discovered which everyone's else knows about over here is Muse. I have a friend Tony who plays drums for Jesus Jones and he turned we onto to Muse. He got the CD "Origin Of Symmetry" for us and its awesome, we were trying to get it for ages in the States and couldn't really find it. We really want to get in touch with them and maybe take them on tour in the States. And we really want to open up for them out here.

Q: The Alien Ant Farm videos are two of the most memorable vids of the last twelve months. Is it a lot of fun to make these mad 3 minute comedy sketches?
A: Its cool because who wants to go in front of the camera and be all serious. Especially when you do the takes like how many times and from how many different angles - we just like to do something that's fun and maybe makes people laugh. Peter Gabriel does rad videos and so does Michael Jackson...and were no where near that...but we just want to have a good time and take our best shot at being entertainment.

We just sat around brainstorming with our director Michael Aspel (who also did Smooth Criminal) and we wanted to do movie spoofs. It was like I wonder if there's anyone we can get from any of these movies - it was like yeahhhhh - we can get Mr Myagi!!!!

Q: A bit of a cheesy question here but we'll go for it anyway. What is your favourite movie and why?
A: I think "Stand By Me". Its like growing up, being friends and going on a journey together. Its kind of like what were doing, yer know what I mean.

Q: I believe you're going to start recording the second major label album later in the year. What's the situation at the moment? Have you started writing for it yet?
A: We just wrote a song for the Spiderman soundtrack called "Bug Bytes" and its pretty rock. But the stuff that coming out, we'll probably mellow out a little. We wanna keep the energy of every great metal band that we've ever dug but we also want to keep people entertain people with good melodic, flowing music.

I don't think were going to have a video for "Bug Bytes", but were going to a video for our third single called "Attitude". We start filming it at the beginning of March and its going to have a latin feel to it...its actually going to be the first video that were going to do that's not going to be all stupid and whatever. Its not going to be serious...just us playing there with a latin feel.

"Movies" is out now

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