The SoCal rockers have a hit with ''Smooth Criminal''

By Evan Serpick
July 24, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Alien Ant Farm: Ralph Strathmann

BAND NAME Alien Ant Farm
HOMETOWN Riverside, Calif.
latest album ”Anthology” (New Noize/DreamWorks)
REASON YOU’VE NOTICED THEM Their rowdy take on Michael Jackson’s ”Smooth Criminal” — and its video sending up the King of Pop — are gut-busting hits.
H0W THEY WOULD DESCRIBE THEIR SOUND IF THEY WERE MUSIC CRITICS ”Nu-romantic heavy metal,” says frontman Dryden Mitchell, 26. (The other members are Tye Zamora, 24; Mike Cosgrove, 26; and Terry Corso, 30.)
HOW WE WOULD DESCRIBE THEIR SOUND Incubus channeling Sugar Ray.
TARGET DEMOGRAPHICS Skater kids with straight A’s.
FASHION SENSE Tattoos and khakis.
TRIUMPHANT TALE OF HOW THEY BEAT THE ODDS ”The fact that we study music sets us apart,” says Mitchell. ”Maybe 1 percent of bands actually practice their instruments, besides just rehearsing the music they play in the band.”
IF THEY WERE A BREAKFAST CEREAL, THEY WOULD BE Honey Bunches of Notes
STOCK QUOTE ON THE PITFALLS OF FAME ”I used to think, ‘How cool it’d be to be on the radio,’ and now it’s just a tool for us to get to the next thing,” says Mitchell.
LEAD SINGER’S INSTANT CHARISMA FACTOR (OUT OF A POSSIBLE 5) 2
FUNKY FACT A few years back, the SoCal Farmers befriended NoCal’s Papa Roach, and the two set up local gigs for each other. When Roach hit it big last year, they signed Ants to their new label.
ARTISTS WHO NEVER LEAVE THE TAPE PLAYER ON THEIR TOUR BUS Edie Brickell, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Sting, and Sade.
WHAT’S NEXT After the Warped Tour, the Ants will swarm over Europe in August, then do some U.S. club dates. Says Mitchell, ”As long as this album is doing good, we’ll keep going.”

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