In 1995 in the Californian town of Riverside, four young, creative musicians fused their ambitions and talents together to form the rock band Alien Ant Farm. AAF was called into life by guitarist Terry Corso and drummer Mike Cosgrove, who hand-picked some of the best local musicians from various other bands.
"We started moonlighting on our [other] bands and eventually quit them all," says Terry Corso. Tye Zamora was playing guitar at the time but wanted to switch to bass, while Dryden Mitchell played in local band Dragonphlie. The band briefly floated the idea of wearing masks to conceal their identities on stage but then realized the chemistry was just too good to ignore. The unusual name of the band stemmed from guitarist Terry Corso: "I was daydreaming at my dull desk job with my feet up, and I thought to myself, 'Wouldn't it be cool if the human species were placed on earth and cultivated by alien intelligence?'
Maybe the aliens added us to an atmosphere that was suitable for us, and they've been watching us develop and colonize, kind of like what a kid does with an ant farm, where the aliens are the kids and humans are the ants." Word of the band began to saturate the underground music scene as early as 1996, when they played their first gig together on Dryden's 20th birthday and later the same year, released their first demo, "$100 Demo." Alien Ant Farm became instantly known for their energetic live shows and pulsing rock beat. A strong loyal following began to sprout up throughout Southern California with the release of their second demo in 1998, "Love Songs," and the band started extensively touring all through the western region of the U.S.
The buzz about the band did not stop there. Each new performance birthed new fans planting firm stakes in Alien Ant Farm's soil. 1999 paved a new path for the talented four as they independently released their long-awaited, first full-length album entitled "Greatest Hits," produced by Jim Wirt (also producing AAF's 2005 album, their fourth studio album, yet to be titled). With their new album as ammunition, they proceeded to tour and gain support from the Inland Empire's alternative radio station, X103.9, KCXX with an add to regular rotation. Heads continued to turn as "Greatest Hits" was named "Best Independent Rock Album of the Year" at the L.A. Music Awards in 1999.
That same summer, the guys found themselves touring Europe and performing at festivals in front of thousands. The year 2000 ecstatically welcomed Alien Ant Farm, as DreamWorks Records and Papa Roach's imprint label New Noize presented them with a promising record deal. For both bands, this was more than a business arrangement. In fact, Alien Ant Farm and Papa Roach share a camaraderie forged years ago when both were tearing it up on the Golden State club circuit. "Coming up with them was great," says drummer Mike Cosgrove. "They had a fan base in Northern California, and we had a fan base in Southern California, so we began swapping shows; we'd hook them up with gigs down here and they'd hook us up with gigs up there. There's a lot of mutual respect between us, and we've become good friends. We see the fire in them and they see the fire in us."
When Papa Roach began gaining prominence, they made sure their compadres had a shot at the limelight. Remembers Corso: "We'd always said, 'Whoever takes off first will help the other group up,' and that's the way it happened. They've been very vocal about us, which is priceless, and we can't thank them enough." Asked how their fans might feel about the Ant Farm's jump to the big leagues, Zamora says: "We're blue-collar musicians who've worked hard to get where we're at. We're not trying to be something we're not. This is real music coming from real people and it will always be that way for us." Echoes Cosgrove: "You can't pull anything over on the fans."
In 2001, Alien Ant Farm released their single "Movies," which was immediately overshadowed by the band's most prominent hit, "Smooth Criminal," which had gone to No. 1 on the modern rock charts. Making the Michael Jackson tune a single had not been part of the game plan. It had slipped out of the band's control when a few radio program directors spun it a couple of times and got an immediate positive response.
Their album "ANThology" went platinum, selling more than three million copies worldwide. After the smashing success of "Smooth Criminal," Alien Ant Farm re-released their first single, "Movies" and followed it up with the Latin-influenced "Attitude." Also in 2001, Alien Ant Farm joined Papa Roach for the Vans Warped Tour. May 22, 2002, became a dark day in the history of the band when on their way from Spain to Portugal, their tourbus collided with a truck. The driver of the bus was killed, other members of the band and crew were seriously injured. Mitchell was the most severely wounded of the quartet, suffering a fracture to his C2 vertebra. In layman's terms, that's a broken neck. Corso shattered his left fibular shaft, the leg bone just above the ankle. Zamora chipped a bone in his right toe.
The most fortunate of the traveling party, Cosgrove escaped with cuts and bruises. After extensive recuperation from the accident, Alien Ant Farm went back to the studio to record their third album "truANT," which was produced by the Stone Temple Pilots' own DeLeo brothers. AAF hit the road again in 2003 to promote their new album, which they claimed was not "pushed enough" by their record company. In October 2003, Terry Corso left the band, citing "musical differences." (He has now joined Powerman 5000.) Terry was replaced by Vincent Camacho temporarily for a few shows, then guitarist Joe Hill joined the band early in 2004. Alien Ant Farm has just wrapped up the preliminary work on their fourth studio album, produced by Jim Wirt ("Greatest Hits," 1999), which is due to be released around July 2005 and is yet to be titled... The latest album was released in 2006 and it's called Up In The Attic - Tye Zamora left the band and was replaced by Alex Barreto.
On February 11, 2008, the band posted a statement on their website saying all the original members of the band are back together for some shows.