Every time I interview a band it seems to be really quite nippy. Today is no exception. I am interviewing Alien Ant Farm’s Terry Corso prior to their first ever headlining show in Manchester, at the largest university venue – The Academy. The 30-year-old guitarist proves to be a tricky eel to snare when it comes to certain topics…
Alien Ant Farm have been over to Britain before, while supporting close friends and label mates Papa Roach, and have played one-off headliners in the capital, but this tour will be their first ever headlining tour of the UK and Terry seems mighty pleased about it as well, “Yeah, it’s absolutely exhilarating, y’know. Considering it’s our first tour and all.” Indeed, but despite their status as debutantes, they have almost sold out every date on the tour. The hugely popular, insect-based phenomenon seems unconfined to Papa Roach.
Talking of Papa Roach, Mr.Corso seemingly has no problem at all with what has been seen as riding the coat tails of Papa Roach’s success in many corners. He disregards any implication of weirdness saying, “It’s really cool being signed to P.Roach. They’re our buddies.” Their extraordinarily popular album – ANThology – was released on Papa Roach’s DreamWorks imprint, New Noize to a huge response on both sides of the Atlantic.
AAF are currently still touring ANThology across the globe and Terry indicates it will be a while until any new material is demoed, let alone recorded. They were satisfied with the quality of recording and the response received after initial apprehension, “We were unsure how ANThology was going to turn out, once we’d recorded it, but it turned out OK!” The trend of heavy touring will continue as the quartet hit America in the Spring for the Snowcore arena tour, which will include other metal acts such as Adema, Fenix*TX and Glassjaw. It will be some line-up.
Terry, who thought up the band name during some crazy bored-in-the-office moment, talks of American fans when asked to compare the fans that he’s come up against on his travels, “The fans in the US vary from place to place, but in the UK you all go berserk. In the US there are a lot more festivals and that kinda thing. I get the feeling you guys take it all a lot more seriously over here.” It’s no fun not being serious, is it! When you’re filling 2000 spots per city you can expect a lot of serious fans there.
Corso is incredibly quick to dispel any thought of criticism as a nu-metal band, “We just pay no attention to it y’know. We draw our music from a lot of resources and we all liked different bands, growing up. We’re a rock band. There are no barriers.” He was so quick, he jumped in with the answer halfway through the question. One may infer that he has had to answer this sort of question one time too many. When I grilled the bubbly Californian on the notion of ‘selling out’ and his thoughts on the matter, he had little to say but that… “AAF have not and WILL not sell out.” Good. I should hope not.
Recently re-released single, ‘Movies’ has a boxing ring in it as has another single, by someone else. Apparently it wasn’t a coincidence. And apparently it wasn’t a boxing ring. Duh. “Yeah, that was cool. We like to have a bit of fun when we record a video and ‘Movies’ was no exception. It’s actually a wrestling ring because our song is being used by WWF for some intro music.” Should we go back to that selling out thing? I daresay it was safer that I didn’t – musical integrity and bitter ideologies were at stake. Incidentally, 'Movies was originally released in June 2001, but didn't chart despite considerable radio airplay.
Alien Ant Farm’s first massive hit in the UK was the cover of Michael Jackson's classic 80s hit, ‘Smooth Criminal’.
Do you ever worry about being labelled as ‘The Jacko Band’?
Weren’t you meant to play with Michael Jackson at some awards ceremony?
“Things are always changing in this business. It was something that had been talked about but in the end it didn’t work out and that was that.”
What are your musical influences?
“As a band? Good music: hip-hop, metal, rock, punk. Good music.”
Name some of your current favourite bands.
“Muse are really good. I picked up their ‘Origins of Symmetry’ album and it’s really cool. There’s a band called Dredge from Northern California signed to Interscope and Apex Theory from LA, who are on Dreamworks. Look out for Keno Champ as well!”
What are your future plans?
“Touring at the moment. We want to record a song for the Spiderman movie, do the Snowcore tour, have a month off with our girlfriends and then go back on the road.”
Are the rumours true?
“NO! Oh, the one that we are fantastic? That’s true. And the one that we are true gentlemen? That too!”
Do aliens keep farms of ants in outer space?
“Yeah. It’s called Earth.”
Citing Jeff Buckley as his major musical influence, Terry agrees fully with the notion of AAF being true and indeed “outright romantics” when quizzed upon the origins of the title, ‘Movies’. Apparently their favourite films include such shamelessly, timeless classics as ‘A Christmas Vacation’ and ‘Raising Arizona’. On that note, I’ll leave you – I just need to pop down the video store.