California alt-rockers Alien Ant Farm are coming to Des Moines August 21 for an afternoon show at House of Bricks (525 East Grand Avenue). Tickets for the show are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. The doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and the show is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
Alien Ant Farm has an odd history. The band formed in Riverside, California in the mid-nineties and was considered an all-star band, of sorts. The members each came from different popular California garage bands. After a couple of EPs, the band released its underground debut Greatest Hits in 1999. The album won Best Independent Album at the Los Angeles Music Awards.
The band signed with Dreamworks SKG and put out their first major label album ANThology in 2000. That album would yield their first and biggest hit, a remake of Michael’s Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. The song was one that the band used to tinker around with while warming up for shows, and fan reaction was so positive that they ended up recording the song as an homage to Jackson. The song went to #23 on Billboard’s Hot 100, #1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart, and #18 on Billboard’s Mainstream rock chart. The hit also went Top 10 in 7 other countries, including #1 in Australia.
The band’s follow-up single “Movies” climbed to #18 on the U.S. Modern Rock chart and went as high as #5 in the U.K. The video of the song featured homages to movies like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,The Karate Kid, Edward Scissorhands, and Ghostbusters. The band toured Europe, only to be derailed by a bus accident in Spain that broke lead singer Dryden Mitchell’s neck and injured the rest of the band, as well. All would recover and the band would get back to work on a new album.
Alien Ant Farm would then start a series of odd twists in their story. The band was arrested (and later released) for crashing the 2003 BET Awards show. The band was filming a video for “These Days”, a song off their next studio album TruANT, on a rooftop near where the BET Awards show was being held. The band crashed the event by serenading the red carpet with “These Days”, before being hauled off by police and later, released, without any charges being filed. The band would later crash a Gay Pride parade and a performance by Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. [YouTube footage (posted by the band) from the BET incident can be seen at the left.]
Their record company would soon after go broke and be bought out. Over the next several years, band members left for other bands and returned. They were rumored to have broken up on several occasions. The band recorded a new album, only to have it shelved by their new label, Geffen Records. Geffen refused to let the band release the album themselves, prompting the band to hand out unofficial bootleg copies to fans. Geffen would later relent and allow the band to release the album, which was titled Up in the Attic.
The band would go on to release 2 more albums (The Best of Alien Ant Farm, and Alien Ant Farm: Live in Germany) without much commercial success. However, they were still in demand on the road and continue to tour. Alien Ant Farm has also been sought out to record music for multiple soundtracks and video games. The band hits Iowa as part of their 4-month ANTicipation Tour.