ALIEN ANT FARM with PAPA ROACH and SNAPCASE at the Warehouse (1 Jarvis), Sunday (April 22). $26.99. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
not that they're complaining, but the fortunes of Riverside, California, mosh-friendly punk/metal quartet Alien Ant Farm are inextricably tied to those of fellow Cali howlers, the similarly entomological Papa Roach.
Long-time friends who did double-date tours of their home state -- trading headlining status depending on where they were playing -- the two bands early on vowed to stick together should either win the chart success lottery.
As it turned out, Papa Roach's scorching rap/metal and misanthropic lyrics proved the winning ticket, scoring platinum sales and the cover of Spin. True to their word, P-Roach pointed the headz at the New Noize label, a DreamWorks affiliate, toward AAF and -- presto -- the group's second release, ANThology, suddenly had major-label backing, just like their heroes in, er, Steely Dan.
"We played a show once that was attended by (Steely Dan guitarist) Jeff "Skunk' Baxter," enthuses AAF drummer Mike Cosgrove from NYC. "We're super-huge fans of Steely Dan, and when Skunk Baxter came to our dressing room to say hello, that was, like, "Whoa!!'
"I mean, those dudes were super-sophisticated musicians, so for them to even listen to our shit was just amazing. I guess it's true that not many of our fans would peg us as Steely Dan fans. But we're still young. In a few years, you can bet their influence will show up in our music."
As if to compound the horror-by-association for hipster Alien Ant Farm fans, Cosgrove instantly namechecks Ben Folds Five and Fiona Apple as artists he'd wait in line to see.
Whatever. As Papa Roach and Alien Ant Farm kick angst-filled teenage butt across North America -- including at the Warehouse Sunday -- Cosgrove admits the relationship between P-Roach and AAF is symbiotic, although, to use Cali parlance, the situation seems to have him more psyched than bummed.
"We aren't threatened by the relationship at all," Cosgrove insists. "Our music is nothing alike. The fact that we have ants and roaches in our names is, like, so coincidental. We met just coming up in California, made this silly little pact, they broke through first and they've stayed true to their word. We've all worked very hard.
"We know we have a lot to prove. And think of it this way. We have our really good friends pulling us onto tours where we get to play to a bunch of great kids who really appreciate the music. It's great exposure. How could we possibly complain about that?"