Dryden Mitchell has it good, and he’s damned well aware of it. He’s largely in good health these days after surviving a deadly bus crash in Europe some six years ago. He’s got a great home life, which includes two dogs (though his Boxer pisses in his bed for mysterious, random reasons—more on that one later). He golfs regularly. He brews his own iced tea. And, more recently, he’s even taking time out of his leisurely schedule to perform with his original bandmates in Alien Ant Farm for that well-paying, well-attended gig. To top it all off, Mitchell’s been writing and recording his own solo material.
“Someone’s going to pay for me to sing, and fly me to a hotel and whatever, that’s ridiculous,” Mitchell says, still immersed in disbelief after first striking the charts seven years ago with his Inland Empire-based melodic rock act. “I have friends and family that bust their asses doing jobs that they don’t like, and it’s cool to be able to do this stuff. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I just feel really lucky.”
And it’s good fortune, indeed, that his original band’s lineup is back together. After smoothing out some differences, Mitchell, along with bassist Tye Zamora, guitarist Terry Corso and drummer Mike Cosgrove, have been able to quietly revive the Ant Farm, presently operating solely as a live act. The foursome have recently toured Japan, performed large shows in New Jersey and New York, hit Las Vegas, and even tagged a big event for a few thousand kids in Tempe, Arizona. Next week, it’s onto South Padre. “Some Texas island,” Mitchell says, “I’ve never heard of it but I guess it’s like a big spring break spot. Just having some fun, getting a little money to do it. Dude, I golf and sing. There’s nothing I can bitch about, you know?”
The shows have been a bonding experience for the act, half of whom are still based in the Inland Empire (Mitchell resides in Huntington Beach, while Zamora is studying film scoring in Boston). Getting back together wasn’t entirely a planned event, nor was it something for which they wanted to create much fanfare. So far, the re-entry has been just a host of shows, though Mitchell doesn’t rule out new music for the Platinum-awarded act.
“We’ve kind of talked about writing songs. We’re just getting familiar with each other again,” he says. “Next month and in August, [Zamora] will be around town, and with the idea that we’re going to be in the same area, I find it hard to believe that we’re not going to start writing some stuff, because that’s all we’ve ever done.”
But Mitchell’s not only tending to the Ant Farm, as he’s been penning and recording his own solo material as of late. He’s working with producer Sergio Chavez whom he met while recording AAF’s 2006 album, Up In The Attic. “I had all this music and [Chavez] said ‘let’s do it,’” says Mitchell. “I just had a bunch of songs and wanted to do them. I just had about 20 of these ideas, and I’ve got about three that are album quality [recordings]. I’m definitely going to start shopping them, or whatever. I’ve met some industry people along the way that would love to help me out if they can.”
Mitchell says that his solo material is acoustic based, but notes that he doesn’t like acoustic rock. “I think this has more of a twist, like Dave Matthews-y, but maybe not as technical,” he says. “More of a dark Dave Matthews vibe. I’m just happy to be working with Sergio and feeling good about it.”
So, with the Ant Farm potentially writing new material and his solo efforts taking shape, what’s ahead for his musical career?
“I feel like I’m in purgatory right now waiting to see what this summer brings,” he says. “After playing some of these shows and seeing that kids are still intereste, it gets me excited for Alien Ant Farm, which I never thought I’d be excited about again, you know? And when I see kids too, who are young, I’m like I know these kids weren’t at our shows a few years back. It’s kind of cool how—whether it’s their parents, or whoever turned them on to us—I’m like, how is 13-year-old kid singing a song that blew up in 2001?”
It’s a tough, yet strangely uplifting question to answer. Still, Mitchell’s got other tough questions to answer—including the aforementioned bedwetting. “My little Boxer, she pees the bed, so she’s going to vet in like five minutes. We’re going to go figure out why she keeps pissing in my bed. I roll over in a cold puddle of Boxer piss, and I’m like, fuuuuck! But she’s so sweet, and when she looks at me, it’s like, ‘Goddamnit, I want to punch you . . . but I’ve got to pet you!’”