Alien Ant Farm – An ode to the band that never came to vinyl.

There comes a time in life where you have to accept that some things were just not to be. Owning an Alien Ant Farm LP, for me, is one of them.

Remember Alien Ant Farm – a California-based band from the early noughties? They sold over 5 million units worldwide and put out at five albums. Remember? No?

Okay, I’ll say it: they’re the band that covered Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’. Yeah, I bet that jogged your memory.

The fact is Alien Ant Farm did have a pretty successful run that, I feel, warrants them undeserving of any ‘one-hit-wonder’ labels that are thrown their way. Exploring the boundaries between alternative rock and nu metal – or ‘alternative metal’ as some would say – the band released two pretty good albums.

Anthology was released in 2001. It’s the one with ‘Smooth Criminal’ on it but is also littered with other great songs such as ‘Courage’ and ‘Summer’. I mean, ‘Movies’ was even a pretty big song in its own right – the music video was even played on MTV whilst ‘Wish’ was featured on Tony Hawks 3! Truant followed in 2003 and contained ‘Glow’, a catchy acoustic-driven jam, and ‘These Days’ that had the music video of the band playing a on a rooftop and crashing the BET awards below – a feat that landed the band in momentary problems with the authorities. Any publicity though, right?

Unfortunately for fans, such as myself, neither of these albums would make it to vinyl – but why?

In fairness, Alien Ant Farm did not predict their rise to the radio airwaves with ‘Smooth Criminal’. Coupled with the positive reception of ‘Movies’, the band soon found their music signed up and distributed by DreamWorks. But it was the CD age where vinyl records were a thing of the past – a relic of times gone by. No one knew that fans would one day turn back to records and by then it would be too late to reissue and press records for a band that many of you still only know for one song.

But that’s not to say they didn’t try.

In 2013 I remember hearing the news that, through Pledge Music, Anthology was being pressed to vinyl for the first time. Excited, I did not let the $50 pledge mark deter me. For a little extra, they were pressing their first album, Greatest Hits, too. “Great,” I thought, “next will be Truant and I will finally be able to sleep at night.”

And then bad news: after the band announcing delays on social media for months, the pledge was suddenly cancelled. Just like that, all was refunded.

It seems that the band just weren’t destined for the wax. Just two months after releasing Truant they were dropped from their record label. The band simply faded into the obscurity, enjoying playtime almost exclusively on the New Zealand airwaves (bizarrely) but nowhere else. Their third album, In the Attic, showcased them as talented musicians who simply went unnoticed.

Perhaps the music scene has shifted the limelight away from Alien Ant Farm. Perhaps their rise to fame was short-lived for reasons out of their control. One thing is for sure though: it looks like they’ll never make it to vinyl and my record collection will forever be missing a space.

Let’s just listen to ‘Movies’ one more time instead.

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