In 2002, when Alien Ant Farm was touring in support of their breakout album ANThology, their number one single was a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” and you could say things were really going well for these boys from the Inland Empire (Riverside, CA). The follow up to their number one single was “Movies,” and it introduced the world to a highly talented band that quite obviously had more tricks up their sleeves than just a cover song by the King of Pop. The sky was the limit for AAF that is until their tour bus crashed in Spain and practically destroyed their lives and careers. Dryden Mitchell (vocals) suffered a broken neck and subsequently ended up in traction for several months, guitarist Terence Corso shattered his left leg above his ankle and bassist Tye Zamora chipped a bone in his right toe, drummer Mike Cosgrove came out unscathed. What would seem like a devastating blow to a band that was skyrocketing to rock superstardom became a turning point in the lives of four young men.
To celebrate International Drumming Month, AAF drummer Mike Cosgrove spent some time talking to themusicedge.com in between mouthfuls of food during a tour stop in support of their newest release, truANT. Stone Temple Pilots bassist and guitarist, Rob and Dean DeLeo, produced the new record. truANT finds AAF in their creative stride. They’ve expanded upon the ideas that perforated ANThology by combining their collective talents and producing a formidable rock record diverse enough to keep it interesting and loyal enough to their original sound to retain all the old fans and gain new ones.
Cosgrove is a drummer’s drummer. He’s a gear head and musician in the boldest sense of the term, forever searching for and improving upon his technique and musical prowess. In his formative years he took lessons from a private teacher and now he’s currently taking lessons (in between touring and promotion) from DW Drums President Don Lombardi, focusing on accent and time signatures while learning to tie all of them together. As for influences, he says, “I like (Tower of Power’s) David Garibaldi, Danny Carey, Carter Buford, Tony Williams-all the good drummers. Man, I really appreciate what they do. I love Darren Jesse who plays for Ben Folds Five. I don’t think he gets much mention yet he’s a very talented drummer.”
Adding, “I always liked to have my own record player and stuff and then I got into tapes but I think playing music – Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction came out and it really made me want to learn how to play and then from there I wanted to go further and further with it. I was into skateboarding and punk rock and heavy metal and all those kinds of things and you know, I just wanted to keep going in that music direction.”
Mike has driven himself to learn other instruments such as piano, bass and guitar and he’s currently trying to decide which wind instrument he would like to learn next (favoring the idea of picking up the saxophone). While growing up in Riverside, Cosgrove honed his chops by listening to such greats as The Police and Guns and Roses.
Not unlike many American public school attendees, Mike didn’t have the opportunities afforded to him regarding outlets and programs to play school music. He says, “At the time, I didn’t really have a school music program in my school. Honestly, I was ditching school to go practice drums. My neighbors weren’t home and my mom was at work so I’d go home during school and play drums without worrying about getting the cops called on me. I didn’t have the benefit of a good music program.”