You can’t blame brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo for feeling snakebit when it comes to music.
With Stone Temple Pilots, they tasted multi-platinum success but also great frustration in dealing with famously substance-addicted singer Scott Weiland. Their 1997 project Talk Show never made much noise, and they’ve had their share of unpleasant dealings with the business side of the music industry.
Compared to all that, however, the DeLeos latest endeavor, Army of Anyone — a collaboration with Filter frontman Richard Patrick — has been “easy” according to guitarist Dean DeLeo.
“We are looking at this as it’s our band now, and we’re going to build it as such,” explains DeLeo, 45. “We’re realistically looking at this. We are not paying too much mind to who we are and where we’ve been. We’re just trying to write good songs and make good records — which is all we ever really wanted to do, anyway.”
Army of Anyone — which also includes drummer Ray Luzier — said a potent hello in the fall of 2006 with “Goodbye,” the first single from the quartet’s self-titled debut album. The song soared to No. 3 Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, and Army of Anyone hit the road in earnest, building a fresh history from its members’ established reputations.
The album debuted at No. 56 on the Billboard 200 chart.
“We have the luxury that everyone’s been in bands and kinda been around the planet singing a few times for folks,” DeLeo explains. “It’s not like we’re these fresh-faced, inexperienced kids. We know what this is all about, so we know what has to be done — and we’re ready and willing to do it.”
DeLeo says he and his brother are “fans” of Patrick, who launched Filter in 1993 after a tenure in nine inch nails’ touring band. The mutual admiration society took another step when Patrick asked the DeLeos to contribute to what was supposed to be Filter’s fourth album.
“We got together and put a song together, and one thing led to another,” DeLeo says of the session, which yielded the future Army of Anyone track “A Better Place.” “It was kind of evident that we should pursue this further. Rich immediately put down Filter and we decided to do this.”
Patrick and the DeLeos, who also were producing and writing for Pink and Alien Ant Farm, came up with more than 30 songs to consider for Army of Anyone before latching on to Luzier, who was ex-Van Halen singer David Lee Roth’s drummer for a time. They made the album with noted and “very demanding” producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Jane’s Addiction).
It took even more effort to actually put it out, though. Army of Anyone signed with Columbia Records, but after several key people were fi red or quit, the project was in limbo until the group sued the label and won back the album. The quartet then decided to release it on a new label started by its Los Angeles management company, The Firm — an unconventional move that DeLeo acknowledges is a risk.
“We’re pioneering,” he says. “This last trip through a major label really was a drag, man. I’m not a young man anymore; to fall prey to some cat making a huge salary, sitting in his glorious office and overlooking the big city is not my thing. I’m not gonna succumb to that jive any longer.
“So Army of Anyone and The Firm are pioneering a new way for artists to make music and make records and release records. If this flies, if this all works, it’ll really put the power back in the hands of the artists.”
As for whether the management/record company relationship poses a confl ict of interest, DeLeo cracks, “that’s what you have a lawyer for.”
Army of Anyone, meanwhile, wants to focus on the business of making music — and, now, promoting its fi rst album. The group played some shows on Korn’s Family Values Tour in the fall and is now headlining the annual SnoCore package.
DeLeo expects the band to spend most of 2007 on the road, in fact, and to spend some of the between-gig time writing new material and plotting a second album.
“This is our new band, man,” he explains. “I think for everyone in our band it’s at a point in our life where it’s about quality, not quantity. I feel really fortunate to be in this position where, if it flies, there’s going to be a lot of people out there that’ll be able to make music in a beautiful atmosphere where they can truly, truly not have to worry so much about art and commerce colliding or having to meet quotas.
“Wouldn’t that be a great legacy to have, man? That would be as good as a platinum album to me.”
Contact Gary Graff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sno-Core Tour 2007, featuring Army of Anyone, Hurt, Dropping Daylight and Neurosonic takes place at 5:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 9) at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $20. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com
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