ARMY OF ANYONE lead singer Richard Patrick doesn't understand what happened while he was away. "What have these kids done with our beloved rock music? We've come back to these pouty, whiny, crabby little power-punk-pop bands."
He believes he and his bandmates are here to help right rock back on its axis. Patrick, formerly of Nine Inch Nails and Filter, Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo and guitarist Dean DeLeo, and session drummer Ray Luzier pack a musical wallop on a debut album filled with muscular guitar riffs, propulsive drumming and Patrick's searing vocals. In other words, sissies need not apply.
The band's four Southern California shows, including tonight's stop at the Key Club, mark the first time Patrick has performed in Los Angeles since 1999. "It's literally been a long time since I rock and rolled," he laughs, adding that his hiatus included a stint in rehab. The shows combine Army of Anyone, Filter and STP material.
Although the quartet has been labeled an alt-rock super group because of its members' pedigrees, Dean DeLeo isn't buying. "We are basically at the educating stage. I'll be walking through town where I'm playing that evening and someone will say, 'Hey man, is STP getting back together?' and you're like, 'I have a new band.' " Awareness is growing, however: The group's first single, "Goodbye," reached No. 3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart.
Still, starting over can be rough, especially when it follows a path you first trod years ago and didn't necessarily plan on traveling again.
"This would probably be a lot easier if I was 20 years younger," says DeLeo, 45. "We don't travel anywhere near the level that STP used to travel. We were able to have our families on the road with us most of time. [Now], we're traveling with nine guys on a bus. You're getting hotel rooms only on days off. I feel very grateful that we have a bus; if we had to travel in a van, I couldn't do it."
Patrick and the DeLeos first played together in 2001, but much had changed by the time they reconnected in 2004 to write songs for what was supposed to be Filter's fourth CD. At that point Stone Temple Pilots had broken up and it had been two years since Filter's last release. Although Patrick never announced the band's dissolution, its future was cloudy. "I decided if I was going to be in Filter, if those guys weren't getting their [acts] together, I was going to be hiring all new people anyway."
It turns out that revisiting Filter became entirely unnecessary as the chemistry between Patrick and the DeLeos proved so strong they decided to keep the songs to themselves and form their own band.
Also important to the DeLeos was Patrick's sobriety, given the years they spent watching former STP lead singer Scott Weiland going in and out of rehab. (Weiland, now clean, fronts Velvet Revolver.)
"They've had their dealings with drug addicts and people who can't maintain a rigorous and honest program of recovery and I don't blame them," Patrick says of the DeLeos. "I was a nightmare."
The project was originally recorded for Columbia Records, says Dean DeLeo, but the band soon found itself subject to the ever-shifting sands at today's big record companies. "So here we sit with our record done, mixed, a month prior [we're] getting waltzed around the label ... and the next thing we know, everyone who believes in the group is gone," DeLeo says.
After months of wrangling, DeLeo says the band bought the album back from Columbia. The group became one of the first acts signed to the in-house record label started by its management company, the Firm. Unlike a traditional record deal in which the label owns the music and pays the artist a royalty per album after many expenses are recouped, the Firm's label splits profits 50/50 with artists.
While the new business model has benefits, it also removes the protective layer of insulation that traditional management provides between the desires and egos of the artists and the business realities of the labels.
"You know, there comes a time when you're kind of like, 'All right managers, go yell at the label,' and the manager just kind of looks right back at you like, 'No, I'm the record company too,' " says Patrick. "We all have to adjust to this bizarre new world we're in."
Who: Army of Anyone, with Hurt, Dropping Daylight and Neurosonic
Where: Key Club, 9039 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
When: 7:30 tonight
Info: (310) 274-5800, www.snocore.com
Where: Key Club at Morongo, 49500 Seminole Road, Cabazon
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Price: $22 to $35
Info: (951) 755-5391
Where: House of Blues San Diego, 1055 5th Ave., San Diego
When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Info: (619) 299-2583