The lead singer of rock band Alien Ant Farm has been charged with battery after strangely dragging a male fan’s hand to his crotch during a concert in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, DailyMail.com reports.
Dryden Mitchell, the frontman for the group best known for their 2001 remake of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” was performing the cover at the impressive Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 29 when he inexplicably hugged a fan. reached out and placed it on his groin.
In a YouTube video of the performance that is now the key piece of evidence against Mitchell, the fan can be seen yanking his hand from the lead singer’s grasp.
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Alien Ant Farm singer Dryden Mitchell has been charged with battery after he was seen pulling a fan’s hand up to his throat during a concert in Fort Lauderdale in October.
The Oct. 29 incident was captured on video posted to YouTube and is now the key piece of evidence against Mitchell. The fan is seen in the crowd raising his hand in the air as Mitchell places it on his groin. The man then quickly rips the hand from his grasp
This lightning-quick encounter went unnoticed at the show, and moments later the band’s set ended.
But just over two weeks later, on Nov. 15, the fan, a 45-year-old Miami man, went to Fort Lauderdale police to complain that Mitchell had assaulted him.
The fan, reached by phone, told DailyMail.com he had no idea what made Mitchell do what he did and said he was saving further comment for a later date.
“I want to tell my story but I have to listen to my lawyers,” said the man, whose name was not made public in a police report on the incident obtained by DailyMail.com.
“I’ll be more than happy to talk later.” I want the story out there, because what happened was not right.’
Parts of his story are recounted in the police report, which was released after the Broward State Attorney’s Office filed first-degree criminal mischief charges — punishable by up to a year in prison — against Mitchell on Dec. 30.
‘[The fan] said he had his fist in the air and was trying to get a picture with Mitchell,” police wrote.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office filed a first-degree misdemeanor charge — up to a year in prison — against Mitchell on Dec. 30.
A copy of the Fort Lauderdale police incident report obtained by DailyMail.com does not identify the victim under Marsy’s Law.
Mitchell has not yet been booked on the battery charge, which was filed in absentia
‘[He] indicated that Mitchell grabbed his fist while he was in the air and pulled the fist into his private (genital) area up to his pants. [He] said he immediately pulled his hand away at that point.
The fan told police he decided to report the crime well in advance because it “didn’t sit well with him.”
‘[He] “didn’t think it was appropriate behavior in front of all the concertgoers and also said there were kids in the crowd,” police wrote. ‘[The fan] pointed out that he wanted to report the incident to the police.’
Attempts to reach Mitchell, who lives in Riverside, Calif., by phone and through his New York-based booking agency, TKO, were unsuccessful.
A detailed message seeking comment was left with a representative of the agency and had not been returned.
This is not the first incident involving the band and the alleged battery of a fan.
While Alien Ant Farm were touring England in 2016, the quartet’s guitarist Terry Corso attacked a fan at a show in the North West city. Chester after the fan threw a liquid at him.
Corso said he assumed the liquid was urine because Mitchell had been doused with urine at a show in Preston just two days earlier.
The guitarist jumped into the crowd and punched the fan. The liquid wasn’t actually urine, and Corso was eventually fined and given a 12-month conditional discharge — similar to a year’s probation in the U.S.
Mitchell, a married father of two, is a founding member of Alien Ant Farm, which was founded in Riverside in 1996.
According to the report’s account, the man told police he was trying to get a picture with Mitchell when the singer put his fist into his genitals.
The rock band, consisting of Tim Peugh, Mike Cosgrove, Dryden Mitchell and Terry Corso, was formed in Riverside, California in 1996
The band’s debut studio effort was named Best Independent Album at the 1999 LA Music Awards, but it was their second album, ANThology, that had a major breakthrough.
The song ‘Smooth Criminal’ went to number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, number one in Australia and number three in the UK.
The song was featured in the movie American Pie 2 (in a memorable scene where Jason Biggs’ character superglues his hand) and has since received 267 million views on YouTube.
The song unexpectedly resurfaced last summer, prompting the LA Times to publish a Q&A with Mitchell in June.
“It was a big mess when it was going down,” Mitchell told the Times of his first All-Star streak.
“We were just scrambling around the world, flying anywhere and doing what we love.” We were so rude. I didn’t think about my 46 year old [self] then. I’m a dad now!’
Another track from the album, ‘Movies’, became the band’s second most popular song, reaching the top 5 in the UK and has since reached 22 million views on YouTube.
While on tour in Spain in 2002, the band was involved in a bus accident that killed the driver and injured the band members.
Mitchell suffered the worst injury of the group, breaking a vertebra in his back. He was airlifted to a hospital in London and largely recovered from surgery in Los Angeles.
Alien Ant Farm has since released three more albums, the most recent in 2015, but none have come close to ANThology’s popularity.
In 2020, the band released a Covid-era remake of Wham’s “Everything She Wants”, which has amassed half a million views on YouTube.
Mitchell has not yet been booked on the battery charge, which was filed in absentia.
Defendants in such cases are routinely issued notices to appear in court, but that has not yet happened in this case and a trial date has not yet been set.