I did an interview with Alabama 3 recently, they very kindly mailed me their C.D. afterwards, leaving me feeling all professional. Go on, give it a read. I love feedback. :D Voilá.
“If anyone thinks that politics and religion aren’t suitable subjects for rock ‘n’ roll they should check out Alabama 3.” The Times
This pithy quote sums up my disposition regards Alabama 3, after talking to Rob Spragg, aka Larry Love, one of the band’s founding personas. It was an education. This band are wrongly categorized as one track wonders- the group achieved international fame when the producers of cult TV series The Sopranos chose its track ‘Woke Up This Morning’ for the show's opening credits. I guarantee you everyone; literally everyone alive in the nineties could sing it back to you. However, we revel in ignorance as we happily hum the tune. Little do we know that the potent lyrics were inspired not by a New Jersey mobster, but of a woman suffering domestic violence. Presenting a snippet of their zany and highly stimulating viewpoints.
There seems to be an interweaving lyrical theme throughout your music in that you talk about a preaching a gospel. What is the essence of this message you seek to spread?
As a nine-person band, we draw inspiration from loads of different places. Revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Karl Marx and Rosa Luxembourg all influence us. So I guess the message we are sending out is to the young people of the world… Get up off your arses and do something for a cause! But of course, do it without causing trouble. And never trust bankers, that too.
You guys unquestionably have controversial lyrics. No offence meant, but is this simply just to be controversial for the sake of being controversial, or do they have a deeper meaning?
Our lyrics are controversial, but no, they’re not controversial for the sake of it. The controversy now, today, is about young people. A lot of this record is about young people today. We were very interested as a group in the riots at home (referring to the London riots). The government was very quick to blame young people for what had happened; whilst bankers in the city were get away with blue murder, but for different reasons.
With ‘Shoplifting 4 Jesus’, we worked with many young rappers, kids fresh out of college. The lyrics on this CD are all about the love we need to show for the youth of today. Basically, this record is like 2 fingers up to the middle classes, and the Establishment. Unemployment is so high at the moment; the government is quick to point the finger to the youth of today for society’s problems.
We support revolution and rioting in a way. The internet is brilliant for organizing revolt against the establishments. It’s really important to us that the kids of today have developed a political conscience. Not a political conscience in a Bono kind of way, but a conscience with serious intention.
What’s your song writing process like, as a group with multifaceted musical and philosophical interests?
Well there are 9 of us, and we’ve been together for 15 years. Its weird, country western could become techno, and that then could become a ballad. We have been put into the genre of techno sound system, but I think we could just as easily be categorized as a blues and country western group. Each song is different really, and our music changes constantly. I could be raving along to something and an idea or a melody could just pop into my head.
You gained notoriety as a group with the song “Got Yourself A Gun”. Is this song something you have now come to hate, in that some may categorise you as one hit wonders?
No, we’re really proud of that song, whatever the outcome may be. The song was just picked up by the producers of the Sopranos, which we are eternally grateful for! We didn’t write it with the intention of it being on the soundtrack, it actually has nothing to do with gangsters.
We wrote the song from the viewpoint of a woman suffering domestic violence, who went on to shoot her husband. You may have heard of Sarah Thornton, it’s kind of her story (Sara Thornton was found not guilty of murdering her alcoholic husband, but was convicted instead of manslaughter. This at the time was a cause célèbre for women’s rights). It just shows how a song can be interpreted completely differently.
Would you describe yourselves as completely anti establishment, or anti government even? Your lyrics allude to ‘they [who have] tried to stop us. They say we were too political, too ugly’. Who are they?
We are essentially a group who are pro young people, and very much anti middle class. We have done a lot of work with MOJO, an organization supporting prisoners who have been wrongly convicted.
Listen, we are the marmite of rock and roll, some people are going to love us, others will hate us. And we’re ok with that.
If you could change one thing about modern music industry what would it be?
That’s easy- all bands would have to give away their music for free. That’s the way things are heading anyway, with downloading being the way it is. Every new band that’s coming out has to release a free track now by way of necessity. Look at Irish bands like Bipolar Empire, they’re setting a fine example. It’s the future, without a doubt.