It's 8pm, and Alabama 3 are supposed to be on in thirty minutes, we're sat in the lounge talking about the usual inane teenage rubbish and becoming really impatient, because we were supposed to be in an interview an hour ago! Where are they? I wonder with a growing sense of despair as the clock ticks by. 8:30 strikes and although the band should now be onstage, there is no sign of the Alabama 3. We're sipping our drinks down waiting anxiously, are they alive? Have we missed them or something?! When suddenly, out of nowhere, a broad Scotsman emerges and we're whisked away into the exulted elite ranks backstage…success!!
We're briskly marched through Stockton's 'Arc' backstage area to where the rest of the band is waiting. The room - although well ventilated - smells strongly of what just might be marijuana, lots of Guinness and old…shoes. I start of with a most poignant of question, that I'm now sure everybody inside the Arc will be demanding an answer to: What time are you guys actually going on then?
The Scotsman I referred to earlier is called Jake, aka 'The Very Reverend D. Wayne Love' jets back 'ten' in a single syllable, it's clear that they’re all adamant on this matter, even after I tell them that we were all told half past eight, they assure me that this is a 'load of bollocks'.
'Well' I begin, 'let's get started…' …'To begin with I suppose the way in which a lot of people come to hear your music is through the Sopranos, how did your song become the theme tune to that?'
'Fluke mate'. Jake begins. 'Well, we've heard conflicting stories, but we're happy with it generally. Though I mean, there's obviously glaring ironies in the whole story, that the song's written about a woman who was abused daily by her husband for eight years and one day turns round and shoots him. Then seven years later it's picked up for a TV show that makes the Mafia looks better than anything else does for the last twenty-five years, and we can't stand fucking union bashers.' To which 'Sir Real Love L.S.D.' the percussionist for A3 responds with 'but the point is that the guy's got a conscience and that he's struggling with it'. The story behind it was that there was an idea that there was going to be a different song opening each episode, but as we hear it the executive producer heard it driving into the office one day on the radio and decided that was the song he wanted. They bought it, remixed and passed it on. It's one of the best TV shows that's ever been on, it's always good to be associated with something decent.
Are you happy to get recognition through that than through say radio play?
Jake quickly reacts 'Oh no, not at all no.'
People will associate that song with the Sopranos and not with you (I was feeling brave at this point…Jake's a big guy y'know), doesn't that bother you?
'Ah no, that doesn't bother me at all, because either way people are going to hear the song. If people want to find out about the song and where they can buy it, and obviously the availability has to be there. We're happy to get any interest we can, although the song was picked up by a landscape gardening company recently.' 'Real Love' henceforth referred to as 'Jonny' continues 'Macie Grey's just done a version of it, live on the radio the other night, we think she found it poignant after the New York event…'
Leading on from here, I feel we've come to something Alabama 3 feel is crucial to discuss, I realise that I am actually their forum for getting their views across. For a long time I've thought that consumerism's gone wild in the last few years and then suddenly that happens. What are your views on that event though?
'Well you know since the Gulf War and the occupation of Kuwait, 10% of the Iraqi population has been killed off simply because of the sanctions on medical supplies. So basically what we're looking at in the last ten years is subjugating a whole people so that we can control oil prices. So when…and I'm not saying it was them that reacted, but I don't know about you but for the last few weeks what's been going through my head is the what happened in the Gulf of Ton Kin in 1963 when America was brought in fully to the Vietnam war. Two of their destroyers were supposed to have been sunk by MVA North Vietnamese aircraft, but it's just been found out recently that the Americans did it themselves so they could get themselves into the war. What you've got to remember that America is the strategic locus for the military-industrial complex for profit through war for the entire Western world. I mean, the so called 'quality newspapers' have been having headlines about 'National Security Council memo's' that have been circulated for ages anyway talking about destabilising the government in Afghanistan, putting in a ground government under the United Nations to ossify after deliberation.
What really got me very angry was well, what did you think of Bush's reaction after the incident?
Jake continues: 'I think it was inadequate. I thought it was an obvious jingoistic reaction which is always there in these times. There's no reason to think that those who have civil servants are really in a position of power - their told what the fucking do - so he's got all these advisors around him and they're gearing up to go out there and occupy the place. And it's all going to be a bloody ugly little affair like Vietnam was, I reckon innocent people are going to die. You've got to look at what the motivation is. Who's going to benefit? The Benedict's corporation at Lockheed is going to benefit because they're making the fucking weapons. It takes away folks rights to self determination, whether we approve of the Taliban or not, it's going to ultimately cause a contradiction. Democracy in America's farcical anyway, just because you cast a vote that doesn't count in the end anyway, you feel you've taken part in the parliamentary process, it's fucking farcical. Not even 40% of people turned out officially, it's like the time when that guy in New Jersey just bought himself in, he spent $120m just buying himself in, that's the congressman in New Jersey right now.
Going on from this I feel it's necessary to ask the guys about their politics: What would you say your politics are as Alabama 3?
'Well, it's hard to say.' Jake quietly opens. I feel something surreptitious here, something I can't quite place about this group, as if there's something very secretive at the heart of Alabama 3. 'I suppose I see myself as a closet Trotskyist.' Jonny breaks in with 'we do have some internal politics that we can't discuss'. What IS going on? 'I'm not active in politics'.
The band quickly flares up into disagreement about certain aspects of their career that cannot be disclosed at this point and I resume with the question: What about Multinationals then, what are your views on them? I take it you take strongly antipathetic views on this?
'Well basically what they're doing is consolidating fascist people, making less and less room for people's labour. They are not a civilising influence, and it's so obvious.' Jake begins, with Jonny continuing on 'I suppose it's imperative to say that people are being terrorised into the knowledge that they'll be clamped down on for giving any form of descent.' I press on as the clock moves forward and I feel that much as anybody can possibly be made welcome, there are limits not to be pressed and there should be a perception of when you are imposing, so I finish by asking a few more brief questions. How's the new music working out, as a band, how are you progressing?
Jonny: 'well, we've got a machine for the samples. And from that, we've got about seven blokes around the machine, who are drastically overpaid, and of which only one of them presses the buttons, and err; he regularly presses them at the wrong time…a bit like president Bush really. We have completely violent tendencies towards each other, drummers always argue with the singers, it's not just a lovers tiff you know, they call us carthorses, but we're the base of the band!' What's the scene like in Brixton?
Well put it this way, there are various persons (blatantly we're talking about drug dealers here) in Brixton we owe a lot of money: Anyone who Larry [singer] owes money to, suddenly finds themselves as an intricately woven into the band.
Eh hem. That's where we'll leave this then! Visit the Alabama 3 web-site to find out more about the band: it includes frying President G.W. Bush in the electric chair and some very sarcastic profiling.