Alabama 3 - The Lost
"Mr B freaks out the Alabama 3"
We got to the Junction early only to be informed
by the tour manager that the interview will take place after the gig
as the band at not in the building. The fact that we had already seen
two band members and the Alabama 3 labelled cool boxes were being regularly
replenished at the bar was a sign that any interview was going to be
messy. The A3 have built a reputation for living the rock n' roll life
to full and I suggest to Mr B that we hit the bar heavy, so after the
gig we would be on a similar level to the band: it's Mr B's first A3
gig and he's already looking nervous at the prospect.
Anyway, after a long wait back stage we were about to call it a night when we get the nod to go and see Larry and the talented Devlin love.
Things started badly. Mr B now in charge of the Dictaphone is apparently upsetting Larry Love. We're definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Larry Love - I find him intimidating (pointing at Mr.B)
Mark - No that's Mr B my technical assistant...
Larry Love - No he looks intimidating to me, who are you representing, who sent you here?
After a while things settle down and we all agree that Mr B is actually a nice guy and he is doing a fine job with the Dictaphone.
M - This isn't going be like Parkinson.
Larry - More like Parkinson's disease.
M - The A3 have been described recently as the only real rock n' roll band left and the last of a dying breed. Why do you think the A3 are credited with these descriptions?
Larry - The best thing I saw today was a review in the Stockport fuckin' pidgin fancier monthly by some 20 year old with English lit degree. The press release went like "this is the band that celebrated degeneracy for far too long and they only attract doddery old fuckers clinging on to this identity of being alternative which was somewhere in their collective and very distant past..." Which is fair enough coming from some 20 year old with an English lit degree?
Devlin - I don't think that's fair, I think its complete bollocks. I don't think they're clinging on to anything, they're always moving. If it was a train that wasn't moving you wouldn't get people on board and still listening. Listen, I was 14 when I first saw them, I'm 22 now and I would only be involved with something that moved forward and evolved like I know the Alabama 3 have, and I think the audience has come along with us and we've attracted new people along the way. We're picking up new recruits all the time! Look at the crowd tonight: total diversity.
Larry - I do think he may right in way that our initial audience were very like Mr.B, old fellas around my age, sweaty far too much drink and drugs... (Mr B - Ur thanks)
Devlin - ...but that guy in the Stockport whatever was only describing a part of our audience so was misrepresenting what they and we are doing: fool.
Mr B - So this guy was saying you're stuck in the past.
Larry - Well we're still fucking standing 10 years later. In this business the ain't no mean feat and we love it. There are people there from the beginning, the party is still going and I don't its ever going to stop. Why would you stop a party? What happens now is you get three generations coming to our gigs now, the granddaddy dope dealer and all his offspring. It's not just a thing about man-breasts on stage.
M - D Wayne?
Larry - D-Cup-Wayne, yeah!
M- When you first started off the message was socialism in the mainline. Is that socialist message still in the music?
Larry - Socialism. Yeah if you are talking about just allowing people to develop collectives to generate their own self sufficiency, income and being treated fairly. Socialism can be anything now, things have moved on. Feminism nowadays is not all about women not shaving their legs and going to Greenham common. You now can be pro-girl like young Devlin here who ran away and joined the circus.
Devlin - Socialism is becoming more like cosmopolitan-socialism. Standing by the fact that there shouldn't be any fucking barriers, in relation to age, colour, race etc. My father was Catholic Irish and my mother is a Malaysian Muslim, I love singing the blues: I thought screw all this I'm going to join the A3 who do Country Acid Techno and they're not scared to put a bit of Dub in and to have a Dub Support DJ.
Larry - Basically Devlin has answered that one very well. She's a very bright young woman who is nice and really beautiful. Whereas the rest of us are an ageing twisted Charles Manson type of collective.
Devlin - It's a happy dark side.
M - Yeah the band certainly has got diversity.
M - The A3 have always been described as the best live band on the circuit, why do you think the formula is?
Devlin - I am going to have to say it as you'll never going to say it yourself, but its Larry's fucking twisted God-like presence, so much so that you don't like to get to close to him because he might burn you.
Larry - I think it's because we have the biggest rider and guest list
on the block. We have hundreds cans of Stella, bottles of Smirnoff,
other assorted goodies and a pair of socks.
Mr B - Socks?
M - That's Rock n Roll, socks on the rider.
Larry - Listen, we are NOT dying we are still breeding! We are like Chlamydia, a virus breeding and spreading. This not the age of Aquarius its age of the virus.
M - Well you got bands like say, Coldplay who are clean living, no drink, no drugs, that's hardly rock 'n' roll?
Larry - No but that is about Blairite Britain. Bands like Coldplay, Keane etc are nice middle class new age bands. Coldplay are a sign of the Blairite revolution, that wasn't a revolution at all.
M - Going back to the bands early days, what ever happened to your stage props, 4ft syringes etc?
Larry - What ever happened to them? That was ten fucking years ago!
M - So it was just practical reasons?
Larry - Yeah, but if we ever get on Terry Wogan or Parkinson we will bring back the massive syringes.
M - I believe that on this tour you have got two tour busses, "The Crew Bus" and the "Zoo Bus", how is this working out?
Larry - Do have any idea what the difference is between the two busses?
M - I would say that D Wayne would be on the zoo bus.
Larry - I'll give you a clue, we have 21 blokes and poor Devlin is the only woman: Devlin is on the crew bus.
Devlin - My bus is like fucking Road Runner, beep-beep, always trying
to catch up. The only other bus company that will take the A3 is called,
"Why Not". Why Not? Because they have got nothing better to
M - I take it there is little food on the zoo bus?
Larry - Yeah, we have one room full of Stella, whiskey, a room full of cocaine and the bathroom's full of LSD, ketamine, there is no room for any food.
M - So you have to go savaging?
Larry - No we don't go savaging
Devlin - Trying to get out of the zoo bus is problem; you can't and just have to take drugs.
Larry - The lowest we got was when our producer and sound man came
on our bus thinking that is was going to be one big cocaine party and
the five of us sat there and all we had between us was 47 Viagra.
M - That's one thing I'd love to see, The Alabama 3 playing chess.
Devlin - We'd end up snorting the white squares.
M - Out of the back catalogue, what songs do enjoy playing the most?
Larry - With about 60 or 70 songs to me they are a bit like children with learning difficulties or something wrong with them. All of them are bit handicapped or maladjusted like they've been left alone on the radiator on methadone, so all of them equally really; they've got three eyes or one leg.
I do like to pick the tracks out for the set-list like a DJ to work the crowd. A Swansea crowd on a Saturday is going to respond differently to a Cambridge crowd on a Tuesday night.
How do choose your support bands?
Devlin - We listen to how good they piss
M - The acoustic Alabama3 shows seem to be going down well...
Larry - Yeah, thanks. We played fucking the Cambridge Folk Festival this year, it was a great show. Did we see you there?
M - I did see you there and you both blanked me when I said hello in the beer tent afterwards, but we were in a bit of a state.
Larry- Yeah I saw you. Whatever piss taking you do, in terms of doing country techno in an American accent ,it sounds a ridiculous idea but being the acoustic band supporting the main band says to me that it is legitimate. It means that we're not just piss taking, preaching, there is a different side to us.
M - You got excellent reviews...
Larry - Yeah and you may get the same people turning up tonight to find the electric band with a dub sound system supporting
M - Last question Chips or cream buns?
Devlin - I am going to have to say cream buns as you can have so much more fun with the cream than with chips. Chips and ketchup you can have fun with. But cream - alone the possibilities are endless, I won't go into that because it's triple x.
Larry - Is it Devon cream or Devlin cream.
Pic: Phil Rose Esq
Thanks to the band for their time and to Ian Cheek for setting everything up.