Best known for providing the theme tune to The Sopranos, with their cowboy swagger and deep-south drawl, you’d be forgiven for thinking Alabama 3 are a straightforward American blues band: ‘fraid not. Firstly, there are more than three of them — seven at last count — and secondly, they’re from Brixton.
Hold on one cotton-picking minute: Brixton? “We started at the height of Britpop — Noel Gallagher playing a Union Jack guitar and shaking hands with Tony Blair. It felt like it had been hijacked by the government,” says singer Rob Spragg (AKA Larry Love), “As a Welshman, I thought: ‘Let’s pretend we’re American and see how far we can go,’ it was a two-finger salute to all of that.”
This two-fingered salute has just released its seventh album — M.O.R. — on One Little Indian. The album however, occupies a place quite far west of the middle of the road, grooving and bluesing its merry way through acid house, country and good ole’ rock and roll.
This mish-mash of genres, along with the fake accents and outlandish pseudonyms, has earned the band accusations of being a novelty act — but Spragg doesn’t care. “To a certain extent I expect it, but if you look a bit deeper you realise that we’re really serious about what we do; we’re intelligent at acting stupid.”
Although the band’s music is largely inspired by “late nights and Nurofen,” their name is a nod to the Guildford 4 and Birmingham 6. The band is also involved with the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation, pledging all proceeds from M.O.R.’s first single — Lockdown — to the charity.
But they don’t let their political beliefs get in the way of a good time. Spragg claims their live shows are quite an experience, “If you’re a pervert you’ll be converted,” he says, “and if you’re a convert you’ll be perverted.”
Make of that what you will. The band are already working on album number eight and on setting up their own record label. “The whole downloading issue has got the industry all freaked out,” says Spragg, “And the onus is now on the bands rather than the record company to do things — it’s an exciting time to be a musician.”