Catching up with ALO: An Interview

July 14. 2005 | By Jason Jurgens

I think it’s safe to say that being in a band is a lot like being in a marriage or monogamous relationship, especially if you are in a successful one. Playing with the same people day in and day out, sharing a cramped tour bus for months on end or riding a financial rollercoaster is not unusual. Even with their longevity the honeymoon for ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) isn’t over. Unlike so many relationships that end with the dreadful D word, the members of ALO continue to ride the train that brought them here in the first place…friendship.

“We are big on respect, we have lot’s of respect for eachother,” says ALO guitarist Dan Lebowitz. “Everyone is taken seriously and we all feel like we have a voice.”

Owl: How important is it to have fun?

Dan of ALO: What is success if you are not happy? It’s the most important thing for mental heath.

What is the story behind the name?

We want you to release your inner animal. Feel free to get crazy and have a good time, especially at our shows.

How would you describe your music?

Dance, jam, rock, funk and folk. We bring in so many different styles. We’ve been playing together so long we can have different shows, from dance to acoustic. Still, as we range from folk to funk, we maintain cohesiveness because it’s still us playing, we’ll just dip into something else.

What is your most memorable rock moment?

Learning my first power chords felt like such a breakthrough. It was with a Les Paul replica on an amp the size of a lunchbox.

What does it mean to have Jack Johnson in your corner?

It’s interesting. We’ve lived in the dorms [Santa Barbara] together and we’d do shows together all the time. And even with all his success he has maintained a creative freedom with his music. Through it all it just feels natural and cool…its just people hanging out on a bigger stage.

What is your favorite SF venue?

I enjoy the Independent and the Fillmore when we played with Toots & the Maytals. But I love to play small places because you can get to know people.

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