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ALO is not a band that dwells in the past. They are always moving forward. Always striving to discover new ideas. Always looking to go on new adventures. Their latest adventure, Man of the World (to be released February 9, 2010 on Brushfire Records), finds the Cali collective flexing their considerable creative powers to craft their finest album yet. Recorded almost entirely live, the 11-song collection is the sound of four players who have truly found their groove together. This is ALO at their most natural, their most organic and their most pure. Man of the World is the next level for ALO.
Man of the World was engineered by the band’s steady studio partner Dave Simon-Baker and produced by none other than Jack Johnson, a longtime friend and musical collaborator. The singer/songwriter/producer was a natural fit with ALO. “It felt like he joined the band for the album,” drummer Dave Brogan admits. “He was very hands on. If he thought he could add something to a track, he was willing to go for it. And we were more than happy to let him.”
For the recording, the quartet packed their bags, said goodbye to their friends and families, and headed off to Johnson’s home studio on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The weather was perfect, the vibe was relaxed, and the locals laid back. It was the change in scenery they all needed. “It was everything I hoped for,” bassist Steve Adams acknowledges. “It was a fresh environment, a great change-up from our normal routine.”
As they always have, they shared the songwriting and the vocal duties. Though all four members came to the studio with arrangements and parts of songs fleshed out, everything got scrambled as soon as everyone was together. “There was a real workshop vibe,” guitarist Lebo affirms. “Arrangements were being torn apart and put back together in ways nobody could have imagined. It was sort of a Humpty Dumpty vibe out there, but this time all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men did put Humpty back together again. And he came out much better because of it.”
The band had traditionally built their songs up track by track, but they abandoned that approach for a rawer, more organic, one. “In the days before digital recording and endless tracks, when musicians were confined to two or four tracks, this is how it was done,” keyboardist Zach Gill explains. “Musicians had to play together at the same time and get it right. A great performance meant that everybody got it right at the same time. I've always felt that you can hear the difference in recordings made this way. You actually get to hear the sound of people in a room making something together. Not an artificial simulation.”
Songs that sprang out of the band’s new recording approach span the sonic spectrum in classic ALO fashion. Collectively, the songs of Man of the World reveal the story of four friends taking an intensely personal journey together. It is the sound of a band living, creating, loving and growing together. It is the sound of ALO.
Dr. Hugh Everett III, Ph.D., was what Scientific American magazine calls "one of the most important scientists of the 20th century." A quantum physicist who authored The Many Worlds Theory, Everett inspired countless science fiction books, movies and Star Trek episodes with the concept of parallel universes. As a young teenager he exchanged letters with Albert Einstein, debating whether it was something random or unifying that held the universe together.
Until the age of eight, Hugh Everett lived in Washington, DC with his mother, Katharine Kennedy, a troubled poet and author, and his father, Col. Hugh Everett, Jr., US Army. As an adult, Dr. Everett settled in nearby Virginia, with his wife Nancy. They had a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, and a son, Mark Oliver.
Mark Oliver Everett showed no talent for physics, or even mathematics. He was much more interested in the records his sister was playing in the house.
Everyday after school one year, Elizabeth played Neil Young's AFTER THE GOLD RUSH album over and over. Mark listened. He never would have dreamt that one day he would record an album (DAISIES OF THE GALAXY) playing the same upright piano that Neil Young played on AFTER THE GOLD RUSH.
At the age of six, Mark found himself at the next door neighbor's garage sale where he saw the toy drum set that would change his life. He begged his parents for the $15 it cost to buy the set, and they relented. Most children that get a drum set play it for a week and then leave it in the closet until their parents have a garage sale. Unfortunately for the Everett family, Mark played those drums everyday for the next 10 years.
As a young teenager, after a period of trouble with the law, being arrested and thrown out of school, Mark started to pay attention to the acoustic guitar gathering dust in his sister's closet. He had already been making up little songs on the family's upright piano for years.
Mark had several friends that were coincidentally named Mark. To avoid confusion, they would refer to each other by their initials. Throughout his teens Mark Everett was "M.E." Gradually it was shortened to the even easier "E".
By the time he was 20, E was obsessed with writing songs and recording them on his secondhand 4 track cassette recorder. He wrote and recorded virtually every day of the next seven years.
At the age of 24, feeling stifled by the lack of inspiration and creative community in his Virginia neighborhood, E packed up everything he owned into a car and drove 3,000 miles across the country to Los Angeles, where he knew not one person.
He eventually moved into a tiny apartment above a garage in Atwater Village, on the East side of Los Angeles, and resumed his antisocial routine of waking up, writing and recording 4 track cassettes, going to one of many shitty jobs that he hated, coming home, writing and recording more, and going to sleep.
As time went on, from the time he started his obsessive song writing, the quality of the songs and production of his tapes slowly improved. Eventually someone heard some of his songs and asked him to record for a record label.
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