A band with improvisational tendencies and a laid-back California vibe, ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) became a hit on the jam band circuit while enjoying a close association with superstar Jack Johnson.
Members Zach Gill (keyboards/vocals), Steve Adams (bass/vocals), and Dan Lebowitz (guitars/vocals) had all known one another since their days at Saratoga High School, but it wasn't until their relocation to Santa Barbara that they decided to form a band. While studying at the University of California, the musicians were introduced to Jack Johnson and drummer David Brogan, the latter of whom joined ALO while they were using the name Django. Numerous name changes, the addition (and subtraction) of a horn section, a number of lineup changes following Brogan's brief departure, and other problems plagued the band during their early years. Even though they were earning a loyal following around Santa Barbara, ALO's instability convinced the bandmembers to move back to their hometown of Saratoga. A couple more drummers came through the ranks before Brogan returned in 2002, and ALO's fortunes improved as the group began releasing material.
An EP, Time Expander, and the band's debut album, Fly Between Falls, both appeared in 2005. Fly Between Falls was reissued a year later on Johnson's own Brushfire label, coinciding with ALO's high-profile tour as the opening act for the Dave Matthews Band. A new album, Roses & Clover, landed in 2007, with Man of the World arriving three years later in 2010. For their fourth studio album, 2012's Sounds Like This, recorded at Mission Bells Studio in San Francisco, ALO took their approach to live shows into the studio with them and built a set of songs from the ground up, making the album closer in tone and feel to ALO's famously energetic live sets. Tangle of Time, the band's fifth studio long-player, followed in 2015. In advance of their 11th Tour d'Amour -- an annual February West Coast tour the band have done since 2006 -- ALO released the Love Songs EP, a collection of four cover songs including the Turtles' "Happy Together" and New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle." ~ David Jeffries