Hanging With Alabama Shakes
On Aug. 14 blues/soul-influenced rock quartet Alabama Shakes were the featured guests at 98.7-FM's Penthouse, an exclusive concert series hosted by Los Angeles-based radio station KYSR-FM at the historic Hollywood Tower in Hollywood, Calif. Before an intimate crowd, Alabama Shakes performed a set featuring tracks from their debut album, Boys & Girls, including "Hang Loose" and "I Ain't The Same."
Prior to the performance, Alabama Shakes vocalist/guitarist Brittany Howard and drummer Steve Johnson participated in an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com and discussed their musical influences, performing live and their debut album, among other topics.
"I think when we're playing [live], [the audience] ought to be released from all their worries for just a little while," said Howard. "They're with us for two hours or so and I hope they just feel good and have a good time."
Formed in Athens, Ala., by high school friends Howard and bassist Zac Cockrell, the duo added Johnson and guitarist Heath Fogg and dubbed themselves the Shakes. Influenced by artists spanning soul, blues and hard rock, the quartet began performing live with sets that featured covered songs by AC/DC, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and Otis Redding, among others. Changing their name to Alabama Shakes as an ode to their home state, the band released a four-song EP in 2011. Released in April, Boys & Girls features 11 tracks penned by Alabama Shakes and peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200.