The members of Animal Liberation Orchestra, better known as ALO, are more than just friends with Jack Johnson. The local guys are also employees of and musical collaborators with the surfer-songwriter, who co-produced ALO's new Man Of The World and put it out on his Brushfire Records imprint.
"Jack essentially became a fifth member of the band for the project," says guitarist Dan Lebowitz, who says traveling to Johnson's studio in Oahu was inspiring. "By recording in Hawaii, we were forced to break from our individual norms, which put us in a great position to focus on the creative aspects of the album."
Coinciding with the release of Man Of The World is ALO's fourth annual Tour d'Amour, which this year is raising money for local nonprofit Music In Schools Today. "In high school, I had the opportunity to be in a jazz band, a jazz choir, a concert choir, and a concert band," says Lebowitz. "With all of the budget cuts, these classes don't exist today. The musician that I am today is the direct result of a public-school music program, and we want to give back what was given to us."
Prior to heading up to British Columbia to perform during the Olympics, ALO stops off at The Fillmore on Saturday. "When you play at The Fillmore, it's hard not to be struck with awe when you consider what's gone down there over the past five or so decades," says Lebowitz, who adds that there's another reason why playing hometown shows is special. "It's not out of the question that my junior-high English teacher would show up."