By Heather Newgen
If you haven't heard Alabama Shakes yet, consider this your wake-up call. These Southern-bred retro-soul rockers are the hottest band on the music scene right now. We caught up with lead singer Brittany Howard and drummer Steve Johnson at the Samsung Galaxy S III launch party in Los Angeles on June 21, 2012, to chat about their fast fame, famous fans and more.
Wonderwall: You have been on such a whirlwind the last couple of months. What's been the most surreal moment for you?
Steve Johnson: There's been a few. Playing Hangout Festival -- that was pretty surreal. Bonnaroo as well, and doing the tour with Jack White.
Brittany Howard: There were lots of surreal moments. We're going to be opening for Neil Young at Red Rock, so that's huge. We all love Neil Young.
WW: There's so much buzz surrounding you right now. Does that make you nervous, want to work harder, or does it not affect you at all?
SJ: I think it makes me feel everything that you said: Nervous and makes me want to work hard and all of the above.
BH: I'm going to work hard anyway, and honestly I don't pay much attention to that buzz and stuff.
WW: You've gotten to work with so many cool people. Who is someone you'd still like to collaborate with?
SJ: Les Claypool. I'm a huge fan of his. He's super-funky on the base, and I was a big fan of Tim Alexander growing up, so I feel like me and him would mesh well together. I like him.
BH: I'd like to work with Jim James, the singer from My Morning Jacket. I just like the way he's got his head screwed on. I totally get what he's doing, and I'd like to work with him.
WW: Is there one celeb or musician that you've heard is a fan of yours that got you really excited?
BH: Yeah, Booker T. Washington. That's huge. Adele -- I've got a lot of respect for Adele. She's a hard-working woman.
SJ: Russell Crowe. I'm a huge fan of his ever since "Gladiator" and "American Gangster." He's awesome. "State of Play," all that s--- is good.
WW: What song off "Boys and Girls" would you say is the most emblematic of the album as a whole?
BH: I really like "Heartbreaker." It's got a lot of things that really kinda shouldn't go together that are in there.
SJ: I'd have to agree. It's a lot of contrasting sounds, and I think that it showed all of our potential as musicians in studio. We were able to write that song, kind of pull it out of thin air.
WW: You have been on tour for awhile. What's the thing from home you miss the most?
SJ: My family.
BH: Driving my car. I'm not old enough to drive rental vehicles, so I just don't drive for weeks on end, and it drives me crazy.
- Jun. 19, 2017 See the superstars of MTV's 'TRL' then and now