By Ali Ikram
Fat Freddy's Drop is heading off on the road around New Zealand in the new year.
The band is celebrating Dr Boondigga and the Big BW being named the highest-selling New Zealand album of 2009, as well as a successful three-show tour of the US.
Fat Freddy's bid to conquer the US experienced a near-terminal drop all of its own when a trailer carrying the band's gear came loose on a busy freeway.
"It could have ended up anywhere," says MC Mark Williams, "but it ended up down this embankment with a big hole in it, pitch black, three in the morning, quite scary, really."
Just one gig into their first American tour it was almost all over.
"We could have turned up in LA with no instruments that worked and no way of replacing them," says saxophonist Scott Towers.
But luckily it was only his saxophone which was beyond repair.
Despite 10 years in existence and the outrageous success here of debut album Based on a True Story, until this year Fat Freddy's had played just the one solitary US gig, but found a loyal following of fans there - affectionately dubbed "Fredheads".
"The longest trip I heard of was 8000 miles that a couple made to see all three gigs, and then go home," says Towers.
Second album Dr Boondigga and the Big BW has gone double platinum in New Zealand, and is the highest-selling New Zealand long player of the year. While it is the sound of 100 percent Kiwi music, Fat Freddy's say for their US fanbase, their appeal is all about soul.
"The 'Boondigga' track off the new album is Al Green-esque, and that's bread and butter to an American audience, that's what they were brought up on," says Towers.
More US touring is on the cards, but first Fat Freddy's will be making a tour of this country's summer holiday favourites.
"After playing places like the Hammersmith and the Roxy Theatre, it's good to play a nice pub in the middle of Nelson," says Williams.
The latest album was four years in the making, but the band is promising fans won't have to wait as long for number three.