Preview: GREGG ALLMAN &
the clock struck twelve on New Yearí s Eve it marked the 40th
anniversary of the immortal mythology of the
bred Southern kin GREGG
and DUANE ALLMAN
fused the Jam Base Rhythm & Blues Rock Band in 1969; leaving
an enduring imprint in the annals of American Music
with their inspired improvisational vision spanning their dynamic
four decade career.
would rear itís ugly head for the first of many times with the
untimely death of DUANE
ALLMAN on October 29, 1971; younger
would keep the Brotherhood alive through thick and thin as the
reached the summit of superstardom with their induction to the
Rock Ďní Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
who just turned 61 in December, is a consummate Rock Ďní
Roll Road Warrior continuing to tour full-throttle, cascading
his soulful gritty voice from behind his patented Hammond B-3
throne navigating the ďDreamsĒ he and DUANE
Magazine recently recognized GREGG
ALLMAN as one of the Top 100
Singers of All Time; in the article SHERYL
is quoted as saying, ďEven
in his earliest recordings he sounded like heíd already lived
a thousand lifetimesĒ
ALLMAN & Friends tour will
be spreading some holiday cheer at the Seneca
Allegany Casino (www.senecaalleganycasino.com)
this Saturday Night. Itís a safe bet that this band of accomplished
musicians will be ďPlaying Up a StormĒ, so if you have
one more silver dollar left from the holidays this is one show
you wonít want to miss.
had the honor to once again
speak with GREGG ALLMAN
from his home in
he was preparing to celebrate the Christmas season with his family
before heading out on the road.
Thanks so much for taking time out for the Rock
weíre glad to hear that youíre
enjoying a full recovery from youíre various ailments throughout
GREGG- Iím feeling
great and lookin forward to gettin back out with some of my old
friends for this holiday tour.
I just had some melanoma
spots removed from the sun but they were benign so Iím sporting
a couple of shiners. Now that you mention it 2008 did kick
my ass but Iím a survivor, I beat the Hep C and finally took care
of my sciatic nerve in my leg, after all that Iím feelin great.
I had the chance to see the ALLMAN
tour this past August at the picturesque Canandaigua NY venue
and the band sounded stellar.
it like stepping back behind the Hammond B-3 on August 12th in
Bethel NY after having to take so much time
off to convalesce?
ALLMAN- It was an
absolutely wonderful feeling to be able to get back out again
with the band and play for the fans after one of the longest dormant
periods of my touring career.
there ever any doubt during that period of time that you would
in fact tour again or be able to perform at the high level that
youíre accustomed to?
ALLMAN-Oh Yeah, those
thoughts most definitely cross your mind when youíre away from
the music for such a long time.
Thankfully for me it
was like ridiní a bicycle, I was able to hop right back on (laughter).
Once I received medical clearance to start working again I called
the band together and we had a few rehearsals to see were I was
at. All those ridiculous thoughts were immediately put to
rest as soon as I opened my mouth, I felt better, sounded better
and played better then I have in a quite a while.
the summer tour was one of our best in recent years, every night
was really on, this line-up is just a damn good band.
I understand the Hepatitis C treatments you underwent where extremely
taxing physically, what was the down time like for you creatively,
were you able to write?
thing about it, when I told my solo band what was going on, my
keyboard player had already been through the treatments, he told
ďIíve got some bad news on top of bad news for you; donít even
think about inspiration or creation during treatment, brother
I didnít even want to get laidĒ.
Boy he wasnít lying
I didnít touch a pencil, my guitar or my piano the entire time.
I just about had enough energy to pick up the phone to talk
to my mother.
bad, itís basically watered down chemo is what it is, for those
folks that have to endure full blown chemotherapy man I say a
prayer for them every night.
to tell you I feel like Iím thirty again and canít wait to share
the Holidays on this little tour with my Friends.
New Yorkers are glad to see that the Seneca
Allegany Casino has become a
regular stop for the GREGG
ALLMAN & Friends
tour with the show this Saturday Night.
sure do appreciate the fact that a good ole Southern boy like
yourself is brave enough to visit these parts this time of year.
I love to play during Christmas time up North. I donít know
when the BROTHERS decided they didnít want to play in the cold
weather but I sure do. That was one of the biggest disappointments
of the Hep C treatments was missing last yearís New Yearís Eve
performance, it was the first time that I couldnít play a gig
since I was fourteen years old.
New Year (2009) will mark a momentous time in the already epic
ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND
legacy as you celebrate the 40th Anniversary of this
revolutionary group of musicians started by yourself and your
late great brother DUANE
ALLMAN. What kind of
plans are in store to commemorate this impressive feat?
and weíve got some really special stuff planned and thatís about
all your gonna get out of me right now.
guys are one tight lipped group, when I spoke with DEREK
during the summer tour they wouldnít give up anything either.
ALLMAN-What I will
tell you is that we are going to make this yearís BEACON Run one
to remember after missing last spring. These shows will
be for music fans and not just ALLMAN BROTHERS fans with what
we have in store.
culminated the summer/fall ALLMAN
with the CHANGE ROCKS concert in Pennsylvania in front
of 16,000 fans not to mention sharing the stage with the surviving
members, what was that experience
like for you?
ALLMAN-It was amazing
to be part of the spirit that was building during the election,
personally I would have liked it better if BARACK
would have been there.
me wrong I understand that you canít be in two places at once.
I was glad to do it for him because I believe in what he stands
for. Iíve been fortunate in my line of work, racism is something
that I havenít really been subjected to over the years, itís really
a non issue when it comes to making music.
this election has proven the growth of this country and the possibilities
and potential that we have working together as a unified nation.
an artist having traveled the world meeting so many people over
your renowned career it must seem surreal for you at times seeing
all the transformations and strides this Country has made on so
many levels, yet here we are again in a war that in many ways
ALLMAN- You sure
got that right, itís disturbing. What provoked this last
Cowboy President into thinking he could solve the problems in
East, which have been going on since before Christ, at the expense
of American lives and at the risk of our economy is absolutely
I concur, letís get back to the music. The current
line-up which has been touring and recording together the past
decade features young gunslingers WARREN
DEREK TRUCKS (DTB)
on guitar has really taken the
sound and passion to another level.
Do you think
the freedom to be able to pursue their own musical ventures outside
the Brotherhood enhances the band when it comes time to reconvene
ALLMAN-I think so,
but you can just tell when you get back to the BROTHERS itís like
a sigh of relief, itís not like work itís like a vacation.
A bass player friend of mine once told me, ď the
is like a dragon, just hang on for the ride while the wings
expand and the beast soarsĒ.
Just letting the songs
flow comes to us so naturally; you can hear each individual musician
with so much clarity on stage. Even after all this time
I find myself taken aback by the spontaneity and beauty of the
music we create.
know that it was a great disappointment to not only the fans but
to yourself not being able to play the March Madness shows at
the Beacon earlier this year. I would imagine the 2009 Beacon
Run, which has just been confirmed with 10 shows from March 9th
through the 21st, will be extra special for the band.
I canít wait to get back to the BEACON this spring. Nice
try again, Iíd love to tell you what we have planned but not gonna
happen, I will say itís going to be kick-ass.
rumor mill is churning that artists like ERIC
CLAPTON, ARETHA FRANKLIN and
will join in the celebration of the ALLMAN
BROTHERS music as well as honoring
founding member your late great brother DUANE
Is there any chance during the 40th anniversary tour
that DICKEY BETTS
will be welcomed back to perform
with the band if even for just one night?
ALLMAN-There is no
chance that DICKEY BETTS will ever be involved with anything to
do with the ALLMAN BROTHERS Band; weíve been down that road too
many times and it just wouldnít work.
In looking back at what the ALLMAN
accomplished despite some tragic and turbulent times was there
ever a time you felt you couldnít carry on with the band?
ALLMAN-NO there was
never a time when I felt like throwing in the towel! As
a matter of fact itís been quite the opposite, there have been
periods of my life when this band and its music are about the
only thing that has kept me going.
During the dark periods
about the only thing kept me rolling was music and liquor.
Thankfully the liquor is no longer part of my life, Iíve been
sober for over thirteen years now.
you accepted the ďLegendís of LiveĒ Billboard
Award; how fitting was it for you accepting the award on what
would have been Brother DUANE
November 20th, the organizers of the event didnít even
know about it. It certainly gave me an added sense of pride
accepting it on DUANEíS Birthday.
It was also a chance
for redemption for me as it gave me the opportunity to make up
for the drunken acceptance speech I made at the Waldorf Astoria
when the ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND was inducted to the Rock Ďní Roll
Hall of Fame in 1995.
I watched that replay the next day I was horrified, it made me
change my life. I stopped drinking, smoking, snorting I
quit everything that day. I went home and hired me a private nurse
and fought the good fight for four straight days and havenít touched
family bloodline continues to flow musically as your son
has been making some noise with his band HONEYTRIBE
whatís it like to see him follow in your exceptionally large footsteps?
extremely proud of all my children and supportive of their endeavors.
DEVON is making some
wonderful music, people have got to see him live, his band is
really dynamite heís also become quite the lead guitar player.
out with us once again opening up this tour, this will be his
third time out with me, I donít
leave home without him.
the ALLMAN BROTHERS
music is a story within itself and continues to stand the test
of time influencing generations of musicians; is there any chance
the epic saga behind the music will ever be told by you?
should mention that, Iíve got about thirty hours worth of material
into it, let me tell you itís going to be one thick book.
you have a working title for the book yet?
ALLMAN-No I really donít yet, what
I will tell you is that it wonít be a song title.
would like to Thank
for his valuable time. We would also like to Thank
Mitch Schneider Organization
for hooking us up.