[Slowhand] Gregg Allman chat
scottw at racerxill.com
Fri Jun 16 14:12:15 EDT 2006
Allman counts his blessings: fans of all ages
Friday, June 16, 2006
Special to The Plain Dealer
The Allman Brothers Band sang about going down to the whipping post in
1969, and they've rarely gotten off it since. Except for a split between
1982 and 1989, the original Southern rockers have remained a
hard-touring and hard-playing entity, overcoming the deaths of band
members, drug addictions, infighting and lineup changes along the way.
Every March sees a lengthy stand at New York City's Beacon Theatre,
while the summers bring Gregg Allman, interviewed below, and company
outdoors for lengthy, improvisational concerts that work for both the
bikers and the Deadheads in the crowd.
What does an Allman Brothers crowd look like these days?
We have our old fans, and then we've got new fans. It's literally 16 to
60. That's so amazing to me. You look out there, and you see these high
school kids and then these old hippies that are, like, bald on top and
long hair all around. They look like monks, and they have their kids on
their shoulders. It's a real blessing, because we could've faded out a
long time ago.
Is breaking up for a period of time one of those things that maybe
helped the band stay together for the long haul?
Could be. During the time we were breaking up, we knew we would be back
together. I'm pretty sure we did, at least. And that period, I mean the
'80s, were not good to the Allman Brothers. Those were the years of
electronic music and disco and all that kind of music. There really
wasn't a place for a good ol' roadhouse band.
You try to do a different set list every night you play. Isn't that a
lot of work?
Well, yeah, but you've got to. You can't just go in there and play what
you did last year. Some bands I've heard that are still around, they get
up, and they play the same songs in the same order every single night of
their life. It's got to become a job, y'know? That can be no fun
whatsoever. Me, every night I look forward to either sitting down, when
it's my night, and making out a set list or waiting for it to slide
under my door.
When can we expect some brand-new Allman Brothers music?
Well, there'll be no wine till it's time (laughs), but it's in the
making. There was nine years between the last one and the one before
that, but there won't be that much time before the next one. We're too
old to wait that long, man!
Derek Trucks, one of your guitarists, is doing double duty with Eric
Clapton's band. What do you make of that?
I think it's a new twist, and I'm really honored, since he's part of our
band, too. I'm really happy for the dude, for both of them. And [Trucks]
is that age; when I was that age I was touring that much. I remember in
1970, we worked 306 nights, and most of them were for free! We just
needed to get around and wanted everybody to be, "Hey, man, you ever
heard of these dudes from the South? They're called the Brothers or some
kind of brothers." We worked hard to get our name out -- still do, in fact.
Graff is a free-lance writer in Beverly Hills, Mich.
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