Gregg Allman on How Otis Redding Inspired His Career and Competing with His Brother Duane
Gregg Allman is a legend. He either coined the term "Southern rock" himself or inspired it with the Allman Brothers Band. Gregg kept the band going for 45 years through countless reformations and pushed on after the fatal motorcycle crash of his brother Duane Allman. The group only recently called it a day this past October.
But die-hard fans of songs like "Midnight Rider" and "Ramblin' Man" need not suffer too deep a mourning. Only a couple months after the break up of the band, Allman's on the road with a solo tour, complete with an eight piece backing band that will take him to Hard Rock Live January 4.
The charming Mr. Allman took time out of his holiday festivities to reminisce about youthful sibling rivalries, how Otis Redding inspired his musical career, and the news that fans can one day soon expect a new album composed of tracks written exclusively by Gregory LeNoir Allman.
New Times: When did you first fall in love with music?
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Gregg Allman: That's an easy one, man. I remember exactly when it happened. I was 12 years old, and my mother dropped my brother and me off at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium to see what they called a revue, which was a bunch of different acts doing about five songs a piece. Me and my brother sat way up in the cheap seats, and we were just blown away by what we saw. Jackie Wilson was the headliner, but I'll never forget how Otis Redding just owned the stage.
That music hit us hard, man; we were mesmerized. My brother turned to me and said, "We've gotta be part of this, little brother." And that's when it all started. I got the fever that day, and it's never left me, man.
Growing up, how competitive were you about music with your brother Duane?
Me and my brother literally fought over music, man. I bought a guitar first; I delivered papers all summer to buy a Sears Silvertone for $21.95, and I played that thing until my fingers bled. Duane was into motorcycles at that point, but one day he picked up my guitar and started playing it.
Of course I told him to go ride his motorcycle and leave my damn guitar alone. We had some fights over it, but finally he wrecked his bike, sold the parts and bought his own guitar. Once that happened, he passed me like I was standing still, man. My brother could play circles around me, but then again, he could play circles around just about everyone!
Has it sunk in yet completely that you ended the Allman Brothers Band for good? What were your emotions after that final concert?
Well, 45 years is a long time to do anything, let alone for a rock band to play. I'm so proud of how we went out, and that last show was just killer, man. We put everything we had into it, and I know my brother would have been proud. We never became a parody of ourselves; we were still on top of our game, but man, the time had come.
Are you working on any new music now?
There is a live CD coming out later this year from a show my solo band did in Macon, Georgia, last year. We were smokin' that night, man, and the CD captures it. I'm also working towards a goal I've had for years; I'm determined to cut an album made up of only my songs. The credits will read, "All compositions by Gregory L. Allman."
Rest assured, I'm gonna make that happen.
What can audiences expect at your show?
Well, I can tell you that the folks who come out to the Hard Rock are gonna have a kick-ass night, man. They'll walk out of there with a big ol' smile because they were able to sing and dance, and forget about their problems for a few hours. They're gonna go home feeling good, no doubt about it.
Gregg Allman. 7 p.m., Sunday, January 4, at Hard Rock Live, One Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost from $40 to $60 plus fees. Call 866-502-7529, or visit seminolehardrockhollywood.com.
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