A man who seems like he never takes a break from touring is Gregg Allman, whether he is out with the Allman Brothers or his solo band - the man just never stops. He's been a concrete pillar of the Southern Rock jam band scene for a solid 4 decades. Gregg is currently out with his solo band "Gregg Allman and Friends" and he is hitting the East Coast and Midwest on this leg of the tour. For more news and tour dates check out www.greggallman.com Gregg checked in for a quick interview to preview the shows.
RAG - When performing live, do you find it a challenge to please fans who want to hear both your solo material and the Allman Brothers material?
GA - We get alot of people who come to the shows for the Allman Brothers stuff. A lot of the people come with the attitude of "Let's see what you got by yourself little brother". (laughing) I've got 5 solo records out in my career. We play songs off of that. Alot of the songs people have never heard before. Whatever Allman Brothers songs we do, they're songs that I've written. We also re-arrange the Allman Brothers songs totally. Like when we play "Statesboro Blues". It comes out funky! We have a big 10 piece horn band and it sounds really good.
RAG - Do some of the songs ever become "old and tired" to play live after so many years of playing them?
GA - You got to pretty much like a song to do it every night. Like with the Allman Brothers, we play every song different every night. At least we try to. There's a lot of jamming going on. It's kind of different when you have a big band like my solo band. It's still jamming, but it's more like jamming on solos and stuff.
RAG - I wanted to ask you about your acting. You did such a great job in Rush years ago. It makes me wonder why haven't you pursued more acting gigs?
GA - Well, my first love is music. I do get a lot of scripts. They keep sending me different ones. I get a lot where they send me some crap like "Harley Davidson Hotel". If I got a really good part, I wouldn't turn it down. Acting is quite time consuming and I would hate to make my living that way. I always did want to try it though. That's why I took on the Rush movie. That was my first shot at it and the reason why I did it in the first place was just to experience what it was like.
RAG - If your brother Duane had never passed away (Duane died tragically in a traffic accident in 1971), what effect would that have had on the Allman Brothers band? Is it possible that the band would have ceased to exist if he had lived? I know that sounds horrible, but I read so many things that were going on back then. It makes me wonder if his passing may have been a "shining light", if you will, for the Allman Brothers to carry on.
GA - I don't know man. My brother might have gone his seperate way. But, I don't think so. It would probably depend on the band as a whole. We were all getting into some real rough, terrible shit at about the time he passed away. If the chemical dependancy hadn't gone haywire, I think we would have probably stayed together. If we didn't straighten up as a band, then it would be highly possible I wouldn't be talking to you today. I was the last one to straighten up. It's been about 7 or 8 years now since I've been clean.
RAG - Who are some of the bands out there today that you like who are carrying on that Southern rock tradition?
GA - The Drive By Truckers are pretty good. I also like Robert Randolph. There are alot of new ones out that I like. But, there are also alot of new ones out that I don't like too. I don't like rap music. It's just too racial for me.
RAG - ...and what does the Allman Brothers mushroom logo represent?
GA - That's just our logo. That's all. No hidden meaning at all. (laughing) The Stones have the lips. The Dead have the skull. We just have a mushroom!
RAG - Any message you want to pass along?
GA - Yeah, I do. I love my fans to death and they are the reason that I keep doing this. They're the main reason and my love for music is the other one. I love to play for people who enjoy it. As long as people do that, what else can you do but keep on playing? It's like something that you never get enough of and it's not an ego thing either for me. It's a really graceful thing and I thank each and every fan from the bottom of my heart.