The Record (NJ) – 4 March 2005
By Ed Condran
Special to The Record
It’s a mild, sunny winter day in scenic Savannah, Ga., and Gregg Allman, relaxing in his new home, says he is enjoying every minute of it. The leader of the Allman Brothers Band admits that he’s lost his desire to tour extensively.
“I don’t need to do that anymore,” Allman says. “I’m 57. None of us in this band need to be out there [on tour] for a long time. We’re not spring chickens anymore. Traveling is a [pain]. I’m sitting in this brand new home here in beautiful Savannah. … I love it here. I love playing, too, but as I get older, I don’t enjoy everything that goes with playing out.”
Allman doesn’t intend to emulate blues legend B.B. King, who will soon turn 80 and still tours extensively, or 71-year-old country icon Willie Nelson, who also loves being on the road.
“Good for those guys,” Allman says. “If they want to tour at that age, more power to them.”
For the next couple of years, though, fans can still look for the vocalist-keyboardist on the road as a solo act or with his beloved Allman Brothers. And they can count on the Allman Brothers showing up in New York this month for the band’s annual engagement at the Beacon Theater.
“We’re going to do our New York run and a few other cities,” Allman said. “That’s something I’ll have a hard time giving up for a couple of reasons. I love doing the Allman Brothers and I love New York, particularly the Beacon. That place reminds me of the Fillmore [East, where the Allmans recorded a live album in 1971]. It’s not as big as the Fillmore was, but it has that sound and that feel, which is so special to me. … I also love the fans in New York City. They’re possibly our best fans. Every March when I go up there it’s a labor of love.”
It’s obvious that the Allman catalog has been passed down to teenagers and those in their 20s, since a healthy portion of the band’s audience is comprised of younger fans.
“It’s exciting for us that the music is being passed on,” Allman said. “The younger people are so enthusiastic about the music. Fortunately, there is a lot for them to soak up.”
Indeed. Aside from such classic albums as 1970’s “Idlewild South” and 1972’s “Eat a Peach,” the Allmans have released a number of live discs.
“We got some tapes of early shows, which featured my brother [Duane, who died in 1971],” Allman said. “A lot of our fans are too young to have seen us then, and I wanted to give them the opportunity to hear my brother play. We have plenty of other shows in the can from back then. You can expect to hear some more old shows on future discs.”
What shouldn’t be expected is a reconciliation with former Allman Brother Dickey Betts, who was booted from the band in 2000.
“I’m more than happy with the way things are,” Allman said. “I don’t need any extra problems at this point in my life. I would like to just enjoy things as much as possible at this point. I’ll leave the conflicts behind. The more conflicts I have, the more likely I am to spend time here in my new house away from everything. After all I’ve been through, I’ve earned the right to do things the way I want to musically and to tour or stay home.”
Copyright (c) 2005 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.