From The Wilmington Star
It took the legendary Allman Brothers Band nine years to release its latest album of new material, Hittin’ the Note. And bassist Oteil Burbridge is glad the band waited. “I really didn’t want to record with the band before because there was so much tension,” Mr. Burbridge said during a phone interview. “That really crippled anything from getting done. Now it’s much different, it’s a much better time.”
That tension, Mr. Burbridge said, came from “personality conflicts.” “They’ve been together for 30 years — you’re bound to get tired of some stuff,” he explained. “It seems most of it, if not all, has been wiped away — or at least put to bed.”
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band has continued to change members since Mr. Burbridge joined in ’97. That year, vocalist/guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody left to pursue Gov’t Mule. Mr. Burbridge replaced Mr. Woody and guitarist Jack Pearson replaced Mr. Haynes. In June 1999, Derek Trucks replaced Mr. Pearson as co-lead and slide guitarist.
In 2000, Mr. Woody died at age 44, almost three decades after the deaths of founding member and guitarist Duane Allman (in 1971) and bassist Berry Oakley (’72), both in motorcycle accidents.
Mr. Burbridge is thankful to continue playing with the current lineup of Gregg Allman, Mr. Haynes, Mr. Trucks, Marc Quinones, drummer Jaimoe and drummer/tympani player Butch Trucks. The length of time it took the ABB to record Hittin’ The Note may be an indication that they’re no longer “crippled” by conflict. The 11 songs were recorded in only two weeks. It usually takes the Brothers a month or two, Mr. Burbridge said.
The recording period was shortened thanks to the band’s newfound “team spirit.” “Everybody has to want it at the same time,” Mr. Burbridge said. “A band is a team. It’s obvious in something like a football team, that everybody has the exact same goals in mind. But with a band, for some reason, I guess because it’s art and not competition, it seems like people can have different goals. And we have to be reminded that we all basically have the same goals. Once everybody gets on the same page, you wouldn’t do anything to hurt the band.”
The ABB’s 25th album features nine new songs, including the first single, Firing Line, and the latest single, The High Cost of Low Living. Also included are covers of the Rolling Stones’ Heart of Stone and Freddy King’s Woman Across the River.
In addition to the Allman Brothers Band, Mr. Burbridge also performs with his own band, the Peacemakers, and occasionally a reunion show with his former band, Aquarium Rescue Unit.