Former Allman Brothers Band members pay tribute to Gregg Allman
When I was doing my Fingerprints instrumental album in 2004, I asked Warren Haynes if he would play on a track and he said, “Can you bring the track up to NY?”
Gregg Allman, founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, has died at the age of 69. He said that he found out about Gregg Allman’s death after a Saturday flight that passed over his dad’s hometown of Savannah on the way to a performance in Northampton, Mass.
The family said in a statement that Allman “passed away peacefully” in his home near the southeastern US coast Saturday. If not for global appeal, that would be a let down for a movie riding on a $230 million production budget. “It was captivating.” Haynes also speaks on Allman’s role in the band, which he says was that of a reluctant leader. Playing on “Laid Back” was a life changing experience for me, but even more was to come, when the jam sessions after hours with the other members of the ABB resulted in me being asked to join the band. I’ve seen my dad a lot more in the previous year then I have in a long time. “We will all miss him”. That wounded sound was no pantomime – his father had been murdered when Gregg was 2 years old, foreshadowing a life frequently punctuated with sudden absences, including the motorcycle crash that killed Duane in 1971.
Allman had a hard life, in many ways. They apparently hit it off, however: Devon later sat in with his dad several times; Allman Brothers Band favorites like “Midnight Rider” have remained a staple of his sets, too.
Gregg Allman’s vocals, by turns squalling and brooding, took their cue from the anguished emoting of down-home blues singers like Elmore James, as well as from more sophisticated ones like Bobby Bland.
Allman’s health had declined in recent years: In March of 2017, he canceled all of his tour plans for the remainder of the year.
The statement on Allman’s website says that as he faced health problems, “Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul”. Gregg had by then grown disenchanted with the West Coast music scene. They had just finished Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia – and that was a great studio with all of 12 tracks – and I said we’ve got a perfectly good studio here.
In 1995, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I know that the longer a note rings, and the more of it that you hear, the more of it you get to enjoy”, he wrote in his 2012 memoir. “Here’s what this is for me: I’ve got nowhere else to go for months, so what happens tonight, I’m gonna give it everything I’ve got…”