Hangin’ With Jimmy Carter
Gibson.com does it again, this time in the form of a GREAT interview with Greg Allman. The Allmans are playing NYC this month (I am going!), and there’s been a lot of buzz about it being their 40th anniversary. Full props to ‘em, long live Duane!
Here are some excerpts from the interview, which is definitely worth a full read:
Gibson.com: How much alike were you and Duane, temperamentally?
Gregg: Oh, he was a triple Scorpio. If nothing was happening, he would make it happen. And when he was sick, it was like no one except him had ever been sick. (Laughs.) He was always the first to face the fire, in any circumstance.
In the early days you spent most of your waking hours on a tour bus. What kind of music did you listen to?
A lot of jazz and a lot of blues — especially old country blues, like Robert Johnson. We listened to the Staple Singers a lot as well. We also had comedy tapes, with funny outtakes. I remember one that had [drummer] Buddy Rich cussing out his band. To this day, I find myself listening to the things I listened to in the old days.
The Brothers did lots of benefit shows for Jimmy Carter during his run to the White House. What are your memories of that?
It wasn’t a matter of politics, for us. He was our friend. And I certainly never believed he was going to make it to the White House. A Southern president? You must be kidding. I remember an event at the governor’s mansion. We were late for a party — the last guest had just left — and we went inside. Gov. Carter had a bottle of J&B scotch on the table. We sat there and passed the bottle, and he said, ‘You know, I’m going to be the next president.” I almost choked. And then he said, “I need some money.” (Laughs.) I told him I would run it by the other dudes — the idea of doing the benefit shows. But I was sure they would want to do them. He was such a nice guy, and of course we loved to play.
Did you ever visit him at the White House?
I shared the first meal he served there — back in the section where the family lives — sitting right next to him. We were invited to stay overnight.
You’ve been clean and sober for 13 years. Was there a pivotal event that made you decide to stop drinking?
Yes. On the day we received the award for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, before the ceremony, I tried to measure out my alcohol intake. I didn’t want to be shaky, but I didn’t want to look drunk, either. Willie Nelson presented us with the award. We walked on-stage, and Willie said to me, “Gregory, you all right, boy?” And I said, “Willie, I am not all right.” Afterwards I looked at that footage, and I never took another drink. And I never will.
You’ve said elsewhere that with Derek and Warren in the band, the Allman Brothers are more like the group was in the old days. How so?
There’s less hassle. There’s more sitting down and communicating with regard to arrangements. At rehearsal, if anybody raises their hand, the music stops — just like that. We talk things over, and then we count it off again. And that’s the way it should be.
Category: Allman Brothers