Gregg Allman's interview
by Bruno Bages - May 2003

After being through tough times, mostly due to internal conflicts, the Allman Brothers Band is back on the track with a brand and super new album, the first studio album for the last nine years. For sure, we had to give a call to brother Gregg.

Just after the release of "Hittin' the note", you said it was your best album since "Eat a peach" back in '72. Can you explain us why you think so ?
That's right, it's what I said and I confirm it is the truth. I can tell I'm not the only one thinking this way. I'm really really happy with this new album

Right, but in the 90's you also released great albums such as "Seven turns" or "Shades of the two worlds".
That's true, they were great albums but I sincerely believe "Hittin' the note" is much better than them. I believe this is the best work we've done since my brother Duane passed away. During the 90's, there were always internal tensions and conflicts in the band, and it was real hard to work. Our main problem back then was Dickey Betts. We almost disbanded but we finally understood the problem was to let him go. Now, everything is clear : we're currently working with a new management staff, Warren Haynes is back, and I'm really happy with the lineup. The feeling and the groove are back... and the band found back its soul...I'ld really like my brother to be here for him to listen to this album. I bet he'ld like it.

Do you believe Warren Haynes is so essential that the band can play its best ?
Absolutely, Warren is certainly one of the best guitar players in the world. And he brings us a lot with his songwriting. With him, the complicity is obvious. When he came back in the band, we had such a fantastic jam, and I immediately understood the magic was still there. We were back with new creative perspectives.

Your second guitar player, Derek Trucks, who is Butch's nephew was hired at such a young age. He was only 21. How did you choose him ?
Because he's good ! just that simple. The very first time I saw him play, he was about 10 years old. A bit later, I saw him in a club playing with his band. I was so impressed by his maturity. We instantly if he agreed to join the band, which he agreed to. Just that simple.

"Hittin' the note" was recorded over a ten days period. It seems real short when you hear the quality of your work
I had obligations with my band, the Gregg Allman’s Friends. We had to finish the record by the end of 2002. We had a real short amount of time in the studio. I worked on the mxing later on. I was a bit scared whaen I got the tapes, after listening to them, I couldn't believe it was so good.

Is it a kind of a new start for the Allman Brothers band ?
Absolutely....but we're geting older (laughs). It's been such a long time since I feel so excited playing in this band. By the way, the Allman Brothers Band is mainly a live band, and we like to jam. When we hit the stage, we play theshow the same way if it was our last one, we perform 100%. I believe we may come back to Paris next year, so you can hear we're still a kick-ass band.

"Hittin' the note" is a pretty blues oriented album, more than its previous ones.
That's right. I'm personnally a big fan of rhythm'n'blues, the real one, by Otis Redding. Speaking of Warren Haynes, he's more in the traditional blues. And it seems he's been a lot involved in the songwriting, so that's certainly why this album is more blues oriented than the others. We don't have any more this country rock influences.

You also covered "Heart of stone", from the Rolling Stones
Yes, true ! Even if we got some difficulties to get the rights of doing it, this song was never covered by any band.

Speaking of the instrumental song, was it recorded live in the studio ?
Yes, that is "Instrumental illness". It's been recorded live and it was the first take. We also recorded a second take, but finally, that's the first one we kept, as we liked it better. It's a song we played on stage quite a few times. We even re-wrote it several times and at it was originally sung but we finally decided to leave the words out of this cut.

Speaking of your brother Duane. This year is the thirtieth year of his passing. We thought the record company would release an anthology, or something but it seems there'll be nothing. How do you explain it ?
Well, I don't really know. You know, when a musician disappears, the rights belong to the label. Duane was a studio musician and he was working with different people. And I believe everything he did with the Allman Brothers Band has already been released. You have to get a minimum quality on tape to release them you know. So we couldn't come with tapes sounding real bad, the technology was not so perfect back in the 70's. A few anthologies have been released so far and everything with Duane is included. We succeded in releasing the American University show from december 7à, in 2002 through the ABB Recording Company. The only material we could release are the show we performed at the Atlanta Pop Festival from 69 and 70. We played with Jimi Hendrix.

We heard some rumors about a new DVD regarding this festival
I'm not sure the show was videotaped. I can't really confirm. Nevertheless, I can tell you we have recorded, in our last tou, for a new DVD. We had twelve cameras and three trucks of different stuff. This particular tour was thirteen dates and we recorded two of them. It should be released next summer.

I saw you acting in a movie called "Rush". It was about two cops, a man and a woman, who infiltrated some drugs dealers business. What do you remind of this experience ?
I learned a lot. It was the very first time to me and it was the main actor, Jason Patrick, who hemped me a lot and advised me all through the making of the movie. He's a really nice man. Back then, I was also recording an album down in Memphis, so I had to catch flights between the studio and the place we were shooting the movie. By the way, acting is not that easy.

Is there a chance we might see you in France with the Allman Brothers ?
I hope real soon. We now work with a label from London, so I guess it'll get easier to set up a european tour. While waiting for us, the european fans can watch the next DVD.


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