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Author: Subject: Holding up the low end

Sublime Peach





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  posted on 9/26/2008 at 09:04 PM
Holding up the low end

Oteil Burbridge reflects on a decade-plus with the Allman Brothers

By: Brent Thompson

By the time Oteil Burbridge joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1997, the group had long cemented its legendary status. And while stepping into the stalwart band at age 30 would seem to be an intimidating proposition, the bassistís awe and appreciation for the group has actually escalated since that time.

ďI didnít know anything about the Allman Brothers when I got the gig,Ē Burbridge recalls, speaking by phone from his Birmingham home during a recent tour break. ďIt was off my radar Ė I was more into funk, jazz and Latin music. Iíve learned a lot of my rockín roll history from Ė and with Ė these people who created it. My awareness of that has grown Ė I have a much greater appreciation for it than I did when I got the gig.Ē

On Tuesday, October 7, the Allman Brothers Band will perform at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in a double-bill with Phil Lesh & Friends. Currently, the two bands are teaming for a six-city tour of the Southeast.

When heís not recording and touring with the Allman Brothers Band, Burbridge plays in the trio KBM with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann and Max Creek guitarist Scott Murawski. In addition, Burbridge has fronted Oteil & The Peacemakers and participated in the trio Vida Blue in recent years. But unlike fellow Allman Brothers Band members Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, Burbridge has elected to reduce his musical projects and spend less time on the road.

ďI actually donít do as many [bands] as I used to. There was one year that I played in six bands and I realized that it had just gotten completely out of hand. I just didnít know how to say ĎNo.í Itís hard to say ĎNoí when itís something you really want to do artistically and Iíve been really blessed in that respect. But I ended up running myself ragged and Iím not like Warren Ė I like time at home and I like time not playing music and even listening to music. I like for the pendulum to swing to where Iím involved in things that have nothing to do with music to try to keep a balance. Derek Trucks is young, and when I was his age, I was doing 250 dates a year, too. Right now, Iím just doing the Allman Brothers and KBM,Ē Burbridge says.

But given the Allman Brothers Bandís reputation as a touring machine, is juggling just two bands still a challenge for Burbridge?

ďA lot of interviewers look at like itís difficult, but it really keeps thing fresh. Itís great to have some variety and to do something different. The Allman Brothers is seven pieces with two drummers and three singers Ė itís really super-loud. KBM is a trio Ė we play a lot longer if we get the chance. Itís like a yin and yang Ė itís great to keep a balance,Ē he says.

A native of Washington, D.C., the 41 year-old Burbridge found his way into the coveted Allman Brothers Band bassist spot through a side project that involved drummer Butch Trucks. Over the course of his career, Burbridge has learned the importance of skill, professionalism and reliability.

ďYou know a lot of artists that are genius-level artistically but in other areas of their lives, theyíre a mess. So the more cats that are out there that can play well but canít show up to a gig on time or sober, it makes my life easier. The music business hasnít been about quality since the Allman Brothers and Hendrix and that era when you were rewarded for being better at what you did and unique. Now, youíre penalized for both. Fortunately for me, there are some bands and fans that still appreciate the old school and appreciate someone that took more time to learn his instrument and can play the gig at 100%. Iím grateful for where Iím at right now,Ē he says.

Though he has played through the Allman Brothers Band catalog more times than he can count, Burbridge still enjoys the challenge of breathing new life into the bandís well-worn songs.

ďI think that theyíre fresh because theyíre timeless songs Ė theyíre like jazz standards. ĎMelissaí is something I look forward to Ė in the Allman Brothers, you donít have an excuse. If itís not different, itís your own damn fault. When we do ĎJessica,í thereís something in that weíre going to try to change to make it different. Itís your responsibility to make it different.Ē

The Allman Brothers Band and Phil Lesh will perform on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Verizon Wireless Music Center. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster. Call 715-6000 or go to www.ticketmaster.com

http://www.bhamweekly.com/article.php?article_id=00987

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/27/2008 at 07:45 AM
quote:
ďI actually donít do as many [bands] as I used to. There was one year that I played in six bands and I realized that it had just gotten completely out of hand. I just didnít know how to say ĎNo.í Itís hard to say ĎNoí when itís something you really want to do artistically and Iíve been really blessed in that respect. But I ended up running myself ragged and Iím not like Warren Ė I like time at home and I like time not playing music and even listening to music. I like for the pendulum to swing to where Iím involved in things that have nothing to do with music to try to keep a balance. Derek Trucks is young, and when I was his age, I was doing 250 dates a year, too. Right now, Iím just doing the Allman Brothers and KBM,Ē Burbridge says.


Very cool! I love Oteil!!!

Thanks for posting this Ang!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/27/2008 at 09:52 AM
Thanks for this great read...Oteil is vastly under-rated,IMO.....& he's turned into a pretty good singer as well !!

[Edited on 9/27/2008 by hughduty]

 

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  posted on 9/27/2008 at 12:39 PM
I love when Oteil sings. He needs a new song with the ABB though.

 

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  posted on 9/27/2008 at 12:56 PM
Thanks Ang. That's a great article.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/27/2008 at 01:14 PM
quote:
I love when Oteil sings. He needs a new song with the ABB though.


agreed...

 

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  posted on 9/27/2008 at 01:37 PM
Very nice read. Thanks
 

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  posted on 9/29/2008 at 01:52 AM
AWESOME article, thanks!!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/29/2008 at 12:02 PM
Great article - nice to read something on Oteil! Thanks, Angela!

 

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  posted on 9/29/2008 at 12:57 PM
Nice.........thanks Ang!!


I am looking forward to Jimmy's new Cd with Oteil on it.

 

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  posted on 9/29/2008 at 01:01 PM

Hey now -

If you really want to hear -- and SEE -- some unbelievable Oteil Burbridge, then get a copy of the new ARU DVD from 5/26/90 from the Trades forum. Oteil is more animated and more expressive than you've ever seen before. Plus he scat sings on so many tunes, you'd think it was his band!

 

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