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Author: Subject: The Allman Brothers Band Named Billboard's Legend Of Live

Zen Peach





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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 04:02 PM
(article courtesy of Delaware - bringing it over from GB for those who don't visit there because it's a good one )

The Allman Brothers Band Named Billboard's Legend Of Live

By RAY WADDELL
Billboard Magazine

From free jams in the late '60s at Atlanta's Piedmont Park to this era's extended bookings at New York's Beacon Theatre, "there's one thing you can damn sure say about the Allman Brothers," founding member/drummer Butch Trucks says. "It's all about the live thing."

Fellow founding "brother" and the band's second drummer Jaimoe Johnson adds, "Live performance is very important because nothing
else matches the deliverance of the music." And the vitality of the Allman Brothers Band live is as it ever was. "It still feels good, otherwise we wouldn't do it," Gregg Allman says of the band's current lineup of himself,
Trucks and Jaimoe (who uses his first name professionally), along with longtime
members Warren Haynes, Marc Quinones, Oteil Burbridge and Derek Trucks, Butch's
nephew. "We don't plan on changing anymore. The thing will end before the
players change."

On Nov. 20 the Allman Brothers Band will receive the Legend of Live award at the 2008 Billboard Touring Awards in New York. The award recognizes a touring professional who has had a significant and lasting impact on the concert industry.

Allman calls the award "quite an honor," and band manager Bert Holman considers it a recognition not just of the past but the present and future for a band that celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.

"We see it as not about having hit 61 home runs, it's about still being on the field playing," he says. "This is a unique award that recognizes bands that don't rest on their laurels."

The laurels are pretty impressive, and the legacy is among rock's most compelling stories. The journey has been one of tremendous highs -- including decades of sold-out halls and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 -- and the depressing lows of acrimonious splits, personal turmoil and band members' deaths, none more devastating than Duane Allman's in 1971.

Through it all, the music has come first.

Known as one of rock's best live bands, the Allman Brothers Band was one of only two acts whose live albums ranked in the top 50 of Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time." Though the group has made legendary studio records, the live set "At Fillmore East" is a milestone.

"Playing live is the most important thing about what they do," Holman says. "This is not a band that particularly enjoys the studio process. I don't think anybody enjoys the touring process: the travel in the middle of the night, eating at weird times, sleeping on lumpy beds and having to pack every day. But
what they love is the two-and-a-half hours they're onstage. That's when the magic hits."

The recording process is "kind of academic," Allman says. "You write the songs and then you take them out and road test them, play them in front of people," he says. "They seem to tighten up; my theory is it scares you into
doing it right, having that many people there. 'Here we go, three, four, remember your parts!' "

From the time the late Duane Allman, already a renowned Muscle Shoals (Ala.) Sound Studio session guitarist, jammed in 1969 in Jacksonville, Fla., with Jaimoe, Butch Trucks, bassist Berry Oakley and guitarist Dickey Betts, and then enticed his brother Gregg to step in as vocalist, the onstage alchemy has been among rock's best.

"I felt the chemistry the first time I played with Duane and Berry in Muscle Shoals," Jaimoe says. "I knew Duane could play, but I didn't know about any of these other white boys. I come up listening to jazz and stuff and the only white people who could really play music were jazz musicians -- that was my theory."

Welcome to a new musical theory. When Duane first told Gregg in '69 what he had going on, "I thought, 'My brother, you've lost your mind.' Two drummers. That is an instant train wreck. It has to be," Allman recalls. "He said, 'I've got a great lead guitar player,' and I said, 'What the hell do you do? As I remember, you used to play lead guitar.' He said, 'I'll show you when you get here.' "

What Duane, who had evolved into a master slide guitar player, showed his brother was more than impressive. "I didn't think I was good enough. I took my brother over to the side, and I said, 'I'm not sure, but you might have the
wrong guy,' " Allman recalls. "He said, 'Why, you little chicken *****.' He pushed those buttons. I finally snatched the words to 'Trouble No More' out of his hands, counted it off and it still pretty much sounds the way it did then. At the end of that, it was just 'boom.' I showed them 'Dreams,' and that was pretty much like you hear it today, too. We learned those two songs before sundown."

The connection was made in Jacksonville and forged in Macon, Ga., where the band convened to cut its debut album for Capricorn Records.

"Once I got 'Dreams' in there, I belonged," Allman says. "But until then, I was sweating peach pits, let me tell you."

Longtime band agent Jonny Podell says that when he first saw the Allman Brothers Band onstage in June 1969, he was instantly impressed with its stage presence. "I was struck by the fact that this Mississippi Delta, Afro-American blues voice was coming out of this tall, skinny, blonde white boy. That kind of
threw me," he says. He began working with the group immediately and its career started to explode.

The trajectory was fueled by a remarkable musical synergy. As dual drummers, Jaimoe says he has been in synch with Trucks "since day one, since the first time we played. Butch and I have never rehearsed for anything. We've worked out a few things, he'd write something out and I'd try to figure out what he wrote, but we've never rehearsed for anything."

Trucks says the nature of that chemistry can't be defined. "People ask me, and have for years, 'How do you and Jaimoe do what you do?' And I don't know," he says. "It just works. We tried a lot of different combinations with the band, and that first combination worked, the chemistry was there. Duane brought such a power and focus to where we were going, everybody just jumped onboard. I think we're playing a much better quality of music now, but we'll never touch that band for originality. With that band, every night we got onstage we were going into places that no one had ever been before. It was a religious experience."

Good as it was, the chemistry is still evident, and, some would say, improving. "This the most balance I've ever seen with this band, spiritually and musically," says Holman, who first worked with the Allmans in 1970 and has
served as their manager since 1990. "Everybody is in the same place."

Trucks agrees that the band has renewed onstage vigor. "I'm having more fun playing now than I have since before Duane died," he says. Why? "To be honest with you, I like the guys I'm playing with."

For his part, Podell remains impressed. "At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I believe this is the best the band has ever played since Duane," he says. "I'm not sure I can really say it's better, and there was only one Duane Allman, but it's as good as I've ever seen them. There are nights that I've seen them when I'm mesmerized and actually remind myself of how proud I am to represent them."

The consistent thread in the Allman Brothers family is a lack of compromise when it comes to the music. "The Allman Brothers Band, with all the various players, they don't care about anything else," Podell says. "And the same
attitude that Duane Allman had, which was to communicate very little verbally with the audience, still goes on today. They're not about singing anybody 'Happy Birthday,' they're not about talking Obama and McCain from their pulpit. And when I lapse into, 'This is what we've got to do to grow,' they remind me, 'This is what you got to do. We're just playing music.' "

Trucks says it takes only "about 10 minutes" to get back into the groove after a break. "We used to have to get together and spend several weeks in rehearsal just trying to refresh what we did before," he says. "With this band, we can go three or four months and put the band back onstage with no rehearsal
and not have a mistake. We don't have to rehearse, but that being said, after we play three or four weeks together, we get more confident."

"When everybody's focusing on just remembering the songs, it takes a little away from the ol' exploratory track," Trucks says. "By the end of the tour, the songs are tight enough to where we can experiment a lot more."

Haynes, Burbridge, Quinones and Derek Trucks "have clearly added to the legacy of the Allman Brothers Band," Podell says. "These guys, on any given night, the way they play, it pushes the [original members] in a way that only younger guys can push older guys."

Jaimoe says the musical journey of the Allman Brothers Band is ongoing. "It's still developing," he says. "It's fun, because I know a little more what I'm doing now. It takes a lifetime, because you hear things differently, so it takes off all over again. You continue to grow, you continue to create."

Indeed, the one constant of the Allman Brothers is change. "Every night there is a slightly different approach," Holman says. "It's never the same. Half the time it's subliminal, they don't even realize they're doing it. They go where their fingers take them. They're pushing things all the time."

Paralleling the makeup of the band, today's audience for the Allman Brothers is a wide mix of longtime fans and those under 30 who have become converts.

"It's great to have the people there who have seen 200 shows and can tell you about the night at Ludlow's Garage in Cincinnati in 1970 or when they saw them at the Fillmore West," Podell says. "You've got all those people and they're great, and maybe some of them could give you a lot more insight into the valleys and peaks and metamorphosis of the Allman Brothers Band. And for the kids, even
if they end up going in another direction and today love Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson, part of their education was to listen to . . . 'At Fillmore East' and 'Eat a Peach.' I think it was part of all of our educations. I was just lucky
enough to be educated on the job."

And promoters, veteran and young alike, understand that the Allman Brothers' focus has always been on the music. "Fortunately for me, I was there at the beginning," says Live Nation Philadelphia president Larry Magid, whose tenure in the business parallels the Allmans'. "What I saw and felt was a remarkable transformation and blending of American music. Through the years, through the ups and downs, the Allman Brothers Band has not lost its verve or its integrity. Their impact has been felt and heartfelt."

Holman says the band is not about complicated riders and frivolous demands.
"This band has always been about the integrity of the music, and I think that's why they've sustained," he says. "Certainly anyone that has been around this business for any amount of time has been a part of this. And their part of this integrity is they've allowed this band to present the music the way they want to present it, without compromise."

The date of the Billboard Touring Awards and Legend of Live honor has particular significance for the band. "Nov. 20, by the way, is my brother's birthday," Allman says. "That slayed me when I heard that. That's got to be a good thing."

Next year, the Allman Brothers Band will stage its 40th-anniversary tour, kicked off by what's sure to be an electric March run at New York's Beacon Theatre.

"I'd love to tell you what we have planned, but it's just kick ass, that's all I can tell you," Allman says. "We're going to pitch a wang dang doodle all night long."

 

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"Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine, and we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down..."

 
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Universal Peach



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 04:15 PM
Apparently this took place yesterday.....any reports?
 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 04:21 PM
quote:
Apparently this took place yesterday.....any reports?
This is all I've read, Buppalo ...
http://www.allmanbros.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&file=v iewthread&tid=84315

 

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"Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine, and we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down..."

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 04:27 PM
Great Read, thanks.

 

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R.I.P. Hugh Duty


 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 04:45 PM
10-4, thanks. Nice.
 
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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 04:54 PM
quote:
On Nov. 20 the Allman Brothers Band will receive the Legend of Live award at the 2008 Billboard Touring Awards in New York. The award recognizes a touring professional who has had a significant and lasting impact on the concert industry.

Allman calls the award "quite an honor," and band manager Bert Holman considers it a recognition not just of the past but the present and future for a band that celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.
Was Dickey Betts there?

 

____________________
Well 30 years of heart and soul,lord we took it further than rock and roll.
We stood together thru thick and thin,yeah we made the best of it all back then.
Then I guess time took it's toll,cut me deep,cut me cold.
Brother against brother....

 

Peach Pro



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 04:55 PM
allright Allman Brothers !!! bout time somebody took a reconize.
 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 05:06 PM
I talked to Chank today. He said the event was spectacular but wasn't televised unfortunately.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 07:04 PM


Thanks for posting this Deb!

 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 10:30 PM
thanks - great read
 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/21/2008 at 10:51 PM
"I'd love to tell you what we have planned, but it's just kick ass, that's all I can tell you," Allman says. "We're going to pitch a wang dang doodle all night long."

Alrighty then! And Hallelujah!!! That's all I need to know!

 

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Thanks for playing
R.I.P. Spacemonkey

 

Peach Master



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  posted on 11/22/2008 at 09:26 AM
Wow, there was barely a nod to Dickey, none really, just a vague mention of a lead guitar player besides Duane. Only the rehearsal insults, and line-up references. It makes me sad that they can't even acknowledge his contributions over 30 years. I guess they will act like he never existed when they play at the Beacon except when they don't acknowledge him while they play Jessica, IMOER, Revival and all his riffs from all the other great songs. Gasp.

[Edited on 11/22/2008 by jdorman60]

 

A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 11/22/2008 at 10:22 AM
awesome read...thanks
 
 


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