GREGG ALLMAN INTERVIEW
Tekst: Jeroen Bakker
Blues Magazine maakte onlangs maar wat graag gebruik van de gelegenheid om Gregg Allman enkele vragen te stellen. De zanger/gitarist/componist/toetsenist en mede-oprichter van de legendarische Allman Brothers Band zal vrijdagavond in Paradiso een uniek optreden verzorgen waarin volop aandacht zal worden besteed aan het werk waarmee de band in de jaren zeventig al wereldwijd fans in vervoering bracht maar dat anno 2015 nog altijd tot de verbeelding spreekt. Uiteraard zal ook kennis worden genomen van zijn solo-activiteiten waarmee deze ‘survivor’ zich al vier decennia lang bezig houdt. Volgende maand zal een bijzondere live-registratie verschijnen met de titel ‘Gregg Allman, Live Back To Macon’ en een volgend studio-album zal later dit jaar worden opgenomen.
We vroegen de man die verantwoordelijk is voor ‘At Fillmore East’, één van de allerbeste live-albums ooit gemaakt, onder meer wat het optreden in Paradiso zo bijzonder maakt en met welke fijne muzikanten hij zich daar laat omringen.
The gig in Paradiso, July 24 will be the only European clubshow during this tour. What makes this gig so unique compared to the festival performances?
I love playing club gigs, because it allows you to get up close and personal with the fans. I don’t get too many chances to do that any more, and it’s clearly a different beast than playing before big, big crowds at festivals, where there is a bit of a disconnect from the audience. I’m so pleased that we’re doing this gig in Amsterdam; great, great city, with beautiful people, man. One of my favorite places in all of Europe, no doubt.
In August a new album will be released, a live recording from last year in Macon, GA. We all know this is the place where it all began for the Allman Brothers Band over 40 years ago. What made you decide to record this gig in particular?
Macon, GA, has always held a very, very special place in my heart; as you said, the Brothers were formed there and I have many great memories of the time we spent there. The Opera House is a beautiful venue, man, and one of the best-sounding halls I’ve ever played in, so for a lot of reasons it just made sense to record that show in Macon. What a night it was, too; I thought it was pretty good, but when I listened back through my headphones a few weeks later, boy, I was just blown away. I’m very proud of Back to Macon, and I think people will really enjoy listening to it.
That night, you took the stage with a real eight-piece kick-ass band. Who are involved this current tour and who are involved in the Amsterdam-gig?
What I’m bringing to Amsterdam is one of the best line-ups I’ve ever played with, man. The veterans of the group are Scott Sharrard on guitar, Jay Collins on sax and Steve Potts on drums; they’ve been with me for a number of years now. The “newer” guys are Peter Levin, who has played keyboards for Levon Helm, while Ron Johnson has played bass with Warren Haynes. People will recognize percussionist Marc Quinones from the Brothers, and about a year or so ago Art Edmaiston and Marc Franklin joined Jay to give us a killer horn trio. The good folks in Amsterdam are going to blown away by what they hear.
When can we expect a 12th studio album?
I’m glad you asked that, because I’m excited to say that we’re going to into the studio at the end of this year, with Don Was producing. Don has worked with everyone who is anyone, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we come up with together.
Although you have a solo career for well over 40 years now, do you still realize you are doing things like these without The Brothers?
Oh sure, man. Like you said, I’ve had a solo career for over 40 years now, so it’s not like this is new to me. Doing it without the Brothers? Look, the Brothers had a great run and I’m glad we ended it the right way. I loved playing with them boys and we parted with no hard feelings. That being said, I’m very, very happy doing what I’m doing right now.
What will the future bring, what are the plans for the near future?
Aside from going into the studio with Don Was, I plan to keep doing what I’m doing for as long as possible. I love to play music, and I would love to play right up to the very, very end. It’s my life’s blood, man.
Voor het optreden vrijdagavond in Paradiso zijn, verrassend genoeg!, nog slechts enkele kaarten beschikbaar. De deuren gaan open om 19.00 en vanaf 20.30 zal ‘Statesboro Blues’ worden ingezet waarna onder andere ‘Melissa’, ‘Midnight Rider’, ‘I’m No Angel’ en nog heel veel andere indrukwekkende composities zullen volgen.