After more than 45 years with the Allman Brothers, American rock and blues singer/songwriter Gregg Allman has formed a brand-new outfit that he will be bringing to this year’s Bluesfest.
He is 67; it’s going to be Allman’s first trip to Australia and he can’t wait.
‘I have my new band, a nine-piece, and we have been together about seven years, and man they are my pride and joy. We still do all the Allman Brothers songs. After all I wrote 80 per cent of them! We either do them with a different arrangement or the way it was originally written. Some of them kind of sound like a different song! But you get the gist!’
Having previously suffered with Hepatitis C, Allman received a liver transplant in 2010, and since recovering nothing can hold him back.
‘They gave me a new liver and it is working perfectly! It’s working perfectly, and I guess you could say that afterwards you do get more spiritual about life.’
Organ transplant is no simple endeavour. ‘You need to be in a certain window of sickness,’ says Allman. ‘You can’t be too sick and you can’t be not sick enough. You go to classes for five or six weeks – it’s like going to liver college and you wait. I waited five months and five days and then they called me and said, Sir, your liver is ready!’
He laughs about his longstanding band the Allman Brothers: ‘We’ve been together 45 years I love those guys, but it got to the point where they wouldn’t play in the wintertime. I need more than that because I have such a passion for music – I just want to play!’
So how did Allman go about crafting his new band?
‘I looked for people who, musically and professionally, I looked up to – people I knew were way more advanced in music than myself.
‘I tried not to get any really good singers! I hired Mark Tenoiss to play percussion (from Allman brothers) then Ron Jonson, a new bass player, and between the two of them it really changed gears. I have Ben Stiers on keys, Steve Potts on drums, Jay Collins on horns and Scott Sharrard on guitar.
I am really, really happy – it’s the band I’ve always wanted!’
‘With the Brothers there never seemed to be a leader, and in this band I am the leader and I am enjoying it!’
Gregg Allman at the Byron Bluesfest.
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Find this and many other great gigs in Echonetdaily’s North Coast Gig Guide.