Red Carpet Chat with The Allman Brothers Band at the Grammys
On a sun-kissed Saturday afternoon, The Allman Brothers Band, its families and members both current and past, gathered at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles to accept the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement award, alongside other recipients George Jones, Glen Campbell, the Memphis Horns, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gil Scott-Heron, and Diana Ross. The event was a preliminary to the 54th annual Grammy Awards the following evening. After a brief career-spanning video presentation, the band and family representatives took center stage, each receiving a Grammy, and spoke a few words to the 700 in attendance. Gregg Allman thanked the fans for their long and continued support, while Jaimoe detailed the early years. Butch Trucks told of the band’s origins, nicknames, and garnered a standing ovation recognizing Duane Allman’s contribution to his life, the band, and to the history of music. Galadrielle Allman and Berry Oakley, Jr. stood in for their late fathers, Duane and Berry, respectively, while Chuck Leavell acted as the link between the original band and its present and thanked the Academy on behalf of Dickey Betts, whom while expected to appear, did not attend. Active and relatively newer members Warren Haynes, Marc Quinones, Oteil Burbridge, and Derek Trucks rounded out the award winners. The following are the band’s red carpet interviews with jambands.com prior to the ceremony.
After a Lifetime Achievement award, where does the band go from here?
We’re slowing down, yeah, but we’ve been gradually doing that for some time. But, every now and then, we’ve got to have our boogie, man.
Any specific highlights from the band’s 43 years come to mind?
Lots of times. We were brothers before we were successful. Just being around each other is still a real kick.
Your latest solo album is nominated for a Grammy this year. Do you ever feel the pull of your solo career over the Allman Brothers Band?
I’ve played with many, many musicians all around the world, all kinds of music, but there ain’t nothing like playing with the Allman Brothers Band. Nothing against my band because I love them like they were my own, but nothing’s like the Brothers.
I hope winning the Lifetime Achievement award doesn’t mean that you are planning on retiring.
No! I ain’t stopping now. There have been awards along the way; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They actually gave us a Grammy once. I use it for my front doorstop. As a band in the early 1970s, we kind of changed the face of rock and roll. We took what the Beatles did, and what Cream did, and raised it a notch. Jammed from a blues base and brought in Miles Davis and John Coltrane, adding jazz to the whole thing. Not only that, but we opened the door for Southern musicians to stay in the South. And, on top of that, we were the number-one-selling band in the country for records, tickets, everything. All categories, we qualified for what the Grammys are supposed to be about. You know how many Grammys we got nominated for (in that era)? One. And it was for best cover art. Wasn’t even for music.
So then how important is this Lifetime Achievement award Grammy?
This is a separate thing. This is different. I am proud of this and I am glad to be here.
Not another doorstop?
Now that you have a Lifetime Achievement award, how much longer do you want to keep playing?
Until my arms and legs fall off. As long as I still have a brain. It’s all about what energy is being produced and getting it out. It doesn’t matter how.
What are the standout moments of the past 43 years with this band?
Watkins Glen. The Fillmore. Transcendental days at the Ludlow Garage. Out of body experiences.