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Sublime Peach





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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 09:59 AM
Thanks to the person who mentioned this in the Guest Book
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BluesWax Sittin' In With Warren Haynes
By Don Wilcock

Gregg Allman describes the period of his Hepatitis C treatments as being like having the flu each day. The Allman Brothers had to cancel their annual Beacon Theatre run in March, but now the band is back on the road for a brief August tour co-headlining with RatDog. I spoke to Warren Haynes hours before they took the stage for their first show of the year. You could feel the excitement in his voice.

Warren Haynes: Gregg is really in great spirits. He went through the whole treatment and recovery, and I know he's just itching to play. I'm extremely proud of him for having gone through that because it's not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of courage to face that. Of course, putting your career on hold to deal with it is part of it, and it's something that no musician can be comfortable with, but it was the right thing to do, and now that he's through it, I know that he's itching to play music.

Don Wilcock for BluesWax: You and I have talked in the past about how magical it was for you to come in and play with the Allman Brothers. Does that feeling still exist or do you now feel totally integrated? Do you still see yourself as adding to a legacy that Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks and Jamoe [Jai Johanny Johanson] started long before you joined?

WH: I think what they did in those short three years [1969 to 1971] created a whole genre of music that the rest of us have been fortunate enough to learn and study and in the case of myself and the other non-original members in the band to be a part of. I mean, next year will be 20 years since I joined the Allman Brothers and I feel fully a part of it, but when I think of the Allman Brothers sound, I think of that three-year period with Duane [Allman] and [Berry] Oakley, and even though I'm extremely proud of all the music we've made together, and they did some great music after Duane died before I ever came along, there was some great music there, and it also saw the Allman Brothers taking some turns in some new directions, which is really important for any band that's gonna have staying power. But yeah, whenever someone mentions Allman Brothers Band to me, I'm always gonna think back to how many times my friends and I listened to Live at The Fillmore East.

BW: That was a great album for sure, but I'm older than you are and I can remember my thinking when the Allman Brothers first came out, and it took me a while to get into that head space because I had a prejudice in those days that the slide guitar work that Duane was doing, a lot of the Rock fans thought that he invented the slide guitar. They didn't know that there'd been an Elmore James or Blind Willie McTell or a Larry Johnson or all those people who came before him. How much do you think he added to that legacy and how much do you think what he was credited for really goes back further than what he did?

WH: Well, I think Duane took slide guitar somewhere it had never been taken at that point, and there were several people in between let's say Elmore James and Duane that were already playing some cutting edge unique slide guitar: Jesse Ed Davis and Ry Cooder and people, but, for whatever reason, Duane was able to take slide guitar from where it was to somewhere different. He just had a vision of where it would go. So, in an odd sort of way he did invent that sound because there is a Duane Allman style of slide guitar or a Ry Cooder style or a David Lindley style, but I think that he did that all in that short window of time and was never allowed to take it beyond where it was when he died because he wasn't even 25 years old then. He had just begun to tap into what he was about to do.

BW: Right! Both Mark Karan of RatDog and Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers talk about the Jazz heritage of the Allman Brothers and how that has inspired some of the longer jams. Of course, now the Jam band scene has been with us at least a couple of decades, but the Allman Brothers and the Dead were really way in advance of it. How much do you think the influence of Coltrane and Miles had on their inspiring them to go in that direction?

WH: Well, I think one thing that's important for fans of the Jam band scene or especially the musicians in that scene to understand and realize is that Miles and Coltrane and people like that were changing the set up before the Grateful Dead or the Allman Brothers. The Grateful Dead were probably the first Rock band to take it to that level, but I think they took a cue, whether it was cognizant or not, from Jazz bands that would do a different show every night because they had no choice. And if you're steeped in improvisation, then every night needs to be as different as possible without losing the audience. And so that's why if you go and dig up the old Coltrane tapes and hear 15 different versions of one particular song, in some ways they'll be so fantastically different, whether it's tempo, approach, intensity, dynamics, and I think that was a huge influence on both the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers. Aside from the obvious influences, which are the melodic structures and the modal kind of stuff, it's easy to hear where it came from.

BW: You've played with both the Dead and the Allman Brothers. Do you think the Dead are further out in terms of where they go with improvisation or do the Allman Brothers purposely try to hold more solidly to the song?

WH: I think there's two different approaches to improv. The Dead approach is more relaxed and kind of opening yourselves up for the magic to come, and the Allman Brothers are more about making the magic come and forcing it to come. And they're both wonderful approaches to improvisational Jazz-influenced music and having been involved with both bands, I've learned a lot from each band about the methods and the approaches that it takes to achieve that. The thing that both bands have most in common, and that is the most necessary, is that every member of the band needs to be intently listening to each other the way a Jazz band has to.

BW: Yeah, I was saying to Oteil [Burbridge] that was one of the things that blows my socks off. As a non-musician, I cannot understand how somebody, particularly in the rhythm section, can play something that they've never played before when they're supposed to be holding down the bottom. That's just a concept to me that blows my head off. And he was saying to me, "Well, it's all about the song first and who's leading the parade second." In other words, the song dictates the rhythm section, but you've got to follow the man who's doing the lead singing or who's the head of the band at that moment in time whether it's a guest like Bob Weir sitting in with the Allman Brothers or whether it's you leading it or Gregg leading it.

WH: And that's true. At the same time when we get off into these open-ended improv jams, what the soloist is playing is totally influenced by what other musicians are playing in response to the solos. So, if I'm playing a solo, I might start out with a certain phrase in my head and think I may know where I'm going from there, but as soon as I hear someone else on the stage play something exciting, then I'm gonna follow that instead of where I was. To me, that's what makes the music multi-dimensional is that you take cues from what's going on in everyone's head as opposed to just what's going on in your own head.

BW: So the actual control of where you're going may be out of control at any moment, and it's up to somebody to take the lead and get you out of the forest.

WH: Yeah, absolutely and not that there's only one way to get there, but I feel like as musicians that study improv and do this on a nightly basis, you spend a lot of your life learning how to play what pops into your head. How to get that from your heart to your fingers and then at some point you go past that and start deciding whether you're going to play what's in your head or whether you're going to challenge that and play something else, whether you're just going to play moment by moment according to what you're hearing in the environment that's going on, and that can include the audience as well.

BW: Do you ever feel like you're channeling God?

WH: I don't know if I would put it that exact way, but I feel like the best you can ever play in an improvisational setting is if you forget you're playing and you completely shut that part of your brain off that thinking, and there are times when it becomes almost an out of body experience and you actually forget you're on stage. And when that moment is over, whether it's five seconds or three minutes or whatever it is, you realize, "Hey, I'm on stage playing!" And as I'm concerned from my own experience, that's as good as it can get!

BW: Albert Cummings has said to me, "If you're thinkin', you're stinkin'." I think you've just said the same thing in different words.

WH: Yeah, absolutely!

BW: Where does myth end and reality begin for this band, because the band is mythical. Oteil even used the word concerning its history and he even went so far as to say that the best is not necessarily behind us. And I would guess if you're investing this much energy in this band, you believe the same thing.

WH: I think all of us feel that right now the band on any given night is capable of making music better than it was six months or a year ago or three years ago, or whatever the case is. That this lineup we have together right now, that's been together since 2001, was really, really good from the beginning the first time we played together, but seeing it grow beyond that is really special to watch and I think in the last two or three years we've seen everybody kind of come together more in a mindset which has just added a whole other dimension to it. Because one of the things that makes a great band is all the different personalities, each member of this band has a strong unique personality and brings that to the stage. But another thing that can bring a whole other element is when those personalities start melding together and influencing each other and it's just kind of an unspoken thing that happens, but we're all learning from each other and sometimes that culminates in even in an exponential fashion to the extent we'll walk off stage and I can go, "Wow, we've never played like that before." I'm not saying it's the best we've every played, but that it was something inspiring and special and unique.

BW: People never thought that groups like the Allman Brothers or the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead would make it for 40 years, and here we have people like Gregg and others who are in their sixties. I'm 64 myself and the whole attitude toward age and what it means in terms of your stamina and ability to create great music of high impact has completely changed since Paul McCartney wrote "When I'm 64." What's your take on that and how long does that string run out?

WH: Well, speaking for the Allman Brothers, not that I'm speaking for everyone individually, it is something we've talked about a lot. I mean, this band collectively feels like as long as we're making music that is groundbreaking and exciting and lives up to the Allman Brothers legacy, then we should continue to be doing it. At the point where it started feeling or sounding like a nostalgia act, then it would be time to quit. But that time doesn't seem close at hand.

BW: Are you going to turn the 40th anniversary into something special?

WH: Yeah, we're making plans for it now. I think the 40th deserves to be something special.

BW: Can you give us any hints as to where you might be going with that?

WH: Uh, not really as of yet, but I'm hoping we can kick off the Beacon Theater with a huge bang.

Don Wilcock is a contributing editor at BluesWax. You may contact Don at blueswax@visnat.com.

http://www.visnat.com/entertainment/music/blueswax/backissues/blueswax_411. cfm

 

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:01 AM
Allman Brothers' new intensity onstage Friday at CMAC

Jeff Spevak • Staff music critic • August 21, 2008


OK, it looks as though John Mayer's not gonna call, despite the fact that I really want to talk to him about this breakup with Jennifer Aniston that I've been reading about. And discuss the photos of him in a hot tub with cool-looking women — no Jennifer! — that I discovered while researching him on the Internet. Maybe I could be of help, but I have a story to write here....

Thankfully, Oteil Burbridge, bassist with the Allman Brothers Band, called.

As most Allman enthusiasts know, it is a calmer band that comes to the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center on Friday. Perhaps it was the 2000 coup of founding member Dickey Betts, or the band's truce on crazy marriages (Gregg Allman and Cher!), drugs (just about everyone) and deaths (four). You'd think there'd be a ban on motorcycles after the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley in such accidents, but both Gregg Allman and Burbridge remain bikers. "Guess I'll have to put together my bucket list," Burbridge muses.

"The biggest change for the band, since Dickey left, is increased communication between band members," Burbridge says. "Two years ago, it was a breakthrough. You can tell. The last two years, any night we're playing, it's way more intense. When you're playing improvisational music, how you feel about the guy next to you, if you want to kill him, makes it hard to communicate."

When Burbridge became an Allman in 1997, following the death of Allen Woody, Betts traveled on one tour bus, the drummers on a second — "They wanted a nonsmoking bus, and they didn't want the drama" — while Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes and Burbridge were in a third bus. "That's just a lot of separation, basically," Burbridge says. "We didn't see each other until we were onstage. Out of 24 hours, you see each other for 2½, and that's it. We'd be two, three, four songs into it before the first time I got to say hello to Dickey."

There was no particular epiphany, just maturity.

"I'm just trying to keep it simple, you know?" Burbridge says. "I'm at such a much-better point in my life. I'm gonna be 44 in a couple of days, and I think a lot more about how you spend your time. I've seen a lot of musicians lose their kids, health, relationships, life. They didn't know what to do with all this free time on the road. Drugs, addictions, as I did in the past, too. It's all about choosing life instead of death. It's a tricky thing, being a human. All these clichιs are true, but 'Youth is wasted on the young' is the truest."

Burbridge is the last addition to the band. Betts' ouster opened the door for Derek Trucks, who teams with Warren Haynes on guitar, infusing a new spirit that seems to have not only kept the band alive but also thriving.

It's important that the music remain a learning experience. One of the most interesting influences on these later Allmans (Derek Trucks and Jimmy Herring, who was a temporary replacement for Betts, also calls him a mentor) is the Southern cosmic philosopher-poet and singer/songwriter Col. Bruce Hampton (Ret.).

Burbridge played with Hampton from 1988 through the mid-'90s in an indefinable — but we'll try — rock and R&B and funk and avant-garde groove outfit called the Aquarium Rescue Unit.

"He taught me Delta blues, bluegrass, a lot of music that is most incorrectly labeled avant-garde," Burbridge says. "Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman are not avant-garde. That's just their story."

And getting to the musician's story is the point.

"He really showed me how to listen for a person's story in their music," Burbridge says of Hampton. "I spent so many years trying to master the instrument and technique, jazz harmony and all that stuff, that when I listened to music, I missed a lot of people's stories.

"It informs the song when you know that."

OK, so how does it work on an Allmans classic like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed?" That one was written by Betts, and is famously known as having been influenced by Miles Davis — the Allmans in the early days were heavy jazz freaks — and by a tombstone epitaph that Betts spotted while visiting a cemetery.

"Actually I got the story from Dickey about how he wrote the song," Burbridge says, his voice breaking into a conspiratorial laugh, "and I can't tell it. I can say this: It's much more attached to emotions and love. But the rest of what's behind it, I'll never tell in a million years."

Is the secret of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" better than John Mayer in a hot tub?

"Way better," Burbridge says. "He hasn't lived long enough to have done anything nearly that interesting."

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080821/ENT 0501/808210305/1077/ENT05

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:08 AM
Thanks!


BW: Do you ever feel like you're channeling God?

WH: I don't know if I would put it that exact way, but I feel like the best you can ever play in an improvisational setting is if you forget you're playing and you completely shut that part of your brain off that thinking, and there are times when it becomes almost an out of body experience and you actually forget you're on stage. And when that moment is over, whether it's five seconds or three minutes or whatever it is, you realize, "Hey, I'm on stage playing!" And as I'm concerned from my own experience, that's as good as it can get!

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:10 AM
Man, I dig what Warren is saying here because it explains elements of what I see and hear them doing at shows but only either assumed or hoped is true about their music.

Thanks Warren and Angelemerald!

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:12 AM
quote:
WH: I think all of us feel that right now the band on any given night is capable of making music better than it was six months or a year ago or three years ago, or whatever the case is.

WH: Well, speaking for the Allman Brothers, not that I'm speaking for everyone individually, it is something we've talked about a lot. I mean, this band collectively feels like as long as we're making music that is groundbreaking and exciting and lives up to the Allman Brothers legacy, then we should continue to be doing it. At the point where it started feeling or sounding like a nostalgia act, then it would be time to quit. But that time doesn't seem close at hand.


Well, if that doesn't bring a smile to your face....

and after last night's show, I'd agree that they sound great and not the least bit stale.

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:14 AM
Funny. Warren never mentions Dickey's name at all.

Also, Otiel was hired after Woody quit the band.
Not to mention, Derek was already in the band when Dickey got (f)axed ...

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:15 AM
Very

Thanks for posting............

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:34 AM
Thanks for putting them up

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 10:39 AM
Good Reads. Thanks.

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 12:39 PM
Quite a few mistakes in the Oteil interview the most serious one being that Warren was never with the band when Dickey and Oteil were so Warren could not have been on a bus with Gregg and Oteil with Dickey on another. Also, of course, Oteil joined the band when Allen Woody departed from the band not this earth and also, of course, Derek did not replace Dickey. I'm sure there are others as well but that's actually pretty bad fact checking.

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 12:42 PM
quote:
Quite a few mistakes in the Oteil interview the most serious one being that Warren was never with the band when Dickey and Oteil were so Warren could not have been on a bus with Gregg and Oteil with Dickey on another. Also, of course, Oteil joined the band when Allen Woody departed from the band not this earth and also, of course, Derek did not replace Dickey. I'm sure there are others as well but that's actually pretty bad fact checking.


Butch is Derek's father

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 02:06 PM
quote:
Man, I dig what Warren is saying here because it explains elements of what I see and hear them doing at shows but only either assumed or hoped is true about their music.

Thanks Warren and Angelemerald!


Ditto. I didn't know that they toured with 3 buses and Dickie had his own! I'm a relative newbie and its all coming together now why he got (f)axed.

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 02:41 PM
quote:
quote:
Quite a few mistakes in the Oteil interview the most serious one being that Warren was never with the band when Dickey and Oteil were so Warren could not have been on a bus with Gregg and Oteil with Dickey on another. Also, of course, Oteil joined the band when Allen Woody departed from the band not this earth and also, of course, Derek did not replace Dickey. I'm sure there are others as well but that's actually pretty bad fact checking.


Butch is Derek's father


And Cher is his mom right?

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 02:53 PM
By what Warren said about kicking off the Beacon Theatre I guess that Gov't Mule won't be doing the NYE run at the Beacon. I hope it's not gonna be the United Palace.

The rest of the interview is very cool!!!

 

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  posted on 8/21/2008 at 05:19 PM
The more of these interviews with Warren I read, the more I realize how intellegent he is.
He does a great job of putting into words what this band is....the best I've ever seen, IMHO.



 
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