©1971 Free Press




An Interview With Duane Allman Of The Allman Brothers Band
Warehouse, New Orleans, LA, December 31, 1970
(first published in 'Free Press', New Orleans, LA, February 1, 1971)

Free Press: How did you first come together?

Duane: Very slowly, I was in Muscle Shoals and I went down to Jacksonville and was jamming with Berry and Dicky. Jaimoe came with me from Muscle Shoals, heís originally from Macon. Greg was in California and Butch was in Jacksonville where we all got together and jammed for a couple of months putting together songs and stuff. After that we went up to New York and recorded there. We never played a gig before we cut our first album.

Free Press: How long have you been together as the Allman Brothers?

Duane: Right at two years.

Free Press: What were you doing before the Allman Brothers?

Duane: For ten years Iíve been playing bars, night clubs, lounges, and before that high school dances, little Y teen dances, and before that for anybody who would listen. Just learning things. Man itís kind of like studying to be a doctor. You start out with a frog and then you work up and dissect a dog and go on up to human beings, and you work your way up to saving folksí lives and stuff. Weíre just working our way up, trying to perfect what we think is right. Weíre studying our particular method of communication and trying to iron it out to where there can be no doubt in anybodies mind as to what weíre trying to do. To portray our lives and main success through music which I think is a fairly good calling. Itís enough for me man and I love it.

Free Press: How do you feel before a performance?

Duane: Depends on what we took or drank, good man always good. We love to play.

Free Press: Will you follow a planned performance tonight as to how many songs youíll play and how long youíll play?

Duane: No, we normally will roughly play about an hour and a half tonight. It will be longer Iím sure being New Yearís Eve and all Ďcause we really feel like playing and everything.

Free Press: Do you just go by the audiencesí mood?

Duane: No just by however hot the band gets, man, thatís how long we play. You know, if everybodyís smoking, maybe three hours, if itís just cooking along, maybe an hour and a half.

Free Press: Are you on tour now?

Duane: No, we just finished about 14 days of one-nighters, then we took off for Christmas and this is our first gig back after Christmas.

Free Press: Do you like playing in New Orleans?

Duane: Very good man. This town is real good to us, good for us and good to play here. Good town.

Free Press: How would compare the Warehouse to other places youíve been?

Duane: Marvelous. Acoustically itís near perfect and as far as the people go they are always very responsive. Theyíre really nice to us and always take good care of us.

Free Press: Do you have any plans for the immediate future?

Duane: Weíre going to do a live album here the next time we play weíre going to record it. We were supposed to do it tonight but our producer got hung up and couldnít get down. Man that would have been really nice. I really wish we could have done it tonight, itís gonna be good.

Free Press: When will you be back for the live album?

Duane: I donít know for sure, probably, February or March.

Free Press: Do you have any problems getting your sound on record?

Duane: No man. Weíve got the best producer in the world. Tommy Dowd produces our records. Heís a genius. He can cut a canary fart live man, and have it come out sounding like, I donít know what. Heís a great artist but people donít consider that an art. Recording is as yet a craft. Itís an artistic thing to make a good record.

Free Press: Has the success of your records affected you or your music?

Duane: Yeah. We got more money man. Whatever youíre doing, if you get a little encouragement, youíre going to do it better. Youíre gonna think ďIím hitting a noteĒ and youíre gonna try and perfect it, work it on out so when we started getting a little response, it regenerated itself back around again. When you feel youíre doing right you got plenty of power you have people behind you, you can do whatever you want.

Free Press: Are you getting much exposure in the north?

Duane: Yeah, itís okay you know our record nationally did like up in the thirtyís on the charts so somebody bought it somewhere, you just canít do that in one town.

Free Press: How would best describe your music?

Duane: I donít know man, just part of my life. Thatís the only way I can describe it. Itís just a reflection of what happens to us, a mirror of what we do, just a condensation of what goes down every day, man for all of us.

Free Press: Do you try to include a lot of your own original music into what you play?

Duane: Yeah, yeah. Some of itís standard blues and stuff. We owe a lot to the blues man. A lot of background and stuff. But we got a lot of our own stuff in there too.

Free Press: Who are some other musicians you admire?

Duane: Miles Davis, Paus Chambers, Jake Coltrane, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and B.B. of course, Eric Clapton, lots of them, man. Anybody thatís playing good, I admire them.

Free Press: Are there any thoughts or messages you would like to relate to the young people?

Duane: Well, anybody thatís 18 and reads your paper, you should tell them to vote this year man, cause they can. Thatís whatís gonna be happening this year, man the vote. When people realize that there is a young vote theyíre going to have to appeal to it to get their votes. Then young people will start getting their way. If you want to start talking about politics, thatís the only way.

Free Press: Are you personally involved very much with politics?

Duane: Inadvertently, I suppose everyone is. You have to be a little bit. Iím not personally involved in any kind of political crap or anything. But I watch it and I like to see things right. So far as who is running and stuff, it makes it a lot easier on everyone if someone with some sense is in a position to make laws and set things up for a change.

Free Press: What are some of the changes youíd like to see happen?

Duane: Iíd like to see a liberal democratic president and I think weíll get it too, Ďcause Nixonís F**KED up so much. Man, I donít believe heíll even run. Some of his advisors have even advised him not to run. People are sick of it, man itís just jive man. But letís not talk about politics, man, letís talk about music.

Free Press: What are some of the principal things youíre trying to get across through your music?

Duane: Wait, youíll hear it all man, in just about a half an hour. I donít want to be evasive man, but there are just no words. I donít even want to try and explain. I donít believe I could.


Back to the top of this page