The title of the book could not have been more accurate. It was his “cross to bear.”
Gregg Allman and his band visits Augusta’s Bell Auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 10, for the fourth date in a short fall tour. There are still good seats that range from $35 to $50.
Allman, who has been on the road with the Allman Brothers Band for most of the year, will play hits from his solo days in addition to several longtime faves from the Brothers.
His recent autobiography, the superb My Cross to Bear, is one of the most enjoyable music tomes of the year and is highly recommended to all ABB fans. It’s a fine, folksy read, and it’s real tough to put it down.
The book is chock-full of all sorts of insane stories about the early days of the band. It also delves into his personal life as well, as Allman was married and divorced a half-dozen times. (Yes, wife No. 7 is on the horizon.)
My Cross to Bear highlights are many, but to me some of the coolest tales Gregg reveals are:
• In 1969, Gregg, needing money to travel to California, sold half of Melissa and God Rest His Soul for a whopping $600 to performer Steve Alaimo.
• The first Allman Brothers album was a big failure upon its release in 1969, and only made it to 188 (with an anchor, as Allman said) on the Billboard charts.
• The brothers played a staggering 306 shows in 1970. This turned out to be a nice rehearsal for the sensational Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East two-album set. which was issued the following year.
• Duane never got to enjoy the vast riches of The Allmans’ successes because his death in October 1971 occurred a scant few months before the huge royalty checks started rolling in for the band.
• The full title of the two-record set Eat A Peach was supposed to have been Eat A Peach For Peace, but was shortened at the last minute. (Vowels were real pricey in the ’70s, y’know.)
• Gregg’s fave ABB member? The percussionist Jaimoe. His least? Dickey Betts, who has been banished from the band since 2000.
• Many of the scenes from the movie Almost Famous, the Cameron Crowe flick released in 2000 about a fictitious rock band on the road, included things that happened to the Allmans.
• In 1989, Butch Trucks took Gregg out to a club to hear a very young Derek Trucks play guitar for the first time. Gregg, of course, was floored, especially when Butch added this remark about his nephew: “and Derek’s already almost 10 years old!”
• Allman has a very memorable opinion of the one album he recorded with ex-wife Cher, Two the Hard Way. His quote: “that record sucked, man.” He was right.
Once again, it’s good to see promoters and fans supporting music in our town. Allman is 64 and just two years removed from a liver transplant, so let’s seize the moment and “hit the note” together at the Bell.