Allman Brothers on Final Tour: "We Don't Want to Turn Into a Nostalgia Act"
Now in its 45th year, the Allman Brothers Band is gearing up for its final performance at Wanee -- a three-day annual music festival that the group's so proudly organized for the fans over the past decade.
The band's current roster includes founding members Gregg Allman on the organ, piano, and vocals, Butch Trucks on drums and tympani, and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson on drums and percussion. Over the years, the original group has welcomed members Warren Haynes on guitar and slide guitar, Marc Quiñones on drums and percussion, Oteil Burbridge on bass, and Derek Trucks on guitar and slide guitar.
Although Allman, Trucks, Johanson, and crew have taken several breaks from the performing spotlight in the past, 2014 could very well be their last hoorah as The Allman Brothers Band.
Photo by Derek McCabe
But as this final year of touring continues, the seven-piece outfit isn't looking to lament or begin saying goodbye.
"I'm not going to sit around worrying about what the future is going to bring. I heard something not long ago: 'You can sit around and worry about the future, but that has absolutely no effect on the future, all it does is screw up the moment,'" drummer Butch Trucks quotes.
Last week, Crossfade caught up with Butch to get some history behind Wanee's advent, some feedback on the band's decision to quit touring, and insight on what the future holds for the drummer.
Crossfade: How did Wanee get started back in 2005?
Butch Trucks: Well, this is actually an idea I had about 15 years ago because I knew at some point that Derek would want to be doing more and more on his own, so I was just trying to think of ways where we could go out for a minimum amount of shows while maximizing exposure, fun, and profitability. My idea was to do a festival in the Southeast, one in the Northeast, one in the Midwest, and one on the West Coast but at the time one of the members of the band said, 'Well you guys do it but I won't be there.' Then once he was no longer a member of the band we started doing it and we've been doing it for nine or ten years now. How many years have we done this?
This is Wanee's tenth anniversary.
Yeah, that sounds right to me. Then about five years ago we added the The Peach Festival up in Scranton [Pennsylvania] so two of the four festivals have worked out; Wanee has worked out beyond anybody's wildest dreams. It's just great; most of everyone that plays there says it's the best festival in the country almost every year. When you go there it's just beautiful, we've only had one year where we had some rain and it wasn't that bad so we're just hoping it's not going to rain and that we have another beautiful weekend. We have another great lineup once again and as usual we'll have 18,000 or 19,000 people there raging from [ages] 70 to 13 and having a party.
Does the band having anything special lined up for your final performances this year?
I'm a little perturbed because at Lockn' and Mountain Jam they've got us locked in. At Mountain Jam we're supposed to be playing the first two albums in sequence and at Lockn' we're supposed to be playing At Fillmore East in sequence. I don't know; it just doesn't seem right to me. This is our last year touring and we have to go out with Warren and Derek and play songs that they weren't even around for but I'd like to play a lot more of the stuff that they have been a part of. We'll see what happens; I don't like being tied down like that. If you've been following us you know that we'll get up every night and you'll never know what we're going do. I never know what we're going to do [laughs] and that's one of the things that keeps it fun and interesting and keeps you on your toes because we might pull something out of the bag that we haven't played in a long time and you might have to actually stop to think about it.
That's interesting that they've requested that but I'm sure fans will enjoy it either way.
Yeah. Well, "Black Hearted Woman," off of the first album, what we play now is quite a hell of a lot more than what "Black Hearted Woman" was. It started as a three-minute song and what we do now is a 15-minute jam. On the first album when "Black Hearted Woman" ends we kind of start at jam and it just fades out, but what we're doing now is picking up where we left off and we've added a jam to the end of that track that's really fun. Like I said, it's one of those things where every night you're not really sure where it's going to go. That's what I like; I like playing songs like that.