The night Gregg Allman Offered Me a Ride on The Allman Bros Tour Bus…
Late in the afternoon on June 24th, 1992, I was having a drink with friends at the Seelbach Hotel Bar in Louisville Kentucky. I had a couple of happy hour vodka’s under my belt when I did a double-take and noticed Gregg Allman had taken the barstool right beside mine. I can’t really remember how we started talking, but I do remember telling him that when I had gotten to the hotel the night before, I stumbled on Toy Caldwell performing on Ralph Emery’s “Nashville Now” Show. At this point Gregg turned directly toward me, became quite animated (well as animated as a shy laid back guy gets) and told me; “Man I played on Toy’s new record”. Without thinking, I said, “Well I hope the record is a huge success for Toy and that it was a damn shame Toy had lost his brother Tommy. Gregg raised the glass of cranberry juice & vodka he was drinking, looked at me and quietly said “Amen to that brother”. I quickly figured out he was also toasting the memory of his own brother and I somewhat embarrassedly said, “Hey man, I’m sorry, I know you know what its like to lose a brother.”
For the next 50 minutes or so we talked about Capricorn Records Artists, the Macon GA music scene in the 70’s and our shared passion for what we called “gut-bucket” blues music. I’m talking about artists like Hound Dog Taylor and Howling Wolf. We also talked about our favorite slide guitar players…Jesse Ed Davis, Elmore James, Ry Cooder, Lowell George and yes Duane. He asked me if I had ever heard the AB Band’s new guitarist, Warren Haynes? I told him I had not heard Warren play but that I was looking forward to hearing him that night. Gregg said, “He’s the real deal”.
When it was around 7pm or so and I was clearing my bar tab, Gregg surprised the hell out of me by asking me if my friends and I would like to ride over on the bus with the band to The Louisville Gardens for the show. Now I have done some dumb things in my life, but my response to his offer is definitely in my top 10 things I wished I’d done differently. I said, “Thanks man, I really appreciate it but I want to go up to my room real quick and get out of these work clothes before we go to the show. My friend got us 7th row seat tickets”. Absolutely true story exactly as it went down. RIP Gregg.
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