Michael Allman Talks the Allman Bros, Drinkin', Fightin', and Groupies
The Allman Brothers are legends of Southern rock. And they rep Georgia hard. But their Florida roots are stronger than a Daytona chrome pipe.
Michael Allman, son of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and guitar god Gregg Allman, tours all over America spreading his family's blend of roots, rock, and blues. He also gets into his fair share of wild nights drinkin' with bikers, layin' with groupies, and smokin' purple dank.
Tomorrow night at 9 p.m. for just $5, he's bringing his talents to South Beach with a show at Upstairs at The Van Dyke, the live music haven above the historically hip Van Dyke Cafe on Lincoln Road.
We spoke to Michael about how he got into music, why he loves it, and where it's taken him. Here's what he had to say.
Crossfade: Wassup, dude? How's it goin'? You ever played Miami before?
I have not. This will be my first venture into Miami.
How long have you been doing music professionally?
Probably about the past six years. I been playin' music all my life, though. My album came out four years ago and I been busy ever since.
Your people, the Allman Brothers, are from Daytona, right?
Not everybody. But the major part of us were born elsewhere and immigrated to Daytona, yeah.
What's your music like?
Basically the same style as my father, Southern rock-ish blues with a twist, I guess.
Where are you right now?
I'm in Boca Raton. I'm stayin' in this area touring with the Marshall Brothers Band. We've got Daytona Bike Week and a couple other things going on around the state.
What do you do in the band?
Lead singer. I hit a few chords on the piano and touch a guitar now and then when I'm writing songs. But I don't really play any instruments.
What's your dad think about you being in the music business?
His advice was "don't get in this business." He never really elaborated on why.
Do you regret it?
I don't. I love it. This is the life I was intended to live.
What were you doing before this?
Carpenter, framing houses.
Your bio says you went through testicular cancer. Did you decide on pursuing music because of that?
Yeah, in a way. When my second marriage fell apart, I came back to music. It relieved all my sorrows and I been at it ever since.
What songs do you do?
I sing some of my fathers stuff -- "One Way Out," "Soulshine," "Whipping Post," and stuff off my album Hard Labor Creek.
What's up with that whiskey song you got?
"I Left Town on a Mule Named Whiskey" ... Well, they love to see me come, and they love to see me go. I'm kind of a little wild.
What kind of wild?
Fuckin', fightin', drinkin', smokin', black eyes, and the blues.
What was your last fight?
I got one in Macon. There's always someone. You can't please everybody. And every now and then you find one asshole or he'll find you. One way or
the other, it's bound to happen.
You do a lot of biker events?
Yeah, we play bike rallies, get togethers, poker runs. I do a lot with bikers. The United States Military Vets Motorcycle Club is the one I most hang with. Whenever I get somewhere, I call up a chapter, they'll tell eachother, and we have a good time. They're all military vets and nowadays work a lot as cops and firemen.
You ever been to Miami?
I have not. Well, actually, I went once with my dad when I was 19 years old. He took me to the bar and I was like, "This is awesome." We were living in Bradenton at the time, and I happend to come into town with him for a recording session at Criteria or somethin'.
How'd you end up with a gig at a mostly jazz club on South Beach?
I've heard it's sort of odd they're having us. But apparently the owner is a huge Allman Bros fan and he wasn't letting us go by without a show. I think he's gonna play harmonica with us during the show.
What's the set like?
I'm singing with the Marshall Brothers Band. They've got two guitars, a Hammond B3 organ, and they're an Allman Bros tribute band. I come in as a guest, and they know all my stuff, so we do both.
What do you drink?
What do you smoke?
Cigarettes, American Spirit, orange pack, and anything else you roll up.
How are the groupies?
Oh, they're a handful. They're fun. Without them, the world would not go 'round. I am single and I do love it.
Michael Allman and the Marshall Brothers. Thursday, March 1. Van Dyke Cafe, 846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission costs $5. Call 305-534-3600 or visit thevandykecafe.com.
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