The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Cream. All of these bands had a hand in shaping rock ‚??n‚?? roll, and all of them made transcendent music that speaks to generation after generation.
And then there‚??s the Allman Brothers Band.
Raised up out of the late ‚??60s, the Allman Brothers Band did the same things as its aforementioned musical counterparts with one exception: It‚??s still going strong. The music is gritty, honest and representative of the era in which it was born, and the same thing can be said about its members.
When the Weekender chatted recently with two founding members, drummers Jaimoe Johanson and Butch Trucks, both seemed eager to delve into the band‚??s history.
‚??One thing that was proven was when we played music, nothing else mattered,‚?Ě said Johanson from his home in Connecticut. ‚??It took everything off our mind that seemed to be important or distracting or whatever, and it‚??s pretty much still that way. It‚??s still that way with me, anyway.‚?Ě
The Allman Brothers Band has hosted the Wanee Festival in Florida since 2005, and the band will bring the first-ever Peach Music Festival to Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton Friday, Aug. 10 to Sunday, Aug. 12.
‚??We draw 15-20,000 people down in Wanee. Now this year, we‚??re adding the second leg, which is the Northeast,‚?Ě said Trucks from his home in Florida, adding that the band is looking into hosting festivals in the Midwest and on the West Coast. ‚??And that way, we can maintain the legacy of the Allman Brothers, we can keep playing, we can come up with new material. And the very cool thing about it is, being a festival, we can invite all of our friends to come sit in with us.‚?Ě
At Peach, those friends will include acts like Zac Brown Band, Dark Star Orchestra and local darlings Miz and Cabinet. And the festival is a weekend-long camping excursion that, as of press time, had about 4,000 campers already registered.
Considering the Allman Brothers Band has been together off and on for more than 40 years, it‚??s natural both Johanson and Trucks have also pursued other projects. For Johanson, that venture has been Jaimoe‚??s Jasssz Band, which will perform at Peach on Saturday.
‚??We play high-class jazz symphony music, the Allman Brothers plays rock-gut, stinkin‚?? blues. No I‚??m just joking,‚?Ě Johanson said, laughing. ‚??A lot of likeness in the bands, I guess probably the only difference I would think would be the fact that (Jaimoe‚??s Jasssz Band) has one drummer and three horns. Other than that, the only thing that‚??s any different is just the ideas and the approach, and that‚??s not that much different.‚?Ě
Trucks‚?? brainchild is Moogis.com, a music webcasting platform that will re-launch with the broadcast of the entire Peach Festival for free.
‚??I want to keep the thing up and going 24/7, 365 days a year,‚?Ě Trucks said, stressing the fact that the site is not an Allman Brothers website. ‚??And to eventually get to where we‚??ll wire up about six or eight clubs around the country, and every night of the week you‚??ll see a live concert from somewhere in the country ‚?Ľ
‚??And then every night it‚??s going to be somebody else. Somebody you may have heard of, somebody you may not have heard of, and then the whole thing is it‚??ll be like a Facebook, just loaded with musical content.‚?Ě
Even with their other projects and despite the fact that the Allman Brothers Band has had its ups and downs, both Johanson and Trucks said they keep coming back for the same reason: Music.
‚??(It‚??s) the same thing that interested me in the first place, which is they can play, and myself personally, I can probably go in as many different directions with the Allman Brothers as I have ever been able to in any band,‚?Ě said Johanson, who likened that to the freedom he has with Jaimoe‚??s Jasssz Band.
The Allman Brothers Band lost original members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley to motorcycle accidents in 1971 and 1972, respectively. And it took a while and some breakups for the band to settle on its current lineup: Johanson, Trucks, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Marc Quinones, Oteil Burbridge and Derek Trucks.
Duane Allman was responsible for putting the band together, and Johanson seemed to enjoy musing over his own inclusion in the band. He explained that he was working on laying down songs by Jackie Avery, an in-house writer for Capricorn Records. Avery played the music for Duane to see if he was interested in the songs or the guitar player they were working with, Johnny Jenkins.
‚??Avery said the only thing that Duane wanted to know, he said he wasn‚??t interested in no songs, in no guitar players or anything, he just wanted to know, ‚??Do you think the drummer would play in my band?‚??‚?Ě Johanson shared.
And when the two finally met, Johanson‚??s description of the event is goosebump-inducing.
‚??So I walk up to this guy, and I said, ‚??You‚??re Duane Allman,‚??‚?Ě Johanson began. ‚??He looked at me and said, ‚??You‚??re Jai Johanny Johanson.‚?? I said, ‚??Yep,‚?? we shook hands, and I never left.‚?Ě
A large part of the band‚??s turmoil came from former member and guitar player Dickey Betts. But once he was out of the band, things seemed to drastically improve.
‚??And ever since then it‚??s just been wonderful. I mean, wonderful. Because everybody in this band now likes each other, respects each other, listens to each other,‚?Ě Trucks shared. ‚??Everyone‚??s straight, everyone‚??s sober, it‚??s all about the music. And it‚??s the first time it‚??s been all about the music since Duane died.‚?Ě
The Peach Festival, Fri.-Sun., Aug. 10-12, Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain (1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton). $99-$225. Info: thepeachmusicfestival.com