The name “Allman” rings a bell in most Blues/Rock fans of a certain age. Devon Allman has forged a career on his own talent, creativity and determination and there is an undeniable honesty and warmth about the man both on stage and off.
The live material is imaginative and varied but still carries an unmistakable nuance of the musical DNA that runs through the bloodline.
I caught up with Devon during a chance meeting down in Aldershot UK during his world tour promoting the new album….“Ragged and Dirty”
K: Hi Devon, how’s the tour going?
D: The tours going great man! I haven’t been over to Europe and the U.K. With a solo band in a few years…maybe 4 or 5 years. Once I started doing the Southern Brotherhood that took up all of my time so it’s really great to be back here with my own band.
K: You guys were sounding fantastic out there tonight. Really slick.
D: Thank you, it was a really fun night.
K: So you’ve been on the road for a quite a while now. How long has it been?
D: Well, I left the Royal Southern Brotherhood in the middle of April last year (2015) and I’ve been on tour ever since.
I took October off just to write for the new record and spend some time with the family and hang out but other than that I’ve been non stop.
K: I noticed that you a heading up to Edinburgh. There’s a great Blues community up there I’m sure you’ll get a great welcome. And then you are over to France?
D: Yeah. I’ve been over there many times.
K: I’ve checked out some of your early influences from other interviews so I won’t ask about that but I sometimes play a “Band” version of Fantasy Football League, if you’re up for that?
K: I’ll give you 2 choices for each player from influences you’ve mentioned in the past. You’ll have a singer 2 guitarists, bass and drums.
So first up
Vocals: Jim Morrison or Mick Jagger?
K: First Guitar: Eric Clapton or Carlos Santana
D: Man! I like em both. Um…well if we’ve got Morrison singing then I’d have to pair him with Santana.
K: Ok, Second Guitar: George Harrison or Keith Richards
D: Jesus! Ah…man…I think Harrison would play better with Santana. I would say that those two would go together well.
K: Ok. Drums: Eric Singer (Kiss) or Ringo Starr
D: Neither. I would put Stewart Copeland in there. I like Stewart Copeland, he’s my favourite drummer.
K: Ok, cool. Bass: Paul McCartney or Bill Wyman
D: Oh…McCartney. All day long!
K: Thanks for that Devon, that’s a pretty cool band…weird…but cool.
So, back to the family life you mentioned earlier on. You’ve got a son who must be about 15? Is that right?
D: Yeah, that’s right. He’ll be 16 in a month!
K: And is he following the family tradition musically?
D: He has been playing piano for about 10 years. I don’t know if he’s going to…do it…or not. Time will tell. He loves music but he has other interests as well so…I don’t know. I don’t want to pressure him. I just tell him “Follow your passion. Follow your heart. And…be really great at it. Work hard at it.”
K: Would there ever have been any other career for yourself other than music?
D: When I was in high school I was trying to decide between acting and music. I was very involved in theatre so maybe stage acting could have been an option.
K: Does you son ever come on the road with you?
D: Yeah. Quite a bit. He loves it. In the summer time he comes out, or for special things. We just did a thing called “Rock Legends Cruise” and he came out on that. It was his first cruise.
It’s a very delicate balance to have a family life and a musicians life. What I’ve found works is to bring music into the home. So everywhere in the house there is a guitar and there is vinyl everywhere as well. And then I try to bring the family into the music. So I bring my fiancé and my son out on tour.
K: It’s a good approach man. It’s not easy working away form the family, I know that myself.
One last question then if you don’t mind.
The Royal Southern Brotherhood. When I look at the line up of that band, everyone was a leader. How did that band work without egos clashing?
D: Everyone in that band was a leader of their own band so there were 5 leaders. But, you know, in the beginning I think it was pretty simple. I would bring in about 3 tunes and Zito would bring in 3 tunes and Ciro would bring in about 3 tunes and then we would throw a cover in there and have about 10 or 11 songs. After that I think it started to get a little murky because everyone was kinda jumping in with their ideas. Now that can be good but it can also start to clutter things. But I don’t think there was ever any “ego” troubles. We all knew that we were all part of a team, part of a collective. Everyone got a chance to shine and do their thing. I t was more that, you know, I had so much stuff going on. I has so much on my plate that “one thing” needed to go and I felt like I had neglected my catalog of music for 4 years and I did so gladly but it came to a point where I just wanted to go and play all of my music.
That was the hardest business decision I have ever made in my life. I loved that band…and I still do. There’s no bad blood or anything like that. I love those guys and I talk to them regularly. They’re my brothers, you know? And, we’re talking about doing some reunion shows in a year or two. Just go out and do a summer together or something.
K: Brilliant. Thanks Devon. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
D: Thank you so much brother. Good luck.
Camera: Panasonic GX7
Lens: Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm 1:1.8
Focal length: 93mm (35mm equiv)
Exposure: 1/200s @ f1.8, ISO 6400
Time of day: 22:20
Lighting: Stage lighting