So Gregg Allman passed away on Saturday. When I was fourteen or so I was pretty into the Allman Bros, and never actually minded them later when I developed more punkish proclivities. I liked Gregg’s voice and Duane and Dicky’s guitars. The rhythm section rocked with two drummers. And how can you go wrong with a song whose ending was longer than most other bands’ singles. Maybe the best and worst of all their songs was the twenty minute live version of “Whipping Post” from their Live at the Fillmore album. It particularly appealed to my overly dramatic early teen sensibilities.
Later, by my early twenties, I had long since come to my senses and become a punk rocker. After a stint in a Rochester band called the Bowery Boys, I sort of accidentally moved to Daytona Beach Florida. I was hitchiking to New Orleans, actually, and decided to do it by going around the coast all the way. I ran out of money in Daytona, got a job and stuck around for a while. Actually two whiles, but that is a story for another day.
I was the guitarist for a band called the (aptly named) Mess eventually, but on Sundays, when the band had off I would go to a bar that had an open mic jam session. Musicians got really cheap beer which even I could afford, so I was a regular jammer since I could hold my own in a few different styles.
Every local-born musician in that bar swore they were close personal friends with either Gregg or Duane, since they both went to high school in Daytona, where they had a popular band, the Allman Joys. Most of the locals had a sad story of how Gregg and Duane “changed” once they became successful, but spoke of the music with a reverence bordering on worship. Thus I never quite lost my Allman Bros catalog even as I was playing in a punk band. And I was called upon to play “Whipping Post” more than one Sunday. For the record, I never met Gregg, as he never stopped in. Sigh, for a punk musician in the late seventies or early eighties this would have soun ded tantamount to a confession of uncoolness, but I never really managed that part well in the first place so it wasn’t a problem for me.
Here’s the strange thing. A couple of weeks ago, I was working with a great old plugin by Jeremy Evers called Atlantis Fx, and for the first time in decades, mostly because I could play it with my left hand, leaving my other one to jiggle the plugin controls, I played “Whipping Post,” sort of, through Atlantis. I was going to eventually work on it a bit and maybe post it to demonstrate the plugin, but then hey, Gregg died, so I guess I better get the thing out and give the guy his due, even though I never met him. Thus I give y’all “Whippit Post,” my dutiful homage to the man and the band.