Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sometimes I Feel...


I was visiting family when I learned of his passing. Its significance didn’t have a decent opportunity to gain traction in the swirl of grandchildren, dog management, and the complexities of Chicago traffic patterns. Life raced on.

Here, a few days later, I’m back in my patch of warm southern woods. Catching up. Today that included a run into town for groceries, the pantry looking bare after our long absence. A mundane task, but I enjoy the trip. As almost an afterthought, I grabbed a CD. Fillmore East.

The Allman Brothers, to me, were always about the soaring six-string interplay between Duane and Dickey. Always will be. Fillmore East defines them. But with Duane’s loss and Mr. Bett’s departure, the band carried on and continued to carry southern rock’s water. It's not like Haynes and Trucks were slouches, but the band didn’t miss a beat and the bedrock was Gregg. You could be carried away with incredible guitar solos for long stretches, but someone had to hold it all in place. Gregg’s gravely voice and powerful blues vibe was that anchor. He made everything else possible.

Statesboro Blues, Done Somebody Wrong, Stormy Monday. I immersed. You Don’t Love Me, Hot ‘Lanta, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. I was home, musically and spiritually, as I sped along the twisty back roads of my rural refuge. The band had found me in my most formative musical moment and when you scrape everything else away they are my rhythmic foundation.

Then, the climax. Whipping Post. The radio’s volume found it’s way to 40, a number I’m not sure it’s ever been turned to, and I howled, and I growled, and felt the harsh, deep grind in the back of my throat. Satisfying. ...like I’ve been tied

And I cried just a little for all that I’ve lost and for all that I’ve been given, this being the music of my life. It felt good, both the crying and the howling, and it felt bad that he was gone. That so much was gone and will continue to leave me as time wears on.

I’ve been run down. I’ve been lied to. But I’ve lived. And the soundtrack, for the better part of my life, has been the Allmans. From Blue Sky to Whipping Post. Through good times and bad. The music’s been there for me.

Thank you Gregg. For it all. May you rest in rockin’ peace.

7 comments:

jay.jennison@gmail.com said...

Trucks and Haynes as slouches...made me laugh...another great written piece on this blog and another crushing blow to music. I too found the max of my radio the other day doing the same thing you did. I'm pretty sure most ABB fans have done the same.

Mike Sepelak said...

HA!!! That's a typo, Jay. Meant to say they are certainly no slouches. But I think that I'll leave it like it is. Makes me giggle too.

Thanks for saying hello. Good hearing from another ABB fan in these hard times.

Kirk Werner said...

Thanks for this, Mike. I was going to write something similar—thought far less eloquent—myself, but decided not to. Now I've decided I must.

Mike Sepelak said...

Yes, Kirk. You must. Play the blues.

Guy Franzen said...

To the heart of the matter as usual. Thank you. In an interview with Marc Maron, back before Christmas, Derek Trucks talked a little about Gregg. He mentioned how thirty years after his death, Duane still had Gregg's ear. He told the story of being on tour and RedDawg, one of the original roadies was needling them about "taking it out", "damn, you got to take it out. If Duane was still alive...". Derek said that, "so one night we took it out, we took it way out!" Marc asks, "and everyone was on board with this?" Derek responds "No. not everyone", he says they're sitting in the bus talking about how much fun that was when Gregg comes in and says "alright who's the fucking Phish fan?" Trucks said he leaned into them which he usually didn't do and said "that was too much, that ain't what we do." and headed to his room. About ten minutes later Gregg comes back out and apologizes and says "my brother and I used to go round and round about this stuff, just play how you want to.", and heads back to his room. Derek laughs and says you knew that Duane had been chewing on Gregg.
I'm sure you've had plenty of conversations with those closest that you have lost. I'm sure Gregg will talk to Warren and Derek some as well. The good news is, that while we didn't know Gregg well enough for him to converse with us, he will always talk to us with his music.

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks for that, Guy. I know that conversation. That communion with what's left in your heart upon those painful departures. There's always the music, one way or another. I appreciate the reminder.

Mary said...

I've not heard it said any better, Guy and Mike. There's always what's left in your heart.
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