I didn’t want to write about Gregg Allman today. I wanted to wait a few months and talk about his new album called Southern Blood. I wanted to play it on my new music show The 6 O’Clock News a few Mondays from now. I wanted to write about the vibrancy and resilience of a rock icon.
I didn’t want to write about Gregg Allman succumbing to liver cancer at the age of 69. I wanted to write about him overcoming another devastating setback. I wanted to use him as a symbol of defeating adversity and how he triumphed after losing his father at the age of 2 and his brother two decades later both tragically and his best friend and drummer in his legendary band a few months ago to suicide. I wanted to write how he conquered again. How he lived to sing about it in his informed voice from above.
I didn’t want to write about Gregg Allman today. I wanted to plot and scheme again to get a coveted ticket to any one of the 238 sold out shows at the Beacon Theater in New York. I wanted to be in the third row at The World with my friend Scott and be close enough to see his aged fingers tickle that Hammond B-3 like no one before. I wanted to hang out under the Bonnaroo big tent and scream BONNAROO after he finished his breathtaking take on another classic with Dr. John in a super set. I wanted to hear him live one more time. In Cameron Crowe’s words, I wanted one more “holy night on stage”.
I didn’t want to write about Gregg Allman today. I wanted to meet Melissa or Jessica. I wanted to pull my couch out from my college apartment put it in the courtyard and listen to Live at Filmore East and remember who helped define the concept of a jam band. I wanted to understand what a soul sounds like when its in love, in haste, in pain. I wanted to share the passion of being dragged down to the whipping post. I just wanted Gregg to feel like he was dying. I didn’t actually want him to do it.
I didn’t want to write about Gregg Allman today. I wanted to wince quizzically at the news that he married Cher and wonder again what? Wow? Yea I get it. I wanted to wonder if their most heated arguments were about who gets to use the blow dryer first. I wanted the world to see what she saw. This man built in a southern myth with a litany of secrets and tragedies but maintaining a deep reservoir of power within. A gifted voice that sang pain, but made it feel like relief. He sang grief that created joy. He delved deep, but accessibly.
I didn’t want to write about Gregg Allman today. I wanted to try harder to convince my friends to make the trek in 2014 to hot, steamy Virginia to see one of the last Allman Brothers Band’s shows. I wanted to catch Greg sitting in with his son at a Florida lounge. I wanted to finish his autobiography, My Cross To Bear, so I might understand perseverance and grace.
I didn’t want to write about Gregg Allman today. I wanted to sing the praises of his singing. His honesty, endurance and defeating demons. Sure he was no angel in life, but in music and now in eternity, he is.