Flashback 2015: Devon Allman Brings Bluesey Licks To SoCal With Two Shows


DEVON ALLMAN BAND plays The Mint Sep 8 and The Coach House Sep 9

Flashback DEVON ALLMAN interview from 2015:

Devon Allman will bring his blues-rock fusion to SoCal, playing The Mint in LA on Sep. 8, and The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Sep. 9.

He’s got the family name, he’s got the guitar chops, but Devon Allman is doing his own thing. A talented blues musician, songwriter and producer, the fact that he happens to be Gregg Allman’s son is almost an afterthought. Almost.

He’s played with his groups Honeytribe and Royal Southern Brotherhood for over a decade, and has been headlining solo tours since 2012. But if you think he grew up in the back of an Allman Brothers Band bus, think again. Allman didn’t even meet his famous father until he was 16.

“I knew who he was, and I had heard the music and everything, but I was just a normal kid growing up in the 80’s listening to Iron Maiden and playing soccer, so I didn’t grow up in the eye of the hurricane with the famous dad,” he said. “I didn’t grow up backstage or on tour buses and all that, so my path to music was really organic and I’m really grateful that I had a normal kid obsession with rock-n-roll.”

However, when the limelight of the family business came knocking, his father’s legacy did give him a nudge.

“I ended up going on tour with the Allman Brothers instead of going and finishing high school, and that definitely inspired me. I figured out right then and there that, ‘Ok, I definitely want to do this.’ That was the final push I needed.”

That push has led to him finding his own way. For Ragged and Dirty, Allman left the southern sound of his family name behind, and headed north to Chicago, the home of the electric blues. The album is packed with original songs and covers that show off his blues chops as well as his versatility. Working with legendary Buddy Guy producer Tom Hambridge gave Allman that “Chicago, electric, nighttime, kind of mojo” he was looking for.

As far as writing the songs for the album, it seems inspiration can strike at any time for Allman.

“I’ve never been the cat that can write every day,” Allman said. “What I typically do is I’ll keep my iPhone by me and if I’m playing guitar and I have a little riff come up, or if I have a vocal melody idea, I just put it on a voice memo. Right now in my phone there’s probably about 300 entries. Now these are like, the most idiotic, bullshit, drum beats hummed in the parking lot of the grocery store in my home town, to a soundcheck in Little Rock with the whole band. I just catalogue ‘em. And then when I get to that deadline and I go, ‘Shit, I’ve got three months’, I go through this process, and I give myself a week or so off, and I fashion those things into songs. I pick the best 12, and hope for the best.”

Fans can expect plenty of songs from Ragged and Dirty at Allman’s live shows, which span his career.

“There’s some songs from the Honytribe era. There’s some stuff from Royal Southern Brotherhood, and I’ve got two solo records out so there’s definitely plenty of stuff from there, there’s a couple cool cover songs. I always throw in a song of my Dad’s. It’s a really high-energy show, there’s crowd participation, there’s some sit-down, mellow acoustic stuff. There’s a lot going on.”

When discussing Ragged and Dirty and the tour, the conversation strayed to Buddy Guy, with blues-loving admiration filling Allman’s voice as he talked about Guy’s latest album, Born to Play Guitar.

“I bought it the day it came out. I think it’s badass,” Allman said. “I think anything Buddy Guy does is badass because it’s so damn pure. I saw Buddy Guy play, in his club. Out comes the polka-dot Stratocaster, and he went onstage and he sliced everyone’s ass in half in thirty seconds. I have never seen anyone command 1000 percent of your attention. He brought it down to a whisper. You could hear a pin drop. And then, he just kicked it in and just knocked people in the teeth. Now that B.B. King is gone I think we can all rightfully say that he is the living godfather of the blues. That dude’s amazing. I’ve met all kinds of people, but two people have made me say, ‘I’m literally eight feet away from you, and I cannot approach you,’ and that is Buddy Guy and Neil Young. And I could have easily gone up and said, ‘Hey, I’m Gregg’s son, I’m a big fan, I love your work, pleasure to meet you,’ and yeah, I just couldn’t.”

As far as being in awe of his father, it seems more than anything, Allman is impressed with his Dad’s durability.

“The thing that a lot of people tend to forget is guys like the Stones, they have hundreds of millions of dollars. They don’t need another five million from another tour. Those cats that are out there over 70 that are still doing it, they’re still addicted to that buzz, man, and they want to got out there, and they want to turn people on, and make people feel good. That’s inspiring to me because that’s what it’s all about, you know? It’s a selfless act. You go out there and you’re rockin’ out for them.”

When asked if he sees himself out on the road at 70, Allman is adamant.

“Oh man, until they have to put me in a box, yeah. I’ve always said, and I stand by this, it’s a crazy world out there. You can read the news and see the evil going on and the greed and the corruption and the war mongering, and not to get too heavy, but music, and paintings, and films, and poetry and all of the arts, we act as a counterbalance to that darkness. That’s why art is so important to me because it balances out this crazy world.”

Indeed, Allman shows no signs of slowing down, having just produced an album for Australia’s No. 1 selling blues artist, Owen Campbell which he can’t help but gush about.

“We just cut his record in Memphis and it’s awesome. He’s a real good one. It will come out early spring, and I’m stoked for him.”

Allman will continue touring North America into the next year and has plans to record another solo album in November.

It would seem that the legacy continues.