Read: Gregg Allman Autobiography

 

 

My
Cross To Bear, published recently by William Morrow, asks the timeless
question: what is, ultimately, more fun, marriage, heroin, or rock ‘n’ roll? We
think we know the answer, but Gregg’s hedging his bets…

 

By John B. Moore

Though his autobiography/memoir has only been on book shelves
for a matter of weeks, it seems Gregg Allman may already have a new chapter to add to the paperback version. Despite detailing
the pitfalls of his six marriages over 400 pages (the one to Cher is given the
most ink, obviously), and explaining precisely why he has finally realized that
he might not be cut out for married life, it was announced last week that the
64-year-old Blues-soaked Southern Rock pioneer is engaged to his 24-year-old
girlfriend. Seventh time’s a charm!

 

My
Cross to Bear
is much more than a catalogue of Allman’s
ill-fated love life. The book, so far the most definitive look at the influential
redneck hippie movement that was/is The Allman Brothers, is a warts and all introspection
of Gregg and his older brother Duane’s childhood, their first bands and the
ultimate success they found in starting what would be their legacy and help
jumpstart an entirely new sub-genre of rock. Written with the help of celebrity
journalist Alan Light, Allman’s unique voice comes through clear throughout the
text with his quirky expressions and phrasings jumping out on just about every
page. The book is refreshingly self-effacing for a rock star memoir, frankly honest
and at times painful to read; In particular, the recounting of his brother’s
fatal motorcycle accident and the oddly-timed motorcycle death of bassist Berry
Oakley, just a few days passed the one-year anniversary of Duane’s accident near
to the same intersection. Yes, he also discusses and dismisses the oft-mentioned
band curse.

 

Though clearly a laid back fellow, Allman unloads plenty of
vitriol on guitarist Dickey Betts, who he claims took on the role of unelected leader
and dictator of the band shortly after the deaths of Duane and Oakley. There are
also plenty of pages devoted to the author’s addictions (alcohol, cocaine and heroin)
and the countless visits to rehab and recovery meetings. He ultimately found
sobriety through his own mix of spirituality and self-styled recovery.

 

The band still records and tours, though not selling nearly
as many records as they did in the late ‘70s (but who is?). He seems pretty
content with the choices he’s made overall and how his life has turned out.
When you consider how many bands exist nowadays thanks to The Allman Brothers,
it’s a little shocking just how little ego Allman still carries around with
him. Thankfully he still had enough in him to write this memoir.          

 

 

 

 

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