Published on the Rolling Stone magazine
2 June 2017
Really one of my first big gigs and where I felt I belonged somewhere was on the H.O.R.D.E. tour in, I believe it was maybe 95 and it was us and the Allman Brothers and Big Head Todd and maybe Blues Traveler was on it maybe on and off again. I had grown up on the Allman Brothers. I mean that was just such a major sound of my childhood. I grew up with parents who listened to the Allman Brothers and they grew up on the Mississippi and that was our home kind of music, music that was blues-influenced and rock and roll and very Southern.
So when I got to work with them they were, they could not have been more kind to me. In fact I think we did maybe two shows before Gregg invited me to come out and sing with him and then Dickey Betts asked me to come out and play piano on "Southbound." They just, they were like my older brothers kind of in the fact that I was like the new kid and they looked out for me in the way that only the Allman Brothers can do. And he was just, Gregg really was all through my career very supportive and invited me to come down to the Beacon and sing. Whenever we were within 100 mile radius of each other he was just always super kind and just generous, real generous.
And then musically what can I say? We were listening to him the other night before our gig in Arkansas and I told the band, "Man, while I'm listening to stuff I can still feel what it felt like to circle the A&M, drive up the strip, circle the Sonic." I mean that was what we did every summer, we listened to the Allman Brothers and circled the main strip and hooked up with friends and drank beer and it's just the sound of my whole upbringing.
I remember sitting on the bus with him one afternoon and asking him how in the world do you keep your voice so strong and so on every night? I mean for two, three hours. He wasn't completely sober yet but he was really trying. He was on methadone, he was on the trajectory to sobriety and one of the things that he said to me that I totally have taken to heart is that, "You have to get plenty of sleep. You have to get as much sleep as you can. If you don't feel like sleeping you've got to make yourself sleep." And y'know what, that is really the honest truth and that is what has kept me from having to cancel in 25 years only four gigs, especially in the early days when I used to drink and sometimes occasionally tardy smoke. It's all about sleep and that came from him, and when he said it I believe it.