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The music world lost one of its greatest voices last weekend, Gregg Allman.
Gregg was a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969 along with his brother the late, great, Duane Allman. Gregg also had an impressive solo career.
It was while he was touring as a solo artist that I first crossed paths with him when I was just a teenage sprout and “wanna be” photographer.
Gregg Allman and the Brothers had left my ears ringing many a day after school as I air-jammed to their albums on my brother’s stereo before mom and dad got home to tell me to “turn that noise down!”
Now, I was almost old enough to get to see the man in person. I thought of him as the godfather of southern blues rock. He was all of 32 years old! My how perspectives on age change.
So with a little help from my older brother we were able to get my under-age butt in the bar he was playing at. I also brought my camera. I wanted to capture the intensity of live performance and bring it home for my personal memory. I had no idea how this passion would ignite far beyond a hobby. Thanks Gregg Allman!
Gregg literally opened a door on my career. Well someone on his staff did anyway. As I was making my way to the bathroom that evening before hew went on, a door opened, someone came out. I didn’t take notice, all I could see was the long, shock-blonde hair of the man himself. I kept going, straight through that door.
“Oh, hi. Gregg Allman. How ya doin’ man?” He couldn’t have been nicer and seemed not bothered at all by this little punk who “mistook” his dressing room door for the can.
He autographed a rare poster for me that night, let me grab my brother for a photo and hung with us a bit. That night I made my first “pro shot” that mattered.
Through the years because of that night, that photo, that poster, more doors opened. My career behind the camera would begin, and I would meet Gregg many more times.
Always, kind, humble and humorous. And a mystical presence. He just had an aura about him when you were in a room together. And unique pearls of wisdom. One night, I was backstage at The Riviera Theater in Chicago. I was waiting to run for my car and take Warren Haynes, and the Allman tour manager to an after show across town. It was dumping rain like it can only do in the Midwest. I mean a real frog striper!
I’m watching this rain thinking how soaked I’m going to get when I dash for my car a number of blocks away. Gregg comes sauntering up to the door and is standing across from me probably a couple of feet at best. Someone runs between us and out the door. Fearless roadie! Gregg sees the rain and says, ”liquid sunshine.”
He gave me that sage-like, road worn smile that was one in a million. I gave him a smirk and gentle shake of the head as if to say, you bad-ass such and such. We had a brief silent moment in the space of this new perspective that had been brought to fore, and out the door, I went with a whole new attitude and maybe some magic bubble around me because I never did get all too wet!
Thanks for all the sunshine of every kind, Gregory. It has been a great run of music and memories. The last silver dollar has been cashed and the Midnight Rider has hit the road one last time to join his brother, parents and one heck of band that has it’s voice now.
Garrett Hacking has photographed several music legends and specializes in live concerts, portraits and corporate events. Photography G serves clients in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and the mountains of Colorado.