Grand Funk Railroad and the Allman Brothers Band became friendly during the late ‘60s, when both released their debut albums just a few months apart during 1969 and crossed paths on the road during that period.
In the wake of Gregg Allman's death on Saturday (May 27) from liver cancer at the age of 69, former GFR-guitarist Mark Farner tells us the two bands forged a strong bond during their early days:
"I just love the Allman Brothers. We used to gig with them way back when, when they were first coming out as a lot of bands that were coming up through the ranks. We got to play with them and it was good to hang with a bunch of guys like that and the Marshall Tucker Band and those guys and y'know, good ol' boys. Good people to be around...I remember just hanging backstage with them ‘cause they were going on, they were fixin' to go on and we're talking about fishing. We're not talking about guitars, women or anything else about rock 'n' roll. We're talking about fishing and what a great fishing hole I got and he needs to come fish it."
Farner adds that he's confident his friend has left a strong legacy as an artist:
"He had that voice that would take you there. He could portray the character very well. You didn't need a video with Allman Brothers; That movie was going on when he opened his mouth and started singing...I think as a contributor to the Southern rock for sure because they are in my opinion, they are the originator. A lot of people tried to copy them, even guitar wise and everything, other bands you hear it in there, but he is a unique individual and he'll always be in my book a true spirit because he stayed true to the music."
Funeral arrangements are currently being made for Allman in Macon, Ga., where his older brother Duane is also buried. Allman's final solo album is due to be released this fall.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.