RFK 73 – Photo by John Gellman

Look what I found – an interesting overlooked tidbit from a Dickey Betts interview, circa 1998 or 99.

You didn’t like being called Southern Rock. How do you feel about it now?
Mixed. It is true that we were the first band to sound like we were from the South. We fought tooth and nail to prevent Atlantic Records from moving us out of the South, when they said we’d never make it living in Macon, Georgia, and playing that type of music. They insisted we had to go to New York or L.A., and that they’d break us out of there. Thank God we, along with Phil Walden, our manager, were smart enough to know that that would ruin the band. We stuck with it and stuck with it, and finally got to make a record. Atlantic kept holding off, so we kept touring. Even without a record contract, we developed a strong grass-roots support system that finally impressed the label.

But it wasn’t called “Southern rock” until a lot of bands saw they could succeed by playing the way they were always told that they couldn’t succeed. And other bands came along, like Charlie Daniels and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then there was a need to call the music something, and somebody tagged it “Southern rock.” I really don’t think there is a need to call it that anymore. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, we’re just a progressive rock band from the South. They don’t call the Black Crowes “Southern rock” just because they’re from Georgia. I’m damned proud of who I am and where I’m from. But I think the title pigeon-holes us a little bit, and forces people to expect certain types of music from us. I’ve seen us referred to as a “Boogie Band,” and I don’t think that’s fair.


2 replies
  1. DAVID SUMMERLIN
    DAVID SUMMERLIN says:

    I HAVE BEEN A STRONG SUPPORTER OF SOUTHERN ROCK ALL MY LIFE~!!….i moved to MACON, GA. in 1975 to git my masters education on it, and thanks to the help of ALAN WALDEN, refered me for a job at the “GREAT SOUTHERN T-SHIRT CO.”~!….it took me 5yrs. and i opened a music hall and created Stage Left Promotions, in which i promoted concerts for 40 years, starting with “MOLLY HATCHET”, and including; ABB, MTB, WET WILLIE,…and many more~! THIS IS A FYNE PIECE OF WORK – ALAN PAUL *****

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