Five years ago I was honored to sit in for several of the rehearsals for the Allman Brothers band’s final shows. It was incredible then and is more incredible now, on reflection. Wow. Did that happen? Even more remarkable was being in the room when Derek Trucks decided to get the famed mushroom tattoo. I filmed the whole thing and have some really cool video that is still sitting on my laptop. I have not had time to do it justice and yes I know that’s lame. I did share one short clip yesterday on Instagram and Facebook, so check that out to get a taste.
My original post about this was probably my most-viewed up here. Crazy. Reposted here, with no real edits in the text.
I was at the Allman Brothers’ second Beacon rehearsal Friday and Derek was talking to Jaimoe about getting a mushroom tattoo on his calf. Wanting to make sure that his would match the tat that all the original members received together in San Francisco in January, 1971 from pioneering tattooist Lyle Tuttle, Derek was going around photographing theoriginal member’s artwork. (Details of the Tuttle tattoos are on page 112 of One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.)
Derek and Warren have been the only members of the band ever to not receive them.
“Why are you doing this now?” I asked Derek.
“Because Jaimoe told me to and I do what Jaimoe says to do,” he replied.
I still wasn’t sure he was serious.
I arrived early on Sunday to find Jaimoe alone in the room behind his kit, with a few hard-working techs getting everything set. Gregg Allman Band keyboardist Pete Levin soon showed up, with two tattoo-artist friends. Derek was close behind. And so it began.
I asked the tattoo artist, Brian, what he thought. “Easy job,” he replied. “Somewhat intimidating setting.”
And that was before Gregg, Butch and everyone else showed up and crowded around.
As Jaimoe stood there videoing the action with his phone, I asked him why he pushed Derek to do this now, seemingly six shows from the end of the guitarist’s Allman Brothers career.
“Young Blood told me he wanted this about two years ago and I couldn’t believe it, but no one knew an artist,” he replied.
Derek was reclining on the couch stoically watching the Jacksonville Jaguars game on his Iphone as the artist worked away. The setup had taken so long that the band members arrived one by one and strolled over to have a look. As you can see, uncle Butch and Gregg shared a moment together while this was going on. They were all quite amused and excited.
I shot some classic video, which I still need to edit together and Derek says he still wants!
After Derek, several other people got the same tattoo, including Gregg confidante Chank Middleton and drum tech Stixx Turner, whom Gregg and Butch proclaimed to be the first female to be so adorned.