One Way Out is a NY Times Instant Best Seller

by AlanPaul on March 6, 2014

Thank you everyone who helped One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band become a New York Times Instant Best Seller. I am humbled and honored to announce that the book debuted in its first week tied for ninth on the Hardcover Non-Fiction List.

I thought all along that I was tapping into something bigger than most others realized, but I was not certain that I was not delusional.

My goal was nothing less than the ultimate word on the greatest band in rock history and I am deeply appreciative of the feedback that indicates I may just have pulled it off, via  reader emails and the reviews – in newspapers, magazines, blogs and by regular readers like you on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.

I wanted to share one email I received from a svery pseical reader: john Cowan, the great bassist and singer for New Grass Revival and the doobie Brothers, among many other great outfits.

I have never met John and had no previous contact with him. His manager reccomended he read One Way Out. He did so, then wrote me the following email. Hard to describe how meaningful this is to me.

Alan,
John Cowan here. Well I finished it. What a triumph for you and all of us dedicated “Brother” fans. I literally read it every spare moment I had since starting it. This book is so revelatory and constructed in such a fashion that I really can’t thank you enough.

It’s just so nice to have such insight and access to the band with no bullshit axe grinding or tattle-tailing. I hope the guys in the band are pleased, they should be. Anyone of us that has made a life in the music business would be lucky to have a smart, well-”spoken”, thoughtful advocate like yourself. 

The truth is about New Grass Revival that Sam & I, especially in the ’70′s version of the band were using the Allmans as our template. We absolutely consciously were trying to do with Bluegrass what the Allmans were doing to the blues, which is put our own honest, personal, contemporary spin on the whole deal. Though it pissed a lot of people off and we never scaled the heights the Allmans did, I know I take a lot of personal satisfaction in the effort we made.

One of the things the book reminded of time and again is that we are supposed to create for the sole (soul) experience of creativity. Anything else is sometimes icing on the cake and sometimes just shit on our shoes.

Thank you again,
John C

And just so you know who John is… check this out:

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RIP Brian Farmer, another good man gone too soon.

by AlanPaul on August 26, 2014

This photo by Michael Weintrob says it all. Farmer working so Warren could do his thing without ever thinking twice about anything gear related.

Warren Haynes’ longtime and much beloved guitar tech Brian Farmer died Sunday August 24, at his home near Nashville.  Farmer died peacefully in his sleep. He was 53.

“He was a close friend, a devoted worker, and a lover of life,” says Haynes. “We traveled around the world together and shared many experiences-mostly while laughing. He will be missed by a huge circle of friends and family.”

Brian Farmer was extraordinarily dedicated to his craft, to the world of guitars and amps, to Warren and all his projects – and to the music itself. People like Brian keep the wheels turning and the gears greased and the guitars in tune. The shows don’t happen without them – and no one did any of this better, with more dedication, heart and soul than Farmer.

Farmer began working for Gov’t Mule in 1998, brought to the band by his old friend, bassist Allen Woody, who died almost exactly 14 years earlier. Prior to joining the Mule crew, Farmer worked for Johnny Cash for eight years before the Man in Black retired from touring. Farmer was exceedingly proud of his close relationship with Johnny and June Carter Cash.

“When Johnny retired, I ran into Allen and said, ‘You need to hire me, you need to hire me,’ Farmer told Hittin the Note magazine.

Months later, Gov’t Mule needed a guitar tech and Woody called his old friend. In the subsequent years, Farmer became an indispensable part of the operation, teching Warren Haynes’ guitars and also serving as the band’s equipment manager and stage manager.

Farmer has been by Haynes’ side for every gig the busy guitarist has played since 1998 – with Gov’t Mule, the Allman Brothers Band, the Warren Haynes Band, the Dead, Phil and Friends and others.

Farmer and Haynes developed an extremely close working relationship.

“We have looks that we give each other,” Farmer told Hittin the Note. “An eyebrow, a flick of the wrist… a shrug of his shoulders …I’ve learned to listen for things. I can tell sometimes when he’s close to breaking a string. With the Mule, I sometimes come out to adjust his amplifier before during and after songs.”

“He was one of a kind,” says Haynes. “He lived and breathed his job. He knew a lot more about guitars and gear than I did so I could trust him to keep things working in a technical manner so I could concentrate on the music.”

Farmer at Wake Up With Warren, Peach Fest 2014 – Sunday, August 17. Photo by Derek McCabe.

Says Allman Brothers Band manager Bert Holman, ”Brian was a very dedicated, very loyal, very skilled technician. He was from the old school and would help anybody and everybody do their job. If something of Derek or Gregg’s blew up, he’d be the first guy to grab a flashlight or tool and run across the stage because he was a team player. His standard line to any request was, ‘Just tell me what you need.’ Brian always had your back. He was kind to the fans and tried to give them as much time as he could without taking his eyes off the ball, which he never, ever did.”

Farmer also had a very close relationship with the Gibson Custom Shop, working with them on all of Haynes’ custom guitars.

“Brian was more than a visitor to Gibson Custom,” says Rick Gembar, Gibson Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Custom Division.  “We were blessed to get to know him over the years as he came and went on behalf of Warren.  During those years, he built relationships with everyone, from the front desk to the craftspeople, to me personally.  He was a friend, well respected as a technician and genuinely admired for his kindness as much as for his tireless work ethic and attention to detail.  Seeing him come through the door was always a welcome sight to the people here.

On behalf of everyone here at Gibson Custom, I send our deepest condolences to his family, Warren, Brian’s friends and all others that he touched during his time.”

Farmer’s death was greeted with shock and grief across the internet by fans and musicians alike. It is hard to imagine many other rock and roll road crew members who were more respected and beloved. Among those expressing their sorrow and respect on Twitter were Phil Lesh – “Fare thee well, Farmer – I love you more than can words can tell” and Derek Trucks.

The latter summed things up beautifully in a series of #ThankYouFarmer tweets: “People like Brian Farmer are the backbone of all live music. Without the hard work of folks like Farmer we’d be lost.”

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An interview with John Fogerty

August 23, 2014

I interviewed John Fogerty last year for the Wall Street Journal in advance of three shows he played at the Beacon. We spoke a lot longer than I could come close to capturing in that piece. A more extensive Q&A ran in Hittin the Note magazine. Here it is . •• It’s a bit overwhelming […]

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The full text of Amazon’s George Orwell letter

August 10, 2014

New York Times reporter David Streitfield has been covering the Amazon/Hachette dispute since it began. He has an interesting, humorous take on the latest development – a rather odd and clearly misguided George Orwell reference. Money quote: The retailer argues that people against e-books are against the future, and talks about how the book industry hated […]

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Checking in with the North Mississippi All Stars

August 7, 2014

I’ll be hanging out with the Dickinson brothers in a couple of weeks at Butch Trucks’ Roots Rock Revival. Great guys, great band, great spirit. This story originally ran in Relix. It’s soundcheck at New Jersey’s South Orange Performing Arts Center and the North Mississippi All Stars are working out a new instrumental written by […]

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One Way Out excerpt: The recording of At Fillmore East

August 5, 2014

In honor of the release of the expanded The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings, I present the following excerpt from One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band. This is a partial, very abridged version of Chapter 8. To read the full story of the making of At Fillmore East, pick up a copy of One Way […]

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That infamous interview with Duane Allman

July 31, 2014

On December 3, 1970, Duane Allman sat for an infamous interview with Dave Herman of New York’s WABC. Why was it infamous? Well, he was pretty hopped up and he said some crazy stuff, and some not-so-nice things about being a husband and father. But it’s fascinating thing for fans and biographers alike. Have a […]

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Jaimoe and Junior Mack – an interview

July 24, 2014

The interview below originally ran on Guitarworld.com and WSJ.com’s Speakeasy blog – I combined two stories into one here. Over the ensuing two-plus years I have only gained more respect for Jaimoe’s Jassz Band and for Junior Mack, whom i have gotten to know quite well. And I have developed a much deeper relationship with […]

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Thank you Johnny Winter for what you did for Muddy Waters and much more…

July 18, 2014

Six Strings Down. RIP Johnny John Dawson Winter III, February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014 A couple of years ago, my good friend and Guitar World colleague Andy Aledort wrote this great, harrowing piece for GW that includes some details about the albino guitarist’s 1994 brush with death. Andy knew Johnny really well, musically and personally […]

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From the archives: Derek Trucks, Family Man

July 15, 2014

I moved back from Beijing just before New Year’s 2009 and was a bit adrift after a tremendous 3.5 year run there. I had left an award-winning column, an award-winning band and an exciting life I loved. I was sitting in an empty, drafty house in frigid New Jersey and wondering what was next. Though […]

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Allman Brothers announce sale dates for final concerts

July 7, 2014

Finally, some news we’ve been waiting for… tickets for the final Allman Brothers concerts go on sale next week… Please note that the information below is a press release from the band without any editorial input or commentary from me… and also note that there is a presale for members of the band’s Peach Corps […]

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