A Q&A with Gregg Allman
Q: Why did you want to write this book and tell your story?
Allman: I’d actually been thinking about doing a book for a long time, and since the 80s, I’d been putting bits and pieces of the story together. Just a bit here a bit there, that sort of thing. There have been a few books about the Allman Brothers over the year, and they all seem to tell one of two stories—either we were all out there sowing our wild oats, or we were constantly surrounded by tragedy. None of them really got the feeling of the band right, and that was what I set out to do.
Q: What impact have your health struggles over the last few years had on the way you think about your life and history?
Allman: Well, as I said, I’ve been working on this book for a while, but my health being what it has been over the last couple of years gave me an extra push to get the whole story down on paper. Last fall I was pretty sick, and I had this thought that it just wasn’t my time yet. I’ve still got more songs in me, more stories to tell. I guess this is one of ‘em.
Q: Was it hard to make yourself think about the darker times in your life?
Allman: It was. I wanted to be as honest as I could, but at the same time, looking back like this was tough. Facing the past isn’t easy. I threw down though, and didn’t hold back. I didn’t want anything colored up.
Q: What do you hope an Allman Brothers fan would learn about you from this book?
Allman: As I said before, for years, when people have talked about the band, they’ve tended to focus on the tragedy or the insanity of our history. Make no mistake, those are in the book and they’re very real. But a lot of people don’t understand just how much fun we had—especially in the beginning. I tried hard to include the good as well as the bad.
Q: Has spending this time looking back at the band's history given you a different appreciation for what the Allman Brothers have accomplished?
Allman: I’m not so sure it’s a different appreciation so much as just amazed and proud that we’re still here today. In the book, I talk about when my brother first called me about being in the band he said he had these two drummers and two lead guitarists, and I remember thinking that sounded like a train wreck. But somehow it worked then and it’s worked ever since. It’s an incredible band, filled with incredible musicians, and I’ve been very lucky to be a part of it.
Q: Do you think that your kids will learn about you from reading this story? How about your bandmates?
Allman: Sometimes when you’re on the road with someone, it’s easy to lose sight of just how far you’ve come. I’ve lived with these stories for a long time, but having them together, all in one place, is something else. Everyone always takes something different away from what they read. I can’t say what people will learn, but my hope is they have some fun along the way.
…This book is everything you could hope for: in a grizzled, laconic drawl, Allman provides a rambling backstage account of his five decades with the Allman Brothers Band, and he doesn’t seem to hold anything back. (New York Times Book Review)
A soul-searching rumination on a hard-lived life... For generations of fans, Allman’s book provides insights into the many turns in that long road... MY CROSS TO BEAR carries a welcome seal of honesty. (USA Today)
In his memoir, the rambling and rambunctious Gregg Allman lays bare his soul… In the end, Allman, writing with music journalist Light, has produced a fiercely honest memoir. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
This is a story about musical brotherhood. Rich and moving... Nothing less than profound. Life, love and music from one of the most influential American recording artists of the last 40 years. (Kirkus Reviews)
“Packed with juicy anecdotes, gripping details and raw energy…Fans of the Allman Brothers Band are certain to relish the revelations... MY CROSS TO BEAR provides a window into Allman’s tortured soul - he presents himself as a man cracked and flawed, yet somehow intact.” (Birmingham News)