OB: Well‚ we've got a lot of history together‚ and I think a lot of that is we always played primarily for the joy of it.
DC: Yes‚ and it shows.
OB: And I can't say that I don't do it for the money because that is how I make my living. I'd be lying if I said I didn't do it for the money‚ because I have to.
DC: Sure‚ sure.
OB: But at the same time‚ that was never my original motivation and continues not to be my motivation. My core motivation is to play for the joy of it. When you are playing this kind of music you can't… What's the point? I don't think we all went through all that we went through to become full-time musicians to dread it. We could avoid the dread that we would have felt of a 9-to-5 or doing anything that we couldn't have really put our hearts into and enjoyed. Every band that I have played in I have had that kind of joy. It's supposed to be like that or you are supposed to quit or change what you are doing.
DC: Well‚ yeah. That's why the phrase is "play music‚" and "play" connotes joy and freedom.
OB: Certainly.
DC: It's interesting that you talk about it in that sense‚ too‚ because other musicians I have spoken with invariably mention that while it's a great feeling to be onstage‚ a lot of what comes with being a professional musician is either boring or‚ as you use the word‚ dreadful‚ A lot of the traveling sometimes gets you down‚ but people invariably say that when it comes time to get onstage it's a whole different life and it makes everything else worth while.
OB: Well it's the payoff. I mean you play for what‚ two hours? And I guess the music scene that we are in people play longer. A lot of bands just do an hour set and that's it‚ but we could play anywhere from two to four hours in the course of twenty-four hours. But‚ I mean‚ that's life on Earth. You can't have peaches and cream all of the time.
DC: No. Well‚ you wouldn't be able to enjoy the sweet parts of it. It would either be a little sour or just a little not tasty at all‚ I suppose.
OB: No‚ you've got to take the ups and downs‚ and when it's all said and done I would rather be on the road than in traffic twice a day. That would just undo me.
DC: Let me ask you a couple of things about playing with the Allmans over the years and specifically the runs you guys do with the Beacon Theater. You touched upon the various stages that the band has gone through and it was a couple years‚ maybe three after you joined the Allmans that Derek came in. What kind of change did that have on the band?
OB: Well‚ it's so hard to answer a question like that because a lot of these things are so subjective. It's like talking about flavors. Since I've joined the band‚ guitar players have changed‚ but I guess for me personally it was nice to see because I go back with Derek so long. And I think it's just a relief when we are not onstage. You know? [laughter]
DC: Yeah. I can imagine. His temperament just seems to be so good-natured and low key that it must be a pleasure to be offstage and onstage.
OB: Yeah definitely‚ and at one point Jimmy and Derek were in the band and that was a trip because I really felt like there was a…I don't know how to put this. People would always ask me about the Allman Brothers and I always said they were going to do this or going to do that and they would say‚ "How can you say 'they' when you are in the band?" And I said‚ "Well‚ the Allman Brothers to me is the original band with Berry and Duane‚ and so‚ I don't feel like I'm a part of that. You know what I mean? I was five years old when that happened. And I still kind of looked at them like‚ damn! You know? [laughter] And when Derek and Jimmy were in the band‚ now it's like almost half of the band was out of my past.
DC: That must have been a real trip when that happened.
OB: It was really something. Me and Jimmy and Derek have a history. It's like that whole situation was very free. It could go anywhere.
DC: Oh‚ absolutely.
OB: It could go completely wrong. And the more wrong it was‚ that was right. We had to be careful that we wouldn't go too far out there. [laughter]