DC: I suppose you are right‚ except that I hear people talk about seeing that tour and that lineup and even having read interviews with Jimmy and Derek. It's almost like the band had a collective epiphany that summer because you were doing things much more freely. Jimmy was in a mix that prompted you guys to go further a field than you guys had been doing the last few years‚ and people seemed to love that.
OB: Well‚ you've got to realize that was the first time the band had played without Dickey. Dickey was the band leader at that point even though on paper it was a democracy.
DC: Right.
OB: He really kind of ruled it. But I think that there was just that sense of freedom because of that was kind of an end of an era. With that came some giddiness and‚ you know‚ me and Jimmy and Derek.
DC: You guys must have been like kids on a playground whooping it up.
OB: We were already halfway off in the deep end anyway from the moment we started. [laughter] We were just waiting to kamikaze ourselves and all we needed was half of an excuse. Just seeing each other… I'd look over at Jimmy and he'd laugh at anything. So we had to kind of kind of reign it in a little bit there.
DC: How did the other guys‚ the older guys so to speak‚ look at that? Were they like‚ "What are you guys doing?" or were they like‚ "Wow‚ this is a lot of fun"?
OB: I'll put it this way: some of them loved it and some of them freaked out. [laughter]
DC: That's fair enough. I won't ask you to name names.
OB: I think you could probably figure it out.
DC: Yeah. When there were thoughts about having Derek join the band‚ did everybody talk about that together? Did somebody ask you specifically what you thought of the idea‚ or did just one or two people in the group at the time talk to Derek and say‚ "We'd like you to join. What do you think?"
OB: I don't remember exactly how it went down‚ but oh man‚ it was such a dark time for the band. Granted‚ you have to realize things have been so much crazier before I ever got in the band. So what I considered completely over the line‚ they might think it wasn't so bad. You know what I mean?
DC: Yeah I can see that.
OB: I was just bewildered. I was like‚ "Well‚ I guess this is rock and roll." It was a different thing from what I was used to. I came from a‚ I guess more jazz background. I had no frame of reference for this type of thing that I was doing. Eventually it got so bad that everyone was like…I know for a couple of years I was like‚ "What's going on?" I'm sure that a couple of people asked me about what I thought about Derek and I was like‚ "Yeah‚ I mean what are you talking about?" He is just the best slide player on Earth; there is no question about it. Nobody can touch him‚ period. You know? Of course‚ I was biased and everybody knew I was bias. So‚ I thought that they knew that when they asked me. But‚ I didn't have any vote in the situation. I think the only thing that anybody was ever worried about was that they didn't want it to be seen as a given because he was so young. But I was like‚ you can't listen to music with your eyes‚ so it doesn't matter if he is ten. The guy sounds like he is 190 and he did when he was eleven. You know? None of that matters.
DC: Yeah‚ it really doesn't.
OB: I thought it was a no-brainer and it proved to be even better than we thought.
DC: Oh really?
OB: Well yeah‚ because Derek is constantly growing. Think about how old he was when he joined. I don't think that he was even twenty yet.
DC: I think that he had just turned twenty because it was the spring that he had joined the band before he actually went on tour with the Allmans that I saw him for the first time. And I was just absolutely flabbergasted by what he did for three hours that night. And he was a kid; he was younger than he is now so he had even more of a baby face. And it was like he was reinventing a means of playing electric guitar. The only guitar player that I have seen that has made me laugh out loud repeatedly was Jeff Beck‚ and then I saw Derek that night and I knew I had to reconsider my favorite guitar players. I've seen him a few times since then and the impression has just become more and more reaffirmed.