In an era when the word “survivor” is applied too freely in the realm of entertainment, let’s examine rocker Gregg Allman.
Here are a few of the situations Mr. Allman has survived:
- The death of his beloved brother in a motorcycle accident.
- The death of another friend and bandmate in another motorcycle accident, almost a year to the day after the death of his brother, and within blocks of where that accident had occurred.
- More than 30 years of recurring drug and alcohol abuse.
- A gunshot wound to the foot that kept him out of Vietnam. (Wait — that one doesn’t count. It was intentionally self-inflicted.)
- Having the endless escapades of his life, including love, drugs, success, failure, children and every other aspect of his existence paraded and inspected for the public by the media.
Let’s see fat corporate trainer Rich or battlin’ babes Sue and Kelly top that little resume.
For the most part, Allman has survived all these episodes intact. He has been clean and sober for four years now, and his life is now a more mature and tranquil one. The one recent exception: a public battle last year with longtime Allman Brothers guitarist Dickie Betts, whom Allman and his bandmates kicked out of the band for an alleged substance abuse problem (which Betts denies).
Allman spends more time with his four kids, is creating new music with both the Allmans and his own solo act, rides his motorcycle and his Corvette every chance he gets and generally recognizes how lucky he is to still be alive, enjoying every day in the process.
Of course, with maturity and stability come investment, so Bankrate.com spoke with Allman about where his crazy rock ‘n’ roll life has taken him financially.
Bankrate.com: You’ve been through many ups and downs in this business. How are you situated financially?
GREGG ALLMAN: You asking me how I’m situated financially?
B: Not specific numbers, but in general, because a lot of musicians blew a lot of their money. Some guys came out all right and some didn’t.
GA: Then came dot.com. Some of us were actually awake. I’m doing just fine, doctor.
B: So you invested heavily in tech stocks?
GA: Yes, sir.
B: Which stocks have worked well for you?
GA: I’m not even sure I can tell you who I invest with. It’s a kind of new thing. (Pause. He checks with someone.) OK, I just . . . Yeah, I can tell you. I’m with
Champion, with the NFL. We all invest together. Many, many, many properties.
B: What is Champion?
GA: Well, mostly, I don’t know how I got in man, but, some way.
B: Is that an investment group?
GA: Yes, and it’s . . . they showed me the whole thing after I got in, and I recognized every name in there. A very famous football player (laughs).
B: Who was . . .
GA: Tiger Woods is in there. The vice-president is Ronnie Lott. They got everybody from the Snake to Cunningham, to my boy from Denver who’s retired, to those guys you see on the pre-NFL show.
B: So they all banded together to do what, exactly?
GA: Invest in HUNDREDS of different companies.
B: So they created their own fund.
GA: Yeah. A little tiny bit of all of them. I have my first meeting here in three months.
B: Have you met any of those guys yet?
GA: No, but I’m getting ready to.
B: Wow. Strange bedfellows, Tiger Woods and Gregg Allman. Who would have thought? Are you good with money?
GA: There’s three things a man needs in my position, as an entertainer. I hope I can save somebody from getting yanked off by some land shark who calls himself a manager. The three things you need are a good physician, a good attorney and a good business manager-CPA. I just lucked onto the best. Uncle Bill Graham turned me onto him, when I first got to California in ’89.
B: Early in your career, did you know what was going on in the business end, or …
GA: No man, money has never impressed me. But then, this far along in the game, NOT having money REALLY don’t impress me. I give way over my share to charity. I help my friends, and things like that really make me feel good. I have a cousin who went to airline school almost all the way, then had an unexpected baby, so he had to go to work. So I’m putting him back through school now that the baby’s a little bit older. I do things like that, family first and then friends. And I’m so glad I’m able to do that. Especially if you’re a musician because to tell you the truth, aside from Mr. Jay Rosenthal, who is my business manager, I think the only person who has ever helped me without charging me have been musicians.
B: When you were younger, did you have any lessons that you learned the hard way?
GA: The hard way, yes, yes. (Laughs) If I had all the money that was owed to me, man …
B: Can you think of an example?
GA: Just shy of a million, $998,422. That’s what Capricorn Records owes me. That’s what they owed me at the split. They released a wrong record and I sued, and I got $125,000 back, but that’s about it.
B: When did this happen?
GA: How old are you, man?
GA: You’re just a pup. This happened in the big fall of the Capricorn Empire in the Southern Rock thing. Gentleman named Phil Walden managed Otis Redding, he founded a thing called Sam and Dave. He discovered a guy named Percy Sledge, and he also met a man named Duane Allman. And he wanted to just sign him, him and his hired help. But he explained to him that his little brother Gregg was in that band, so we were the first white act that he had. Phil fell in with some Germans who loaned him a bunch of money, put a balloon payment on his ass, and … everybody lost.
B: Capricorn went under?
GA: I’m tellin’ ya.
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