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Gregg Allman Shares How Drugs and Money Led to Allman Brothers Band Breakup

Greg Allman
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The reason behind the breakup of one of rock’s most legendary and influential bands is rather ordinary, but the story is special. In his new memoir ‘My Cross to Bear’ (available May 1) Gregg Allman reveals how drugs and money shattered the Allman Brothers Band‘s harmony in the summer of 1976.

Rolling Stone published an exclusive excerpt of the memoir, part of which can be found online. Allman holds nothing back in talking about the life of excess his band enjoyed shortly before breaking up. “Our roadies had roadies,” he says after describing the excessive drug use and the jet airplane the band bought.

“The first time we walked onto the plane, ‘Welcome Allman Brothers’ was spelled out in cocaine on the bar,” he says.

Of course the amount of drugs they were consuming comes at a price. At the end of a 41-date tour (at $80,000 per show) the band had just $100,000 to their name. Allman’s personal drug wrangler was arrested and eventually sentenced to 75 years in prison after a long and torturous trial that painted the remaining Allman brother as a narc and informant. He was repeatedly threatened because it was believed Scooter Herring was with the Dixie Mafia.

“They hid me out with four FBI guys assigned to me for protection,” Allman says. “I wasn’t allowed to read anything, or watch TV, but they did give me a bottle of whiskey every night.”

Although Herring would only serve 18 months in prison, the events were the “last straw” for the band. Three members of the band wrote letters to different publications stating that they were no more. Of course they’ve reunited numerous times with various lineups in the 25 years since that August 1976 breakup. Allman, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson are the only original members that are currently with the band. You can read our recent review with Johanson about the band’s future right over here.

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