Duane Betts of Allman Betts Band for FRANK151 Green Issue

We sat down with Duane Betts of the Allman Betts Band to talk marijuana, CBD and sustainability.

As the sons of Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts, The Allman Betts Band is comprised of Duane Betts, Devon Allman, and their band. They are in the works of releasing a new album with a worldwide tour that will feature new music, songs from their solo projects and classic Allman Brothers and Gregg Allman tunes in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Allman Brothers Band.

Be sure to check their website for tour dates and where they’ll be next.

Down to the River World Tour promo video

Check out the interview below:

First of all, thanks for taking the time. This is our Green Issue and we’re starting to expand from what was once just called the Weed Issue to everything that is green today. So whether it’s sustainability, CBD, or marijuana. It’s becoming sort of mainstream and a bigger play.
Yeah, that’s cool, that’s great!

So can you tell us a little bit about what you guys are doing and how you guys formed?
Yeah we’re on tour with the Allman Betts Band. Devon and I put the band together. Devon Allman and I, we toured last summer. I was a special guest on his tour with his band, the Devon Allman project. I would open up and do a set and then he would play a little bit and then he would have me out as a special guest and that turned into writing songs. And then we wrote a bunch of songs and we went in and recorded our debut record, “Down to the River” is the name of it and it’ll be out June 28th. We recorded that down at Muscle Shoals, Alabama at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, which is a pretty amazing place to record. A lot of great music has been recorded there. And now we’re on tour kind of promoting that record. It’s not out yet but that’s kind of what we’re doing. So this is the first ever Allman Betts Band tour and we’re about two weeks in now.

Very cool. So, this issue is focusing around marijuana as a whole, CBD, and sustainability and in talking about it, I’m assuming at least one of those 3 has been around your world at some point or another.
I live in California and I’m from Sarasota, Florida but I’ve also spent a lot of my life living in Los Angeles and I live in Malibu. It’s a very health conscious area and a very progressive area as far as not using plastic and all of that. We’re very conscious of all of those things. As far as the marijuana thing, I’m not a very big marijuana smoker but I have a lot of friends that are in the industry in Colorado and up in Humboldt County, and there’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of great things being done with CBD. I’ve used CBD a number of times and it obviously has great benefits. So yeah, I’m all for all that stuff. Growing up partially in Malibu, it’s a very progressive and health conscious environment so I’m pretty close to all of that stuff.

I think from other artists’ conversations we’ve had, it’s something that’s always been around. Sort of like it’s always accessible in the music industry. Do you think now, with the progression and legalization, it’s going to become more relevant or is it something that, because it’s less of a taboo, will just fade away?
Well, I never thought it was that taboo really. It’s always been pretty prominent. I mean, there are other drugs that are taboo and for good reason because they’re very destructive substances that rip people’s lives away but I’ve never thought about marijuana as like that. I think what you’re seeing is a slow progression toward legalization across the board. I think most of the people that I work with in the music industry, no matter what kind of music that they play, kind of all agree on that. I don’t think that people should be incarcerated for smoking marijuana. So I’m happy to see the move towards legalization.

And so as you guys will be touring, do you see a general change in attitude toward sustainability? Since you come from a rock lineage at this point. Being able to see things and change in things.
Well, sustainability.. like give me an example of what you mean by that.

…there are artists that I know that I’ve played with that don’t allow plastic back stage. I’m not going to get into names of who they are but some bigger well known artists are pretty militant about it…”

Well just even now, you’re seeing more eco-conscious fabrics. You’re seeing more use of recycled fabrics. You’re seeing more artists being conscious of their footprints.
Well yeah, I just want to make sure we were on the same page. So as far as just using plastic bottles on the bus…there are artists that I know that I’ve played with that don’t allow plastic back stage. I’m not going to get into names of who they are but some bigger well known artists are pretty militant about it but at first I didn’t think of it that much but at the same time, in order to really make a change you kind of have to take an extreme stance, right? So when you’re on the road it can be very difficult on a tour bus too. Of course we’d like to get rid of plastic water bottles and we’d love to just use glass bottles but then sometimes it can be quite difficult because then you have glass and you’re on a bumpy road and then there’s glass flying everywhere. And then there’s… it’s kind of funny because there’s a certain amount of guilt. Sometimes we just give in and we’re like “okay! we just have to take the plastic bottles because they keep on giving us all these plastic bottles.” And of course we’re drinking a lot of water. So yeah we try but sometimes you have to kind of be realistic. But if you’re Jackson Brown.. I mean Jackson Brown is one of the people that I know for a fact. I was playing for a band, the Dawes, that was close to him and we had a few shows where we crossed paths 1 or 2 times and they know him pretty well and they said yeah, they do not allow plastic water bottles. I think that’s cool. It’s very extreme and that can seem a little ridiculous but not really if you really think about it. You’re in a position like that where you can make demands and set a standard for living. I think it’s great.

Listen, there are artists out there complaining about colors of M&M’s so I don’t see a reason why an artist can’t make a demand about doing something positive.
Yeah yeah, sure.

Cool, we appreciate you taking the time. Where are you going next? What’s on the road for you guys?
We’re in our last 3 shows in the Northeast right now. We were outside of Pittsburgh last night. So this tour winds up in Massachusetts and the next leg of the tour starts in the South and we’re going to New Orleans. We’re playing House of Blues New Orleans for Jazz Fest, we’re in Mississippi, and then we’re in Memphis. So the next leg is in Southeast and we’re on tour all the way through up until 2020 and beyond. I think we have a date or two booked in November already so it’s filling in. It’ll be international. We’re doing a lot of European stuff already so it’s exciting.  

So my final question and there’s no right or wrong to this answer, we ask everybody the same question, if you had to be completely frank about Allman Betts within one statement, what would be that statement?
I don’t know. I think that we just try to go out and play music and make people feel good and spread good energy and just remain true to our values as artists and remain authentic. And if we can put that authenticity out there and people respond to it, then our job is done.

That’s awesome. Well I appreciate you taking the time, man.
Thank you for having me, man. I’d love to meet y’all sometime. It looks really cool so I’m happy to do it.

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