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First Person

The Experience Questionnaire: The Allman Betts Band

Devon Allman, son of founding Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and singer Gregg Allman, and Duane Betts, son of founding Allman Brothers Band guitarist and singer Dickey Betts, have teamed to form their own band. Their debut album, “Down To The River,” was released June 28. The band is currently on tour.

Where do you come up with your best ideas?
Allman: In the hypnagogic state. 
Betts: I am usually inspired when I am seeing new things, exploring, then have time, a bit of space, and a guitar.   

What is the best non-material gift you’ve received?  
Allman: Love.
Betts: Love.

What is the best non-material gift you’ve given? 
Allman: Love. 
Betts: Love.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced? 
Allman: Myself.  
Betts: Staying out of my own way.

If you had to choose a different profession, what would you do? 
Allman: Saucier or astrophysicist. The stars and the culinary arts intrigue me. 
Betts: Maybe a photographer?

“I once got in an elevator in downtown Cleveland on the ground floor. I hit the floor 32 button and felt the elevator go to the top. The floor buttons lit up — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. But when the door opened, I was looking at the street. I shit you not.”

What is the most useful mistake you’ve made?
Allman: Too many to mention. They’re all useful because it’s how we learn and progress. 
Betts: So many. If you eventually learn, then you have a wealth of knowledge.

What’s the strangest experience you’ve had? 
Allman: I once got in an elevator in downtown Cleveland on the ground floor. I hit the floor 32 button and felt the elevator go to the top. The floor buttons lit up — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. But when the door opened, I was looking at the street. I shit you not.  
Betts: Maybe flying to China to do a gig with Cody Simpson. The gig was canceled so we had dinner with Michael Bolton and came home 36 hours after landing. 

What opportunity do you regret passing up?  
Allman: No regrets.
Betts: Being in Matchbox 20, but not really. 

How do you relax?  
Allman: Read, take in art, meditate, listen to vinyl records.
Betts: Yoga.

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go? 
Allman: Greenland. 
Betts: I would probably go to Sarasota, Florida to say hi to my dad.

What is your most indelible childhood memory?  
Allman: Seeing Cheap Trick at the Corpus Christi Coliseum at age 9.  The rumble of the bass in my chest, the smell of weed, the guitars, the crack of the snare drum — instantly hooked.
Betts: Playing with my friends in the neighborhood.

What’s the most valuable thing you learned in school?
Allman: That their curriculum was 90 percent bullshit. 
Betts: I was homeschooled throughout my teens and learned a lot by traveling. 

When you’re stuck how do you get unstuck?
Allman: I walk away and come back to it with a fresh perspective. 
Betts: Exercise.

What is your proudest moment?  
Allman: The birth of my son. I never knew I had such an infinite capacity to love. 
Betts: I’m very proud of the record we just made.

What would you like to experience before you die? 
Allman: Bliss.
Betts: Contentment. Like I did everything I was brought here to do.

As told to Lauren Daley. Interview has been edited and condensed. 

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Photos of Duane Betts (left) and Devon Allman by Associated Press

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