Interview: The Allman Brothers
Mon, 30 Mar 2009 08:27:10
The Allman Brothers Band Photos
The Allman Brothers Band Videos
Allman Brother Butch Trucks is unlike many of his peers in that he likes to tinker with technology, instead of stubbornly opposing it. The drummer, who has renovated a 12th century house in the middle of France with his wife, is working on Moogis, a subscriber-based, jam band fan community.
Rather than fight technology, Trucks is responding to it. Radio may be dying, but the web thrives, and that’s why the loquacious Trucks, who cops to reading more than listening to music by up ‘n’ coming bands, chronicled the band’s annual 15 night stand at New York City’s Beacon Theater, which began on March 9, by filming them and then uploading them to Moogis for full-streaming by fans. In this exclusive interview, ARTISTdirect.com spoke to Trucks on the eve of the band’s Beacon residency about why he’s putting his nose to the grindstone to create a jam band online portal.
Recording the next dozen-plus shows and putting on Moogis is like "being there” for the fans watching online, since the cameras are capturing everything that goes on at the shows. Was this your idea? To capture every note played?
It's just the 15 shows at the Beacon Theater that are being recorded, not an entire tour. Taking a crew on the road and moving it from show to show would be a ridiculous expenditure. You wouldn't believe how difficult it has been putting this together with a full camera crew and the production for the Beacon. But we can have the equipment sit there in one place for 15 nights. Once we get everything set up, it's easy. If we had to do it every night in different cities, it would be astronomical. You just can't. To break even, no one would want to pay that initial cost! The good side of it, though, is that we can do it for the 15 shows at the Beacon, and those are most fun. We are able to do it for the cost of one ticket. It works out less than $10 a show for fans. What I tell everyone to do is hook up your computer to a Hi-Def television and stereo, invite your friends over, get in a tight group in the living room, pour beer on each other, light up a joint for the smell and it's like you’re there.
Are you streaming the shows?
We stream all 15 shows and it's only streaming. You cannot download. We will leave the shows up when we finish; they will be online by 4-5 AM the next day, so you can watch that show again if you were there. We’ll leave them up until the end of September. Fans have six months to watch as often as they’d like. We have 12-15 videos of shows going back to 2001, as well as 30-40 audio recordings. The web site has been up for a month, and we have a nice community that has been built. It has been fun. I log on every day and I am getting a feel what people think. Everyone is blown away. It's incredible. What's up now is worth it already.
Did you create Moogis to cut down on bootlegs or to replace the dying media, like radio and TV?
Radio is dying. And new music? It’s impossible to get played on the radio unless it's rap. It’s not easy for young jam bands. If Allman Brothers were starting now, it wouldn’t be the same. When we began, there was a brand new technology called FM radio and that was what got us a national audience, and it's not there anymore. I am trying to create that with Moogis. Once we finish the Beacon run, I am going expand it to cover the whole jam band scene. I want to wire six clubs with high def cameras and you can subscribe, go on line and see a live concert! I am a geek; I play World of Warcraft all day long, but Moogis is a way to pass time when you tour, too. I am sitting in hotel with nothing to do all day. This provides the ability see new bands, and give them a chance to be seen and heard by a broader audience. It gives them chance to make a living playing music, to create a community, watch a concert, talk about how great it is or how it sucks. People can go into a forum or a chat and talk to each other about bands and what they like. A guy in Tokyo can be watching a band in Atlanta and talk about it with others.
“It's impossible to get played on the radio unless it's rap.”
Are there any other established artists involved?
John Popper, Trey Anastasio and Warren Haynes may all have their own TV shows!
— Amy Sciarretto