This is a guest post from Annette Haywood-Carter, a filmmaker, Macon native, and former Savannah resident who now lives in California.
I’m from Macon, GA. Gregg Allman personal memories:
Band playing in the Mercer University cafeteria. My dad (Mercer V.P.) was friends with Capricorn Records’ Phil Walden, and somehow this happened — The Allman Brothers playing for food. Earliest association — bad cafeteria food smell.
At their band house. College Street. I’m 13. Again, smell the dominant memory — pot and unbathed hippies.
At my 9th grade chemistry teacher’s apartment. She’s crying, lamenting Duane’s death, “band won’t survive without him.” I don’t really get it. I’m 14, Led Zeppelin fan, not into Southern Rock.
At Rose Hill Cemetery, lying on Duane’s grave. 15 years old, stoned, connecting with a dead rocker’s soul.
Gregg testifies against his friends/dealers; he gets immunity, they go to jail (includes father of my brother’s friend). Gregg a pariah in Macon, GA.
20 years later. A friend, Keith, tells me about a party where Gregg tells story about shooting himself in the foot to avoid Vietnam. I wonder how you’d go about shooting yourself, what that night would look like. Made a movie about it (“The Foot Shooting Party” with Leonardo DiCaprio). Tried to get an Allman Brothers song for soundtrack. Their rep said no because the story was too close to Gregg’s life and there could be liability. (Got Eric Clapton’s “Bell Bottom Blues” instead.)
15 years later. Meet Gregg at my friend Allison’s house in Savannah, GA. Tell him the story about our movie. He said he would have loved for his song to be on that film. Wanted to see it.
Learn that L.A. producers are making movie about Gregg’s life, Midnight Rider. Jealous. Feel strongly these filmmakers not remotely qualified. They’d just done a hack job of my beloved NY club, CBGB. Heartbroken and wishing it was me making the movie.
Sarah Jones (best friend of one of my students) dies on the set of Midnight Rider. Social media includes attack on Gregg, fall of his bio-pic karma for harm caused by Macon drug testimony.
Remembering what Cher said (years ago), when asked why she’d married him, “Nobody ever made me feel as happy as Gregory did … he’s wonderful. I don’t understand why he can’t see it. He’s the kindest, most gentle, loving husband and father. But then, he forgets and everything goes to shit.”
RIP, Gregg Allman, a life hard spent, true midnight rider.