Dickey Betts Talks About Dismissal, Lawsuit

Ousted Allman guitarist Betts addresses his recent woes

June 22, 2000 12:00 AM ET

"It didn't make any sense to me in the beginning, and it doesn't make any sense to me now, because no one will talk to me," Allman Brothers Band co-founder Dickey Betts says a month after being told his services weren't needed for the ABB's summer tour.

After a month of silence from his bandmates, Betts is taking action. The guitarist flew from his home in Florida to New York City to address the issues surrounding his situation as well as to meet with attorneys to try and find answers to his questions through legal means. While cancelled flights made the venture from Florida to New York a fourteen-hour affair, a sleep-deprived Betts is quite chatty and eager to establish his side of the story. Betts claims that following what he perceived as a successful few shows, he received a fax from Gregg Allman informing him that after thirty-one years with the band, he wasn't needed for the band's upcoming tour. "I called Greg and asked what's going on. And he said, 'I don't owe you any explanation. You listen to those f'in tapes.'" Betts says that during a later conversation, Allman informed him that the band voted him out.

As for the aftermath, Betts claims that reports of his June 9 rampage were exaggerated. "I went through severe depths of depression about the thing," he says. "I don't get an explanation, I get a damn fax. I was so depressed that my wife was worried about the whole thing. She'd never seen me cry before. And I'd sit there and tears run out of my eyes and then we started venting to one another about it, because there was no one else around. We got into a domestic thing, and she called a friend of ours who's a police officer, one of my best friends. As it ended up, I was admitted to a hospital for mental evaluation and care. The doctors talked to me and released me the next day and told me to take it easy. It hit the damn papers that I was being chased through the woods with dogs and choppers. I mean, who the hell are we after here, John Dillinger? For Chrissakes, I'm just a lowly guitar player."

The subsequent silence from his former brothers troubled Betts further. "A few days after that and still nobody calls. I mean, what if it was true? Couldn't Greg or Butch [Trucks] or Jaimoe call me and say, 'Dickey, is this true? Are you alright?' That kind of changed my attitude from thinking there's some mistake or misunderstanding."

Betts subsequently hired attorney Christine Lapera and plans to take legal action against the band. "They're out there playing as the Allman Brothers Band and they dropped me," he says. "They're impersonating me, playing a lot of the tunes that I'm famous for playing. It's not the Allman Brothers Band -- I don't care what they say. That's why we're going to take legal recourse and pursue the thing in that manner and maybe we'll get some answers."

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