The Allman Brothers Band have suffered one of the more devastating blows of their 45-year career: longtime singer-guitarist Warren Haynes and slide guitarist Derek Trucks announced tonight that they will depart the band at the end of the year. "For 25 years and 15 years respectively, we've had the honor and pleasure of playing, living, learning, and traveling with the Allman Brothers Band, one of the truly legendary rock and roll bands," the two musicians wrote in a joint statement. "We will be forever grateful for the opportunity and the experience, and for the love, enthusiasm, and support of the incredible fans. We are both preparing to dig even deeper into our various creative and musical endeavors and, as a result, 2014 will be our final year as part of the band."
The news comes as a complete surprise. Last month, Gregg Allman spoke to Rolling Stone with enthusiasm about the future of the band, both in the studio and on stage. "Spontaneous things still happen," he said. "Going through the motions would be a real bore. I know a band that plays the same songs in the same order, they even say the same shit at the same time every night. But, no, we're all still real into it."
Haynes was recruited by former guitarist Dickey Betts to join the band in 1989, becoming essentially the band's frontman. He quit in 1997 to focus on his other band, Gov't Mule, but returned in 2000 – a year after Trucks, the nephew of drummer Butch Trucks, joined. The duo reinjected energy and soul into the Allmans at countless marathon gigs. "I think the Allman Brothers individually and collectively have found ourselves in a place where we just want to shake it up and not do what is expected of us," Haynes said in 2012. "[We have] a situation where we can play what we want and people not only accept it but also actually dig it. It's kind of amazing."
Trucks formed Tedeschi Trucks Band with wife Susan Tedeschi in 2010, an ambitious project with a horn section and keyboards. Rolling Stone called 2011's Revelator a "masterpiece," and it won a Grammy. "I feel that my solo project and the Tedeschi Trucks Band is where my future and creative energy lies," Trucks said in his own statement. "The Tedeschi Trucks Band tour schedule keeps growing, and I feel the time has finally come to focus on a single project, which will allow me to spend that rare time off the road with my family and children. It's a difficult decision to make, and I don't make it lightly.”
But the decision to leave the band to focus on individual projects is surprising because the Alllman Brothers Band schedule has been especially light in recent years. "These last few years, we do the Beacon and then we do one month on the road in the summertime and that's about it," Gregg Allman told Rolling Stone less than three weeks ago. "And then everybody goes off to their own respective solo bands. It's getting more seldom that we get together, you know? It makes you really look forward to it.”
More information may surface by Friday, when Gregg Allman will be honored with a tribute concert Friday at Atlanta's Fox Theatre – which Haynes and Trucks are set to play. The Allmans are also set to kick off their annual run at New York's Beacon Theatre on March 7th.
Read full statements from Haynes and Trucks on the next page.
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