Dickey Betts sat down with journalist Dan Rather for a new episode of the journalist’s AXS TV series The Big Interview. In a preview clip of the upcoming installment, which airs Tuesday, December 18th, the guitarist and co-founding member of the Allman Brothers Band discusses his decision to return to the stage earlier this year after retiring in 2014.
“I missed it,” Betts, who turned 75 on Wednesday, tells Rather of his desire to play again. “I feel kinda like Tiger Woods coming back. [After] four-and-a-half years, I’m really trying to play par, ya know. I don’t think you ever quite feel like you’re there, but I’m getting better at it.”
Betts returned to action last spring, resurfacing with the Dickey Betts Band, which featured his son Duane on guitar. The group played a series of successful shows, including a memorable set at the Allman-centric Peach Music Festival in Pennsylvania.
But the guitarist, who wrote several classic songs in the Allman Brothers’ catalog including “Blue Sky” and “Ramblin’ Man,” suffered multiple health setbacks later in the year: a mild stroke in August and an accidental fall in September that resulted in Betts needing emergency brain surgery.
In the interview with Rather, which, according to an Instagram post, took place before Betts performed at New York City’s Beacon Theatre back in July, the guitarist also addresses his tumultuous relationship and eventual reconciliation with his former bandmate Gregg Allman, who died in 2017. As members of the Allman Brothers Band, Allman and Betts were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.