DEVON ALLMAN (Royal Southern Brotherhood) November 2014
Interview Philippe Archambeau & Yves Philippot-Degand
Hello Devon, many thanks for answering our questions for The Road to Jacksonville,
webzine dedicated to Blues and Southern Rock.
THANK YOU FOR THE COVERAGE… VERY APPRECIATED !
How do you compose, what is the songwriting process ?
I TEND TO GO A FEW MONTHS AND JUST LIVE LIFE. OBSERVE. READ. THEN AFTER A WHILE WHEN THE EXPERIENCES BUILD UP IT'S GOOD FOR ME TO SIT DOWN WITH A GUITAR AND REFLECT ON THOSE EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS. SONGS COME IN A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT WAYS . SOMETIMES IT'S A RIFF AS I SIT WITH A GUITAR ..SOMETIMES I'M DRIVING IN MY CAR AND A VOCAL MELODY COMES TO ME. SOMETIMES WE WILL BE SOUND CHECKING AND A RIFF WILL COME. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THESE LITTLE GIFTS JUST LAND IN YOUR LAP.
The tune « Groove » seems to come from your album Turquoise, when was it composed ?
THE SONG 'GROOVE ON' CAME FROM A DEMO THAT CHARLIE GAVE ME. IT HAD NO LYRICS OR VOCAL MELODIES AND THE WORKING TITLE JUST FOR REFERENCE WAS GROOVE ON. I THOUGHT THAT WAS A STRONG TITLE AND ENDED UP AIMING THE LYRICAL CONTENT TOWARDS AN OPEN LOVE LETTER FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE TO HIS WIFE. IT'S A LONGING, YEARNING SONG ABOUT A WOMAN AWAITING HER MAN TO COME HOME FROM BEING GONE A LONG TIME.
What are the tunes of the new CD that will be played live ? And from your point of view what are the tunes that will be difficult to show to the public ?
NO TUNES ARE EVER DIFFICULT… THEY ARE A JOY TO PLAY. EVENTUALLY WE WILL PLAY THEM ALL. THE SET LIST CHANGES NIGHTLY AND EACH TOUR.
Do you think that the Royal Southern Bortherhood's music expresses itself better on stage ?
I THINK LIVE MUSIC IS ALWAYS THE MOST HONEST AT ITS CORE BECAUSE YOU HAVE SHOT TO GET IT OUT. THERE'S NO RE-DOING IT. THAT'S A GENERAL STATEMENT BUT IT'S TRUE.
In 2012, Mike and you played a tune called « Guitar riffs » where you both played along very well known guitar riffs mainly from Led Zeppelin. This moment was superb and put the audience in trance. Will you play it again ?
I STARTED INCORPORATING THAT MOMENT IN MY SHOWS LONG BEFORE ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD. IT'S A FUN MOMENT FOR THE CROWD TO HEAR FAMILIAR THINGS… TO TEASE THEM. I BROUGHT THE THING INTO ROYAL AND WE DON'T DO IT ALL THE TIME ..BUT I'M SURE IT'S SOMETHING I WILL DO THROUGHOUT MY CAREER NO MATTER WHERE I AM.
Did you take the decision in your original repertoire to limit the harmony guitar parts that could really too much remain the ABB sound ? Are you both interested by this exercise and do you feel comfortable with it ?
I'VE NEVER OVERTHOUGHT THIS AT ALL. WE LET HAPPEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN AND IF IT SOUNDS LIKE ABB ..THAT'S OK. THAT'S WHERE I COME FROM.
RSB tours a lot in the USA and in Europe, even in Australia ! Will you go on a long time with this rhythm that is certainly very demanding ?
NO. WE WILL SLOW DOWN. WE ARE JUST BUILDING THE BRAND RIGHT NOW SO IT'S IMPORTANT TO SPREAD THE MUSIC TO EVERYONE.
You nearly always play Gibson on stage (despite you can also be seen with a sky blue Stratocaster),
why do you make this choice ?
GIBSON GIVES ME A DEEP RICH EXPRESSIVE TONE THAT EXPANDS MY VOICE. I STARTED ON A STRATOCASTER THOUGH ..SO SOMETIMES I LIKE TO PICK ONE UP.
What are your influences and your favourite guitar players ?
JIMI HENDRIX, CURTIS MAYFIELD, LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM, DAVID GILMOUR, DICKEY BETTS, CARLOS SANTANA
What do you think about the two ABB current guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks ?
How would you describe their styles ?
Were you surprised about their departure from the band at the end of the year ?
You are finalising you new solo album. Can you talk about it, songs, musicians… ?
IT'S CALLED RAGGED AND DIRTY. IT COMES OUT OCTOBER 14 AND WAS PRODUCED BY GRAMMY WINNING PRODUCER TOM HAMBRIDGE. I WENT TO CHICAGO, RAIDED BUDDY GUY'S BAND AND JUST TRIED TO PLAY AS SOULFULLY AS I COULD AND SING THE SAME WAY. IT'S A BIG STEP FOR ME.
You come from a family of musicians, can you give us some musical news from your brothers Elihjah and Michael ? Will you set a band together one day ?
NOT SURE WHAT THEY ARE UP TO ...AND NO WE WON'T SET UP A BAND TOGETHER.
What is your wish for the Royal Southern Brotherhood ?
TO LIVE LONG AND PROSPER
Traditional question in Road to Jacksonville :
if you have to stay on a desert island, which records would you take with you ?
AWESOME QUESTION !
CURTIS MAYFIELD'S "CURTIS"
JOHN COLTRANE "MY FAVORITE THINGS"
THE CURE "KISS ME KISS ME KISS ME"
PINK FLOYD "ANIMALS"
AND AS MANY OTHERS AS I CAN FIT ...THOSE ARE JUST OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD .