Another rockin' Allman plays Cortez

Michael Allman, Gregg's son, has found stability and a new band

mclear@bradenton.comAugust 15, 2013 

In some ways, Michael Allman said, it's pretty great being a musician and sharing the last name of your famous father and your guitar-hero uncle. People pay a little more attention to you. Newspapers write about you more than they would some moderately successful rocker named Smith.

But there's some baggage too, Gregg Allman's son said. Some people think you're just trying to exploit your family name.

"I'm a musician and my father's a musician," Allman said. "If my father was the greatest plumber in Florida, would people be OK if I fixed toilets?"

Besides, he said, the family legacy isn't all positive.

"I can be a handful," he said. "I think there are agents and record companies who just don't want to deal with another Allman."

But musically, he said, things have never been better.

After decades of going from one town to another, playing with any band that would have him and just hoping to earn enough money to get to the next gig, the 47-year-old Allman has settled in with a steady band that he loves playing with.

The Michael Allman Band will be at Swordfish Grill in Cortez on Sunday.

After years of being a vagabond, Allman has landed in New Port Richey, where he moved about nine months ago because of a guitarist he met named Mark Shane.

"A mutual friend told us we should meet," he said. "And she was not wrong."

Allman and Shane formed the band with keyboardist Lonnie Sarao, bassist Mark Diaz, drummer Warren "Honeyhead" Smith and guitarist Shawn Paige. Allman couldn't be happier.

"In nine months I'd be surprised if we've had more than one cross word, and probably not even that," he said. "It all just came together."

They play mostly Allman's original songs, a few of Shane's, plus "Whipping Post" and a couple of other Allman Brothers chestnuts.

He has a hard time describing his music, but says it's basically blues-based Southern rock.

So he's not hiding from his family's musical legacy. But he's never been too close to his father, and he's met his half-brothers only occasionally through the years. When his half-brother Devon Allman played in Tampa a few years ago, Michael got up and sang a few songs with him.

"It was the Allman Brothers on stage again," he said.

He self-released a solo album about five years ago, called "Hard Labor Creek," and he sells copies at his shows.

"I print 1,000, and when those sell out, I print another thousand," he said.

That's his only release so far, but a Michael Allman Band album is in the planning stages.

"I'm thinking of making it a live album' he said. "Not that many people are doing live albums anymore. But then again, maybe there's a reason not that many people are doing them, so we'll see."

Details: 4 p.m. Aug. 18, Swordfish Grill, 4628 119th St. W., Cortez. Tickets: Free. Information: 941-798-2035,

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7919. Follow

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