Dickey Betts: Good Times, Bad Blood and Delta Style (Relix Revisited)
Whatâs been the most rewarding thing since moving past the Brothers?
DB: The rewarding thing is just the enjoyment that Iâm getting out of the music and everybodyâs enthusiasm. Everyoneâs bringing a lot to the table, always talking about new song ideas, and ideas for the songs that weâre already doing. Itâs just really nice. Iâm making one-fourth the money working three times as hard and having ten times as much fun creating three times as much music.
Itâs good to see you coming out with some fresh writing.
DB: Thank you, man, but writers are so damned insecure; you think youâre never gonna write again once youâve finished a song.
Are you writing other stuff now?
DB: Yeah, as a matter of fact weâre already writing for our next album. We always have these hotel room acoustic gigs where we play around with ideas. Weâre gonna let this record go its course, and then Iâll probably do a live thing. Iâm also thinking seriously about doing an acoustic record and inviting friends to sit in. Maybe ask Dylan if he wants to play on one, and Charlie Daniels, John Hammond, maybe Vassar Clements on another one. Do an assortment of my instrumentals and maybe some Delta blues covers and maybe write a couple.
What do you think of the film Almost Famous [the 1970s flashback of the fictitious band, Stillwater, based in part on the early Allman Brothers saga]?
DB: You know, if I talk about it, it sounds like Iâm a pompous ass, but the truth is that some of the story lines in there really did happen. I did befriend Cameron Crowe. He had done a couple of things in Creme magazine and I liked the way he wrote. Nobody knew he was as young as he really was. But I talked the guys into letting him travel around on our bus, and the tape situation really did happen with Gregg. There were a lot of things in there that reminded me of the old days involving him.
In the film, Billy Crudup looks a lot like you when you were younger.
DB: Yeah, it was kinda chilling when I saw it. Crudup said he was portraying a Dickey Betts-type character in one of his interviews. I thought they really did a great job at recreating those old days. For a movie, they didnât miss it how the hotel rooms looked and the action that goes on. I got a kick out of it.
Whatâs the difference between then and now for Dickey Betts?
DB: With me, Iâm in more of a role now of being like a teacher. What I mean by that is, a lot of these younger guitar players, they treat me like I treated B.B. King when I first met him. You get older, and if youâre good at all, you notice people start paying you this real embarrassing respect that youâre not used to. But as far as the music and the traveling, itâs much the same; itâs out on the bus, card games, a lot of laughs, loud music, you know, you got the thing turned up. Weâre just a lot more careful about getting hurt and being in the wrong places at the wrong times.
Whatâs been getting the best live response on tour?
DB: This crowd really digs âOne Stop Be-Bop.â When we played that song before the CD was out, they didnât know what the hell to think of it. Now that theyâve had a little chance to live with it, they love it, man, because itâs so off the wall. How do you get away with doing that in a rock ânâ roll band? I think some of their favorites are âDona Mariaâ off this [Letâs Get Together] and they love âImmortalâ that Matt does. Weâre playing about two-and-a-half to three hours. Itâs just how long Iâve always believed a show should be from my younger days.
Are you breaking out anything older?
DB: I change around stuff a lot during the night. Just about any of the stuff I wrote with the Brothers you may hear in any night. I did âBack Where it All Beginsâ last night. I do âElizabeth Reedâ and âJessicaâ and âBlue Sky,â and sometimes we do âTrue Gravity,â and then I do âRave On,â âBe-Bopâ and âDona Mariaâ from this new CD. We do a hell of a lot of the new record in our show.
Anything you want to add?
DB: I always like to say, âhelloâ to folks out there. Come see us. Weâre thinking of ya.