Dickey Betts curses the “goddamn heroin” that took Allen Woody and opines the casualties of rock

By Steve Newton

On August 20, 2001, I did my fourth interview with guitar legend Dickey Betts. The date can be seen as significant in a couple of ways, because it was one week before the first anniversary of former Allman Brothers bassist Allen Woody’s suspected overdose death, and just 11 days after the bizarre death of Chris Williams, who sang and played guitar with Betts’ son Duane in a group called Backbone69.

In case you’re not familiar with Backbone69, it was a southern-flavoured rock band comprised of the sons of four famous musicians. As well as Duane Betts, it included bassist Berry Oakley Jr.–son of the Allman Brothers’ Berry Oakley–and drummer Alex Orbison, son of Roy. Chris Williams was the son of songwriter Jerry Lynn Williams, who has written for such stars as Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and my mainman Stevie Ray Vaughan.

I’d never heard Backbone69 till just recently, when I played the tape of my interview with Betts for the first time in 17 years and, intrigued by their story, checked them out on YouTube. Man do they sound like they had it goin’ on.

Anyway, I called Dickey up at his hotel in Columbus, Ohio, and after a little introductory chit-chat I asked him about the Woody t-shirt he was wearing on the cover of his latest album, the Dickey Betts Band’s Let’s Get Together. That led to him denouncing “goddamn heroin” and describing the Backbone69 tragedy–which was no doubt still fresh in his mind–as a “fucking shame”.

Have a listen:

 

To hear my complete 2001 interview with Dickey, become a patron of the Newt on Patreon, where for $5 U.S. you can also hear my interviews with:

Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Mick Ronson, 1988
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil, 2001
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1985
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001
…with hundreds more to come

 

 

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