"This year I will be more thoughtful of my fellow man, exert more effort in each of my endeavors professionally as well as personally. Take love wherever I find it, and offer it to everyone who will take it. In this coming year I will seek knowledge from those wiser than me and try to teach those who wish to learn from me. I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can."
Every single New Year's Day I re-quote these words and I will continue to do so until the day I die.
Duane wrote those words in his diary on New Year's Day in 1969.
The words are deeply meaningful to me, so much so that as I sat here typing them once again, a feeling like prayer came over me, something spiritual and moving, something tangible that felt like a direct connection to a guiding philosophy with the power to change a life.
That hasn't happened to me before, but I realized in the half hour that I have been awake this morning that I am experiencing today more powerfully, more emotionally, than I have for a long time; maybe more than ever before in my life.
Duane's words stand on their merit alone; they are beautiful and simple and powerful yet oh so hard to live up to.
They carry even more weight because of the man who wrote them.
Duane was his own man, a man who had a vision for his life and the band he wanted to form, a man who made it all happen against all odds.
He died in 1971 in a motorcycle accident but is still revered as one of the greatest guitar players ever, to this very day.
When you think about it, who the hell decides they are going to create a band with two lead guitar players, two drummers playing two full drum kits, a bass player, and a guy playing keyboards.
That is insane, especially in the days when the blueprint for a rock band was a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar, a bass guitar and drums. Period.
Duane made it happen.
The story is legendary, I have told it before and I will tell it over and over again: The band had gone through a few different permutations as it evolved until Duane finally had it to where he wanted it to be.
Except for one missing piece - Gregg Allman.
Gregg had given up on the band ever succeeding and moved out to California. He was considering a career as a dentist.
A fucking dentist.
Duane, driven as he was, convinced Gregg to give it one more try. Gregg made the trip to Georgia and walked into a house where the rest of the founding fathers of The Allman Brothers Band were practicing.
Gregg had no faith in himself as a singer but Duane convinced him to give it a shot.
These six men: Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Dicky Betts, and Berry Oakley jammed over a couple of songs and immediately felt the vibe.
When they stopped, Duane stood with his back to the door and said: "Anybody who wants to leave this band is going to have to fight their way out."
A man with a vision who worked hard to make his dream a reality.
This is the second year, as I quote Duane's words, that I will not be able to see The Allman Brothers Band.
They split up in October of 2014.
It pains me, it depresses me. They were in my life for forty five years.
It gives me perspective. Things change. Life changes, and there is nothing you can do about that.
I will always have the music of The Allman Brothers Band.
I will always have Duane's words as inspiration.
I have memorized the quote this year. I am going to put my heart and soul into living them.
A good start to a new year in this world and in my life.