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"It was madness," is how Gregg Allman describes his brief but spectacularly stormy marriage to Cher in this month's issue, sounding similarly horrified by what he remembers of the album he recorded with her, 1977's pretty lamentable Allman And Woman: Two The Hard Way.
I interviewed the pair when they were in London that November to promote the record. I was shown into a lavish suite at the Inn On The Park with spectacular views of Hyde Park. Across the room, Gregg was slouched on a couch. His head was sunk between his shoulders, the rest of him hair, buckskin and denim. I wasn't sure if he was awake.
Anyway, about now Cher stalked into the room, looking like something you might find carved on the prow of a pirate ship, imperious and menacing. She gave Gregg a slap on the shoulder and he hauled himself over on the couch to make room for her. I asked Gregg why the LP had taken a year to make, a question followed by a long silence. "Gregg," Cher said eventually, "answer the question, why dontcha?"
About now there was a rumble in the room. Something unspecific but seismic, the kind of noise that in some parts of the world would be indicative of an earthquake or something similar, involving tremors, collapsing buildings, giant waves to follow.
It was Gregg, talking about how he and Cher had split up two, three, maybe four times during the recording. His voice was deep and furry, muffled, like someone trapped in a car, talking to rescue workers through an air bag. He was also at the time trying to get off drugs, he added, multiple addictions to heroin, cocaine and anything you could pour out of a bottle into a glass, apparently the hardest thing he'd had to do in his life.
It must've been tough for Cher, too, I offered gallantly, getting a plucky little smile from her.
"No, it wasn't," Gregg said, surprisingly sharply. "I don't think it was as painful for her as it was for me. No sir."
Was it Cher's idea for you to get treatment for your addictions?
"No…uh-uh," Greg said, fumbling for a Marlboro.
"Yes, actually," Cher said snappily. "It was." She sounded pretty clear about this. Gregg heaved, as they say, a somewhat heavy sigh.
"In the beginning, maybe," Gregg said, sucking so hard on his cigarette his head disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
"I prefer him when he's not on drugs," Cher added. "He's a different person."
"We have to go through this now?" Gregg said, getting cranky.
"I was just saying…" Cher said, sounding stern.
Enjoy the issue and any thoughts you have on it, let me know, as ever, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this issue
FREE CD: JACK WHITE'S BLUES
The original versions of 15 classic songs covered by Jack White, including Howlin' Wolf, Son House, Blanche, Hank Williams, Marlene Dietrich, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly and Terry Reid
Our new front section this month: unseen Springsteen shots, The Gaslight Anthem, Nic Jones, Ty Segall and more
An audience with the good ol' Southern rocker
THE ROLLING STONES AT ALTAMONT
Hell's Angels, bad acid, murder… Stanley Booth's eyewitness account from his reprinted Stones biography
COVER FEATURE: JACK WHITE
Uncut travels to America to hear the truth about new album Blunderbuss, and Jack and Meg – or White's version of the truth, anyway…
Album By Album with the Who legend
Rocking the UK on the '87 Def Jam tour
Going through Ch-ch-ch-changes with the former Fairport Convention guitarist
The dark tale of life after Big Star
LLOYD COLE AND THE COMMOTIONS
The making of "Perfect Skin"
Photo special: Shaun Ryder, Bez and co take Manhattan in 1990
The Irish folk icon's Life In Music
MUSIC: New Albums: Dr John, Graham Coxon, Jack White, M Ward, Alabama Shakes, Spiritualized, and many more
The Archive: including Dr Feelgood, T.Rex, Morrissey and Jerry Lee Lewis
DVD & FILM: The Grateful Dead's official DVD collection, Braquo, indie godfather Whit Stillman returns, plus Bob Marley, Butch Cassidy, moon Nazis, and Sean Penn goes goth!
BOOKS: Stones and Animals biogs updated, the new Elmore Leonard, and Ron Kesey's brilliant debut novel, Pacazo
LIVE: Radiohead, Laura Marling and Jonathan Richman