How the Allman Brothers avoid Vietnam

Gregg Allman, of the Allman Brothers Band, turned eighteen years old in 1965.  Not good timing if your plans for the future included touring the country, playing rock ‘n’ roll music, instead of enlisting in the United States Army.  The U.S. was at war in Vietnam, and all able-bodied eighteen year old boys were being drafted and forced into service.  Gregg’s older brother Duane, legendary slide guitar player and arguably one of the top five most influential rock guitarists of all time, was exempt from the draft because he was the oldest son of a fatherless household.  Their band was just starting to take off (known at this time as the Allman Joys; they wouldn’t come to be recognized as the Allman Brothers Band until 1969), and Duane wasn’t going to let the U.S. Army shoot down their dreams of rock ‘n’ roll glory.

So Duane came up with an idea and told his little brother that their best solution was to, “Just shoot a bullet through your foot.”   Of course, Gregg thought he was joking, until the night before his physical examination, Duane invited some friends and some girls over for a foot shootin’ party.  Duane got Gregg all hopped up on whiskey and speed, and they painted a bulls-eye on Gregg’s left moccasin.  When faced with the prospect of actually shooting himself in the foot, Gregg, quite understandably, had second thoughts.  So he pounded some more whiskey and called for an ambulance.  As soon as he could hear the sirens coming he pulled the trigger.

When Gregg showed up to his evaluation the next day on crutches and with bandages wrapped around his foot, he was quickly disqualified.  Many of us shoot ourselves in the foot metaphorically, but Greg Allman took the saying to a whole new level.


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