Why Dickey Betts Reversed His Retirement Decision
In an interview last November, he said his career was “over." “I've had a great life and I don't have any complaints,” he said at the time. Weeks later, he announced a 2018 tour, and returned to the stage last month.
“When I turned 70 years old, I just figured I wanted to go fishing and play golf and mess around and stuff, so I decided I would retire," the 74-year-old Betts told Billboard. "Well, I got bored as hell sitting around here. Then I do this Rolling Stone interview – just to be friendly, I wasn't really working on a career or nothing – and when it came out, the promoters starting calling me, offering me good money to go out and play again. I was bored, and they wanted me back. That's the way it happened."
Betts admitted returning to the stage after a four-year absence had been “a little scary.” “I'm really flattered," he said. "I know it's unfortunately because Gregg [Allman] and the band have, you know, gone away. It's just me and Jaimoe [Jai Johanny Johanson] left, and I know that's part of it, which is the sad part. But it's reality, and the good part is I'm still here and I can still play, and I know how to put a good band together and play the music.”
Still, he explained that his playing was “a little rusty” and “a little unimaginative right now." “It won't take long, I'll work my way back out there," he said. "It's sort of like Tiger Woods; You can't just come back and start winning golf tournaments again."
Betts, who reported his health was good besides controllable carpal tunnel issues in his right hand, said a return to the studio was also a possibility. “A few songs have come to mind," he noted. "If some songs happen, you know, I'll definitely get in and record them. I know there's people who would like to hear them, and I appreciate that."