The 2016 NAMM show was the last time I saw Allan, and we had fun blaming each other for missed phone calls. I didn’t get to hang with him as much after he moved away from the LA area.
Allan was an incredible musician, and it was always inspiring to see him play live - I heard him many times at the Baked Potato. I played in Jeff Berlin’s band in the 80’s, and we opened for Allan on his first show in Los Angeles. Eddie Van Halen was there to see him play, along with every other guitar player around. He was such an innovator, not only as a player, but as a sound designer - he did things in both worlds which had never been done before.
Allan was really nice to me and recommended me for the Jean-Luc Ponty gig when he left. He also came to the mix of my Dr. Hee album with his whole FX rack and helped me with my tone, and showed me how to use multi-tap delays to get that great pad sound which I’ve used many times. He designed the UD-Stomp for Yamaha, which has a lot of his signature delay patches, and the manual has all the parameters so you can program them into your own delay units or plug-ins. I used one of his stereo delay patches on Blue Heron Boulevard, to make the guitar stereo.
Musically, Allan was one of a kind. I remember the first time I heard him playing chords in a trio setting - before that I had no idea of how sophisticated his knowledge of harmony was, especially given the fact that he wasn’t a music school guy, but someone with amazing ears and creativity. He was hard on himself, but at least he was funny about it. I always knew what he was gonna say to me when he saw me after one of his gigs - “Oh no! I can’t play my way out of a wet paper bag on a rainy day!” Of course he was the only one who thought that, while the rest of our minds were blown.
Thanks to Scott Jones for taking the photo, which I stole off Marvin Sheats Facebook page - thanks Marvin!