The Oak Ridge Boys’ Duane Allen: ‘I Don’t Know How to Retire’
The Oak Ridge Boys have been in country music for more than 40 years; the group's four members range in age from 67 to 76. And while many artists of that age might be dreaming of slowing down and enjoying the perks of retirement, the quartet says that isn't happening anytime soon.
"I have thought about retiring," band member Duane Allen tells The Boot. "I’m a methodical business man. I draw up plans for everything. Everything’s in writing with me. Everything’s off the computer. I draw up everything in a business model. I have all my career.
"I’ve tried to draw up a business model on how to retire, and I run up against a brick wall, and I finally just quit trying," he adds. "I don’t know how to retire."
Allen admits that, while the Oak Ridge Boys might enjoy an easier schedule some days, it's their consideration for others that keeps them on the road.
"I’ve got a lot of people working for me that work per day," he continues. "That would cut their salary. I just can’t do that yet. I’ve got people in my office that are my age, that might not be able to find another job that pays what we pay them. I can’t quit. They might not be able to find work.
"They supported me all these years," Allen continues. "Even if I didn’t love it -- I still love it, but even if I didn’t love it, I’d work for them."
The 72-year-old reveals that he tried to figure out a retirement plan for down the road, but even then, he found it impossible.
"I get to a point, do you slow down? Do you replace yourself? Do you just take dates out of the book?" Allen asks. "I just finally quit trying to figure out how to retire. I’m big on prayer, and I’m big on divine guidance, and I pray that God directs me on everything. I don’t make God complicated. I ask Him to guide me in everything I do, so I think now’s not the time to change that.
"I think that when time is right God will let me know when He says it is enough," Allen adds. "And when He does, I’ll know, but we aren’t there yet, so I keep working 150 days a year, because that’s what my computer tells me it takes of paid dates to keep all of these people happy. We feed about 80 people a day. I want to keep doing that as long as I’m healthy. They’ve supported me all these years. I can’t quit while I’m healthy. I can’t for them. I wouldn’t feel right about that. I want to keep working for them. They’ve worked for them. I want to work for them."
The Oak Ridge Boys will spend much of the summer on the road, including shows in Wisconsin, Canada and Texas. A list of all of their dates is available on their website. Order their latest album, Rock of Ages: Hymns and Gospel Favorites, on Amazon and iTunes.