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Allsup's parents were originally from Oklahoma, but relocated to the small town of Empire, California, near Modesto. Allsup became interested in the guitar in his teens, and started his musical career by playing in a dance band with some friends from high school. He played in numerous local bands before relocating to Los Angeles in 1968, where he met a trio of vocalists (Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells), who had a recording contract with Dunhill Records and were looking for backing musicians. Allsup joined their new band Three Dog Night, which became a huge commercial success in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 2006, Allsup moved to Modesto, California and was still appearing with Three Dog Night.
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