Allen grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and first started playing guitar at age 15. As a teen, Allen was greatly influenced by his musically talented family, which includes his uncle, Grammy winner, Gold album recipient and West Coast Blues Hall of Fame inductee (Guitarist) David "Dynamite" Vega of Graham Central Station fame. Soon Allen developed a powerful blues guitar style, and began appearing at Bay Area jam nights. In 1993, Allen joined with Frankie Lee (a.k.a. Little Frankie Lee), a noted San Francisco Bay Area soul and blues artist on the road. As bandleader and music director for the Frankie Lee Band, he showed his capacity as he played his way crisscrossing the United States and Canada for five years. He not only showcased his powerful lead work, but he showed his sensitivity while backing a singer and provided leadership while maintaining a high standard of musicianship. Allen's powerful show openers and endless energy-packed finales caught the attention of many. His showmanship, stage presence, and his playing ability reflect the influences of Albert Collins, Albert King and Freddie King.