Photo by Larry Hulst
This evening marks the opening night of the Allman Brothers Band’s 2014 Beacon Theatre run. This may well be the group’s final series of shows at the venue, since Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks have announced that they will be leaving the band at year’s end. However, as ABB co-founder Butch Trucks shares in this interview, don’t count them out just yet. Butch spoke with us on Wednesday, a few days into rehearsal, and also discussed the post-show he will host next week, his Roots Rock Revival event and the book he will intends to write yet about his experiences with Duane Allman and the group that celebrates its 45th anniversary later this month.
You’ve been in rehearsals for a few days now. Since it appears that this may well be the final Allman Brothers Band Beacon run, have you been approaching things any differently?
No, not really. I will say though that this year we’re pulling out some songs that we haven’t played in a long time. They’ve been a bitch to learn so we’ve been working our butts off the last few days. But people are going to hear some stuff they haven’t heard in a long time, really good tunes that just kind of fell out and we’ve decided to work them up again.
Covers or originals?
I think every one of them is original.
By the way, was my initial presumption wrong? Is this indeed for all intents and purposes the final Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre run?
I don’t know yet. There is a possibility that we will continue in another form. The band as it is now is not going to continue. The changes that we’re talking about would be incredible but it would be different instrumentation, a different sound. It’s like what we did with Chuck Leavell after Duane and took it in another direction for a little while.
How is your physical health? I know there have been times in the past when it has been something of a concern for you heading into the Beacon run?
Oh, I’m fine. I got through practice in the last month at home and I’m strong as a bull. If that was a problem I wouldn’t try to fight to hold it together. If it wasn’t fun and I wasn’t in shape to do it then as far as I’m concerned I’d just say fine and call it time to hang it up. That’s what retirement is, I just don’t feel like retiring yet. I’m still haven’t too damn much fun. How long that lasts I don’t know and there are other factors that come into play that may make it impossible for this band to continue, we just don’t know. We’ll start working that out over this week.
I know that a lot of people would like to see this iteration of the ABB one final time. Can you share some sense of what 2014 will look like in terms of touring?
Well, it’s going to be pretty much what it’s been the last few years: we do the Beacon, we do Wanee, we’re going to do Mountain Jam, the Peach Festival and then, Interlocken. The schedule now is that in October we’ll do a run where we hit some bigger venues and then if this is going to be it and, if we can work it out, we’ll wind it all up at Madison Square Garden.
You mentioned that you still enjoy playing live. On March 14 you also have a post-show at BB King’s which is billed as Butch Trucks and Special Friends. What can you say about that?
It’ll be me and Oteil and Marc Quinones and Bill Evans. There’s a really good guitar player that Oteil’s bringing with him and we’re just going to jam. It’s the Roots Rock Revival but Cody and Luther aren’t able to be there. It’ll be fun though, I love playing with Bill Evans.
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