Tedeschi Trucks Band guitarist Derek Trucks recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the passing of his uncle and former Allman Brothers Band collaborator Butch Trucks, who committed suicide last week at the age of 69. The younger Trucks spoke on his uncle’s never-say-die attitude, the passion and power with which he played music and Butch’s ever-flowing love and respect for late Allman Brothers guitarist Duane Allman.
Trucks’ talks about his early memories of visiting his uncle in Tallahassee, FL, and his eventual playing with the drummer, who he says was a no-nonsense personality onstage and off. “For me, playing with Butch, in front of that rhythm section, it makes you more forceful and confident,” Trucks says. “You start realizing the possibilities and how far you can take the music. I’d heard enough at that point. I’d been around the band and even played with Butch in [his band] Frogwings. But playing with Butch in the Allman Brothers, there were gears I didn’t know existed. You realize that there are new parameters – we can take this shit pretty deep.”
Trucks also mentions how Butch loved to talk about Duane Allman and keep the guitarist’s spirit alive. “His idea of advice was, more than anything, advice that Duane would dole out,” Trucks says. “That was Butch’s M.O. with everybody. He was always spreading the gospel of Duane. The first handful of years and the magic that created the whole thing – Butch was constantly trying to keep that alive.”
Trucks words move to reflecting on his uncle’s death, as he mentions that the Allmans’ break up may have hit the drummer hard. “He was certainly having second thoughts after we decided to end the band [in 2014],” Trucks says. “In theory, he was ready when we brought it up, three or four years before. But once that date started creeping up, I’m sure a lot of things hit home. If your whole being is wrapped up in this thing, how do you not do that anymore?”
Trucks ends with his remembrance of Butch, who he says will always be remembered as a hard-nosed music purist and a great drummer in the history of American rock. “His lasting legacy is how uncompromising he was – that sense that we can make the best music that’s ever been played, by anyone, tonight. It’s what we’re missing in the world today – people who just show up and deliver every time. And that’s the way he played. There was no give in or give up ever.”
“It’s a miraculous thing that the Allman Brothers had, and Butch was as big a part of it as anybody,” Trucks finishes. “I’ll never hear another shuffle and not think about his crazy ass.”
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