Butch Trucks, an original member of The Allman Brothers Band whose steady backbeat propelled the band’s jamming, is dead at age 69.
His cause of death hasn’t been revealed, but his family has issued a statement that says, “Butch Trucks, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, tragically died the night of January 24th in West Palm Beach, Florida. His wife, four children, four grandchildren and all of the Allman Brothers Band, their families and road crew survive Butch. The Trucks and Allman Brothers Band families request all of Butch’s friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss. Butch will play on in our hearts forever. Donations and remembrances in Butch’s name may be made to The Big House Museum in Macon, Georgia.”
Trucks was born in Jacksonville, Florida on May 11th, 1947. He started playing in local Jacksonville bands in the early 1960s and eventually found himself in The 31st of February in 1968. That group also included Duane Allman and Gregg Allman. When they split, Duane Allman formed a new group with the idea of two lead guitar players and two drummers. After finding Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley and drummer Jai Johanny Johanson — best known as Jaimoe — Allman got Trucks to join in 1969, and the two drummers developed a style that would go on to influence many jam bands and Southern rock acts. Trucks laid down the normal beat, while Johanson added other percussion flourishes that merged into one massive drum sound.
Trucks played on every studio and live recording the band released during its existence, including such classics as “Ramblin’ Man,” “Jessica,” “Ain’t Wasting Time No More” and “Whipping Post.” He and the rest of the Allmans were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Trucks was also essential to the band’s survival after Warren Haynes‘s replacement, Jack Pearson, left in the spring of 1999 following the group’s annual residency at New York’s Beacon Theatre. He called his 20-year-old nephew, Derek Trucks, and asked him to join. When Haynes rejoined in 2001 (as a replacement for Betts, who was booted a year earlier), his guitar duels with Trucks revitalized the band in many fans’ eyes.
Trucks was an early adapter of the using of the Web as a way to broadcast and sell music, as his Moogis.com webcast the Allmans shows in the early 2000s. After the Allmans split in 2014, Trucks performed in two groups. Les Brers featured other former Allman Brothers Band members, including his longtime drumming partner Jaimoe. His other project was Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band.