Many of us are deeply saddened today by the unfortunate news of the passing of founding member of the legendary jam band, Allman Brothers Band, drummer/percussionist Butch Trucks. Trucks held his spot behind the drum kit for over forty years, drumming all the way to the end of the band’s incredible four decade career.
While the Allmans disbanded after a celebratory closing show at the Beacon Theater in October 2015, Butch had been continuing to tour with two new bands – Les Bres and the Freight Train Band. He was truly a staple in the live music community. The Allman Brothers Beacon Theater runs and summer tours were annual events that multiple generations of music fans attended each year. Check out this clip from October 28 at The Beacon Theater below.
Drummers are not always the most instantly recognizable figures in the lexicon of rock and roll history. But with a group like the Allman Brothers, who consistently stretched the limits of improvisation with jazz interludes and extensive bass and drum solos – every band member got a chance to shine. Almost every Allman Brothers set featured a “Drums” segment where Butch and fellow drummer Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanso would utilize a wide array of percussion instruments as well as their traditional drum kits to go on some of the greatest and at times downright tribal drums solos in rock history. This dual drumming style was part of what made the Allmans such an iconic band and one of the biggest influences on the modern “jam band”.
Whether you followed the Allman Brothers for decades or discovered them by digging through your parent’s record collection there’s no denying their influence will stand the test of time. Butch Trucks now joins his brothers Duane Allman (guitarist) and Berry Oakley (bassist) up at the big jam in the sky but his legacy lives on here too. Look no further than his nephew and former Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks who continues the family’s musical tradition with his current group the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Duane Trucks, also a nephew, drums for a southern rock band Widespread Panic who are bearers of the Allmans torch in their own way.
While its always sad to see the great ones pass on it’s most important to appreciate what they’ve left behind. I highly recommend listening to the original version of “Mountain Jam” today or any of the Allman Brothers albums or live shows to celebrate Butch’s legacy. It’s like Gregg Allman sings in Midnight Rider – “the road goes on forever”.