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  1. #1
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    Default Interesting read about Derek Trucks and his early exposure to drugs, booze, etc...

    I'm posting this because it seems rather timely given all the "debate" about Wolfie's dealing with the same issue. Also, this interview is part of a forthcoming Rolling Stone issue about today's new Guitar Gods. Note the part about playing professionally at an early age and being exposed to the excesses of the road and Derek's reply. Good stuff and a good article. Sorry to start a new thread about this. I just thought it was the best way to post this.

    Derek Trucks can't say exactly how many days he spent last year at his home in Jacksonville, Florida. "Probably thirtyish," says the blond, ponytailed guitarist. "Maybe close to forty, but not much more." Trucks, 27, spent the others onstage, playing with the Allman Brothers Band, his own Derek Trucks Band or, since last May, Eric Clapton's current road group. In fact, Trucks -- the nephew of Allmans drummer Butch Trucks -- has lived in a tour bus almost nonstop since he picked up the guitar at age nine. His Allmans heritage and prodigious slide technique made him a jam-band-circuit star before he was old enough to drive. But the spiritual poise and uncanny vocal fire of Trucks' solos and slide flourishes -- captured on his latest and best album, Songlines -- are rooted in his deep studies of not just blues but jazz and Indian music. An amazing thing about Trucks (who is married to guitarist Susan Tedeschi) is how still he is as he plays: moving only his hands, his eyes often shut in prayerlike concentration. "I looked up to guys like John Coltrane and Duane Allman, who were completely stoic," he explains. "Every ounce of energy and attention was focused on the job at hand."

    Do you remember the first time you heard a Duane Allman guitar solo?
    He was always around. My parents were always spinning vinyl in the house -- Eat a Peach, Live at the Fillmore East, Layla by Derek and the Dominos. Those were the sounds I grew up to. My dad would put those records on as me and my younger brother fell asleep at night. My dad was at the Fillmore East when he was sixteen, seventeen. He and his friends would skip school and hitchhike from Georgia up to New York. He made sure we knew and felt the music on that level.

    How influential was your uncle, Butch Trucks, in your musical education?
    In the beginning, not much. But I knew the family connection, and it was enough to make me feel like more than a fan. Once I started touring and we played in the area where my uncle lived, he started sitting in. In 1989, after the Allman Brothers got back together, they were doing a record in south Florida. I was playing there, and the whole band sat in. They were really gracious. They opened the door for me to become part of the whole thing.

    What made you start playing slide guitar?
    As nonromantic as it sounds, it was the fact that, at nine, playing a steel-string guitar really hurts. Having a slide on my finger -- it didn't hurt my small hands. I used a metal slide at first. Then someone keyed me into the glass slide -- the differences in the sound. I took to that.

    As a slide player, you seem less interested in blues licks than in getting something close to the sound and emotion of the human voice.
    There were a few windows that opened for me there. In the mid-Nineties, [Gov't Mule bassist] Allen Woody gave me a sacred-steel guitar record by Aubrey Ghent. For the first eight measures of "Amazing Grace," I swore it was a woman singing. Then I heard the noise of the pick, and it blew my mind.

    Another thing was sitting in on classes at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in San Rafael, California. [Khan, who played sarod with Ravi Shankar, is one of India's greatest classical musicians.] He makes his students take vocal classes first, learning to sing melodies, before he'll begin to teach you to play them. That opened my mind,that you should be singing through your instrument. And the instrumental classes -- he would sing a melody for us to play, then stop the class and go, "You, third row back, tune up your third string." There are thirty musicians there; some are playing the sarod, which has twenty-five strings. And he's pointing to a guy in the third row, telling him to tune up his third string. I was like, "I've got work to do."

    How would you describe your guitar tone -- and how do you get it? You don't use any pedals or effects.
    I got this Fender Super Reverb amp when I was thirteen or fourteen. It's been perfectly adequate since. I plug in and let go. On a good night, the tone I'm going for is what I hear when Little Walter plays harmonica through an overdriven amplifier or Howlin' Wolf overpowers a microphone. I'm shooting for natural overdrive.

    I almost feel like pedals are a cop-out. I hate to say it's always that way. Guys like Hendrix used them as their voice. But I've never had the urge. When we made Songlines, I felt more comfortable overdubbing, a little freer to experiment in the studio, whereas I used to feel I had to cut live in the studio. But I don't think I'll ever have a huge pedal board in front of me onstage. If I do, you can call me out on it [laughs].

    When you play with the Allman Brothers now, do you sometimes feel you have to play exactly what Duane did?
    It goes back and forth. On tunes he left an indelible stamp on, I have to pay homage in some small way. On "Stand Back" [on Eat a Peach], his guitar solo is so melodic it's almost like a bridge in the tune. I quote at least part of it, then head off from there.

    "Whipping Post" and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" are like jazz standards. You play the head, stay true to it. Then at solo time, you do whatever you want. In "Statesboro Blues," some nights it's fun to quote Duane. Other nights, you want to go left. And that's a tune where the audience comes into play. If you completely leave what Duane did, people look at you kind of cross, like you're burning the flag.

    You've been on the road since childhood. Have you ever been tempted by drugs and alcohol? That life can derail a kid fast.
    My dad was on the road with me early on. I was very shielded from it -- although not in the sense that I didn't know what was going on. There were musicians I knew from a young age -- I could see the path they were on. Then they're not around or not playing anymore. I have experimented and dabbled. But playing and having responsibility from a young age -- I never felt I had the option to lose a day. There was always a gig around the corner.

    Ironically, by starting so young, you've played professionally longer than many guitarists in their thirties and forties.
    When you start gigging at nine, you get a slight head start. But there is a great Ali Akbar Khan story. He was in his fifties. He had just done a recording session, and his father -- who is in his eighties, taught Ravi Shankar and was the eminent Indian classical guy -- comes in and hammers him: "That was the worst shit I've ever heard. Get your shit together." When I think of stuff like that, I don't feel like I'm done yet. Not even close.

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  2. #2
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    Derek is a badass without the attitude. Always seems really humble and genuine.

    The Allmans' last studio effort, "Hittin' the Note", is probably the best they've sounded since Duane was around, and 75% of the slide is Derek, not Warren, although Warren is known as a slide player, though he's really not....

    Anyway, to the topic: Some people grow up in a monastery, and when the window of opportunity opens for them to be wild and crazy, they jump right through and never come back. Others, like Derek, grow up surrounded by the secret vices of their loved ones, and they never seem to be phased by it all that much. It's weird.

    Sort of like when a PK (preacher's kid) goes to work at the strip joint, and the strip joint owner's kid goes to Kenya and digs wells with the Peace Corps........

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    I agree, Hitting the Note was a great effort. Warren co-wrote many of the tunes with Gregg Allman and also produced it, a big reason for its success. Also, Gregg has been clean for several years now, what a difference that makes. If anyone on this board hasn't seen the ABB with this newer line-up, you really should. It's the best since the original, in my opinion.

    Back to Derek. He is truly a virtuoso, and much, much more than a slide player. He finger picks with all five fingers and is incredibly fast and smooth at the same time. If anyone id curious about his band (The Derek Trucks Band), buy or rent the DVD "Songlines." The musicianship of every member is unbelievable. They are as tight as any band I've ever seen. Kofi Burbridge is particularly impressive Keyboards, vocals, flute....(his brother, Oteil, plays Bass with the ABB ((also amazing))...Anyway, a great DVD.

    I suspect, and hope, Wolfie has the same attitude about the booze and drugs that Derek has. After all, I'm sure he sees what it's done to his father...

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    Hot sauce on everything Red's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chain View Post
    Oteil, plays Bass with the ABB ((also amazing))...
    Oteil is definitely an underrated bassist, Derek has called him the "Michael Jordan of bass"....

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    I meet Derek Trucks in Atlantic City after a Van Halen concert in 2004. The Allman Brothers Band was playing the next night. He is a great guy. He sat down with me and spoke to me for awhile. After that night; he definitely won over a new fan. He is a class act!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red View Post
    Oteil is definitely an underrated bassist, Derek has called him the "Michael Jordan of bass"....
    I wouldn't say he's underated. In the Bass world, he's a big name. Very respected. He's an amazing player and singer. Imagine singing backup to Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes for three hours a night. Wow! He's a great fit in the ABB as he's able to not only play some of Barry Oakley's amazing stuff, but also give it his own stamp. It's absolutely amazing when he, Warren, and Derek jam. Especially on a tune like "In memory of Elizabeth Reed" Where Barry's Bass line is really like a third guitar playing along with Duane and Dickey on the original.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rh2752 View Post
    I meet Derek Trucks in Atlantic City after a Van Halen concert in 2004. The Allman Brothers Band was playing the next night. He is a great guy. He sat down with me and spoke to me for awhile. After that night; he definitely won over a new fan. He is a class act!

    Cool. He is very approachable, as is the whole DTB, Gov't Mule and the ABB. They're all very appreciative and thankful to their fans. One can never go wrong seeing any of these bands. You should pick up the DVD "Songlines." Was he at the VH concert? Never pegged him for a VH fan. But then again, as Dave likes to say, there's a little VH in everyone. Did you hear Dave's interview with Derek on his radio show last year? Very good. Derek was in New York for the annual Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre run.

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    I saw Derek here in Chattanooga back in June with the DTB and with the Allman Bros in the same night at the Riverbend festival and then later playing with Clapton back in October in Birmingham, AL. All excellent shows, and Derek was the star of them all. He's an excellent player.

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    I did not see Derek Trucks at the VH show. I meet him at the casino after the show. He was waiting in a line to get in the bar in the middle of the casino. I started telling the bouncers who he was and that they should let him in. He was laughing but he did not want any special treatment. The Allman Brothers were playing the next night. I told him I saw VH and he stated he liked their music. He asked if I was going to see the Allman Brothers the next night. I was not going to but I did see the Allman Brothers. I am not a fan of their style of music but they are all great musicians.

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    So Derek's a VH fan. Neat to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RKVH5150 View Post
    I saw Derek here in Chattanooga back in June with the DTB and with the Allman Bros in the same night at the Riverbend festival and then later playing with Clapton back in October in Birmingham, AL. All excellent shows, and Derek was the star of them all. He's an excellent player.
    Yeah, DTB opened several ABB shows this past summer. As did Warren's band, Gov't Mule. Warren's still my man as I'm amazed at all the things he does so well. Write, sing, producer, band leader, etc...However, as Warren has stated in several interviews, Derek's potential and abilities are "infinite." This coming from a guy who's played with many great musicians and has know Derek since he was 11 years old. The interview I'm referring to is when Warren sat in on Bill Walton's Sirius 17 jam band channel show. Bill's a big Grateful Dead, ABB, Warren and lately Derek fan. It was a great show.

 

 

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