Butch Trucks, founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, died on the evening of Tuesday, January 24 in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was 69 years old.
Born Claude Hudson Trucks on May 11, 1947 in Jacksonville, Florida, Butch refined his craft playing in several ensembles at Florida State University and in the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra before cutting his rock ‘n roll teeth in local bands such as the Vikings, the Echoes, and the Bitter Ind.
It was the suggestion of Jai “Jaimoe” Johnny Johanson that led Duane Allman to recruit Trucks into the fold back in 1964 as he was forming the original Allman Brothers Band. Jaimoe and Trucks would go on to play drums alongside one another on and off for 46 years as members of the Brothers. Trucks is the third member of the original ABB lineup to pass away, joining Duane Allman, who died in 1971, and Berry Oakley, who died the next year. Trucks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Allman Brothers Band in 1994.
The cause of death is unknown and comes as a surprise, as Trucks had remained active on the music scene of late. Upon the Allman Brothers Band breakup in 2014, Trucks founded Les Brers with fellow former Allmans Jaimoe, Marc Quiñones, Oteil Burbridge, and Jack Pearson in an effort to keep the ABB catalog alive. His latest act, Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band, had recently been touring in the southeast.
Trucks is survived by his wife Melinda, four children, and four grandchildren, plus a number of family members who are active musicians in their own right, nephews Derek and Duane Trucks, the guitarist of Tedeschi-Trucks Band and drummer of Widespread Panic/Hard Working Americans respectively, and his son Vaylor Trucks, who plays with the Yeti Trio.
At this time the Trucks and Allman Brothers Band families request “friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss. Butch will play on in our hearts forever.”
Check out footage of Butch discussing the early days of the Allman Brothers Band below.