Make us your home page

Derek Trucks leaving Allman Brothers behind

Derek Trucks performs next weekend in St. Pete with his Tedeschi Trucks Band.

City of Clearwater

Derek Trucks performs next weekend in St. Pete with his Tedeschi Trucks Band.

In an interview Tuesday, guitarist Derek Trucks said the Allman Brothers Band as we know it was "certainly winding down."

"For me, I've been in the band, what, 15 years now? I never thought it would make it that long," Trucks, 34, said by phone from his home in Jacksonville. "I never thought I'd be a part of it that long. So it all feels like bonus time to me."

Turns out that bonus clock was ticking faster than anyone realized. One day after our interview, Trucks and guitarist Warren Haynes announced they would be leaving the iconic Southern rock band at the end of 2014 to focus on their own projects, including Trucks and wife Susan Tedeschi's Tedeschi Trucks Band, which will headline St. Petersburg's Sunshine Music & Blues Festival on Jan. 19.

"I feel that my solo project and the Tedeschi Trucks Band is where my future and creative energy lies," Trucks said in a statement. "The Tedeschi Trucks Band tour schedule keeps growing, and I feel the time has finally come to focus on a single project, which will allow me to spend that rare time off the road with my family and children. It's a difficult decision to make, and I don't make it lightly."

How could he? Trucks was raised around the Allmans — Uncle Butch is their founding drummer — and the late slide-guitar icon Duane Allman was among his heroes. They were already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when they invited Trucks to join in 1999.

But at this stage in his career, no one begrudges Trucks for wanting to spend more time with the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Not even Gregg Allman himself.

"He's got the baddest band in the land, he absolutely does," the singer said in December. "It's my favorite, it really is. Of all the music I've heard lately, they do it for me. That blows my dress way up."


Though he was born a guitar prodigy into a rock 'n' roll dynasty — as a teen he jammed with the likes of Bob Dylan and Buddy Guy — Trucks has never been content to lean strictly on his DNA and connections. He spent his teens and 20s voraciously studying and honing his craft, discovering new ways to infuse the blues with jazz, classical and even Indian-influenced guitar. In 2007 he was christened a "guitar god" on the cover of Rolling Stone; four years later the magazine named him the 16th greatest guitarist of all time, not far behind Duane Allman.

Trucks got the call to join the Allman Brothers Band at age 19, shortly after releasing his first album with his solo band.

"I remember thinking, You can't really turn this offer down, but I can't not do my own group," he said. "They've been great about making it work, where you can do both. Granted, you have to work 300 days a year to do it, but over the years, it's just kind of grown. This is the longest incarnation of the band that's ever existed. The original group was just a few years, and the group in the '70s had a lot of changes, so this group with Warren and Oteil (Burbridge) and Marc (Quiñones) and me, it's going on a little over a decade now, which seems nearly impossible, with the amount of s--- that goes on with that group, but it's been amazing. Every time I think it's done, and you want to count it out, it kind of comes roaring back."

Trucks has spent much of his career working closely with artists decades his elder — legends like Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock and B.B. King. He lamented watching more than a few veteran artists struggle to "keep the flame lit."

"I've seen musicians that are totally stuck in a rut, but because they can get out and play the same tunes the same way, people are going to show up at a casino or wherever," he said. "They can make a good living, but they're just shells of who they were musically."

Trucks and Tedeschi, 43, married in 2001, but it wasn't until 2010 that they formed Tedeschi Trucks Band, an 11-piece army of blues, rock and powerhouse soul. The group's swift rise — their first album, 2011's Revelator, won the Grammy for Best Blues Album — allowed Trucks and Tedeschi to take a break from their prosperous solo projects and tour in tandem.

As his heroes like Clapton, Hancock and, yes, the Allman Brothers Band begin to fade from the spotlight, Trucks said he and Tedeschi feel the weight of keeping their musical spirit alive.

"Once those guys go, unfortunately, there's not a massive amount of people out there doing it the right way, the old way, where you actually learn your craft and get out on the road," he said. "I feel like me and Susan and this band ... feel that you are carrying on this American music tradition, and it's important. ... You don't want to let the bar ever dip below a certain level. You feel like the quality, intensity and amount of energy you put into every project needs to meet a certain criteria, or you don't put it out."

.if you go

Sunshine Music and Blues Festival

The festival starts at noon Jan. 19 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, with a lineup including the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Galactic, Leon Russell, Hot Tuna, Stanley Clarke, J.J. Grey and more. Tickets are $49.50-$99.50. For info,

Derek Trucks leaving Allman Brothers behind 01/09/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 9, 2014 7:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Prep meals for a week with tacos, pork tenderloin and rosemary chicken


    Some see a resemblance to Japan's popular bento boxes. Some just call it meal prepping. And some prefer to think of it as bringing lunch to work in Tupperware containers.

    For simple meal prep, you can’t go wrong with this classic: ground beef tacos, black beans and homemade Spanish rice.
  2. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts


    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  3. 5 things to do under $5: Type artists, shuffleboard, toy train show, Wildflower Walk


    1 Letterheads Typefest: The muralists who run Illsol Space, a gallery in Tampa Heights, said their respect for handmade fonts and sign painting techniques moved them to curate this exhibit featuring type-based muralists, hand-style lettering designers, sign painters, letterpress studios and type designers. …

    Colm O’Connor, a Dublin sign writer, is among the 22 artists featured in the Letterheads Typefest exhibit at the Illsol Space gallery.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 23


    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Nathan Sawaya with a sculpture from his The Art of the Brick exhibition coming to Tampa June 23- Sept. 4. It will be open for free Wednesdays through Sundays,  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 802 E Whiting Street, Tampa. No tickets are required.[Courtesy  of the Art of the Brick]
  5. I give you a fish, you give me back my man


    The B-52s are a band with such a distinct visual look that you could tell it was them with just a glimpse of a picture. But was it always beehives and bright clothes for the hipsters from Athens? You can find the different looks of the B-52s in their video for the irresistible Give Me Back My Man.