His oldest brother is guitar god Derek Trucks (Tedeschi Trucks Band), and his uncle is Butch Trucks, drummer for the Allman Brothers Band. From the time Duane Trucks was a child, he had big drumming influences. One of his brother’s early gigs was with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Fiji Mariners, and through Hampton, Duane was exposed to such drummers as Jeff “Apt. Q-258″ Sipe and Tyler “The Falcon” Greenwell” (now one of the drummers in Tedeschi Trucks Band). He got to hang out plenty with Derek Trucks Band’s longtime drummer, Yonrico Scott, too.
Growing up, the Trucks boys’ father would spin Allman Brothers albums and play bootleg tapes of band rehearsals. Duane Trucks didn’t realize it at the time, but he would wind up sounding like his Uncle Butch.
“I didn’t even realize it until I went out and started playing and hearing the first recording of myself playing live or seeing the first video that I ever say of myself playing, [and] I was like, oh my God, I sound like Butch,” Duane Trucks said in a Feb. 13 interview. “How does that happen?”
It’s not like he took lessons from his uncle.
“You know, when I was maybe 7 or 8, Butch would sit down with me when he would be in Jacksonville for Christmas or whatever was going on, and he would … show me basic rudiments and stuff,” Trucks remembered. “But I was so young then, I didn’t care about practicing. I was like, I wanna go outside and play football, Uncle Butch. I don’t want to learn what a paradiddle is!
“It wasn’t until later that I looked back and was like, damn, I should’ve sat down and written that stuff down and figured out what he had to say. But I think more than anything, again, it goes back to, for drummers, playing for the song. I think that’s one thing I really have learned from listening to Butch is playing for the song when it’s appropriate and then when it’s time to open up, be there and have the soloist’s back – make sure they have all the support they need.
“And that’s one thing that put Butch and Jaimoe [Butch Trucks fellow Allman Brothers drummer, Jai Johanny Johanson] apart from really anybody, is the way they know how to build a solo, and they know how to help build that tension when the soloist is taking it there, and then when it’s time, they know how to release that tension, and it just explodes.
“And I think that’s one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned, just from hearing that stuff growing up … and going to a thousand Allman Brothers shows … is really how to build a solo, how to take a solo from nothing to the edge of the earth and just let it go.”
The younger Trucks, who wound up playing for a few years with Hampton, too, is a groove machine with plenty of drumming wisdom to share. Hear a lot of it on this podcast, with a streaming version of the Flannel Church song, “Old Cold Coffee.”
Catch his act at Growler’s on Wednesday.