I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share the stage and part of my life with such an amazing person. Butch was a friend, bandmate, and, above all, a mentor.
Butch was an absolutely brilliant drummer and there are so many things to say about the amazing music he helped create and was part of. But I’d like to take a moment and reflect on the Butch Trucks I knew. The brilliant, dedicated, passionate musician I befriended over the last couple of years.
Butch and I met February 16, 2015. He was visiting Tallahassee, FL to give a guest lecture at Florida State University. While in town, he and some friends decided they wanted to get together and jam at a local blues club (The Bradfordville Blues Club). I got a call from the club owners asking to join in the jam taking place. More on us meeting here: Butch Trucks Last Interview We really hit it off that night at the Bradfordville Blues club, becoming friends and then bandmates.
Butch taught me so much about playing music. He taught me to be fearless and unafraid to jump into unknown waters. He taught me to never give less than everything I had and always pushed me to better myself.
Butch was stubborn and honest, he was brilliant and passionate about everything. He never feared uncertainty or slowed down because of an imperfection. He was always in the mindset of “we’ll figure it out when we get there, just go for it”. Butch found beauty in mistakes made during exploration and spontaneity. He was always pushing a new boundary and looked at perfection as becoming comfortable and routine. The happiest I ever saw Butch was when he was completely immersed in a spontaneous jam where no one knew exactly what was going to happen or where it was going to go. Butch would always say things like, “as long as we start together and end together, I don’t care what happens in the middle”.
I think a lot of it links back to the early days of the Allman Brothers. Butch was always preaching what Duane taught him and how Duane looked at music. Duane changed Butch’s life and Butch kept Duane’s spirit alive on stage every night. He never slowed down and he never gave less than 100%. Every night we were on the road he would play the drums louder and harder than any drummer I have ever met. When he got behind the drum set he was a 25 year old again, playing like he did at the prime of the Allman Brothers Band.
For the past 5 years Butch hosted a camp in NY called “Root Rock Revival”. It was his favorite time of year. He got to do what he loved best, teach. Butch always joked saying, “If it wasn’t for Duane Allman, I would be a math teacher”. Whether it was about music, art, history, philosophy or world of war craft, He loved teaching and enlightening people.
Even though I only knew Butch for a relatively short time, we had a really special relationship. He was one of the most intelligent, musical, and passionate people I have ever known. He was a mentor and taught me so much about music and life. He always pushed me to be a better musician, bandmate, and person. He gifted me with so many life lessons that I will cherish forever. He will be missed so much.
“A very smart man, Friedrich Nietzsche once said, ‘Without music, life would be a mistake’. Let’s not make no mo’ mistakes” -Butch Trucks