A few days ago I heard the Butch Trucks had taken his own life. I couldn’t believe it yet there it was. I’ll never understand. I was fortunate to spend time with Butch while playing bass in his group, the Allman Brothers Band.
Butch once told me…
(I paraphrase) – Good time (in music) is important. Better not to rush or drag time in a song. But if your going to do it, it’s better to rush. When you drag you just kill all the energy in the song.
But what Butch said wasn’t half as important as to how he played and what I learned from him. In particular the different way to play (and feel) a shuffle. Most drummers play a decent shuffle. Butch was able to change not only the swing in a shuffle (moving the third eighth note in the triplet closer to a sixteenth note) but would simultaneously vary the gate time (note length) of the notes. The effect was a dramatic change in feel say behind a vocal (verse) and a solo that followed. I miss playing with a drummer that is that nuanced with a shuffle.
And powerful, my god. A freight train is a great description. Solid is an understatement. Yet always musical.
Timpani and Bass. TIMPANI and BASS! Brilliant! Exciting! Unique! His whole body played the timpani and it was a dance of technique, song, and rhythm.
His death is really quite saddening but I celebrate the gift he gave me in allowing me to directly experience his huge talent. He will be missed and remembered.
All photos by Bruce Goldflies.