Drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band Butch Trucks passed away Tuesday. He was 69 years old.
Trucks’ booking agent Page Stallings told Rolling Stone the cause of death is currently unknown. Claude Hudson “Butch” Trucks formed one-half of a powerful percussion section for the southern rock heroes. Alongside Jai Johnny Johanson, Trucks led the rhythm section of one of America’s most influential early rock acts.
Trucks remained the backbone of the band for its duration, even through turmoil and two separate dissolutions. After Duane Allman’s tragic death, Trucks helped the band forge ahead. In an Allman Brothers Band biography One Way Out, Trucks touched on the decision.
“We all had this thing in us and Duane put it there,” Trucks said. “He was the teacher and he gave something to us—his disciples—that we had to play out.”
Growing up, Trucks had to be sneaky about his musical inclinations. His Baptist parents refused to buy him a drum kit up until the 11th grade. They finally acquiesced when he agreed to never play in an establishment that sold liquor. Obviously, that didn’t last terrible long.
Trucks first met other founding members Duane and Gregg Allman while in a band called Bitter Ind. The brothers encountered Trucks during a performance at Daytona Beach. Duane eventually called Trucks to play a gig with them. That decision formed the basis of what eventually became the Allman Brothers Band three years later.
The band featured as many as 20 different musicians throughout its lifespan, but Trucks remained there for all of it. During his tenure with the group, the Allman Brothers Band released at least 18 records.
The band received a Grammy award in 1996 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Butch Trucks’ nephew is guitarist Derek Trucks, who is considered one of the best guitar players alive today.