Butch Trucks, a drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, one of the most prominent Southern rock groups, died Jan. 24 at his home in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 69.
Page Stallings, Mr. Trucks’s booking agent, confirmed the death. The cause was not disclosed.
Mr. Trucks was one of two original drummers, along with Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson, who helped formed the rhythms and the drive for the Allman Brothers. Formed in 1969 and led by brothers Duane and Gregg Allman, the group helped define the Southern rock sound that incorporated blues, rock, country and jazz.
Originally from Jacksonville, Fla., Trucks joined with the Allman siblings to form the band, including guitarist Dickey Betts and bassist Berry Oakley. They moved to Macon, Ga., to cut their first record with Capricorn Records.
The two drummers melded their individual styles, with Mr. Trucks considered the straightforward, driving train rhythm player, while Johanson added his R&B and jazz drumming influences.
Duane Allman died shortly after that record in 1971, and Oakley died in 1972, both in motorcycle wrecks. The band continued to record and tour before breaking up in the late ’70s. Over the past three decades, they have re-formed several times with additional band members.
In 1995, the Allman Brothers Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Claude Hudson Trucks was born in Jacksonville on May 11, 1947. He began drumming in grade school and was a tympanist in local symphony orchestras. He attended Florida State University, quipping that he “majored in staying out of Vietnam.”
He was playing with a rock combo called the Bitter Ind when the Allman brothers spotted him at a club in Daytona Beach, Fla. A few years later, they brought him into their new band.
Mr. Trucks also helped encourage a family lineage of musicians. One nephew, Derek Trucks, is the frontman of the Tedeschi Trucks Band and also joined the Allman Brothers band in 1999 as a guitarist. Another nephew, Duane Trucks, is the drummer for Widespread Panic.
Mr. Trucks was most recently touring with his band, Butch Trucks and the Freight Train. He is survived by his wife, Melinda, and four children.
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