Derek Trucks Talks The Brothers & Love Rocks NYC Experiences In New Interview
Guitarist Derek Trucks had a wild few days in New York City last week as he went from performing at Madison Square Garden in front of a large crowd for a 50th anniversary tribute to The Allman Brothers Band on Tuesday, March 10 to playing in front of 200 – 300 people at The Beacon Theatre on Thursday, March 12 for the Love Rocks NYC benefit. Trucks discussed his experience in a new interview published by Rolling Stone.
Trucks teamed with former ABB mates Oteil Burbridge, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes and Marc Quinones as well as his actual brother, drummer Duane Trucks plus keyboardists Reese Wynans and Chuck Leavell under the moniker The Brothers at MSG. “When we first got to New York about a week before, there were no restrictions and no one was really thinking about [the virus] too much,” Derek said. “I was being OCD with Purell, but you eat out; you’re on the road and that’s what you do.” While the band went on with the show, the guitarist has given thought to whether that was appropriate:
But now a thousand things go through your head — one being, “Shit, should we have done that?” The demographic of the Allman Brothers is kind of a prime candidate [for the virus]. So that felt a little weird. But information was rolling out at such a trickle that it was hard to make sense of anything.
Derek’s parents didn’t come as they feared traveling and were warned against making the trip by their doctor. “It was just starting to dawn on everyone that day that this isn’t something to fuck around with,” Trucks said when asked about whether he considered canceling or postponing. “We were doing four days of rehearsals and everyone was playing that music for the first time in a while and telling stories and remembering people we’d lost. You’re kind of in two different worlds.” The guitarist explained “everyone was OCD-ing washing their hands” backstage and that his guitar tech was charged with making sure Derek’s instruments were clean.
As for the concert itself, Trucks said “it felt good” and that “everyone’s head was in the right place.” He also revealed he was “probably” the last hold-out when the idea of doing the concert was presented. “I was having a hard time wrapping my head around what it was going to be and if it needed to be. It’s tough playing music without Gregg [Allman] and Butch [Trucks] there,” Derek explained. “But when Jaimoe called me and asked me to do it, I told him, ‘You’re the only one who could ask me and I would say, ‘Of course, I’ll be there.’”
Co-founding Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts didn’t take part in the show, but it wasn’t because he hadn’t been asked. “One of the first things we talked about is that if it was going to be tribute to the music those guys made, we had to invite Dickey,” Derek commented. “That was the stipulation out of the gate. There was a letter sent, but I ended up calling him. He said he couldn’t travel right now, but he was such a gentleman. He said, ‘You guys have fun up there. You guys kill it.'”
For now, Trucks wants to keep The Brothers as a one-and-done experience. “My feeling is, it’s special because it was a one-off. I don’t know how long you could run down the road playing that music before it became something else,” Trucks explained. “That legacy means so much to me and our family and I don’t want to do anything to diminish it.”
Derek Trucks and his wife, Susan Tedeschi were surprise guests at last Thursday’s Love Rocks NYC benefit. Attendance was limited to venue and production staff, artists and their teams and media. “That was the day they shut down, no gatherings over 500 people. So they did the show just for the webcast with maybe 200 or 300 guests in the audience,” the guitarist said of the night. “It felt so strange to look at over the Beacon and see a few hundred people dancing and having a good time but keeping their distance. It was an odd scene. That one felt like the last party before the end of the world.”
At the beginning of March, the Tedeschi Trucks Band began a three-month break from the road that marks their longest hiatus since the group’s early days. He said “we’ll make a decision when the time comes” about whether the group’s Wheels Of Soul tour will proceed as planned. “We have a 12-piece band and a lot of employees and it would be a hit. We’re always of the mindset that the show must go on,” Derek added. For much more from the Jacksonville resident, head to Rolling Stone.