Remembering Butch Trucks: 5 Standout Collaborations
Claude Hudson “Butch” Trucks was a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, helping the classic southern-rock act grow into one of the most famed rock artists of all time. With ABB earning countless accolades, including induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995 and the award of seven gold and four platinum albums, Trucks served as the part of the propulsive percussive motor behind the band, remaining a consistent presence throughout the band’s tumultuous 45-year career. As one of the band’s two drummers alongside fellow drummer and percussionist Jaimoe, the duo took the foundations laid out by Otis Redding and James Brown’s dual-drummer approach and aided in popularizing the drumming format within the rock genre during the ‘70s and beyond.
On this date two years ago, January 24, 2017, Trucks passed away at the age of 69 in his home of West Palm Beach, Florida. At the time, Trucks had just wrapped a year-long promotion of his new solo side project, Butch Trucks and The Freight Train Band, which the drummer had debuted in the spring of 2016. Marking the start of a notably tragic year for the extended Allman Brothers Band family and its fans, Trucks’ death was followed by the deaths of his ABB co-founder Gregg Allman and friend and frequent collaborator Col. Bruce Hampton in May of 2017.
To honor the legendary Allman Brothers Band drummer on the anniversary of his death, we’ve compiled a list of five standout collaborations Butch performed during his storied career. Check out the list below:
Butch w/ Phish – “Possum” Captured by IkoIko95
In 1995, Butch Trucks joined Phish during the Vermont jam band’s show in his hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida. During the November 16, 1995 performance, Trucks appeared for the final song of the second set, locking down the rhythm for a celebratory rendition of “Possum.” With Butch behind the kit, Phish’s drummer, Jon Fishman, performed on trombone and Trey’s percussion rack during the tune. Notably, the collaboration established a precedent for future sit-ins, as Butch returned to guest with Phish the following year when the band returned to West Palm Beach in the fall. Members of Phish would also return the favor, as Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon and Page McConnell would go on to sit in with the Allman Brothers Band eight times between 1996 and 2014.
Butch w/ ZZ Top – “Tush” Captured by Zic Ufed
On June 28, 2014, Butch Trucks surprised fans of ZZ Top, joining the band during the group’s performance in Nimes, France. During the show, Trucks appeared for a rendition of ZZ Top’s 1975 classic, “Tush,” performing front and center on a stripped-down drum set-up of a snare, tom, and cymbal. Given that ZZ Top and the Allman Brothers Band came up at the same time, the two bands were friendly with one another and had a history of collaboration. The Allman Brothers Band would formally call it quits later in the year during a fall run at the Beacon Theatre.
Butch w/ Great Caesar’s Ghost – “Cortez The Killer” Captured by Larry Schmid
Based out of Bridgehampton, New York, Great Caesar’s Ghost was a jam band dedicated to performing the works of the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and other classic acts. The band forged a relationship with Butch Trucks over the years, with the original Allman Brothers Band drummer sitting in with the group as early as 2011. In 2015, Trucks once again collaborated with the band, performing at Amagansett, New York’s Stephen Talkhouse in August. Tapped as a special guest, Butch Trucks was on hand for the entire show, which featured fan-favorite renditions of “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed,” “Blue Sky,” “Franklin’s Tower,” “St. Stephen,” and more.
Butch w/ The Allman Family Incident – “Jessica” Captured by Rock, Roots, & Blues – Live!
Since its establishment in 2012, The Peach Music Festival has become a haven for the extended Allman Brothers Band family. Billed as the first-ever Allman Brothers-inspired music festival, the multi-day event has historically hosted ABB and its members’ various side projects for years, in addition to fan-favorite rock and jam acts from across the country. In 2016, the festival invited Colorado’s String Cheese Incident to perform a special “Allman Brothers Family Incident,” which saw Butch and Jaimoe, Bruce Katz, Jack Pearson, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quiñones and Scott Sharrard serve as special guests during a one-time headlining set with SCI.
Butch w/ the North Mississippi Allstars – “Jam” Captured by Steve Prendergast
The Allman Brothers Band helped created southern rock as we know it today. Given this, ABB inspired countless acts in the decades following, including the North Mississippi Allstars, featuring Luther and Cody Dickinson. Butch, in particular, developed a close relationship with the two brothers, tapping the duo as instructors for his educational Roots Rocks Revival music camp. However, Butch also shared the stage with the North Mississippi Allstars from time to time, including a performance at Wanee Festival in 2013. With Butch serving as a special guest on the drums, Butch laid the rhythmic foundation to let Luther Dickinson unleash an explosive guitar solo during the set.