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Published: 2012/04/05
by Larson Sutton

Derek Trucks Turns It Up To Eleven

Let’s say Susan sings a particularly beautiful note, or nails a run on her guitar. Are you onstage looking over at her proud of your wife or proud of your band mate? Can the two even be separated?

All of the above. It’s different on different nights. When you play in a band, with anybody it’s that way. It depends on how the day is going, how close the relationship is within the band. There are times where I do feel pride as a husband, like, ‘Shit, she is whooping ass over there.’ Then there are times when you are in it musically together as a band and you are proud with what is happening around you. It runs the gamut. All of those emotions come into play at times. Especially at the White House, that was one time when I knew how much she wanted to make it great. We had to do the song in two different keys so Warren (Haynes) could sing the first verse in his key and modulate up. So, Susan’s having to jump in with a full-on hard note immediately after a modulation, which can be really difficult to grab it. You’re just out there, all alone. There is no safety net. So, I was a little nervous for her. When she knocked it out of the park, it was almost the way you feel with your kids, like, ‘Come on, let’s do it.’ And when she did it, it was just total relief. I was more nervous for her than I was for myself. I think that was one of those husband/wife moments, where normally it wouldn’t have hit me the same way.

You both had successful careers individually. Was it hard to join together as a couple and as parents and lead a band jointly?

We waited a good eight years into our marriage. We had our bands rolling separately for a long time, so I think that was a big part of it. I think if we would’ve jumped in too soon it would have been too much, the stuff we wanted to do individually. Now, it’s at a really good place. You mature as people. We thought long and hard about it before we jumped in the deep end. Once you get married you are already in the deep end, but being married and deciding to put a band together- there is no bottom there. You have to go all the way.

Your upcoming dual appearances at Wanee with both the Allman Brothers Band and Tedeschi Trucks Band signals the start of festival season. Wanee’s always been a great venue for the Allman Brothers and the extended family. Is your approach to festivals different from your own headline dates?

It does change your approach. When it is your own gig, and you have a captive audience in a theater, you can structure things differently. You can take your time trying to get to the peak of the set and be a little more methodical about it. At a festival, you kind of have to come out of the gate swinging. It also depends on who’s in the lineup, who is playing when, who is on before and after. You have to take that into consideration. It’s very much like writing a setlist, the ebb and flow within the set, but instead in a festival, you have to step back and see what kind of band is going on to start the show. Is it high energy? Is it low energy? Sometimes when you are in the middle of a tour and the band is just dialed in, you don’t have to think about it. You know your best punch is going to be enough.

Next up for Tedeschi Trucks Band is a live album. Typically, do you listen to your live shows, and how has it been putting together the new record?

Normally I don’t listen to them. When we decided to do this live record, I started listening to them a lot, and after every show, going back to the bus and taking notes on what I remember being great and what I remember being not acceptable for the record, things we need to work on. It made me think about the tour the way I would about producing a record, constantly keeping tabs on things. That has extended past doing the live record. I’ve kind of enjoyed the process. It made me even more engaged in the live shows. When we got back from the tour, it was 12, 14 shows of two to two-and-a half hours to dig through. That’s a lot of material, a lot of time. I gave that stuff a lot of listening, but having feedback from the outside was nice, too. People pointing out certain shows, things to key in on, helped narrow down the focus. There was a handful of shows at the end of that tour, where we played Toronto, and it just hit me, ‘That’s a live record. That meets my bar line.’ And the next night it was even a little better, and the last night of the tour had moments even higher. It was great, almost like going back in time and recording a live record in the early ‘70s like (At) Fillmore (East) or Donny Hathaway Live. We took out a lot of vintage gear from our studio and recorded things, so we got an amazing signal on the tape. Then we spent about 10 days with (producer) Jim Scott down at the studio mixing, and had Bob Ludwig master it. We really went the extra mile and I’m really happy with the way it turned out; the flow of the set, the sound of everything.

Did you enjoy hearing your own shows?

It was nice. It was great to sit back in the studio, crank things up, and listen to the band. It was such a different perspective. It made me appreciate what some of the guys are doing that much more. There were some moments where Kofi (Burbridge, keyboards, flute) finished playing a solo on one of the tunes, and I just had to get on the phone and call him because it was such a bad-ass solo.

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There are 12 comments associated with this post

RLS April 6, 2012, 01:27:23

Love the new band & record. Congrats on all. When does the live album come out?

Tom April 6, 2012, 09:49:19

May 22!

Tom April 6, 2012, 09:49:43

May 22.

CircleLimit April 6, 2012, 14:08:14

Congrats to DT on all of the recent accomplishments and accolades but particularly for being such a grounded and grateful person. His perspective on his family, his craft, and working with people in the crazy world we live in is so admirable. Plus, he’s a bad ass player, wise beyond his years. Thanks for the article, Larson. PS: I hope some of the Dickey Betts apologists that post on this site take the time to read this piece. They occasionally include comments such as “Dickey could show Derek a thing or two”. Pure delusion. DT is a more well-rounded and exciting guitarist at the end of the day and a better human being, one that treats his wife, band, and music with respect. Not trying to be harsh, just acknowledging the facts.

Gerry April 7, 2012, 08:50:23

Dickie could show Derek a thing or two and Jack pearson could too. But derek could show them a thing or two also. That’s what is so great about music. The knowledge is endless. Derek trucks is a class act.

guitarist April 9, 2012, 03:31:17

Derek Truks is an American guitarist, songwriter and founder of the Grammy Awrad winning band The Derek Trucks Band. He ia a fingerstyle guitarist. He mostly plays resonato guitar, blues guitar, sarod and so on… He plays an electric blends of blues, soul, jazz, rock, Latin music, and other kind of world music

robhornfeck April 10, 2012, 17:40:26

Last week my two-day-old daughter and I danced through the new TTB album from start to finish. The only crying was from Daddy. Thanks to Derek and crew for the priceless experience!

Steve April 16, 2012, 13:31:49

Derek’s a class act. Great interview.

AL MCDANIEL April 16, 2012, 21:11:36

There’s a LOT of LOVE in this band, and it really COMES THRU in the music!! I love it- was a fan of both of you before the ‘team-up’, and couldn’t be happier for you two as well as for the MUSIC!! Thanks!

dc April 17, 2012, 12:52:16

love that salty language DT!

jambandguy April 17, 2012, 14:37:53

Jeez…I really liked him/them before. Now it is just ridiculous, he’s cool too?! Him and Warren. BTW...last time through I was going to a show and someone said “are they still around?”. Ummm ya! Anytime you can see three guys nominated for Grammys for thoer individual projects all playing together…Ya…they’re still around. But keep thinking that way everyone outside of Jambands. Makes it easier for the rest of us to get tix. Shhhhh! Don;t tell anyone…

DANKERATOR April 17, 2012, 17:00:00


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