Keep on Truckin’
As the nephew of Butch Trucks, long-time drummer for the Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks had a head start learning music and living on the road.Although he began in the shadows of legends, he now stands out on his own. He has made a name for himself as the best slide guitarist of this generation and, at only 25 years old, he has been selected by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 guitarists ever.These days, Derek spends a lot of time on the road, whether he’s playing with the Allman Brothers Band or his own band, but he still finds time to be creative and push the progression of blues and rock music.The Derek Trucks Band plays Club 8150 on Feb 24. Tickets are $18 at the door, or $16 in advance from club8150.com or Mojo Music.We talked with Derek about life on the road and what inspires him.VT: How do you stay sane with such a packed schedule? How do you balance your time between The Derek Trucks Band and the Allman Brothers?DT: It’s a lot of time to spend on the road but we enjoy what we do. It’s been closer to the 200-days-a-year range for the last few years now that I have a growing family.I have a three-year-old son and a seven-month-old daughter. I get back (to Jacksonville, Fla) as much as I can.VT: Do you tour with both bands at the same time?DT: I usually spend about three weeks at a time touring with each band. There have been times when we open for the Allman Brothers Band and I play in both shows. When you do for it for a week straight it can wear you out.VT: How old were you when you started playing guitar?DT: I started playing at 9 years old and touring with local blues bands shortly after. I was doing my first road gig at 9.VT: How did you learn guitar that quickly?DT: When you’re that age, if it feels right, you do it, and nothing seems impossible.VT: What was it like being on the road so young? Was it an advantage for you as a musician?DT: It was a pretty amazing education being on the road. I definitely think it’s an advantage. There are a lot of lessons to be learned. I’ve seen a lot of musicians take the wrong path completely and a lot of them aren’t around anymore.My dad was on the road with me ’till I was 17. He shielded me from things but I saw what was going on. If I strayed too much, I got put back in place.He always said with improvisational music, it’s like the basketball court; you have to be out there and learning from musicians.VT: Who are your greatest influences? What are you listening to a lot currently?DT: Early on it was Duane Allman and Elmore James. Then the list gets pretty long and eclectic, every one from John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Ali Akbar Khan, Mahalia Jackson…We’ve been listening to a lot of African music whether it’s indigenous or blended with Middle Eastern music. There are a lot of musicians from South Africa that I’ve gotten into lately.VT: Where is your newest release, “Live at Georgia Theatre,” available for fans to purchase?DT: We released ‘Live At Georgia Theater’ last year thru our web site (derektrucks.com). We also sell the disc at our live shows.It’s easy for us to put out a record rather than do it through major labels. We have a contract with Columbia but they won’t put out a live album. We figured out a way to get out a live album without it being a major release because we want to release a live record every year.VT: What are The Derek Trucks’ Band’s plans for the future?DT: We are hoping to get the band into the studio soon and get to work on our next record. We’re trying to write songs and decide what type of album it will be. We’re not sure exactly when our schedules will open up.VT: What do you mean “type of album”?DT: This time we want to conceptualize it a little bit more. This time I’m thinking we want to take stuff from the Delta blues and Chicago blues and trace it back to African roots. There are a lot of common threads in world music. With each stage of a record, you can figure out where the music’s coming from.VT: Have you played in Vail before?DT: We did the Colorado ski tours for five or six years straight. It’s been a few years since we’ve been to Vail. I think we have played Vail six or seven times, we always look forward to the Rockies. It’s always a good time. It’s a semi-vacation. It’s not the same as most tours when you hit Colorado in the winter. Everyone’s in a festive mood. VTWho: The Derek Trucks BandWhat: Improvisational blues and rock musicWhere: Club 8150When: Feb. 24Tickets: $16 in advance from club8150.com or Mojo Music; $18 at the doorFor more on the Derek Trucks band see derektrucks.com. Chris Black can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.