Claude Hudson “Butch” Trucks, the propulsive drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, died Tuesday (Jan. 24) in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 69. No cause of death has been given.
Paired with jazz-inflected drummer Jai “Jaimoe” Johnny Johanson, Trucks was a mainstay with the Allman Brothers Band in all its configurations from its inception in 1969 until the group disbanded in 2014.
As a member of the Allman Brothers Band, Trucks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 alongside Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Johanson and the late Duane Allman and Berry Oakley.
Born May 11, 1947 in Jacksonville, Florida, Trucks told Billboard magazine last year that he was “about to head back to school and get a degree in math and teach” when Duane Allman persuaded him to join the just-forming band.
By this time, he had already established his sound while playing in two local bands, the Vikings and the 31st of February. Betts described Trucks’ sound as “that freight train, meat-and-potatoes kind of thing” that gave the group its momentum.
Trucks’ drive and virtuosity can be heard on more than two dozen live and studio albums with the Allman Brothers, including the historic At Fillmore East album and “Ramblin’ Man” single.
After the dissolution of that band, Trucks formed the group Les Brers in 2015. It featured former Allman Brothers players Johanson, Marc Quinones, Oteil Burbridge and Jack Pearson, as well as new additions Pat Bergeson, Bruce Katz and Lamar Williams Jr.
Several members of Trucks’ family followed his musical lead, among them his son, Vaylor, and nephews Duane and Derek Trucks.
No funeral or memorial plans have yet been announced.