Derek Trucks started touring at the age of 11, and by the time he turned 20 he had played alongside legends like Buddy Guy and Bob Dylan. The guitarist eventually became in such high demand that at one point he was touring as a member of the Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton’s band, while also leading his own group.
With the Allmans calling it quits last year, Trucks, 36, is now focused solely on Tedeschi Trucks Band, an 11-piece blues, soul and rock combo he leads with his wife Susan Tedeschi.
amNewYork spoke with Trucks as the group put the finishing touches on a new album and got ready for its annual fall stand at the Beacon Theatre, a place the Allmans played more than 200 times.
Now that the Allmans are done, do you feel like you’re starting a new tradition at the Beacon?
Maybe so. This’ll be our fifth trip back. It definitely feels like an extension of that in some ways. One reason for doing it in September and not March was to get a little bit of a healthy distance from the Allmans’ Beacon run. … It definitely feels like home turf.
One of the first things people notice about your band is how big it is. What are some of the pluses and minuses of that?
The pluses are just the amount of musical energy and personalities and different places you can go. The minuses are also the amount of personalities and different places you can go. [laughs] … I don’t know anyone who plays this kind of music who doesn’t envision a horn section or background singers at some point. Me and Susan [were] adventurous and stubborn and maybe stupid enough to do it. [laughs]
Who inspired you as a guitar player?
For me really, the first and biggest influence was Duane Allman. The sound of his slide guitar. … There’s a certain mystery and searching and fire in his playing you don’t find that often.
Did you get turned on to his music by your uncle, Allmans drummer Butch Trucks?
The way my dad listened to that music and the way he appreciated it definitely played into my appreciation of it. … My dad says he’s an atheist, but the way he listens to music, that’s his church. That’s how I listen. It has to move you. It has to mean something. It’s not just background noise. When you’re onstage, that’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to get through to people, affect them emotionally and not take the cheap shots.