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Author: Subject: New Derek T Interview- Eric and Dominoes, Susan & Derek Band, Potential of new ABB stuff

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  posted on 2/20/2007 at 10:32 PM
quote:
HARP Exclusive: Derek Trucks Interview
Andy Tennille
February 20, 2007

Talking exclusively to HARP’s Andy Tennille, guitar maestro Derek Trucks reflects on life with the Allman Brothers, helming his own Derek Trucks Band, working with J.J. Cale and the late Billy Preston—and the “random cell phone call” he received one evening from Eric Clapton that resulted in him touring with the British legend for nearly a year.
***
THERE ARE GUITARISTS—axemen of the highest order who can shred a spine-tingling solo or rip through gritty power rock chords—and then there’s Derek Trucks.
Trucks, who plays in the Allman Brothers Band, fronts his own dynamic group and just recently wrapped up a year on the road playing with Eric Clapton, bought his first guitar at a garage sale at the age of nine. By the time he was a teenager, the slide virtuoso had played his first paying gig, sat in with the Allmans and jammed with Bob Dylan. The 27-year-old Jacksonville, Florida resident was included on the “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time” list in Rolling Stone and was recently featured on the cover of the same magazine as a “New Guitar God” alongside John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers and bluesy up-and-comer John Mayer.
But what sets Trucks apart from his six-string brethren isn’t just his child prodigy roots or laundry list of rock royalty acquaintances. It’s his humility and dedication to his craft. Watching Trucks play is a lesson in minimalism—there’s no duck-walking a la Chuck Berry or hair-rock posing for audience adulation. Rarely does Trucks ever move, save for his fingers as they dance across the strings of his red Gibson SG.
It’s this down-home humbleness, coupled with his otherworldly guitar playing, which likely led to a late-night call from Clapton inviting Trucks to play on the legendary guitarist’s new album, Road to Escondido, released last year and produced by J.J. Cale.
“I just got a call from him randomly on a cell phone one night as I was headed home from a gig,” Trucks says with a laugh, sitting in the Four Seasons in Singapore before a Clapton gig. “Doyle Bramhall, who plays in his band, played on my wife’s record (blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi) and has always been really supportive of the band. I think maybe Doyle turned Clapton on to some of our records, because he was familiar with the stuff we’ve done in our band. He asked me to come out and record on the album he’s doing with J.J. Cale. Obviously, it was a blast to get a chance to hang with both of those guys as well as Billy Preston, who also played on the session. It was quite a trip.”
HARP: How long have you been out on the road supporting this new Clapton album?
DEREK TRUCKS: It’s been solid since about last April, doing a month on and a month off. So it’s been almost a full year. It’s been an amazing experience for me, getting to see a lot of new places and playing a lot of places I never thought I’d get the chance to play. It’s been cool to be a part of this family for a year and see how they are. Eric’s got a bunch of great people around him.
The tour started in Europe?
Yeah, south of France and we played all over Europe for a while—England, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia as well. Then five weeks in Japan and on this part of the tour we’ve done China, Korea, Singapore and then we hit Australia.
You do Australia and then you’re back with the Allmans at the Beacon in March…
Yeah, my band’s been touring some in between the tours and the Allman Brothers have been as well so this has been the busiest year I’ve had ever, especially with two kids and a wife at home. It’s been chaos but a good chaos!
How has the support for the Songlines album been? I guess you haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it…
Yeah, I wish we could have spent more time focusing on it but in the long run I think it’s going to turn out just fine. I talked to the guys in my band when this whole Clapton thing came up and we all decided that this tour was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up for myself or our band. Doing this tour has allowed me to play some places and break into some places that would have taken us years to do otherwise. Getting to play five weeks in Japan and doing ten nights at the Budokan, eight nights at Royal Albert Hall in London, some big amphitheaters in Italy, playing all of these places that have never heard of me or our band has been such an incredible experience and hopefully will help out in the long run.
Have you guys been talking about a follow-up to Songlines yet or is that still too premature?
Yeah we have but the rest of the year is pretty full already. It’s really going to be a 2008 thing. We definitely want to get the band overseas more and there’s been a lot of good feedback and interest after this tour with Clapton.
Will you be playing some of the US tour with Clapton after the Beacon?
No, this is pretty much it after Australia. He’s doing the Crossroads Guitar Festival down in Texas and I’ll probably play on that. I’m going to be doing a lot of dates with my band and Susan’s band as well, so I’m excited about that. We’re talking about putting a little group together and just touring together more. We’re going to be doing a lot of that after the Clapton tour and after the Beacon shows.
I saw you guys did some shows over New Year’s together at the Fox Theater.
Yeah, New Year’s at the Fox was a lot of fun. We’re trying to make the Fox an annual event so hopefully we get the room for next year. I’ve heard a few other bands have it on hold, so we’ll see what we can do. It’s a beautiful room, man. I love playing there and it’s a nice way to end the year.
Any talk of a new Allmans record?
Not sure to be honest. Everyone’s been so busy that there hasn’t been a whole lot of time to focus on it. We’re gonna go in and do rehearsals about a month before the Beacon so we’ll see what happens from there. If the songs are there, I think everyone would like to do another record.
Well, you’ve spent a year now on this tour with Clapton playing with him every night onstage. What have you learned from this time and what will you take away from the experience?
Really, it’s been the professionalism of someone like Clapton, a guy who’s basically been on top for more than 35 years. He’s had a pretty impressive run, man. I can’t think of many other people – especially guitarists – that have had that kind of run of success. Santana has kind of come and gone over the years and is back again now but Clapton has been the reigning guy now for so many years. It’s been impressive to watch someone like that work. I’ve learned a lot watching how people carry themselves and handle their business. Clapton’s one of the few people that made it out of his peer group of guys like John Lennon and Hendrix and everybody else. If you’re gonna do what we do and stay on the road and play non-stop, you have to take your health, both mental and physical, into consideration. You’re not going to be playing 35 years from now if you OD along the way. So I’ve learned a lot of life lessons along the way through watching him work.
Besides getting to be out on the road with Clapton, you also got the opportunity to see him work in the studio with J.J. Cale. How was the experience and what did you see in their relationship?
For me, that was pretty fascinating on a lot of levels because Billy Preston was there and that was the first time I met Doyle Bramhall, who really got me the gig. It was my first time meeting Eric or J.J. as well, so I was taking in a lot at the same time. There’s definitely a certain respect and reverence that Eric has for J.J. Cale that was fun to see. It was great to see that everyone has someone they revere musically and there’s a level of respect even for someone as legendary as Eric. It was really relaxed—I was surprised. Jumping into something like that, I was ready to be completely bottom run and just do what I came to do but everyone made me feel really comfortable right from the start. It really was just eight guys getting together to play some music. I was surprised at how laid back it was.
Tell me about playing with Billy Preston.
What can I say? He’s one of those guys that could play anything at the drop of a hat. He has amazing ears…some guys are just anointed that way. Everything that came out of that guy was just unbelievable. Right before I went out to play that session, I saw the footage of him playing at the Concert for Bangladesh. Billy Preston stole that show, he just ripped it up. That was fresh on my mind when I went in there, so it was pretty exciting to see it in person. I could tell he wasn’t in great health but it was still a shock when he passed not long after that. He was actually supposed to be on this tour, which I can’t imagine having him in this band. It’s pretty over the top as is, so having him on B3 would have been amazing.
What other special memories will you take away from this year with Clapton?
There was this one night at Budokan in Tokyo where he decided to pull out a lot more of the Dominoes tunes than he regularly does. I think it was the first time he’d ever played “Little Wing” in Japan, so the crowd completely lost their mind. It was a pretty amazing moment – you could see people bawling from the stage upon hearing “Little Wing” for the first time live. It was surreal. The whole place erupted, which is pretty cool because the crowd is pretty tight to the vest over there and really subdued.
Getting to play Royal Albert Hall was unforgettable. We played a Roman amphitheater in Verona, Italy the night after Italy won the World Cup. That was pretty over-the-top. Me and Doyle saw this Italian opera in this amphitheater that’s been going on for hundreds of years the night of the World Cup final. When Italy scored their first goal, the eruption outside this open-air amphitheater was so loud that it interrupted the opera! [laughs] Right after that, we decided we needed to get outside and go see the game. When they won, it was like riots in the street. It was pretty incredible to see. It was right on the edge of being uncomfortable, there was so much energy. People swarming the streets drunk on their Vespas waving flags and folks jumping into a two thousand year old fountain. My kids and wife got to come to the south of France, London and Tokyo, so there were a lot of moments with them that I’ll always remember.
(Photo Credit: Andy Tennille)



[Edited on 2/21/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 2/20/2007 at 11:23 PM
DFC
Thanks for posting ,very cool.

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 10:11 AM
quote:
Have you guys been talking about a follow-up to Songlines yet or is that still too premature?
Yeah we have but the rest of the year is pretty full already. It’s really going to be a 2008 thing. We definitely want to get the band overseas more and there’s been a lot of good feedback and interest after this tour with Clapton.



awesome, sounds like new ABB stuff and new DTB stuff soon.

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 10:25 AM
Thanks for posting

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 11:56 AM
They went crazy over Little Wing like we went crazy over Layla....
There are a lot of people in this world desperate for quality music. So much quality faded from the scene after Duane's passing, the advent of Disco, then MTV. Lots of folks just gradually drifted away. But many are still there. Waiting, hungry.

Derek Trucks is a blessing to people all over the world, whether they realize who he is or not. Great read, DFC....thanks for posting.

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 11:58 AM
quote:
I’m going to be doing a lot of dates with my band and Susan’s band as well, so I’m excited about that. We’re talking about putting a little group together and just touring together more. We’re going to be doing a lot of that after the Clapton tour and after the Beacon shows.
Looking forward to seeing what comes of this!

Thanks so much for posting this, Derek! Really enjoyed this interview and at the same time got some tears (Derek talking about Billy Preston) and chills (Derek talking about how the EC tour impacted him on so many levels)!

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 11:59 AM

Eric Clapton 12/06/06 Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan


quote:
There was this one night at Budokan in Tokyo where he decided to pull out a lot more of the Dominoes tunes than he regularly does. I think it was the first time he’d ever played “Little Wing” in Japan, so the crowd completely lost their mind. It was a pretty amazing moment – you could see people bawling from the stage upon hearing “Little Wing” for the first time live. It was surreal.


 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 12:00 PM
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
I’m going to be doing a lot of dates with my band and Susan’s band as well, so I’m excited about that. We’re talking about putting a little group together and just touring together more. We’re going to be doing a lot of that after the Clapton tour and after the Beacon shows.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----

Looking forward to seeing what comes of this!



Only great things. Also looks like he wants to do more overseas dates as well.

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 12:05 PM
I knew I'd find you checking this out, Eric!

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 12:12 PM
I posted in the Derek forum about the song "Pedro" and I got this response

quote:
chadwick011
No1 you are ridiculous with your knowledge and ability to conjure up those shows. Ridiculous, but amazing. Gotta thank you for that, as well as that convenient "by the numbers" thread too.


Derek By The Numbers In 2006

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 12:19 PM
LOL - Gotta agree with chadwick on this one, Eric ... ridiculous but AMAZING!

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 12:21 PM
""It was a pretty amazing moment – you could see people bawling from the stage upon hearing “Little Wing” for the first time live. It was surreal.""

Wow. The telling sent chills through me.

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 12:35 PM
quote:
They went crazy over Little Wing like we went crazy over Layla....
There are a lot of people in this world desperate for quality music. So much quality faded from the scene after Duane's passing, the advent of Disco, then MTV. Lots of folks just gradually drifted away. But many are still there. Waiting, hungry.



In rock music, I agree. But I have to say, bluegrass, jazzgrass, newgrass and new acoustic music has produced amazing fare in the last 30 years. Since the O Brother, Where Art Thou movie soundtrack came out and sold 9 million copies, acoustic music has kicked it up and pushed the envelope even further. All you have to do is follow Bela Fleck or Jerry Douglas or Bryan Sutton to see what I mean - Bela still kicks it out on the bluegrass side, (the cut "Who's Your Uncle" from the Best kept Secret album by Jerry Douglas is an amazing tour de force) with his numerous yearly jams at Merlefest with Sam Bush and Peter Rowan, and Jerry Douglas and Gabe Witcher and Casey Dreissen and Earl Scruggs and more, and he has blended the music of China with bluegrass and old time with the Sparrow Quartet with Uncle Earl's Abigail Washburn when they toured China few months ago (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvgJ9Hg7T4Q), has extended it into the jazz realm with the recent concerts by Chich Corea where Chic plays the closest to bluegrass that he ever will, and Bela has a new documentary coming where he traveled Africa to jam with musicians there and to seek out the origins of the banjo which is, in fact, an African instrument. And, the new generation of players is roaring to go (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNpVvDXktQY).

In light of this being a thread about Derek, even he has gotten onoard within the last five years. Here is a clip from my interview with him last year;

quote:
I have heard you mention Dr. Ralph Stanley before in past interviews. Do you listen to bluegrass and old-time mountain music?

Yeah, especially the last four or five years. I think Ralph was the gateway for me. When I heard him, it’s such an immediate sound. It reminded me of hearing John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, or Mahalia Jackson for the first time. You immediately know it’s the real deal. So yeah, I definitely listen to him. He’s one of my all-time favorite vocalists. I listen to Tony Rice. Mark O’Connor is a bad-ass. Sam Bush was actually at the show last night in Savanah. It was good to see him. Sam and Edgar Meyer and Darol Anger were playing the same festival we were playing. It was good to see a few of those guys out. Those guys can play.”



DH

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 12:42 PM
quote:
They went crazy over Little Wing like we went crazy over Layla....
There are a lot of people in this world desperate for quality music. So much quality faded from the scene after Duane's passing, the advent of Disco, then MTV. Lots of folks just gradually drifted away. But many are still there. Waiting, hungry.

Derek Trucks is a blessing to people all over the world, whether they realize who he is or not. Great read, DFC....thanks for posting.


Roger That comment.....................

 

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  posted on 2/21/2007 at 01:36 PM
Thanks for the article DFC, cool read.

 

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