Drummer Butch Trucks, a founding member of iconic Southern rock outfit the Allman Brothers Band, died Tuesday in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was 69.
“The Trucks and Allman Brothers Band families request all of Butch’s friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss,” a representative for Trucks wrote in a statement. “Butch will play on in our hearts forever.”
Trucks founded the Allman Brothers Band in 1969 with guitarists Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, fellow drummer Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson, keyboardist Gregg Allman, and bassist Berry Oakley. “When Butch came along,” Betts told Guitar World in 2007, “he had that freight train, meat-and-potatoes kind of thing … he had the power thing we needed.”
Trucks played a crucial role in developing the group’s sound, which fused country and blues with the era’s burgeoning jam band scene — and their boundary-pushing aesthetic yielded one of rock’s defining live albums, 1971’s At Fillmore East, which captured a weekend of shows recorded at the famed Manhattan venue.
“We were in another universe,” Trucks told Rolling Stone last year when recalling the band’s early years. “We were out spreading the gospel of this music we had discovered. We never thought that we would be more than an opening act.”
Though Duane died in a 1971 motorcycle crash, the group remained intermittently active for decades and Trucks played on each of their 12 studio albums, including their final effort, 2003’s Hittin’ the Note.
In 1999, the Allman Brothers Band brought Trucks’ nephew, Derek Trucks, into the fold; the guitarist played with the band for 15 years.
Trucks is survived by his wife, four children, and four grandchildren.