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“Be prepared to fail” – Orange County Register

Derek Trucks was, it seems, born to play guitar.

A child prodigy, at age 13, Trucks had played with legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy. At age 20, he formed the Derek Trucks Band, then at age 25 became an official member of the Allman Brothers Band, joining his uncle, drummer Butch Trucks.

In 2009, he disbanded the Derek Trucks Band, just before it won the 2010 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Two years later, Tedeschi Trucks Band, the group he formed with his wife, the singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi, won the same award.

Trucks, who consistently appears on lists of the greatest guitarists of all time, recently called from a motel outside Washington, D.C., with Tedeschi sitting nearby, to talk about his music and the band before a set of concerts on what continues to be. a busy touring schedule for the group, with 10 members.

Trucks had a lot to say about his guitar, his career and his band, which will come to the Greek Theater for 2 shows on June 7 and 9. This conversation has been edited.

Q: I hear from a lot of people that I didn’t expect to hear that you’re the best live band in the world. Then the other thing you hear is it’s a jam band, or a rock band, or a blues band, or whatever. What is your name and what do you think when you hear people say that?

I don’t know if we really know what it is. So, I guess it doesn’t surprise us that it’s hard to put your finger on. But it’s always been like that. With my solo band, they would take us to jazz festivals even though we weren’t a jazz band. They were putting us in jam band festivals and we weren’t a jam band. We were playing blues festivals and it wasn’t a pure blues band. So we’ve always had one foot here, one foot in there.

I feel like a lot of great American music is like that. Ike and Tina (Turner), they were an R&B group, but they were a rock group. The Allman Brothers were improvisers, but it’s blues and rock. It’s hard to really quantify what many of our favorite bands are. So, it doesn’t worry us too much, especially in this day and age where no one will listen to us on any radio station anyway.

Q: So it really puts the emphasis on live performance. So where do recordings fit into all this?

I feel like the recorded elements of a band’s career at this point are really a way for your audience to really get to know the music and the material. This last record we released was made up of four albums (titled under the banner “I Am the Moon”, the four thematically linked albums were released a month apart). When we started playing this stuff live, we were really surprised at how many people had already ingested the music and were familiar with it. So you feel like you can play anything in their catalog because people know it.

Q: Does your name really come from Eric Clapton, Derek and the Dominoes?

Yes, my parents were children of that era and that record was a big part of that. My father grew up in and around the Allman Brothers. Duane (Allman) was therefore a great figure in his life. So this record was a big part of that. And I have a sister named Jessica.

Q: Really? Maybe something fitting then is that you ended up at the Allman Brothers for a while.

And I later find out that Susan was born on the same day as the “Layla” record came out, which is kind of a journey.

Q: You are in your early 40s And you’ve been doing this since…

I guess about 30-35 years ago now. Is it possible? Suzanne, is this true? Wow, that’s crazy. It’s a long time.

Q: Was there a moment when you decided, “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life.” »

I think around 2 or 3 p.m., somewhere in there, I had the feeling that if you want to do this, let’s do it. And you’ll probably get a life sentence. Once you’re hit with it, you know you’re going to do it. Everyone I played with was between 40 and 50 years old at that time. I think there was a moment where you were like, this is it. Let’s do it. You will probably never succeed at playing bars. Who cares?

Q: When did you start playing slide guitar?

Probably 9 or 10 years old. The sounds that intrigued me the most were “At Fillmore East” by the Allman Brothers Band and there was an Elmore James record. So I was really interested in the slide guitar sound of the jump. When a guitar teacher brought in a slide, that was sort of the first epiphany where you were like, “That’s what I heard.” Cool.’

And also at 9 years old, your body is not fully developed. Your hands are not. It hurts to play a steel string (with the slide). You put that aside. You can make sounds that you have heard and that are meaningful to you. So you know, there was a good time, a good place for me.

Q: You are now the master of the slide.

I guess. Luckily for me, there are a million traditional guitarists, but there are only a handful who play slide. Elmore James, who was kind of the first electric slide player, I listened to a ton of that. Then Duane Allman, Jesse Ed Davis kind of paved the way for me in a different area, and Johnny Winter. I feel like at some point you’re part of this tradition and this current, and you’re just trying to figure out where it comes from. Then you kind of try to keep pushing. Now I will hear things happening from time to time and I will hear the influence. I hear my playing in their playing, which is a journey. The first time it happens, it’s a little difficult to understand.

Q: So, do you develop your sounds when improvising during concerts?

Of course, we come across things every night. And sometimes it’s not good. You have to do it, you have to be willing to fail. It’s okay to humble yourself. So take it from time to time. I think it’s probably good for you.

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