Butch Trucks, original drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, won’t let the end of ABB slow down his rhythmic drive. He’s since banded together a crew of professionals for two projects, Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band and another Allman Brothers side-project Les Brers. While there’s no promise of a full-band reunion, it’s nice to know that the members of the Allman Brothers are still playing down their own respective paths. Who’s to tell what the future holds? Because, as we all know, well, the road goes on forever…This interview was conducted November 24, 2015, but has since been updated with links to news/videos related to the topics of conversation:L4LM: Butch, it’s been over a year since the last Allman Brothers shows. What have you been up to since?Butch Trucks: I’ve spent most of the time since last October at our home in France. Very relaxing. And I’ve been catching up on my reading while I work on other projects. I have done a few dates with Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band. I have also played Wanee Music Festival and The Peach Fest with what I am working on becoming a new band called Les Brers. This includes (ABB rhythm section) Jaimoe, Oteil, Marc Quinones, and Jack Pearson (guitar in ABB 1997-99) and his guitar mate Pat Bergeson, Bruce Katz and Lamar Williams, Jr. (son of Lamar Williams, bass in ABB 72-76). If all goes well, Les Brers will be touring and playing festivals in summer of 2016. We are already scheduled to play the midnight set on the Mushroom Stage at Wanee Friday, April 15.Warren Haynes Reunites With Members Of The Allman Brothers For Les Brers At Wanee [Full Audio/Video]L4LM: How does it feel to not be doing the Allman Brothers for the first time in over 25 years?BT: I do miss the passion that the ABB brings to my life. Last March was a bit of a downer. First time in 25 years I wasn’t in New York City. Otherwise, I have enjoyed the peace and quiet of Mas Les Baux (our home in France).L4LM: It’s been said that the Allmans mutually decided to hang it up in 2014. How did you all come to that difficult decision and what was your take on it?BT: Well I’ve read a few interviews from some of the guys about how we “mutually” agreed to hang it up in 2014. Then it’s followed by them saying that some members (especially me) got “cold feet” and tried to keep things going. What is left out of the conversation is that when we mutually agreed to wrap it up in 2014, it was also MUTUALLY agreed that we would do, for the first time in years, a full tour that would cover the entire country.Watch Butch Trucks Sings For The First Time In 45 Years, Covers Bob Dylan ClassicWhen all was said and done, we played about 30 shows, 26 of them at The Beacon. After agreeing to the full tour, the guys doing those interviews seemed to not want to discuss this aspect of our agreement. No matter how hard we tried to put together tours, we were always met with resistance. While we had mutually agreed that 2014 was not going to be the ABB going out with a whimper, but a major tour, in reality we played fewer shows in 2014 than at anytime since our reunion in 1989. Some of the members wanted out and apparently were ready to make those agreements with no intention of keeping them.L4LM: Do you think there’s any chance of a reunion? What about for the 50th anniversary? BT: I have no clue what I’ll be doing or where I will be 2019. If we play together again, it will most likely be before then. We’ll see.Watch Les Brers Play A Scorching 24-Minute ‘Mountain Jam’ For Macon CloserL4LM: It seems as though Gregg and Dickey have recently been on the mends. In the event that ABB does a reunion show/tour, would Betts be involved?BT: No comment. So far “on the mends” has been little more than Gregg talking.L4LM: In its 45 years, the Allman Brothers Band has had nearly 20 members. How would you describe the evolution of the band’s sound?BT: I wouldn’t call it an evolution. That implies a movement from one form into the next. What happened was more like “reach the point where we can’t get along well enough to play” then reunite with something different. Most of these reunions were most definitely NOT an evolution. They were devolutions. The reunion in 1989 was the exception and that is the main reason it lasted so long.L4LM: You recently told us about the moment of epiphany you had on the day Duane Allman “reached into [you] and turned [you] on.” Can you tell us more about that?BT: As you may know, I had played with Duane and Gregg about two years before Duane began putting together the ABB. I wasn’t the most self-assured drummer around back then and when things weren’t really in a groove, I tended to pull back. When Duane showed up with Jaimoe and began putting his band together, at some point he decided he needed two drummers. He had Jaimoe and Jaimoe kept telling him that I was the guy.Butch Trucks Shares His Thoughts For Duane Allman’s 69th BirthdayKnowing Duane, I don’t think he wanted an insecure player in his band and one day I think he decided to see what I was made of. We were jamming at a top 40 AM radio station outdoors. We started a shuffle and it just didn’t go anywhere. I pulled my usual stunt when that happened and pulled back. Duane whipped around at some point and looked at me dead in the eye and played a very strong lick with little misunderstanding that he was calling me out. My first reaction was to pull back more and then he challenged me again. Then he did it again and I noticed that he was showing me up in front of a lot of people.I got mad and Duane and I got into a musical fist fight for a while. I was hitting my drums like I was hitting Duane upside the head and he would keep coming back at me. After a few minutes of this, he stepped back smiled at me and said, “there ya go.” The band was soaring. Duane had gotten me so angry I forgot to be scared, and that made all the difference in the power coming from the group. It was like he reached inside me and flicked a switch. The light went off in my head and I realized that I may not be the greatest drummer in the world, but I could play and from that moment on I have never played in fear. After seeing how I handled myself, Duane added me to the mix he had and I have never looked back. If that moment had not happened, I am certain that Duane would have chosen another drummer and my life would have taken another route. That was the kind of man Duane Allman was. He changed people that were lucky enough to know him.L4LM: Tell us about “Eat A Peach”. Where did the record’s title come from?BT: We had finished recording the album we were in the middle of doing when Duane was killed. I walked into Phil Walden’s (manager) office one day soon after and he had that cover art on his desk. He asked me what I thought and I said, “That cover is great, but the title sucks.” They were gonna call it “The Kind We Grow in Dixie”. Duane had done a big interview with Rolling Stone not long before, and in it, they asked him what he did for the revolution. He laughed and said, “there ain’t no revolution, it’s all evolution.” Then he told them that every time he headed South he would “eat a peach for peace.” I told Walden to keep the art but call the album “Eat a Peach For Peace”. That became “Eat a Peach”. Was years later I was re-reading the “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot and came across the line, “Do I dare to eat a peach?” Duane loved Eliot and I’m sure that’s where he got that line. Ya can’t eat a peach without getting messy.Learn More About The Allman Brothers’ Third Studio Album “Eat A Peach” HereL4LM: Being the backbone of the band, you have also been called the “Freight Train” and that name kind of stuck. In fact, you’re even about to embark on a mini-Florida tour with Butch Trucks and the Freight Train. Tell us about that band.BT: Been having a lot of fun Playing with Berry Oakley, Jr, my son, Vaylor [Trucks] (kid on the cover of Brothers and Sisters) and some other special guests. We’re doing a six-show run Dec 26 – Dec 31 all around Florida. Got some new tunes and it will be fun and powerful. BE THERE!!!!!**Update**Butch Trucks & The Freight Train Band includes some particularly interesting characters, mostly all Allman-related, with Berry Duane Oakley Jr. on bass and vocals (the son of original bassist Berry Oakley), Vaylor Trucks on guitar (Butch’s son, Derek’s cousin, and also the little boy on the cover of the ABB album ‘Brothers and Sisters’), Damon Fowler on guitar (previous work with Greg Allman, Chris Duarte, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, and more), Bruce Katz on the Hammond B-3 Organ (member of Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band and past member of Gregg Allman Band), along with sensational young guitarist and vocalist Heather Gillis, and Tad Isch behind the second drum kit. Catch Butch Trucks & The Freight Train Band on the road in a city near you. All tour dates can be found here.Les Brers is another special act that came together as a “Butch & Friends” show at Peach Music Festival last summer. In addition to the original drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe, the band is complete with ABB’s latest rhythm section, including bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quinones. Before them, stand guitar master Jack Pearson, who played with the Allmans from 1997-99, his guitar mate Pat Bergeson, along with longtime collaborator Bruce Katz on keys, and Lamar Williams, Jr., son of bassist Lamar Williams who played with ABB from 1972-76, belting the vocals. Having just played a rocking midnight set at Wanee Music Festival, the all-star band will return to their birthplace at Peach this August.The road, indeed, goes on forever!
Football:What started as unlimited expectations quickly became a disappointment of mass proportions for the UW football team. After starting 3-0 in non-conference play — including an impressive 13-10 victory over then-No. 21 Fresno State in Fresno — the Badgers dropped their first four Big Ten games, starting with a two-point loss to Michigan after blowing a 19-point lead. The wheels really started to fall off for UW after back-to-back, double-digit defeats at the mercy of Penn State (48-7 at home) and Iowa (38-16 on the road), but since that 0-4 conference start, Wisconsin is 4-1 overall and has a chance to end the season with a four-game win streak if it can beat Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 27 in Orlando, Fla.The season was highlighted by an inordinate amount of criticism aimed at head coach Bret Bielema, plus the emergence of freshman running back John Clay, sophomore wide receiver David Gilreath and junior quarterback Dustin Sherer, who will all look to contribute in big ways next season.— Derek ZetlinMen’s basketball:The Wisconsin men’s basketball team, led by seniors Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry, got off to a nice start, beginning the season with four straight wins before losing to No. 2 Connecticut in the Paradise Jam Tournament final.Freshmen Rob Wilson and Jordan Taylor have emerged as head coach Bo Ryan’s favorite first-year players, and Trevon Hughes has continued his play from last season, leading the Badgers with an average of 13.2 points per game.The Badgers’ strong play, however, came to an abrupt bump in the road Dec. 6 when Wisconsin traveled east to Milwaukee to take on rival Marquette. While UW led the Golden Eagles for most of the game, Jerel McNeal sparked Marquette to a comeback win, beating the Badgers 61-58 at the Bradley Center.Ryan’s squad survived a scare on Tuesday night, squeaking by Idaho State 60-58 behind junior guard Jason Bohannon’s 18 points.Wisconsin now has two games remaining before the highly anticipated bout with Texas. After that, the Badgers will travel to Ann Arbor, where they will face Michigan, who has beaten two top five teams in the young season.— Jonah BraunMen’s hockey:Talk about a roller coaster first half.The Badgers were dealt a tough blow early in the season, when senior co-captain Ben Street suffered a knee injury in the team’s fourth game of the season. Adding insult to injury was UW’s 0-6-1 start to the year, not earning a win until Nov. 1 against North Dakota.Since then, however, Wisconsin has been one of the hottest teams in the nation and has finally made its way into the national polls after the slow start. Mike Eaves’ team is 9-1-1 in its last 11 games, including a current five-game winning streak heading into the winter break.No one player has stood out offensively for the Badgers, who have seen contributions from the likes of John Mitchell, Tom Gorowsky, Brendan Smith and Jamie McBain.Like the team, goaltender Shane Connelly has settled down since the opening month, allowing just one goal in a three-game span against St. Cloud State, Michigan State and Michigan.— Tyler MasonWomen’s hockey:Undefeated and top-ranked, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team has had a very successful first half of the 2008-09 season.The lady Badgers have used a potent offensive attack, stringent defensive play and elite goaltending to stake their claim as the top team in the land. Wisconsin enters Christmas break at 18-0-2.All-American candidates include sophomore wing Hilary Knight, senior center Erika Lawler, junior center/wing Meghan Duggan, freshman center Brooke Ammerman and senior goaltender Jessie Vetter.Aided by great depth that includes six reliable defensemen, three very effective lines and superstar goaltender Jessie Vetter, the Badgers are the surefire midseason favorites to win the National Championship.Wins over top five opponents Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and New Hampshire have toughened Coach Mark Johnson’s squad and prepared them for what is sure to be a grueling second half. Early 2009 trips to Duluth and Minnesota will present tough challenges and ready the talented Badgers for postseason play.Being the No. 1 team in America brings certain burdens, most notably the target Wisconsin carries as the top dog.Every team Wisconsin faces is going to bring their best, and through 20 games, the Badgers look fit to take on all challengers. — Bobby DonohueVolleyball:At the outset of the season, there were high expectations for the Wisconsin volleyball team. They finished second in the Big Ten to eventual national champions Penn State and had a highly-touted freshman class coming in to replace five seniors who departed after last year’s record setting season.As the season wore on, however, the season became more of a rebuilding year than a continuation of the 2007 season. The Badgers failed to find consistency, only winning three matches between October 17 and November 29, including losing the final four contests of the season.Individually, many of last year’s statistics leaders are down. In 2007, outside hitter Brittney Dolgner averaged 4.63 kills per set on her way to become the first UW sophomore to be named All-American. This year, however, her numbers were down by more than a kill per set, averaging only 3.40 kills per set.While this year may have been disappointing by Wisconsin standards, as they didn’t make the NCAA tournament for the first time in 13 seasons, their future looks bright. Freshmen Janelle Gabrielsen and Elle Ohlander were named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team. It was the first time two members of the Wisconsin volleyball team were named to the roster.— Ben SolochekWomen’s basketball:The Wisconsin women’s basketball team, picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten in preseason polls, has been anything but the team many thought they would be.The Badgers have jumped out to an 9-1 record, including nine straight victories — the team’s longest winning streak since the 2001-02 season. Most of their success has resulted from their excellent defensive play, as they have allowed only 56 points per game.UW has also had a very balanced scoring attack, led by shooting guard Alyssa Karel and point guard and team captain Rae Lin D’Alie, who average 14 and eight points per game, respectively.The team has already had its share of thrills only a month into the season. Wisconsin was able to capture the Paradise Jam title in the Virgin Islands after beating Villanova, Central Florida and upsetting then-No. 6 Baylor 59-58 on a Karel jumper with seven seconds to go. Other key wins for the Badgers included a victory over Drake — Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone’s former team — a double overtime win over in-state rival UW-Milwaukee, and a victory over Virginia Tech in the ACC/ Big Ten challenge.— Sam OlesonMen’s soccer:Although the Wisconsin men’s soccer team finished the season with a winning record, their performance in Big Ten play prevented the team from making the NCAA tournament for the 13th consecutive season.A 1-4-1 record in the Big Ten play this season, culminated by a first round loss to Michigan in the tournament, led to the eventual resignation of seventh year head coach Jeff Rohrman.In their tournament game, the Badgers came one shot away from pulling off the upset over the No. 10 Wolverines. After playing to a scoreless tie after two overtimes, the game was decided by a shootout. After UW forward Scott Lorenz failed to score in his opportunity, Michigan’s Perica Marosevic ended Wisconsin’s season.However, the Badgers did have some bright notes on the season. The biggest story of the year was the emergence of Lorenz, who led the team in goals and points. His 10 goals were good enough for fourth place in the Big Ten, and he was second in the conference in shots. Along with Lorenz, goalkeeper Alex Horwath and forward Brandon Miller will return for their senior seasons.— Tom HagerWomen’s soccer:For the Wisconsin women’s soccer team, 2008 was like a tale of two seasons — the non-conference season and the Big Ten season, the former being better than the latter.In the first month of the season, the Badgers enjoyed a four-game winning streak, a tournament victory in the Hoosier Classic and a 6-2-1 record. Senior Taylor Walsh also netted her first career hat trick in a 7-1 victory over Vermont and was on pace with the school season record with six goals in the first five games.Over the final one-and-a-half months, Wisconsin went 3-7 against Big Ten opponents, including losing its last three games to fail to reach the postseason for the second consecutive season.The Badgers’ most glaring problem — throughout both parts of the season — was an inability to win on their opponents’ home field. In seven road games, Wisconsin finished 0-6-1 and was outscored 20-2 in road games.Wisconsin’s brightest point in the 2008 season was the play of its freshmen. Forward Laurie Nosbusch led the team in points with 21 and finished second to Walsh with seven goals. Fellow freshmen Erin Jacobsen and Leigh Williams — both midfielders — were third and fourth, respectively, in both points and goals.— Jordan Schelling