Interview: Derek Trucks Speaks About “Revelator” – Debut Album From Tedeschi Trucks Band
[pullquote quote=”First and foremost we wanted it to be honest… I feel like with a band like this, it’s kind of your duty to be revealing.” credit=”Derek Trucks”]Sometimes you do your best work when you keep it in the family. That’s the sentiment that motivated two living guitar legends to combine forces, bringing together their already-successful bands to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. These players are Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, each renowned in their own right, who together as a married couple constitute the world’s greatest concentration of guitar-playing talent under one roof. Street Date spoke to Trucks this week as he prepared for the release of Revelator, the first album from the couple’s brand-new Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Derek Trucks was kind enough to call in from the Jacksonville, Florida home he shares with Tedeschi and their young children. As the band prepares to hit the road in support of their new album, we asked about the writing and recording sessions that led to this bold new statement of American blues-rock music.
Street Date: Did you record Revelator at home in Jacksonville?
Derek Trucks: Yeah. We wrote and recorded basically all of it here. With this new band, we kind of combined projects and over the last year and a half we have spent a lot of time in the studio working with different musicians and taking our time making sure it was right.
SD: How did Tedeschi Trucks Band get started and who’s in the band?
Trucks: You know it started with an idea. Me and Susan wanted to put a project together and Oteil Burbridge was the first person I thought of. I played with Oteil in the Allman Brothers Band but I started playing with him when I was 11 or 12 years old and he is just one of the great bass players on planet Earth, a total badass. He was just the first piece and then his brother Kofi Burbridge[lastfm] [keyboards], who I played with in my band.
[lastfm]J. J. Johnsonand Tyler Greenwell both play drums. You know, playing with The Allman Brothers and watching “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” footage and old James Brown footage there is just something magical about the two drummer thing when it works. Then Mike Mattisonand Mark Rivers both singing. That is the core group and then around New Years we added the horns section which is Kebbi Williams, Saunders Sermons and Maurice Brown, all extremely talented guys and I think that’s when the band fully formed. The last few dozen shows have been pretty magical.
SD: When hitting the road this summer, are you bringing all 11 players with you?
Trucks: Yep. Going over to Europe with the full 11 piece band, against everybody’s judgment and advice, were doing it. It’s a blast! Yeah, were talking a full circus on the road.
SD: How is touring different now that you and Susan are on the road together?
Trucks: Well especially once we have kids one of us would always be with the kids and me and Susan wouldn’t see a lot of each other. You know tour buses would pass each other on the road basically so that was one of the reasons we wanted to put this group together so we could just be together as a family.
SD: Talk about what you were shooting for with the themes on this album.
Trucks: First and foremost we wanted it to be honest, even brutally honest at some times. What really bums me out about politics, music, everything else going on now is the lack of sincerity with a lot of what’s going on. I feel like with a band like this, its kind of your duty to be revealing what’s going on in your life and your supposed to be really playing and really throwing it out there. I think the bottom line was that it is supposed to be honest.
SD: Who are some of the friends that helped you out on Revelator.
Trucks: Well Eric Krasno came down early on when the seed of the band was just being planted. Me and Oteil and Kofi, Krasno and this great drummer Adam Deitch and Susan sat in the studio for a few days and just hung out and just played and we probably had 30+ seeds of songs from that first session and some of those turned into songs that made the record, some are tunes we played live for a while, and some are still kind of waiting to finish being hatched.
SD: What makes “These Walls” such a special song?
Trucks: Eric Krasno happened to be coming through town and so he stopped in and me and Susan wrote “Learn How to Love” and he had “These Walls” basically finished and it was just such a beautiful tune. Eric and Sonya Kitchell had originally written the tune and she really gave it a kind of Joni Mitchell flare on the first recording. Susan captured that really well.
SD: Where did the title of the album come from?
Trucks: There is this great old blues tune “John the Revelator” that we listen to quite a bit so I always like that imagery and that term. And not too long ago I was watching this great interview with Bill Moyers talking about how he hates interviewing politicians or people who are selling something because its all surface, you can’t get to the point because its all evasive and they’re not trying to reveal anything. I just like that concept of musically revealing yourself, the lyrics of a tune, the writing of a tune, I think it just gets down to the honesty of it all.
Here’s the full track listing for Revelator:
1. Come See About Me
2. Don’t Let Me Slide
3. Midnight in Harlem
4. Bound for Glory
5. Simple Things
6. Until You Remember
7. Ball and Chain
8. These Walls
9. Learn How to Love
10. Shrimp and Grits (Interlude)
11. Love Has Something Else to Say