Florida’s legendary Tedeschi Trucks Band, led by married blues guitar greats Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, are in the midst of a 3-night run at the Chicago Theater. IE’s Ed Spinelli talked to Derek as he readied his all-star band for their stay on State Street.
IE: How was your approach on (the new album) Let Me Get By different than your previous albums?
Derek Trucks: I think the fact that we were between record labels, and we just did this one all ourselves. That was the biggest difference. All the tunes were written with the band in our studio. We self produced it. It was all in house. We went into it thinking we kind of wanted to capture what the band is, and what it does live more than the other studio records. I think in some ways it was the first time we captured what the group is about. I like our other records. There is some great stuff on it, but this is a little different take on it. Going forward, this will probably be the model.
IE: Both you and Susan have successful solo careers. Will there be more solo material in the future, or will the band be the prime focus?
DT: I think for awhile this band will be the focus. We always have ideas that are floating around. I know Susan wants to do a gospel and another blues record at some point. There are always ideas and things I would like to do. This is the first time we have the opportunity to really focus on one project. I think we will do that for a bit.
IE: How in the world did you put together this band?
DT: It’s been a long, crazy road. Over the years, being out with my solo band, you would run into certain people and you would just connect with them musically and personally, and you would put it in the back of your mind that if you wanted to put a group together, it would be somebody you would want to work with. When me and Susan decided to put this group together, that’s how we went about it. We called all of our favorite people, and wanted to see if they were into it. We told them what we were thinking. A lot of it organically grew out of that. The band has gone through some changes over the first few years, just trying to find the right chemistry. We feel incredibly lucky to have the musicians we have out on the road with us. Some of it was that the band just had to grow big enough to where we could afford a second bus and have twelve people on stage. The big band and crew just had to naturally grow so we could make it work. It’s been an amazing run so far.
IE: Chicago seems to really love TTB. You’ve built up a special bond here with your fans.
DT: It is pretty amazing. I remember the first time we played the Chicago Theater. I was trying to figure out who we were opening for. We weren’t doing it ourselves I know, so to be headlining multiple nights now is pretty amazing. We have always had a great connection with Chicago and the crowds there. I remember going back to my solo band where we filmed our DVD at the Park West. I just remembered how good the audience was and always seemed to have great shows there. I even remember playing Buddy Guy’s place and Fitzgerald’s and some of the other clubs. We always had a great rapport. It is an amazing city. There is that energy in Chicago that is similar to the rowdiness of the South, but it is not the South. There is just something pretty amazing about Chicago. We are excited. The Chicago Theater is one of the nicest in the country too. I really do enjoy playing multiple nights in one place. It makes the band dig deeper. It makes you break out more and different material. It brings the best out of the group. It makes you work a little bit harder which is always good.
IE: Are you thinking about a no-repeat?
DT: You know, at least for a few nights. There will be a song or two you want to sprinkle once or twice throughout the run. We haven’t done many three night runs. We did six nights at the Beacon. That’s a different mindset. We have done a few two night runs here and there. We will see. We are getting to the point where we can probably do a no-repeat and make all the shows really hold up.
IE: Does this mean in three years that you guys will be playing a six night run at the Chicago Theater?
DT: We will see. We hope we are at least still doing a one night. I hope the crowds don’t leave us. It’s been a slow steady build, man. As long as it feels good, and people are coming out, we will keep doing it. The beauty of this band so far it seems, is that the more we work and the more we get after it, the better it feels. We are all for it.
For the full interview – pick up our print edition read it in our January mobile edition
Ed Spinelli’s TTB gallery from Night 1 with North Mississippi All Stars: