Hounded by Debt, Allman Brothers’ Butch Trucks May Have Commited Suicide

Hounded by Debts, Allman Brothers' Butch Trucks Commits Suicide
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Hounded by Debts, Allman Brothers' Butch Trucks Commits Suicide
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Image by Carl Lender (CC by 2.0)

In a tragic turn of events, Allman Brothers’ Butch Trucks allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday in front of his wife.

Butch Trucks, drummer and co-founder of the classic rock group Allman Brothers Band, died on Tuesday.  He suffered a gunshot wound to the head in his waterfront condo in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The details of the situation sound grisly. Trucks shot himself in front of his wife of 25 years, according to the Daily Mail. Police in West Palm Beach and the group have apparently tried to keep the suicide hidden.

Official transcripts show a frantic call made by Trucks’ wife, Melinda, at around 6:00 p.m.  Although unidentified, the transcript describes the woman as “hysterical.”  Using Trucks’ real name, Claude, Melinda reportedly told the dispatcher that her “husband just shot himself” with a pistol.  The dispatcher noted that she witnessed Trucks pulling the trigger.

The transcripts describe the chaotic scene,

As several squad cars rolled toward the apartment building, the caller continued talking to the dispatcher although she was so distraught she couldn’t speak in complete sentences.

Trucks suffered a gun shot wound to the head, the caller said. At that point, the caller wasn’t sure Trucks was still breathing.

The dispatcher then radioed the officers that Trucks’ wife, painter Melinda, and a son were waiting for police in the hallway outside the condo. Trucks had two adult children, a daughter and a son, Atlanta-based musician Vaylor Trucks.

When police arrived, Trucks could still breathe.  However, he soon “expired” seconds later.  The dispatcher concluded the call, noting a “Signal 7,” the code for a dead person.

Police refused to comment on the suicide. They put out a statement confirming that Trucks passed away in his condo. Investigators didn’t suspect foul play, but they’re still conducting an official investigation. The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy Wednesday, though the results won’t be known for weeks.

Court records show the late drummer wrestled with financial problems. In 2011, he sold his prized Palm Beach home for $2 million to pay off an $800,000 bank mortgage. Federal records show the IRS hounded Trucks. Last year, the IRS filed two liens against his $500,000 condo. Trucks had to pay additional taxes for 2013 and 2014 with a total over $540,000.

The sad ending was of course avoidable, though rock stars often find themselves in deep financial holes. Sometimes, the solution is to simply put the band back together and start touring or writing new music. Or, sometimes a major lifestyle overhaul is in order, though it sounds as if Trucks was simply in a panic, and unable to practically work through the options.

63 Responses

  1. JB

    Condolences to Butch’s family and Rock & Rollers across the globe. Maybe Butch and Duane will cross paths again Riding in the Sky~

    • Peter North

      One would think that a couple of Butch Trucks benefit shows organized by his long time band mates and a host of friends could have wiped that debt out and put him back on his feet. Willie Nelson’s friends made things right for him so many years ago when the IRS were on him. Maybe pride go in the way and who knows how many of his peers knew of his financial situation. This is sadder than sad and a desperate deed. He gave us music lovers so much……..

      • ramblin man

        leave it to our government to foul up a good person and an american icon.

        • Irwin R. Shyster

          BS. He was delinquent on his taxes and had no more tour $$$ coming in.

          • Anonymous

            didn’t he have record royalties still?

      • BobB

        WC Fields said, “A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.” Sometimes we forget about that and let money control our self worth. I am sure money as well as other things contributed to his decision to pull the trigger. I hope he is in heaven with his brothers. God Bless him! He was a brutally honest person and I admire him for that.

        • Mark

          I respect your well wishes very much. But if you’re bringing up heaven, it’s pretty clear that suicide does not send you there. I’m not saying this to inflict pain on anyone, but I’m saying this as a warning to others who think that a bullet can send them to heaven. My own heart is heavy to say this.

          • Jim1000

            Mark, with God all things are possible. What you are saying about suicide is not pretty clear. God bless you and Butch.

          • Mark

            Well said Mark I was going to say the same thing Gregg was worth $250. Million why didn’t he step in to help who knows.

          • Mule

            Gregg Allman has never been worth $250 million, not even close to that amount. His estimated net worth at the time of his death was $15 million

          • Curtis

            How do you know that? Or if the place even exist for that matter.

      • Mike Eagle

        Who cares about the debt, I feel sooo sad about hearing the news of this, I would venture to say it was a pile up of unexpressed emotion, I realized that being famous, can have a lot of pressures with it too, we never know some of the pain the people are struggling with, I pray his wife kids may the Lord bring great comfort,and peace, RIP Brother Butch.. Tears..

        • Al Whitton

          Followed the Brothers from the get-go, for me I find myself at the drop of a hat needing to drive to Macon & go to the cemetery & visit. It seems to be a way of giving back & show support. So look up & smile & think of the Life, Times & great music they have us, no reason to tread on them with negative thoughts. God Speed To The Brothers

    • Michael McCarthy

      This article sucks. The title specifically sucks, with a trite inclusion of the word unfortunately, as if the death of perhaps the greatest jam band drummer of all time might not necessarily be considered unfortunate. I know his daughter. Can you imagine how this article makes her feel? You’re garbage. You never created anything of such lasting Beauty and elegance as he did and you never will. When I rip down the American Highway and think about my life I will be listening to him, not to your irrelevant writing.

  2. jackcandobutwont

    the irs may be the most dogmatic fed bunch of aholes on the planet

      • Jackson

        You just had to go anti Semitic. The man died and you go there. Shame on you.

        • Lynn

          Jackson: Khazarian (fake/imposter) “jews” (aka Rothschilds et al) are neither “semitic”, nor Jewish. However, they truly have stolen over half the world’s resources via unjust usary, unjust wars started on false premises, illegal taxation, back door bribery of politicians and leaders of various governments esp. the USA, and the general raping, stealing and plundering of the planet’s resources. Ron’s comment was spot on. You are actually the one out of line here, in more ways than one. Shame on YOU. Go watch CNN since you seem to prefer disinfo and mind control so much.

  3. PLB

    The tragic history of the ABB has another horrid page added to it

  4. Montreaux Morgan

    sad news..

    sounds like the stress of money and taxes and the loss of a home all built up to this
    tragic end..

    Is there a lesson in all of this.. I suppose it is to make sure all your taxes and tax returns are up to date and that you don’t over extend yourself (with debt).. better to live in a cheap condo or apt than have a fancy mansion and be in millions of debt..

    My condolences to his family and friends..

  5. Steve O

    don’t blame the IRS, they are usually as slow as snails.

    he obviously did not pay his taxes in back years and all he needed was a good lawyer, they can’t force the sale of your house, and wtf was he doing in a 2 million mansion?

    • Freakerdude

      Agreed….the IRS didn’t do anything but follow the letter of the law. We all pay taxes. He had good money at one time and was living on the island of Palm Beach when he said he would never ever live there in his life. Maybe the move was just too much for him and brought him down financially.

  6. Serendipitydue

    I was fortunate to see him with his band just a few weeks ago in Ponte Vedra FL. He grew up in this area ( Jacksonville). His daughter was there and sang a few songs with the band. He played as long as they would allow. The concert was awesome. The venue is small and intimate. I wondered what he was doing still touring but just thought he was happiest banging on his drums. I guess he needed the paycheck like the rest of us. He seemed very happy surrounded by lots of old friends and family. Glad he got to see them all. My condolences to his family, friends and bandmates. Suicide is such a waste of life. So is stress. If you or someone you know is depressed or stressed please do your best to get them help.

    • Joe

      Musicians want to play..no matter how much money they have or don’t have

      • ramblin man

        dont forget a life of chemicals and “good time feeling” makes it harder in the later years. no judgement to claude the great inspirator, but I feel hopeless sometimes in the face of all those good times that seem in the past. it is hard to feel the best is yet to come as the cummulative effects of brain bending show thier curse.

  7. anon

    Why would you publish the explicit details of his suicide? In no way do the gruesome details about shooting himself in front of his wife add to the story or provide context.

    Another piece of trash on this website, which is already a total dumpster fire.

    • Anonymous

      While DMN does tend to frequently engage in tabloid journalism, I’m inclined to think the details here may be newsworthy. Here we see a founding member of a highly successful classic rock band somehow driven to commit suicide in such a horrific manner. These details shed light on the state of mind he was in, and provide context as to the circumstances that may have led to this, which still aren’t clear at this point. It could simply be poor financial decision making. On the other hand, the Music Industry is quite well known for screwing over its artists, so perhaps it’s worth looking to see if that was a factor.

  8. couldashuddawudda

    Pride and other unpretty things can lead to altered states.
    But as his last phone interview indicated, he was not happy about his rank among the great drummers in pop history. Wow. Like anyone I know from the 60’s ever thought of the Allman Bros as being at the top of any list.
    I would be happy to have enough residuals to live in a cheap apartment with a couple cats and tv with all the channels. It’s important for the public to be reminded how sad some people can become – before it’s too late. As for Ringo, he should be amazed that he even got on the list! Are you kidding me? Metronome style drumming? Wow.

    • Jim1000

      Coulda – Trucks and Starr were/are both outstanding drummers with original styles. The Allman Brothers were considered one of the all time great bands by the early 1970s – in the 60s not as many people, apart from music critics, knew them.

  9. You're a blog, quit pretending to be news

    At what point did the suicide mention the financial struggles? Your headline is defa-fucking-mation, man. You’re connecting two points you have no idea if are at all related. Lots of healthy med students have hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. If they OD would you write their autopsy in such a sickening summation?

  10. 12string

    The root cause of suicide is ALWAYS mental illness. The inability to cope with situations EVERYONE goes through. You do not take your life because your in debt. Lives are taken because you can no longer live with the noise in your head. And to decide to leave your wife of 25 years with the visual of his suicide only speaks to his state of suffering. He left it with her. RIP ?

    • Martie

      My husband took his life in front of me. Addiction, debt and under it all was mental illness. It is a moment of insanity, then your family is left to endure deep pain and sorrow. Remembering their former years helps you cope with such an unspeakable action.

  11. Steve Marino

    There may have been other problems. Maybe health issues. He was 69 and lived a hard rock and roll life, especially as a drummer. I cannot even imagine playing drums for that long a time. Hopefully it wasn’t due to money. Money is nothing. You can always get a little more money somewhere, find another place to live, all that. I saw him and the rest of the Allman Brothers band 5 times way back when. Tickets were $6, so that shows you how long ago that was. Great, great band. Sorry to hear about this.

  12. Jim Welch

    I believe that original line up of ABB to be some of the greatest innovators of all time. Duane, Barry, now Butch. RIP. Dickey, Jaimoe, Greg take it easy. Southern Rock Inventors. Listen to the S.U.N.Y. album(never meant to exist). Listen to Fillmore East and if there is a God that gives a damn, Thanks

  13. Aaron E.

    Suicide is a compulsion. If the fire gets to close or too hot, out the window you go. Trump…. that was the final straw. That got Him.

      • Get Real afolksying that she’s ever results and suicidal tendencies, but it is something that is strongly respons

        Is that an assertion or do you honestly know something? I know myself and a lot of other people lost faith in the institution of America as a place of the free and the brave. Citizens United and government to the highest bidder Resulting in the debacle of the Trump presidency Is a truly depressing reality. I’m not saying that she’s ever results and suicidal tendencies, but it is something that is strongly responsible for causing lost faith.

    • John Debreux

      I don’t judge him for what he did. How do I know what was going on in his mind or even if some kind of medical condition was involved ? It was a horrible tragedy. Thank you for the music you left behind Butch. That will live forever. My heart goes out to your wife and son and all your loved ones.

  14. Dogg

    These ol’ Rock Stars dropping like Flies lately! Who’s next
    Todd Rundgren?

  15. Oma Meuter'

    Gadzooks…. Leave this man alone!! NO ONE knows what is on another’s mind , or what they will do. We are NOT another’s Judge!! That’s God’s Job.
    Butch was a great musician whose works I and millions of others have enjoyed And will continue to enjoy.

  16. Doug

    ABB was such a high part of my most important years growing up. Such a pure sound of blues,jazz, soul and rock. Now that Gregg has passed it really hits me hard realizing that that can never be recaptured ever.

  17. Bill

    Butch was a fine drummer and a strong individual. He was a reader and loved literature and philosophy. Strongly political, and vociferous. His suicide saddens me far worse than Gregg Allman’s passing. Gregg went in peace, having recovered from his alcohol and drug problems. Butch killing himself–and in front of his wife!–just doesn’t make sense to me. I first saw him play in ’71, a few months before Duane died. Butch Trucks could flat out play. I will miss him.

  18. Lee S.

    I pray that God can remove from his wife’s memory the last moments of Butch’s life. I pray for healing in this families life. I am sad for the loss of such a talent and am reminded to keep a vigil for those who are hurting so much and hope that I can make a difference in their lives!

  19. Anonymous

    Trucks was a liberal. Liberals believe in big govt. big govt needs big taxes to pay for the goodies it gives to others. Can’t have it both ways. Don’t blame the irs.

  20. Anonymous

    It is easy to criticize those who choose suicide, and yes it does hurt everyone left
    behind that know and loved you. but remember, when one is even thinking about taking his or hers own life they are in serious trouble and see suicide as the only way out. It has been called a ” Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem”. They
    loose site of everyone else. Butch was a part of a Band of musicians that changed
    music, at lest for me. I tool will always cherish their music and the Part Butch played in creating it. Easy to judge until you have been in his shoes, as far as it keeping one out of Heaven, I am not God, neither are any of us…

  21. Sherri Binion (MK's fiance at the time I'm sure MK would say the same re ABB)

    I was blessed to be around a lot of storage unit rehearsals in Sarasota from 1980 – 84. I got to know all the “brothers” during those years… our closest friend in ABB, Dangrous Dan Toler: who was given that nickname by Dickey, Frankie Toler to play drums, David Goldflies on Bass. These were transitional years, lots of changes in line ups that did work enough to create new music and solidify the band WERE BROTHERS, ABB. Saw many awesome local gigs & 3 large venues. Let me just tell you my truth, when the ABB performed the venues changed nothing about the love we could feel & hear in every note they tore up onstage, charasima to sweep through the audience… sweating the crowd throughout front, as much as backstage heat from the talent shared onstage gave coldsweats, hotsweats & body rushes to us, their current friends. God Bless all who love these brothers, various bros at times who allowed the ABB to stay together, shred & drum & progress within that ABB. All we still have is Jaimoe, his son & Betts son & Gregg’s son. The New ABB. Let’s follow the kids who carry on the legacy & intention to keep bringing new life to classic southern rock with their new stories to put to music for both us friends of the originals & champions of the new ABB. Dickey is still with us. He has 1 or 2 NEW records out & may still have some live inspirations to share with before he hangs up his ax. Love to ALL Who knew them & loved them. Let’s just keep playing the music… visit websites for each the old & the new don’t forget Butch’s kids too. One of his boys is genius on slide & lead. Let them know how you feel. Look for local gigs to see & meet them. Share how thier Pops filled your heart & kicked your ass to dance or whatever they moved you to do in your life, with ABB as our soundtrack of or lives.

    • Curtis

      Derick is Butch’s nephew and the others can’t hold a candle to him He’s the only one close to the talent of the original ABB
      RIP guys thanks for the awesome music you will live forever because of LIve at the filmore the best live album ever

  22. Sherri Binion (MK's fiance at the time I'm sure MK would say the same re ABB)

    Let’s also not forget Duane Trucks, Butch’s very successful son, lauded & awarded. in his own right, I think his partner is Tudeski.