JamBase: Do you have any video footage that you are going to dust off? Are you planning any future DVD releases?
Haynes: Yeah, the first few years that we were multi-tracking we weren't filming, so there won't be DVD's for the early stuff. But, as it progressed we started bringing in film crews. A lot of years will be documented by DVD as well as CD, hopefully starting with this past year.
Warren Haynes :: 03.28.07
JamBase: I heard you were thinking of releasing "One for Woody" [a famous tribute concert for Allen Woody, the late Gov't Mule/Allman Brothers bassist]. Is that true?
Haynes: We are working on that. That's something we're excited to do, so that should be coming soon.
Gov't Mule is really tight as a band now after two studio releases and four years of touring. How happy are you with Mule as a quartet as opposed to the power trio that it started as years ago?
It's been a little over four years for Danny [Louis] and a little under four for Andy [Hess]. This band has reached some amazing heights and gets better and better on a continual basis. This band has reached heights that I wasn't sure we would ever get back to. I couldn't feel better about the chemistry we have, and it's just such a pleasure to walk on stage each night and break some new ground and make music that just keeps getting better and better.
The new songs seem to be very well received. I remember being at the record release party at the Bowery Ballroom here in NYC when you first unveiled the new material. When you're making a studio album of fresh Mule material how conscious are you of how the songs are going to be received live?
The songs have been very well received from the first time we started playing them, which was that Bowery Ballroom show. All the new material seemed to make a more immediate connection with the crowd than some of our previous stuff. I don't know how to explain that really but people have really taken to the new material very quickly. Sometimes it takes the crowd a while to latch onto your new direction. The songs continue to change and grow in an organic way. The version that we might play three months from now could be totally different than the version we recorded.
Oteil Burbridge :: 03.28.07
Tell me about a comment you made recently about playing with the Allman Brothers. You talked about 'windows' in the music and jams. Were you referring to the segues between songs and how you go from one jam or song to another?
Well, it could be that [or] it could even be within the structure of the song. [On] some of the newest stuff we've been working up at the Allman Brothers' rehearsals and onstage at the Beacon, we're putting these windows into the songs where within the structure of the song we'll go somewhere we have never gone before and then we know how we're going to get back. But, what happens between point A and point B is yet to be determined. It's accomplishing a lot of different things, all of which are very cathartic for us. For one thing, it calls on us to look at the songs differently and play them differently. Even the songs we haven't changed are being affected by this new approach. Some of these little peaks may turn into other songs in the future. They are definitely going to give us a license to stretch into some directions that we've never gone before, and that's very important.
Early in this Beacon run you ended a set with [the Grateful Dead's] "The Other One." It was very interesting to see how the jam progressed to where you were playing the vocal lead with your guitar. Was that rehearsed?
We had been talking about it and we rehearsed that jam to whatever extent you could rehearse a jam during rehearsals. That was the first time we played that particular jam for an audience. So, it was the first time we sort of stretched it out. Once you get in front of a crowd anything goes.
Col. Bruce Hampton :: 03.28.07
Let me ask you about the covers you play. Be it with the ABB or Gov't Mule, your fans have come to expect you to break out a great cover almost every night. How do you come up with the cover songs you play each night? Will you just hear something on the bus one day, try it out in rehearsals and if it works go with it?
Sometimes that is exactly how it happens. You may be listening to music or talking about music on the bus and somebody might get an idea for a cover. In Gov't Mule it's usually something that I wish I had written or that I feel that I could do a good interpretation of vocally, take it somewhere other than where it started. Sometimes we'll try a song at soundcheck and if it works we may try it that night.
You've watched Derek Trucks since he was a teenager. Much like you, Derek is taking great opportunities that come his way like touring with Eric Clapton. What can you tell us about Derek?
He and I have a good rapport musically. We have from the beginning and sometimes that chemistry is made up of just the right amount of similar tastes and just the right amount of different tastes. There's complimentary, simpatico playing where we each kind of know each other's vocabulary but there's [also] the contrast between [our] two styles and the two sounds and influences. Those two things work together in our case or in the case of any good guitar chemistry.
Warren Haynes :: 03.28.07
Which do you prefer, guitar playing, singing or songwriting? You often say you like all three equally. It seems like this is a good time in ABB history to contribute a lot in each area.
It's been a great opportunity for me. When I was brought into the ABB in 1989 they brought me in as a guitar player and singer/songwriter. I was very honored to be one of the songwriters in such a great institution. A lot of bands from that era wouldn't let that happen. When I left the band in 1997 and came back in 2001, Gregg and I started doing more and more songwriting [together]. I think our songwriting rapport has grown immensely. We wrote a few songs together in the old days, but I was writing more with Dickey [Betts]. Gregg and I had only written a few songs together before we attempted to take it to a new level in recent years, and with great success. We just gained each other's trust, which is very important in any marriage.
Do you feel like you are taking more of a leadership role on stage and in the studio?
In Dickey's absence they wanted me to step up and fulfill a lot of the roles that Dickey had. It's been a very organic type of process.
With so many different side projects going on with members of the ABB right now do you see the band being able to sustain everything? Do you see yourselves slowing down, touring less or even possibly having to look at replacing someone?
I see the band slowing down a bit, doing fewer and fewer shows, but as long as everybody is having fun and the music is being played on a level that it's being played at now, then everybody's into keeping it going.
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