That's a great story. Another of the songs on there that I think is pretty interesting is "New World Blues." Tell me a little about that.
"New World Blues" is pretty new. I wrote that this year. It could have been late last year, but it wasn't too long before we went in the studio. I just felt like it was a strange juxtaposition of the verse and the chorus. They are so different from each other it is almost like they don't belong in the same song. But lyrically, that's what it cried out for, so I kind of tweaked it to try and make myself happy with that marriage. In the long run, we were able to kind of create this situation where the two worlds collide. I think the whole concept of "New World Blues" is that everybody is so ready today just to leave reality behind and not work on it, not make it better. Just try and find a means of escaping, in both good and bad ways.
By Jake Krolick
That little jam that happened at the end of the song was totally unplanned. We just played it like that from start to finish and figured we could fade it out on the record. But we started listening to it and felt that we had to keep it. That jams represents the whole journey into the future. We thought that it sounds like the end of an album, that it sounds like the record is over. Like in the old days, you get up and take the needle off and take the vinyl off and put it back in its little sleeve. That is the way it felt to me. I love the interplay between Danny and me on that tune. Danny is just doing what he does best, which is playing this counter-call and response thing. When Danny and I got to know each other ten years ago when I was looking for a keyboard player, I went to his little studio and sat down and the two of us just played. And the call and response thing that we had together was what sold me, what made me go, "Yeah, this is the guy."
"Wine and Blood" is an interesting song. I like it, and I want to get your take on where the lyrics for that came from.
It's hard to say. It is kind of melancholy, almost Appalachian-kind of influence. Growing up in North Carolina, being surrounded by bluegrass and Appalachian music all my life, I feel like it taps back into some of that. It has that really lonesome feeling that a lot of those mountain songs had. That is a relatively new song too. I was a little concerned with being able to capture the mood of it having written it so recently. Sometimes with songs that I take that personally, I want them to marinate for a long time so I can really get a feel for what it is that I want them to sound like. When I worked it up with the band, it kind of took this whole vibe on itself. Everybody in the band was immediately drawn to it. I brought it in under the premise that it was one of my departure songs. And all three of the guys were like, "I love that song, we got to do that." So we quickly turned it into a band arrangement, and it is very different. I don't even know what to compare it to really. But I like the kind of lonesome quality that it has.
By Tony Stack
What about "Mr. Man?"
"Mr. Man" is a new song responding to the times. I wrote that during the fall tour of Phil and Friends late one night in my hotel room. And yeah, it obviously has the political statement, but it is also this fun, up-tempo song. For me, it was more about if we could go in to the studio and capture a version of this that is exciting start to finish and feels like it has something to say musically as well as lyrically. We tried a lot of different approaches on that tune. Danny started out playing a typical B3 through a Leslie on it, and he didn't like it. Although we liked his performance, he asked if he could rethink it and come back in a few days with a different approach on it. He decided to run the organ through a Marshall, like Deep Purple used to do in the late '60s. It has this real low-fi sound. Almost somewhere between a distorted guitar and a farfisa. It's got this borderline cheesy, lo-fi organ sound that kicks it to some weird, humorous place. When he came up with that, we were all like, "Yeah, now I see what you were trying to do." It made the song have a much more tongue-in-cheek quality. And it just seemed to fit the tune much more than the traditional organ thing. That song is weird in the way that it has '60s, '70s, and '80s influences all in one tune. I don't know that I could say that about any other Mule song.
By Tony Stack
"About The Rage?"
"About The Rage" was written during that same time period, last
November. If you had to pick a song to describe the new direction of this band, I think "About The Rage" would be a nice representative. You know it is definitely Mule, but I can't really compare it to any thing that we have ever done. It has that merging of worlds too, where the verse sounds completely different than the chorus and there is a lot of different influences colliding, but hopefully becoming one sound.
Talk to me a little bit about "My Separate Reality."
That song is at least ten years old I would say. I wrote that song one of the first years that I moved to New York. I've always loved the tune. I had only played it on acoustic guitar, and acoustic guitar doesn't really capture it. I had always wanted to hear like at least a quartet, if not a bigger band, play it. It may have even been a candidate for Tales of Ordinary Madness. It might have gone back that far. When I wrote it, I wanted kind of a jazzy approach to it. At one point, I was thinking about an acoustic piano and upright bass and drums with brushes--a real kind of dark jazz approach to it. In my mind, I was probably saving it for what would become my next solo record. Once Andy and Danny became full time members of Gov't Mule, I thought that we could really play that song great, cause I never felt like it was a trio song. I felt like it had to have keyboards. So we just worked it up and instantly it was amazing. People were taking a little bit different approach to it than I envisioned, but it was all for the better.
By Kim Panzitta
We used to work that tune up at sound check on the road. We made a point that we weren't going to perform any of these songs live because we didn't want to give them away. We didn't want to spoil the surprise. With all the tapers these days and the way the world is, it's hard to keep things under wraps. With the new Allman Brothers record, with the exception of one song, the tapers were trading every song that wound up on the record. And in some cases, people had made compilations of their favorite live versions of the songs they thought would be on the album. People get spoiled by listening to versions that way before the record comes out. They are more attached to those versions than they are to the one that the band thinks is the definitive one. We really wanted to avoid that, so we made the decision to not play any of these songs live. Some of them we would play at sound check when there was nobody in the building, but we didn't perform them. And that was the case with "My Separate Reality." There was about a week where we played that song every day at sound check, and it just came together beautifully. I thought that I'd really like to record it. I think that is the first take of that song. We went back a few times just to see if we could beat it, but we went back to the first one in the end.
Last song--"Perfect Shelter."
"Perfect Shelter" is a fairly new one as well. It has that Hendrix vibe about it. It also has a little bit of a Sly and the Family Stone vibe about it too. Maybe there is some sort of Larry Graham influence in the chorus in a subtle sort of way. "Perfect Shelter" came pretty quickly and was one of those tunes that we just needed to capture the raw vibe of it. Danny's organ part really is what kind of glued it all together. The guitar "wa wa" stuff is all live stuff that I am playing on the track while I am singing, and that is part of what gives it that real Hendrix sound, the old-school approach to recording. We just wanted that groove to kind of sell the tune. It's that black gospel-meets funk-meets Hendrix-meets blues kind of thing. The lyrics are just pro-life. I don't mean pro-life in an anti-abortion way. I mean when you lived through death, and losing friends and people important to you, the message is that you learn how important life really is and how to live it from that day forward. It is very much about how we are all in the same exact boat. None of us are immune to the bullshit or threats. That's what makes us all the same. We share that mortality.
Haynes at Bonnaroo 2004 : By Weintrob
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