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Thread: Gov`t Mule

  1. #1

    Default Gov`t Mule

    Gov't Mule

    Influenced by jazz, blues, and rock music, Gov't Mule blends these styles into their own version of an improvisational power trio. Drummer Matt Abts, singer/guitarist Warren Haynes, and bassist Allen Woody formed the group in 1994, while the latter two were still in the Allman Brothers Band. After three years, the trio decided to dedicate all of their time to Gov't Mule. After Woody died in August of 2000, Gov't Mule continued to record and tour with guest bass players.

    By the time they formed Gov't Mule, each of the members brought years of rock 'n' roll experience to the recording studio, as well as to the stage. Haynes, a native of Asheville, North Carolina, previously played with David Allen Coe and the Dickey Betts Band. He joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1989 and recorded five albums with the group. He also released a solo album, called Tales of Ordinary Madness, in 1993. Woody was born and raised in the musical city of Nashville, Tennessee. In the mid-1980s, he performed with the Artimus Pyle Band and then joined the Allman Brothers Band, where he met Haynes. Born in Oklahoma, Abts grew used to traveling at a young age, when he and his family moved to various military bases around the world. At the age of 16, Abts settled down in Virginia. He played with groups like Montrose and with Mick Taylor, former guitarist for the Rolling Stones. He met Haynes when they played together in the Dickey Betts Band.

    The birth of Gov't Mule began with a conversation between Haynes and Woody while they were on tour with the Allman Brothers Band in 1994. They started talking about the extinction of the improvisational power trio in music and their interest in bringing it back. Woody decided that all they needed was a drummer to make it happen, and Haynes knew just the person. Haynes told Woody about Abts.

    The duo decided to get together with Abts for a jam session in a Los Angeles club after an Allman Brothers show. The chemistry worked immediately. "It was pretty exciting," Haynes recalled in the band's biography on the Gov't Mule official website. "As we played together more and more, we got to thinking that maybe we should put the time and effort into making it a real band." The group's name was found during a conversation between Woody and Allman Brothers Band drummer Jai Johanny Johanson. Johanson had used the phrase in the conversation, and Woody liked it so much that he suggested it to Abts and Haynes. "It can mean different things to different people," Haynes explained in the Gov't Mule official website biography. "Besides, the name kind of describes us: we're a slow, hard-working, non-glorious animal."

    With their name in place, the trio headed into the recording studio to produce their debut, Gov't Mule, which was released on Relativity Records in 1995. Following a tour, they put out a live album, titled Live at Roseland Ballroom, in 1996. Gov't Mule quickly developed a growing fan base, and in April of 1997, Haynes and Woody left the Allman Brothers Band to pursue the power trio full time. That year, they toured with the Black Crowes and Widespread Panic, giving them even more exposure to new audiences.

    In 1998 Gov't Mule released Dose, their first CD with Capricorn Records. Michael Barbiero, who had previously worked with Soundgarden, Blues Traveler, and Guns 'n' Roses, produced it. After Dose hit the stores, Gov't Mule returned to the road for a lengthy tour that included a spot on the H.O.R.D.E. tour. With a large performance schedule to draw from, they decided to put together a live double CD in 1999 called Live ... with a Little Help from Our Friends. The recording included several long, improvisational performances and was also released as a limited-edition box set with the same title.

    Gov't Mule continued their nonstop schedule by heading back into the studio for their next effort, Life before Insanity. For this recording, the trio decided to take their sound in a slightly different direction from the long, improvisational pieces that were found on their previous releases. "This time around, we thought, 'Let's turn around and do the opposite; let's make it a real song-oriented album and explore that side of things,'" Haynes told Russell Hall at CDNOW. Their summer 2000 tour, in support of Life before Insanity, included an opening slot on the Steve Miller Band tour.

    On August 26, 2000, tragedy struck the members and fans of Gov't Mule. Woody was found dead in a hotel in Queens, New York. The cause of death was unknown. The future of Gov't Mule became questionable, but Haynes and Abts decided to carry on. Instead of replacing the bassist, they recorded two CDs, which included contributions from a total of 25 renowned bass players. The guest list included Bootsy Collins, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jon Entwistle from the Who, Stefan Lessard from the Dave Mathews Band, Mike Gorden from Phish, and Les Claypool from Primus. The first CD, Gov't Mule: The Deep End, Vol. I was released in the fall of 2001. The second, Gov't Mule: The Deep End, Vol. II, was scheduled for release in the spring of 2002. The project also included a documentary film with interviews and footage from the studio recordings. Haynes and Abts also continued to tour with the new incarnation of Gov't Mule, which included Chuck Leavell on keyboards and a rotating schedule of bass players, such as Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band and Dave Schools of Widespread Panic.

    From the beginning, Gov't Mule has maintained a dedication to musical creativity through exploration and improvisation, which they found lacking in most modern rock music. "Our music is more like a lot of music from the past," Haynes explained to Ted Drozdowski in the Boston Phoenix. "It's not all on the surface. The more you listen to it, the more you get from it. The problem is that pop music has redesigned itself so many times that the fat's been trimmed down to the point where there is no meat left. We give you plenty of meat ... with all the fat and the rough edges."

    by Sonya Shelton

    Warren Haynes / Guitar
    Matt Abts / Drums
    Danny Louis / Keyboard
    Jorgen Carlsson / Bass

    Gov't Mule @ - Gov't Mule's By A Thread In Stores Now

    The Mule performing in 2008: L to R, Haynes, Abts, Hess, Louis. Photo by NJLP's

    Allen Woody

    October 3 1955 / August 26 2000

    Warren Haynes, Matt Abts and Allen Woody

  2. #2


    Gov't Mule is a rock and jam band formed in 1994 as an Allman Brothers Band side project. They released their debut album Gov't Mule in 1995. Gov't Mule has become a staple act at music festivals across North America, boasting members from other notable bands.

    When The Allman Brothers Band reformed in 1989 in response to the popularity of their Dreams box set, Warren Haynes was added on lead guitar and Allen Woody was added on bass. The two shared a love for '60s power trios, like Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the James Gang. Haynes, Woody, and former Dickey Betts drummer Matt Abts came together as Gov't Mule during Allman Brothers breaks. They released their debut album Gov't Mule in 1995, which was followed by Live from Roseland Ballroom, released in 1996.

    When the Allman Brothers were not forthcoming with any new material, Haynes and Woody left to concentrate full-time on Gov't Mule in 1997. Dose, their second studio effort, was released in early 1998. They were joined by members of the Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes, and Parliament/Funkadelic for their 1998 New Year's Eve concert. This was released in both a two and four CD version as Live... With a Little Help from Our Friends. The performances exposed some of the bands' influences, covering Neil Young, Free, Traffic, Jimi Hendrix, Little Feat, Black Sabbath, and Mongo Santamaría (via John Coltrane).

    In February, 2000, the band released Life Before Insanity, to critical praise, and although the band had already experienced previous successes, they anticipated a greater commercial success with this album. Unfortunately, Allen Woody was found dead in New York City in August of that year. On , 2000 a benefit concert was organized called "One for Woody", with the proceeds going to Woody's daughter, Savannah Woody, for her education. The Allman Brothers, The Black Crowes, Phil Lesh and Friends, Jimmy Herring, Edwin McCain and other friends of Woody and Gov't Mule also performed at the concert. Haynes and Abts considered ending the band after Woody's death, but continued to do limited touring in the Fall of 2000 supporting Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals as an homage to Woody. Their subsequent "Smile at Half Mast Tour" that followed was named in reference to a poem Haynes wrote for Woody's funeral.

    At the "One for Woody" performance and subsequently at other shows, Haynes began appearing with the Allman Brothers Band again. With Dickey Betts' departure from the Allmans, Haynes came back full time to the band at the beginning of 2001 and has continued splitting his time between the Allman Brothers, Gov't Mule and for a period Phil Lesh and Friends and the reformed Grateful Dead bands.

    The next year, Haynes and Abts began to record a tribute CD using some of Woody's favorite bass players. These sessions resulted in two CDs The Deep End, Volume 1 (2001) and The Deep End, Volume 2 (2002). A documentary of the recording sessions was also made by Phish bassist Mike Gordon called Rising Low. Bass contributions to the CDs came from Jack Bruce of Cream, John Entwistle of The Who, Mike Watt of Minutemen, Les Claypool of Primus, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Chris Squire of Yes among others.

    When it came to touring in support of the Deep End CDs, Haynes and Abts used a revolving door of keyboardists and bassists. Keyboardists included Chuck Leavell, formerly of the Allman Brothers and known for his current work with the Rolling Stones, Rob Barraco of Phil Lesh and Friends and Zen Tricksters, Phish's Page McConnell and Danny Louis. Bassists included, among others, Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers, Les Claypool of Primus, Victor Wooten of the Flecktones, George Porter Jr. of The Meters, Greg Rzab formerly of The Black Crowes and the Buddy Guy Band, and Andy Hess, also formerly of The Black Crowes. Louis and Hess were eventually named as permanent members of Gov't Mule.

    The first CD with Louis and Hess, Deja Voodoo, was released in September 2004, and additional material from those sessions was released in 2005 as Mo' Voodoo. The new lineup's second full release, High & Mighty, was released on , 2006, and it was followed in 2007 by a dub/reggae album called Mighty High - including versions of covers and original songs with special guest appearances by Michael Franti, Toots Hibbert, and Willi Williams.

    Gov't Mule continues to tour extensively and have become staple acts at many music festivals including Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Mountain Jam, Vegoose, All Good, and their annual New Orleans Jazzfest night show (where they filmed and recorded the last show of the Deepest End tours, with 17 guest musicians in a 6 hour show).

    Every year since 1989, Warren Haynes hosts the Annual Christmas Jam in his hometown of Asheville. The concert usually takes place the weekend before Christmas at the Asheville Civic Center, as a fundraiser for Habitat For Humanity. Many artists who play at the X-Mas Jam also perform separate gigs in various Asheville clubs, usually the day before the Jam proper. The Pre-Jam, as it is called, features many of the same artists, in a smaller club. The 19th edition of the Jam took place on December 15, 2007 with performances by Kevn Kinney, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, Shelly Colvin, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Jackson Browne, G. Love, Bruce Hornsby and Peter Frampton among others. Gov't Mule headlined.

    On June 28, 2008, Gov't Mule performed as a Power Trio for the first time since 2000, this time with its regular bassist Andy Hess. The band titled their set "Old School Mule" and ran through some of their older songs such as "Wandering Child" and "Thorazine Shuffle."

    On September 15, 2008, Stefani Scamardo (Warren Haynes' wife) announced on her Sirius radio show that Andy Hess would be leaving the band and a new bassist would be in place for the fall tour. Hess was subsequently replaced by Jorgen Carlsson, who had been rehearsing with the band for six months.

    On August 17, 2009, it was announced on the band's official website that Gov't Mule's eighth studio album, entitled By a Thread, is scheduled to be released on October 27th, 2009.

    On the same date, the first track of the new album, called “Broke Down On The Brazos” (featuring Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top), was made available for listening on the website.


    Matt Abts - drums, percussion (1994-present)
    Warren Haynes - guitar, vocals (1994-present)
    Andy Hess - bass (2003-2008)
    Danny Louis - keyboards, guitar, vocals (2002-present)
    Allen Woody - bass, vocals (1994-2000)
    Jorgen Carlsson - bass (2008-present)

    source: Gov't Mule | Biography

    Jorgen Carlsson, Matt Abts, Warren Haynes and Danny Louis. - Gov't Mule's By A Thread In Stores Now

    Warren Haynes`s signature `58 Les Paul. Gibson Custom Warren Haynes Les Paul Standard

  3. #3
    Psycho Hosebeast CoolBec's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    State of Catatonia


    I love Haynes guitar playing on this.


    "Never underestimate the capacity of simple minds to overcomplicate things." ~Me!

  4. #4


    Gov`t Mule and Les Claypool

    Gov't Mule @ - Gov't Mule's By A Thread In Stores Now

    Les Claypool @ Les Claypool - News

    From The "Deepest End" Concert.

  5. #5


    Warren Haynes`s 1961 Gibson ES-335

    In about 1998, Gov`t Mule went to Elderly instruments in Lansing Michigan, after a show late at night because I was looking for a dot neck. My friend there said "I have 2 `61s, one that looks great and one that sounds great".

    Sure enough there was one in pristine condition, which just did `nt have the sound and the other one sounded perfect. I`ve done a little bit of cosmetic work to it, including changing the tailpiece, because I`m not big on Bigsbys. I`ve used this a lot in the studio and onstage and I`m using a lot on my solo tour because the sound just fits the music!

    ~ Warren Haynes ~

    Source: Guitar reviews, music news and online guitar lessons | GuitarWorld

    1961 Gibson ES-335

    Warren Haynes


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