Friday, October 07, 2005

Gov't Mule coming to Park City (Utah)


From Salt Lake Tribune:

Working like a mule
Busy musician Warren Haynes brings Gov't Mule to Park City

With all due respect to James Brown, Warren Haynes is probably the hardest-working man in show business circa 2005. The 45-year-old singer and guitarist is a performing member of no fewer than three heavy-touring bands - The Dead, the Allman Brothers Band and Phil & Friends, a Grateful Dead spinoff led by bassist Phil Lesh. He also records and tours as a solo act. Perhaps none of those projects is as close to Haynes' heart as Gov't Mule, a classic power trio à la Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience that Haynes formed in 1994 with bassist Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts. Or rather, Gov't Mule was a power trio until Woody was found dead in 2000 of unknown causes, throwing the band's future in doubt months after the release of "Life After Insanity," a far-reaching album many thought would help Gov't Mule break into the mainstream. "At the beginning [after Woody's death], we were very uncertain as to whether or not the band could, would or should go on," Haynes recalled in a recent interview. "The band started as a trio, and it started based on this void that existed of experimental trios in the rock world. That was something that used to exist in the old days a lot and had gone away, and that was part of the impetus for Gov't Mule. "But, as with any trio, the longer you stay together, the more you experiment with other sounds and other approaches. We were writing songs that didn't necessarily work as a trio, so we were kind of already headed in that direction. Allen's death is what pushed it headlong forward." After Woody's death, Haynes and Abts took baby steps in getting Gov't Mule started again. They hosted a one-night concert in New York to help raise money for Woody's daughter's education, then made "The Deep End," a collection of songs featuring some of Woody's favorite bass players filling in, including The Who's John Entwistle, Yes' Chris Squire, Primus' Les Claypool, P-Funk's Bootsy Collins and fIREHOSE's Mike Watt. Touring in support of "The Deep End," Haynes and Abts worked with a rotating cast of musicians, but eventually decided to add bassist Andy Hess as a permanent member shortly after adding Danny Louis on keyboards. The natural evolution of the band that started with "Life Before Insanity" when Woody was alive ended up with Gov't Mule as a wildly experimental, improvisational four-piece. Haynes wouldn't have it any other way. "The elements that Danny and Andy bring into the music are wonderful," Haynes said. "It's kind of a new band, but it's still the old band as well. . . . They definitely add a whole different chemistry, which is what you have to do when you lose a member of a band. You have to hopefully discover a whole new chemistry, which is what bands are based on in the first place, and I couldn't be happier with the way the band sounds right now." The "new" version of Gov't Mule is on display on the year-old "Déjà Voodoo" album and on one of the band's seemingly endless tours, including a stop in Park City on Saturday. That elusive band chemistry is what Haynes has found in all the groups he plays with, and while the constant touring can be tiring, the thrill he gets from stepping onstage every night provides the energy he needs to keep going. He might not get to see his home in New York too often, or his wife, for that matter, but Haynes gets to experience some of the finest musical interplay in rock 'n' roll on a daily basis, whether playing with Gov't Mule or filling in for Jerry Garcia with The Dead, playing with the Allmans or with Lesh. "To me, to work as much as I do, I would much rather have it spread out among a few different projects than just do the same thing all the time," Haynes said. "I think the burnout factor would be much more obvious in a situation like that. "The good thing is that all the bands I work with and all the different projects I do are geared around improvisational music and not playing the same set list all the time. I would go nuts if I just had to play the same songs over and over. To me, that's too much like work. I didn't get into this business for that."

Saddle up for Suede

* Gov't Mule plays Saturday at Park City's Suede, 1612 Ute Blvd. at Kimball Junction. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
* Tickets are $26 in advance, $28 day of show, available at Smith's Tix outlets, Graywhale CD stores, Orion's Music and at the door.

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