Gov’t Mule at The Fillmore, 5 Things To Know
via Oakland Press
Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule have embarked on the next 20 years of the band.
The group celebrated its first two decades back in 2013, while Haynes — who co-founded the heavy-hitting, jam-happy rock group with the late Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts — spent the next couple of years bringing the Allman Brothers Band to a close and recording a solo album.
This year, however, the Mule is kicking again with a new album, “Revolution Come…Revolution Go,” and is back on the road, and Haynes is confident the group has plenty more as it heads to the future…
• Hayes, 57, says by phone that he does view Revolution Come…” as the beginning of the next era for Gov’t Mule. “I think being on the other side of our 20th anniversary was cool because when we made (2013’s) ‘Shout’ we were kind of looking at that like the culmination of 20 years. So this album is like the new chapter opening up — Where are we headed? What are we gonna do?, that kind of thing. We were looking at it like this is a new beginning and a clean slate, so to speak. Getting through 20 years is no small feat for any band. It’s been a wild ride and in some ways gone so much quicker than I would ever expect. Thankfully I’m still going strong and my career’s as good as it’s ever been, so I’m thankful for that and just want to do something we haven’t done yet. It’s always about, ‘What’s next for us?’”
• Gov’t Mule did consider stopping after Woody’s death during August of 2000 at the age of 44. But Haynes and Abts carried on, with guest bassists on the two volumes of “Deep End” recordings immediately after, while Andy Hess took Woody’s spot from 2003-08 and Jorgen Carlsson has been on board since then. “Our initial, gut reaction was to stop, but we felt that he would want us to continue; In fact, he’d probably be pretty (angry) if we didn’t. It took (Abst) and I a minute to really feel alright about it, but we’ve done so many good things since then I’m really glad we decided to stick with it.”
• The 12-track “Revolution Come…” is both Gov’t Mule’s most expansive set (most song weigh in at over six minutes) and it’s most diverse, from the jazzy-flecked eight-minute title track to the slower, soulful “Dreams & Songs” and the ferocious “Burning Point” featuring a guest appearance by Jimmie Vaughan. “There was already a wide range of material when we first started rehearsing and when we first went into pre-production,” Haynes says, “and then we wrote a couple songs, ‘Traveling Tune’ and ‘Sarah Surrender,’ that added even more dimension ‘cause they were both different from anything we’ve ever done. It’s important to us to make the records cover as many of our influences as we can without spreading it too thin or killing the momentum, because we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band first and foremost. But we like to tackle all the stuff that we love.”
• Lyrically Haynes tackled some topical matter as well, inspired by the charged 2016 presidential campaign and the early days of the Trump presidency. “We were caught off guard like everybody else, and it put everybody into a tailspin,” Haynes explains. “We thought the election was going to go the other way, so it just kind of changed our starting point in a way we hadn’t thought about. Some of the new material, three or four of the songs, had political connotations, so that maybe pushed us even harder to dive head-first into it. It was important to me that we include the political stuff, but the takeaway was something other than that — mostly about reflection and personal relationships and examining life in the here and now. That felt like maybe an antidote to what was going on in the ‘real’ world.”
• Haynes continues to mourn the May 27 death of Gregg Allman, with whom he not only played with but also wrote songs for the Allman Brothers Band. “Gregg was very special to me,” Haynes says. “The Allman Brothers were possibly my favorite band of all time, and I was a huge fan of Gregg. When they invited me to join in ‘89 I wasn’t completely being thrown into the fire, but I was still intimidated. But he was very disarming and had a way of making me feel comfortable from the beginning and that really kind of helped my situation in that band and made it a lot easier. I just think he’s one of the greatest artists of all time. He changed the way people perceived music, and as a singer, so many people that came after Gregg were influenced by him and he wrote these great, honest songs that connected with people because they were real. There are very few singers very few artists that made that kind of impact, and I think we’re gonna see all over the world examples of how much impact he had.”