Volume 92, Issue 34

Wednesday, November 4, 1998

millions of bad feelings


Gov't Mule strides into Drink

By Neil Malhotra
Gazette Staff

Unlike governments and mules, Gov't Mule likes to take an aggressive approach to its job and is willing to experiment by taking risks.

"Improvisation is the life blood of blues and jazz and our music is so steeped in blues and jazz that it tends to take [an improvisational route] naturally," tells Warren Haynes, guitarist for the power trio which has played over 520 shows in five years.

Gov't Mule's willingness to improvise may also have to do with the fact that for nine years, Haynes and Mule bassist Allen Woody were charter members of southern rock legends the Allman Brothers Band. The relationship hit an amicable end in April 1997, when the two decided to pursue Gov't Mule with drummer Matt Abts. The threesome had started playing together three years earlier and the double life was taking its toll, according to Haynes.

"For three years we did two bands and it was very gratifying in some ways, but at the same time we were more and more leaning towards doing Gov't Mule full-time," he says.

It was not only the extra work which was at the root of Haynes' and Allen's departure. The Allman Brothers Band had been around for decades and the creativity was coming to a halt. "The last three years weren't really a creative period. We worked out three new songs in that period and I sang two of those," Haynes explains. "I'm not knocking those guys – they've earned it, but I was in the peak of my career and I really didn't want to spend it that way."

Within a year, Gov't Mule produced their first major label release, Dose and enjoyed reasonable success. The album ranges from jazz and funk to bluesy rock and includes a cover of The Beatles' "She Said, She Said."

Less than a year after the release, Haynes and his crew are ready to re-enter the studio. "We're gonna start another album in December and hopefully finish the other half in January," he says.

Another place you can check out Warren Haynes' fantastic guitar work is on the new Big Sugar album, Heated. Haynes joined the band on a raunchy version of the B.T.O. classic, "Let it Ride."

"Our association came about out of mutual admiration – we were into each other's band," Haynes says. "We are coming from a similar direction and we became friends right off the bat. Gordie [Johnson] called me and said 'Do you want to play and sing on a track' and I said I'd love too."

Now Gov't Mule is making their way into Canada, following their first trip to Japan over the weekend. The trio will be opening up for Big Sugar on a few dates in southern Ontario, including The Drink tonight.

"[Big Sugar] opened a bunch of shows for us in the States and from the beginning we've been saying we're really excited about the possibility of coming to Canada and opening for them."

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998