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Thread: Gov't Mule

  1. #1
    Atomic Punk Rod Dangle's Avatar
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    Gov't Mule

    Gov't Mule released Vol.1 of their new album yesterday. It's not as heavy as their earlier stuff but it still rocks. How could it not when you have some of the most legendary bass players in history playing on it. If you like straight up, no bullshit, no 'woe is me' rock.......you need to get your ass kicked by the Mule.

    Here's a little info on the album(s).......Their Bass player (Allen Woody) passed away a little over a year ago so this album is kind of a tribute to him. Allen was probably one of the baddest fuckin’ players I had ever witnessed, PURE THUNDER!!!!. From ’89 to ’97 Allen played for the Allman Brothers Band but left the group with Allman’s guitarist Warren Haynes in ’97 to fully concentrate on their side band Gov’t Mule. Unfortunately Allen passed away in his sleep in a NYC hotel room in Aug. of 2000. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

    This album is going to feature 23 different bass players. The first volume of this CD was released yesterday, the second will be released in spring of 2002. They were originally going to release this as a double CD but they had some trouble with hooking up with John Paul Jones, it’s still up in the air weather or not he’ll be on Vol.2 due to scheduling problems.

    If you haven't heard of Gov't Mule, the best way to describe 'em is a mixture of Cream, Allman Brothers & a little bit of Black Sabbath. Basically 'Heavy Blues'. They were an awesome trio but if they continue on, they'll probably expand the group to a 4 or 5 piece.
    Here's their website http://mule.net/ or http://www.mulezone.com/index2.html



    "The Deep End vol. I" featuring 8 new Warren Haynes songs and 13 of the world's greatest bass players was released yesterday.

    "The Deep End vol. II" featuring 10 new Warren Haynes songs and 12 of the world's greatest bass players will be released Spring 2002.

    Players who have signed on so far:

    Les Claypool (Primus, Oysterhead)

    Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead, Phil & Friends)

    John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) ????

    Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)

    Alphonso Johnson (Chuck Mangione Quartet, Weather Report, Santana, Bobby & the Midnights, Jazz is Dead, The Other Ones)

    Francis "Rocco" Prestia (Tower of Power)

    Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane & Hot Tuna)

    Chris Squire (Yes)

    Mike Gordon (Phish)

    Bootsy Collins (James Brown, George Clinton & P-Funk)

    David Schools (Widespread Panic)

    Chris Wood (Medeski, Martin & Wood)

    Jack Bruce (Cream, West, Bruce & Laing, among others)

    Tony Levin (King Crimson & Pete Gabriel)

    Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers, Aquariam Rescue Unit)

    Billy Cox (Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys)

    John Entwistle (The Who)

    Roger Glover (Deep Purple)

    Larry Graham (Sly & the Family Stone)

    Mike Watt (Minutemen/Firehose)

    George Porter Jr. (Funky Meters)

    Willie Weeks (Aretha Franklin, George Harrison)

    Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band)

    Me'Shell NdegéOcello

    Non bass player guest include ~ Gregg Allman, Derek Trucks, Little Milton, Jerry Cantrell, Audley Freed, Eddie Harsch, John Scofield, Chuck Leavell & others.

    Gov't Mule: The Deep End vol. I


    Fool's Moon - featuring Jack Bruce on bass & vocals & Bernie Worrell on organ & clavinet

    Life on the Outside - featuring Larry Graham on bass & vocals, Audley Freed on guitar & Eddie Harsch on organ & clavinet.

    On The Banks of the Deep End - featuring Mike Gordon on bass & background vocals & Danny Louis on organ & wurlitzer.

    Down & Out In NYC - featuring Flea on bass, Rob Barraco on organ & wurlitzer, Keith Barry on trumpet, Mike Uhler on tenor sax & Dan Weinstein on trombone

    Effigy - featuring Mike Watt on bass & Jerry Cantrell on background vocals.

    Maybe I'm a Leo - featuring Roger Glover on bass & Randall Bramblett on organ.

    Same Price - featuring John Entwistle on bass & Page McConnell on organ & clavinet.

    Soulshine - featuring Willy Weeks on bass Little Milton on guitar & vocals & Chuck Leavell on organ & wurlitzer.

    Sco Mule - featuring Chris Wood on bass, John Scofield on guitar & Bernie Worrell on organ & clavinet.

    Worried Down With the Blues - featuring Oteil Burbridge on bass, Derek Trucks on guitar & Gregg Allman on organ & vocals.

    Beautifully Broken - featuring Stefan Lessard on bass & Danny Louis on wurlitzer & organ.

    Tear Me Down - featuring Bootsy Collins on bass & vocals & Bernie Worrell on organ & mini moog.

    Sin Is A Good Man's Brother - featuring Allen Woody on bass


    Gov't Mule: The Deep End vol. II

    Greasy Granny Gopher Gravy pt. 1 & 2 - Featuring Les Claypool on bass & vocals.

    Lay of the Sunflower - Featuring Phil Lesh on bass, Rob Barraco on piano & David Grisman on mandolin.

    What is Hip? - Featuring Rocco Prestia on bass & Johnny Neel on organ.

    Babylon Turnpike - featuring Alphonso Johnson on bass & Johnny Neel on piano.

    Slow Happy Boys - featuring Jack Casidy on bass, Peter Sears on piano & Chuck Leavell on organ.

    Sundance - featuring Chris Squire on bass & Johnny Neel on organ.

    Which Way Do We Run - featuring Dave Schools on bass & Danny Louis on wurlitzer.

    World of Confusion - featuring Tony Levin on bass & Gary Lucas on guitar

    Catfish Blues - featuring Billy Cox on bass & Bernie Worrell on organ.

    Time to Confess - featuring George Porter Jr. on bass & Art Neville on organ.

    Hammer & Nails - featuring Me'Shell NdegéOcello on bass & John Medeski on keys

    In a recent Guitar World interview (early spring 2001), this is what Warren Haynes had to say about the project:

    GW: You are also touring this summer with Phil and Friends. Is all this activity going to hurt your ability to have the new Gov’t Mule album done by the fall?

    WARREN HAYNES: No, no. That’s a big priority for me, and we’re really hoping to have it out by this fall. What it affected was how much we will tour with Gov’t Mule this summer, but it seemed like a good trade-off. we are going to be recording throughout May, before I got back on the road with the Allman Brothers and between Gov’t Mule date . We will be doing sessions with John Entwistle, John Paul Jones, Bootsy Collins, Billy Cox and Me’Shell Ndegeocello.

    GW: That’s quite a list. Who have you already recorded with?

    HAYNES: Jack Bruce, Mike Gordon, Phil Lesh, Les Claypool, Jack Casady, Dave Schools, Oteil Burbridge, Tony Levin, Rocco Prestia, Chris Wood, Alphonso Johnson and Chris Squire. Non bassist guests include Derek, Gregg, John Scofield, Johnny Neel, Jerry Cantrell, David Grisman and Bernie Worrell.

    GW: That sounds great. It must be very gratifying to have so many great people from such different spheres all agree to work with you.

    HAYNES: It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s amazing that everyone has said yes, but even better that they have all done amazing jobs. Once they get in tune with what we’re doing, it really starts clicking. Matt and I both really ecstatic about it and it just feel's like it was meant to be and that we’ve hopefully made the right decision about how to continue forward without Woody, which seemed impossible at first.

    GW: Will you tour in support of the album?

    HAYNES: Definitely. We are going to try and do a series of high profile shows with a few of the album guests at each one. Everyone we’ve worked with so far has agreed to do one or more show and ideally we would have three or four at each gig, which would be filmed and multi-tracked.

    GW: There’s a wide range of musicians involved, but some are from bands that you’ve long admired, like Cream [Jack Bruce] the Jefferson Airplane [Jack Casady] and Yes [Chris Squire]. It must be a charge to work with those guys.

    HAYNES: It’s been amazing. The original concept was to get Woody’s favorite bass players and they’ve all come aboard. And then we decided to include some contemporaries as well, people like Les Claypool who are also currently making music that we admire. My main mission is for each song to hold up compositionally. We’ve all heard records through the years that have these All-Star lineups and they don’t hold together, usually because there is not enough attention paid to the songwriting or preparation. People end up doing a lot of covers or poorly put together songs done on the fly in the studio, often because there’s not enough time to deal with it. I am really trying to avoid that. I want this to be like what the next Gov’t Mule CD would be if Woody were alive. There’s been a lot of thought put into the songwriting process and a whole lot of thought put into which song would be best for which bass player. In several cases we’ve also had original writing done with the guest musicians. It’s an exciting time for me. Somehow we’ve managed to turn something negative into something positive, and that’s the most you can ask for.


    [img]smilies/cry.gif[/img] (Douglas) Allen Woody [img]smilies/cry.gif[/img]

    [img]smilies/cry.gif[/img] 1955~2000 [img]smilies/cry.gif[/img]

    "Get behind the Mule!"
    M*U*L*E

  2. #2
    Romeo Delight
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    Mule is great....I've always wondered what exactly Allen died of...any idea?

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk Rod Dangle's Avatar
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    No they never said. At first the autopsy came up inconclusive. They did say there wasn't any drugs found in his system or any paraphernalia found in his hotel room. Supposedly he was sitting in a chair when they found him.

    I met Allen several times & he was a great & funny guy. I really miss hearing him play.

    They have Oteil from the Allmans playing with them right now. I just saw them in Chicago, Detroit & NYC. All three were great shows, Oteil fits in nice.

    M*U*L*E

  4. #4
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    Here's a review form musictoday.com.......

    Gov't Mule - The Deep End Vol. 1 (ATO Records)

    Gov't Mule is a "true" rock 'n' roll band—no gimmicks or wanking, just strong melodies, clear chord progressions, and a solid beat. Up until last Summer, that rocking sound was driven by guitarist/singer Warren Haynes, drummer Matt Abts, and bassist Allen Woody. After Woody's tragic and untimely death last year, however, the Mule was forced to rethink its presentation. After much soul searching, Haynes and Abts brought together 25 of the world's greatest rock bassists to record the next Gov't Mule record and pay tribute to Woody. The Deep End Vol. 1, featuring 12 of those renowned rhythm masters, comes as the first of two all-star albums paying homage to that most underrated of rock instruments, the bass, not to mention one of the instrument's most ardent supporters, Allen Woody.

    Far from being merely a tribute, The Deep End is truly a Gov't Mule album, featuring eight new Haynes tracks, one classic Mule song, and four covers. Although each song was written or chosen with a particular guest bassist in mind, the sound will be familiar to Mule fans because it is steeped in the well-oiled combo of Abts' powerhouse drumming and Haynes' scratchy, soulful vocals and blues-dipped guitar picking. The extra talent assembled for this project is mind boggling, nonetheless—guest bassists include Bootsy Collins (James Brown, P-Funk), Jack Bruce (Cream), Mike Gordon (Phish), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), John Entwistle (the Who), Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band), Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone), and Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band). Other guests range from Allmans connections like Greg Allman and Derek Trucks to keyboard veterans Bernie Worrell and Chuck Leavell (who has toured with the Mule for much of the last year). Highlights come in many shapes and sizes, including the heart-wrenching "Banks Of The Deep End," which features Gordon on bass and the superbly tasteful Danny Louis on keys; the intensely desperate "Beautifully Broken," which again utilizes Louis' skills, as well as excellent rhythm work from Lessard; the jazzy and swinging "Sco-Mule," so-called for its contribution from jazz guitarist John Scofield, who also has help from bassist Chris Wood (Medeski, Martin and Wood) and an inspired clavinet solo from Bernie Worrell; and one of the truly memorable rock songs of the last decade, the anthemic "Soulshine," which boasts bass work from Willy Weeks (Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, George Harrison), guitar/vocals from Little Milton, and the extraordinary keyboard talents of Chuck Leavell.

    In the end, Gov't Mule's The Deep End Vol. 1 succeeds where many similar concept albums fail because it is not a typical all-star affair, which generally consist of highly talented artists working "together" on very simplistic songs for a couple of hours at a time. The results usually lack coherence, a quality that Haynes and Abts achieve in spades on The Deep End. This stems from the fact that the two recorded the album the way they always have, albeit without their beloved former bassist. As great as this record turned out, fans will be drooling in anticipation of Vol. 2 (slated for an early 2002 release), which features bass playing from Les Claypool, Phil Lesh, John Paul Jones, Chris Squire, George Porter, Jr., and Tony Levin, among others. Although no one will ever be able to replace Allen Woody, The Deep End project sure is a nice way to show the world how important he was.

    by Paul Rosner

    M*U*L*E

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk Rod Dangle's Avatar
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    Today is a big day for the Mule and their fans! First and foremost - 10/8 is the day The Deep End Vol. 2 AND the documentary Rising Low both hit the stores!


    'The Deep End, Vol. 2' features guitarist Warren Haynes and drummer Matt Abts with 12 more of the world's greatest bass players, including Les Claypool (Primus), Jason Newsted, Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), Rocco Prestia, Alphonso Johnson, Jack Casady, Chris Squire, Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Tony Levin, Billy Cox, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), and Me'Shell Ndegeocello.

    Vol. 2 also includes appearances by Rob Baracco, David Grisman, Johnny Neel, Peter Sears, Chuck Leavell, Danny Louis, Gary Lucas, Bernie Worrell, Art Neville, and John Medeski.

    'Vol. 2' includes Hidden Treasure Vol. 2, a bonus CD with "Drivin' Rain" featuring James Hetfield on vocals and Les Claypool on bass, two previously unreleased live tracks, a DJ Logic remix of "Sco-Mule", and "Weekend with Warren" a short documentary on the hardest-working man in rock 'n roll.

    For the third installment of the Deep End series, 'Rising Low', director Mike Gordon (Phish) followed 25 of the world's greatest bass players as they convened to record an album in honor of Allen Woody's extraordinary talent. 'Rising Low' was the winner of the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the 2002 Newport Film Festival.


    And for your TV viewing pleasure, be sure to catch Gov't Mule's performance on Last Call With Carson Daly tonight (late) night - Tuesday October 8 on NBC at 1:35 a.m. EST. Stefan Lessard (bass- Dave Matthews Band) and Danny Louis (keyboard) joined Warren and Matt for the show.

    Check local listings for the details in your area - http://www.nbc.com/Last_Call_with_Carson_Daly
    -------------------------------------------------------
    'The Deep End, Vol.1'

    When Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody died in his sleep in August of 2000, it seemed that the band, comprised of Woody, formerly of the Allman Brothers Band, ABB guitarist Warren Haynes, and superb rock drummer Matt Abts, was through. Rather than give up on their incredible chemistry, however, Haynes and Abts decided to record a tribute album to Woody, with 25 of Allen's favorite bassists laying down the grooves. The result was a massive collection of amazing music, spanning two volumes.

    The Deep End Vol. 1, as with all Mule albums, displays the incredible guitar work and brawny vocals of frontman Warren Haynes, who draws heavily from Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix in his guitar playing.

    However, TDE is more ambitious and diverse than Mule's previous efforts, its content ranging from the jazz-rock of "Sco-Mule," featuring legendary jazz guitarist John Scofield, to the funk of "Tear Me Down," starring P-Funk's Bootsy Collins on bass, to the straight-ahead, Who-like hard rock of "Same Price," which features The Who's John Entwistle on bass.

    Diversity aside, though, it is Mule's trademark brand of Southern Rock that provides TDE's most memorable songs.

    Epics such as the Neil Young-like (think "Southern Man) "Banks of the Deep End," and the ABB's instantly memorable, feel-good song "Soulshine" provide Haynes plenty of room to sing with all his soul and heart, both with his voice and his guitar.

    TDE takes its listeners on a musical journey, through good times and bad, that ends with the powerful Grand Funk Railroad cover "Sin's a Good Man's Brother," a sobering reminder of Allen Woody's greatness, recorded before Woody passed away.

    Other guests on TDE Vol. 1 include Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cream bassist Jack Bruce, Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed, ABB guitarist Derek Trucks, and Gregg Allman.

    TDE Vol. 2 is scheduled for release in late 2002, featuring guests such as Les Claypool of Primus, Billy Cox from Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies, and Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.

    [img]graemlins/cry.gif[/img] Allen Woody 1956-2000
    M*U*L*E

  6. #6
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    The mule is cool. Awesome "jam" band.

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    Atomic Punk Rod Dangle's Avatar
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    Mule is the shit. [img]graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]

    They were my salvation from this bogus wait from VH, then Woody died and for awhile they were both on hiatus. At least now Mule is doing something, releasing shit and touring....What's VH doing? Sitting in 5150 with their thumb up their asses.

    Oh well....... [img]graemlins/irked.gif[/img]

    Where's my mule? Where's my 40 acres? Where's my dream Mr. Emancipator?
    M*U*L*E

  8. #8
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    Donor

    I read somewhere that Eddie is a Mule fan, but allot of Rock Stars say that. Anyways, maybe them actually have a member die and still moving forward will give Eddie some incentive to do something.

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk Rod Dangle's Avatar
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    Originally posted by willy4pres:
    I read somewhere that Eddie is a Mule fan, but allot of Rock Stars say that.
    Really?

    I was hoping Ed and Mike would show up on the tribute but that was just a pipe dream. I knew it would never happen but I thought it would be cool.

    Mule has a lot of famous fans like Metallica and Leslie West but most people don't know about these guys. The original Mule might've been the best 3 piece since Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, oh yeah and Rush too.

    Anyways, maybe them actually have a member die and still moving forward will give Eddie some incentive to do something.
    I doubt it. [img]graemlins/irked.gif[/img]
    M*U*L*E

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk Rod Dangle's Avatar
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    Here’s a quick review of this disc. I’ve only listened to this once or twice so my opinion may change after a few 100 more listens.

    Trying Not To Fall – Not a bad tune. This one features Jason Newsted (Metallica). I believe this tune was originally written for John Paul Jones but they had trouble hooking up with him. Word is Newsted was bummed about not being asked to be on this tribute so Warren asked him to play on this one since JPJ was unavailable. It’s got some nice crunch to it.

    Time To Confess – Features George Porter Jr. on bass and Art Neville on keys (both from The Meters, a funk-blues band from the 70’s). This tune is kind of mellow but it’s got a real nice groove to it.

    Greasy Granny’s Gopher Gravy (Part 1 and 2) – Features Les Claypool (Primus and Oysterhead). Two separate tracks but they blend into each other much like the old Pink Floyd records used to. Les sings most of this tune and it’s a true Les tune, there’s some nice bass licks on this one. It’s got a heavy Primus feel to it.

    What Is Hip? – Features Rocco Prestia (Tower of Power) and Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers and Blue Floyd) on keys. This is a Tower Of Power cover that Mule does a lot in concert. A great tune, one of my favorites on this disc.

    World Of Confusion – Features Tony Levin (King Crimson and Peter Gabriels Band). If any of you have seen the Les Paul special that Eddie was on back in ’88, Tony was the bald guy playing bass on the instrumental version of Hot For Teacher. As for the tune it’s another mellow one but it’s a really cool tune.

    Hammer And Nails – Features Meshell Ndegeocello and John Medeski (Medeski, Martin and Wood) on keys. This is a great old blues cover. Mule has done this tune many times in concert. Definitely one of my favorites on this disc. Meshell does a nice job of laying down the groove.

    Slow Happy Boys – Features Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna) also includes Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton) on organ and Peter Sears (?) on piano. Good tune kind of mellow, not one of my favorites, but it’s tolerable.

    Sun Dance - Features Chris Squire (Yes) and Johnny Neel again on keys. Cool instrumental, has a spacey jazz type of feel. The more I hear it, the more I like it. You can tell Warren wrote this with Yes in mind.

    Lay Of The Sunflower – Features Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead and Phil Lesh and Friends) David Grisman on mandolin and Rob Barraco (Phil Lesh and Friends) on keys. Big time Dead feel. This tune was written by Warren and Robert Hunter who co-wrote many Dead tunes with Jerry Garcia. Very cool if you’re a Dead fan.

    Catfish Blues – Features Billy Cox (Jimi Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsies) and Bernie Worrell (Parliament and Funkadelic) on keys. Classic Hendrix tune, right now this is my favorite tune on this disc. Warren just tears it up Jimi style.

    Which Way Do We Run? – Features Dave Schools (Widespread Panic) and Danny Louis (?) on keys. A slower paced tune but very cool. I’ve only heard this once or twice, so it’s hard for me to really say anything about it yet.

    Babylon Turnpike – Features Alphonso Johnson (Aretha Franklin?) A nice mellow jazz piece. Another tune I’ve only heard once or twice. Not sure if this was the best tune to end an album with though.
    M*U*L*E

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    Dear Rod Dangle,

    Thanks for the review! Mule has also been my salvation through this VH hiatus. Isn't it a shame that these guys haven't broke it big yet. I would also agree that they were hands down, one of the best three piece groups ever. I've seen them live three times now. Most recently, last year at the LandMark theater in Syracuse, NY. I had the pleasure of seeing them back in 1996 or 97 at a very small club in Utica, NY with probably 250 people in the place. Just incredible amount of sound coming from three people. I actually have a bootleg of this show and its easily the best bootleg recording I have. Very good sound quality, no fuzz, feedback, excellent mix. If you would like a copy, email me your address. I'll send you a copy at no charge. I'll be picking up Vol. 2 tommorow. I live in a small town just north of Utica, NY and actually have to drive 45 minutes just to get good music. Anyway, thanks again for the review. P.S. I'm still hoping for a Warren/Edward jam someday! [img]graemlins/bounce.gif[/img]
    "People say Cream gave birth to Heavy Metal," says Baker. "If that's so, we should have had an abortion."

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    Atomic Punk Rod Dangle's Avatar
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    Cool, I might just take you up on that offer. I have a few tasty Mule boots myself.

    Tuesday night the Mule will be kicking my ass here in Detroit. I can't wait. [img]graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]

    Check out this pic of me and Matt Abts and a buddy of mine. This pic was taken back in July of '99. Mule did an acoustic show in a little blues bar no more than a half mile from my house. My buddy painted their logo on his hood and they all came out and signed it with one of those paint markers. That's me to the right in the white Detroit Tigers hat and the Allmans shirt.

    Might've been one the best shows I've ever seen.

    My burner is on the fritz right now but I'll ask my buddy if he can burn that show for you.

    And yes I would love to see or hear Warren and Ed jam together.
    M*U*L*E

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    Dear Rod Dangle,

    Picked up volume two last Friday. Your review is excellent. After my first few listens, I am amazed at "Sun Dance", " What is Hip?" and "Catfish Blues". I think Catfish is better than Jimi's version. Anyway, if you would like a free copy of the Utica show I mentioned in my previous post, email me your address at Kwidrick@lewiscountyny.org Also, very cool pic on your last post. Did you see the "Brothers" on their summer tour this year? I saw them in Saratoga, NY in August. Derek Trucks absolutely smoked! Gets better and better every time I see him. Anyway, thanks for the review. [img]graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]
    "People say Cream gave birth to Heavy Metal," says Baker. "If that's so, we should have had an abortion."

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    Tracking The Deep End with Warren Haynes
    Jeff Waful 10-23-2002



    Guitarist Warren Haynes continues to work as hard as anyone in the music business. This past year he’s split his time between the Allman Brothers, Phil & Friends and Gov’t Mule, while finishing Volume 2 of The Deep End, which was released last month. The album serves as a tribute to bassist Allen Woody and features all of his bass heroes as well as other special guests. Warren discussed each track of the album with us in detail. We talked with him backstage at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, just minutes before he took the stage with Gov’t Mule for the tour opener in mid-October.

    JW: By now I think everyone knows the concept of the albums, so let’s start off by leading into to Volume 2 and how you separated the albums.

    WH: Well originally it was going to be one entity. It was just gonna be a double CD, but between scheduling conflicts and deadlines and the fact that we had 160 minutes of music, we decided to separate it. Really for a hardcore fan, 160 minutes is a lot to digest. In the old days, that would have been four albums because records used to be 40 minutes long - or less. So we made the decision for it to be Volume 1 and Volume 2. There was really only two or three different ways that everything would fit on the discs because we took up so much space. So in some ways it made it a nightmare to sequence, but in other ways it made it easy because we didn’t have many choices. There were very few options. I think disc two is a little more eclectic. It’s got the two instrumentals. It’s got the song with Phil Lesh and David Grisman, which is real Appalachian-sounding. It’s a little bit more diverse than the first one, but they’re both equally action packed.

    JW: Let’s go through song by song. The first track is “Try Not to Fall.”

    WH: “Try Not to Fall” was the last song recorded for the record. Once we had started doing some live shows with Jason Newsted, it kind made sense to do a track with him. We had done a demo of that song, but had never done an actual version of it. So we took Jason and recorded it with him. I kind of felt like it rounded out the whole record. Without that track, the record didn’t rock enough. It was too diverse and too mellow. So adding one more rock track just seemed to balance it out.

    JW: Talk about how you got hooked up with Jason Newsted.

    WH: Jason and I became friends through my acquaintance with the Metallica guys. I had started to read in interviews that the guys in Metallica were Gov’t Mule fans. Then we shared a tour accountant, who used to work for the Allman Brothers and also worked for Metallica. I spoke to him one day and this was back when they were doing Lollapalooza and he said ‘Hey did you know that the Metallica guys are big Gov’t Mule fans?’ And I said, ‘Yeah I started reading that in a few articles here and there’ and he said ‘I’m sure they’d love to meet them, why don’t you come out to one of the shows?’ They were going to be at Randall’s Island in New York and I wanted to hear them live and hear Soundgarden, which is a good thing because they wound up breaking up. So I went out and met all the guys and they were real nice. That’s when Jason and I first got to know each other.

    When I was out in California working on Phil Lesh’s record, he left me a message at the studio and wanted to get together and have lunch. So he and I and [Warren’s wife and manager Stefani Scamardo] sat one day and talked briefly and he said he would love to do something whether it was live or some recording or a separate project. He was like ‘It doesn’t even have to be Gov’t Mule, I just think we would mesh really well.’ I thought at the time that we’d drag him in on Volume 2 of The Deep End. I don’t think he knew that there was still an opening on Volume 2 because at one point we had kind closed the door and said that the album was done, but once I realized that we really needed one rocker, we re-opened that door. So I called him and asked him to come to some live shows with us and he came out and we became good friends hanging on the bus and having fun. We played a lot of great music together, so I asked him to come to the studio and do that track with us.

    It worked out really well. Jason’s a really good musician, who similar to a lot of us, gets pigeon-holed into a category and some people think that that’s all he does. But like most good musicians, he can do a lot of different type of things. I remember one time hearing a conversation between him and someone else about how much he loved Tower of Power. You think ‘wow, the bass player from Metallica being a Tower of Power fan,’ but why not? I mean look at our influences. They go from bluegrass to hard rock to jazz to blues to psychedelia to folk music to soul music, so I think that’s the case with most musicians.


    JW: “Time to Confess.”

    WH: “Time to Confess” I had written years ago and was probably, in the back of my mind, saving it for what would be my next solo album. It may not have wound up being a Gov’t Mule song had Woody not passed away. I’m not really sure. I just always loved that song, but it was one of those songs that definitely needed keyboards. Just in my mind, the way I heard it in my head, it needed that quartet type of feel. When we secured George Porter Jr. and Art Neville for the record, I just started going through in my head different songs that were already written, thinking about ones that would be good and “Time to Confess” just kind of stood out. I thought it would be great with those guys playing and it turned out to be the case. I mean, they did a wonderful job on it and it definitely has their personality blended with our personality.

    JW: “Greasy Granny 1 and 2.”

    WH: The first bass player to work with us on the entire project was Les Claypool and we had three days together, which was great. So we spent the first day getting to know each other and jamming and archiving the jams and then the ones that seemed to resemble song parts, we went back and listened to them and put some sort of arrangement together musically. Then at the end of the day, when we felt like we had a musical arrangement together, we agreed that Les would write some lyrics and I would write some lyrics and we would see where we stood from that. The next day we came into the studio and I asked him what he had and he said ‘Well, I’ve got this idea about this woman, Greasy Granny and Greasy Granny’s gopher gravy.’ I asked him who was Greasy Granny and he said ‘Well, she’s kind of like a crystal meth dealer who was a hooker on the side.’ He just had this whole image of who Greasy Granny was. She wasn’t an old woman. She was old before her time, but it was Greasy Granny in the way that you would say something derogatory about someone.

    I remember Stefani and I were laughing and asked him where he came up with that image. He said ‘Oh just driving around’ and we were like ‘where the hell were you driving?’ For Les, driving around means up in the mountains north of Marin County and there are no towns up there. His world is full of those kinds of images. All his characters are very animated and very full of humor. So he asked me what I had and I told him about the ‘Separate your mind from your body’ thing and we agreed that maybe they would work together. Somehow he had the line ‘Get your gopher gravy from Greasy Granny’ and we put that together with my line and that became the chorus.

    Part 2 came about because there was another part of the jam that we liked equally as much as Part 1, but it was a different groove, different time signature, and different concept entirely and I just thought we could split them up. In the long run we wound up putting the lyrical concept in to Part 2 as well. It worked out really cool. They were recorded back to back. They weren’t pieced together. That’s the way we played it: Part 1 into Part 2, exactly like it appears on the record. Then we went back and put the vocals on.


    JW: “What is Hip?”

    WH: “What is Hip?” was a big influence on all of us individually before we ever knew each other; on Matt [Abts], on Woody and on me. It was especially influential on Woody. When you listen to songs like “Mule” and then you listen to “What is Hip?” you hear the influence that Rocco Prestia had Allen Woody, even though they were totally different as personalities and as musicians. That’s why we chose to put the little “Mule” signature riff at the end of “What is Hip?” to kind of tie them together. Rocco was a huge influence on Woody in general and that song just sort of made sense and I thought ‘hell, no one’s ever really done a cover of it and it’s a great song. It holds up today as much as it did then. We should just do it.’ In a way, I’m very glad that we chose that song and in another way, I wish we had gotten to play something other than that song with Rocco because that’s a song that he plays every day of his life. So to him it was old hat, but to us it was a great adventure. I remember Rocco joking to us one time, ‘Hey maybe next time we’ll play something other than “What is Hip?”’ [laughs] It’d be kind of like me playing “Soulshine” with someone. ‘Wow, what a thrill.’ [laughs] You know what I mean? But it’s a great version and I’m very proud of it and glad that we chose it.

    JW: “World of Confusion.”

    WH: “World of Confusion” I wrote with Gary Lucas, who wrote “Grace” and a couple of the tunes on the Jeff Buckley record, Grace and I’m a huge fan of that record. Gary and I had been talking for quite some time about getting together and writing, and he basically came by my house and played me some stuff that he had and I took it and combined it with some stuff that I had. I think he originally had the title, either “World of Confusion” or “Land of Confusion” or something like that. It was a different melody. Other than that, I wrote all the lyrics to it, but he inspired the whole concept. A lot of the musical ideas and the hook riffs belong to Gary. He had already written them. The strange chord changes in the verse were mine. The chorus was basically his and that little intro figure. When we recorded it Gary was in Europe, so he couldn’t be there, but when he got back I brought him into the studio and had him overdub his guitar on it. So he appears on there as well.

    Recording with Tony Levin obviously was just a joy. Tony, aside from being impeccable, incredible bass player, is just such a great person to be around and he’s so humble and so personable. He’s one of those cats that every bass player you talk to loves Tony Levin. He just doesn’t let it affect him. He’s just who he is. Anytime I get to work with Tony is always a pleasure.


    JW: “Hammer and Nails.”

    WH: “Hammer and Nails” is a song that I remembered from my teenage years, originally from Jesse Winchester. I always thought that Jesse Winchester wrote it, but he didn’t and I found out just recently, when we were going to clear the publishing; I couldn’t even find the original Jesse Winchester version to reference. So I basically played it from memory. I remembered it in my head, which is not always accurate to reality. But, it’s one of those one-chord songs that you can’t screw up too badly. That’s one of those songs we played with Woody every now and then, but he never played bass on it. He always played mandolin on it and after Woody died, [Dave] Schools came in and played bass on it, but there was no blueprint for him to learn in from because Woody had always played Mandolin. I still remember the first time we played that song was at Lupo’s in Providence with Chuck Leavell and with Dave Schools. We actually had the balls to open up with a song that neither one of them had ever heard or had ever played. I just said ‘Trust me guys. It’s one chord, whatever you play is gonna be great.’ It’s just one those things you have to feel and the very first time we played it, it was great. It fell right into place. Of course both of those guys are great players.

    Consequently, when I sent a bunch of songs to Me’shell [N’degeocello] and she kind of gravitated towards that one, she said ‘Do you want me to learn and reference the bass part that’s on the tape?’ And I told her the story of how Woody played mandolin on it. Schools had never heard the song when he played it, so I told her to just do the same thing and play what you feel and she thought that was great and that was what she preferred to do. She didn’t even really listen to it, other than to decide that she liked the song. We just went in and jammed. That whole take with her and John Medeski, including my vocal, is a live performance. Usually we would go back and redo my vocal, but on that particular one we kept the live vocal because it’s just that kind of song. It’s quite a cool version. She played great and of course John played great as well.


    JW- “Slow Happy Boys”?

    WH: That was a nickname that was given to me and Woody [by Allman Brothers road manager Kirk West] when we were in the Allman Brothers. Our dressing room that we used to share was called “The Slow Happy Room.” There’d be a sign on the door that said that and we knew what that meant. That meant that that was our place, you know? I don’t think Woody ever even heard the song. I just wrote it kind of as a novelty. Feel free as a listener to try to figure out what it’s about. It’s not a very heavy subject matter song, which is a little against the grain for me. I usually tend to write about more heavy subject matters, but I’m glad that this one appears and I’m glad that we did it with Jack Casady. He was one of Woody’s initial heroes. Woody loved Casady in the beginning and then they became good friends, which was a nice full-circle reaction.

    I always toyed with whether it should remain in my head or whether it should actually be given to the public because it’s just a personal little ditty really. I had told Kirk about it and I told Woody about it, but neither one of them had ever heard it. Nobody had every heard it. I had that song laying around for six or eight years and had never played it for anyone, other than by myself in my bedroom. When we were looking for something for Casady to play it just seemed right. It seemed like it would have Jack’s feel and I was kind of leaning toward recording that song or giving that song a life so to speak anyway. I thought Pete Sears would be great on it and Pete and Jack play together all the time. Sure enough, I played it for Jack and he loved it. We cut it the first take. I mean, we tried at least two more times just to see if we could top it, but the first take was definitely the best one. So I went back after the fact and overdubbed a little bit of slide guitar and redid my vocal and then when we got back to New York, I felt like the instrumentation was still a little bit empty so I asked Chuck Leavell to put organ on it. So Pete and Chuck are both playing on it, which is really great. Pete’s playing piano and Chuck’s playing organ. That tune just brings a smile to my face when I hear it. It’s a nice little departure.


    JW: Next is one of my highlights on the album, “Sundance.” That’s the one I was telling you about where I almost drove off the road the first time I heard it. That breakdown section in the middle is just so different from anything else on the album.

    WH: “Sundance” was written in ’89 or ’90. Johnny Neel and myself had just joined the Allman Brothers and Johnny and I used to get adjoining hotel rooms when we were on the road. He would have a keyboard in his room and I would have an acoustic guitar and sometimes we would spend days off working on songs and stuff. “Sundance” was written back then and we knew then that we had written a really cool instrumental, but it didn’t make sense for the Allman Brothers. It didn’t sound like the Allman Brothers and it didn’t really make sense at all for Gov’t Mule, although eventually it would have.

    When it really started to cry out to be heard was when we confirmed Chris Squire (Yes) to play with us. The song always had this very obvious Yes influence. We acknowledged that. We realized that it was very different than instrumentals that we had been known for working on in the past. So when Chris came on board, that’s the song that instantly came to my mind. I was speaking to Chris on the phone and he said that he’d really like to hear the song before we recorded it and maybe even work on it a little bit. He’s one of those guys that likes to compose a bass part and sometimes spend a lot of time and energy putting together the exact right bass line for the song. That song kind of needs that sort of treatment anyway. So I told him that we didn’t have a demo of it and we were in the studio making the actual record and I didn’t have time to make a demo of it. He asked if I could record it with acoustic guitar and I said that maybe I could do that. I actually put it down with the electric guitar, just my guitar by itself, nothing else and sent it to him.

    He got something from that, but not enough. So he called me back and is like, ‘I really need to hear more, like what the other instruments are gonna be doing.’ And I was like, ‘Well ok, but you’re coming up here the day after tomorrow. That means we have to record a demo of it tonight, FedEx it out to you, you get it tomorrow and then the next day you’re on a plane up here.’ And he said, ‘Well, if it’s not too much trouble, that would really help me out.’ I thought the song deserved it. I mean, it’s such an intricate piece and it deserved that type of attention. At that time, Matt [Abts] and Johnny vaguely remembered it from eleven years before. I was the only one who really remembered who the song went.

    So Johnny and I refreshed our memories on how it went, we showed it to Matt, we did a little demo of it without bass and the demo was actually quite good. So we sent that to Chris. He came back in the next day and said he loved the demo. He’s like, ‘The performance is great. Can I just add my bass to that?” And we’re like, “No, that’s not a multi-track. That went straight to DAT. There’s no way to possibly do that. We gotta re-cut it. So we spent an entire day working on this arrangement, making sure everything was just right. That song took a lot of effort, but it was definitely worth it. The part that he wrote for it was just tremendous. Classic Chris Squire bass line, changing from section to section and sections repeat his part would change. It just kind of showcases why he is who he is.


    JW: That’s a great story because I thought it was the other way around. I assumed you wrote that song recently specifically because you got Chris Squire for the album.

    WH: No. It was over ten years old.

    JW: There’s quite a contrast to the next song, “Lay of the Sunflow.”

    WH: Yeah, I love the way “Lay of the Sunflower” comes after “Sundance.” It’s really beautiful. To do the sequence, I spent a lot of time listening to songs in different orders and sometimes specifically trying to see what different songs would sound like coming out of other songs. More often that not, I’d put a CD of rough mixes and pushing the random button and letting the CD player decide what order it wanted to play the songs in and if something really cool happened, then I would make a note of it. I had this little book that I would make references like that in.

    JW: Did that particular segue occur randomly?

    WH: It did come about on random, but it actually came about by accident on some work tape that they just happened to appear on back to back. I really liked the way they worked together. “Lay of the Sunflower” was a Robert Hunter poem and Phil [Lesh] has told me that I had permission to go through some of Robert’s lyrics and write music to them, which was very awesome news to me. The first one that I ever put music to was “Lay of the Sunflower.”

    I looked through this book of his lyrics and poetry and looked at all the titles that had never been made into songs and there were three or four of them that struck me, especially the titles themselves and that was one of them. So I looked at the lyrics and this melody just came into my head instantly. I picked up this guitar that I have. It’s a small body Martin guitar that Steve Miller gave me when we were doing the Steve Miller tour. It stays tuned a step and a half above standard, so if you play a G chord, it’s actually a B flat chord. So I wrote it on that guitar, which is like having a capo on the third fret of a normal guitar. It just kind of flowed out. I looked at this lyric and the one part that seemed like it bared repeating was ‘fare ye well, I would not weep…’ That whole little section seemed like a chorus to me. The hardest part for that song was making all the lyrics fit because I couldn’t take any of them out. There are so many words, but they’re all important. I couldn’t remove any of the verses. There are literally like eight verses in the song, but to tell the story, they all have to be there. So we had to accompany the story dynamically. The first part of the verse would go up and the second part would go down and third part would go back up. We had to kind of make the music tell the story, which was quite a challenge. I knew when I first wrote it that I wanted to hear mandolin on it. So we called David Grisman and we got him to come in.

    The first person I ever showed it to was Phil and we worked it up with Phil & Friends and I had already asked him about being on The Deep End and when we were trying to decide what song to do I asked him if he want to do “Lay of the Sunflower” or save it for the Phil & Friends record and he left it up to me. So we got [Rob] Barraco to play piano and David mandolin. It’s such a lovely departure for the record. It just all the sudden takes a turn down a dirt road and you wind up in this beautiful meadow that you didn’t know was there. I really like that song a lot. It was such an honor to put that lyric to music. When I told Phil how the whole thing happened in like thirty minutes, he just laughed and said, ‘Well you know that’s what Jerry [Garcia] used to say about Hunter’s lyrics, that they just inspired him to write music really quickly.”


    JW: Next is “Catfish Blues.”

    WH: “Catfish Blues” is kind of similar to the Muddy Waters version. There’s “Rolling Stone,” which almost like “Catfish Blues.” They go back even further. You can trace that song over 100 years. It’s traditional at this point, but people change the words through the years. We used to do a version of it that combined the Hendrix version with the Muddy Waters version. We used to do that with Woody and we kind of stumbled on a nice, unique arrangement of it. When we found out that Billy Cox was gonna record with us, that’s the song that leaped into my mind even though he’s not on the original “Catfish Blues.” I think that’s Noel Redding, who I’ve worked with in the past also and loved. One of the special side bars about the Billy Cox thing was that he and Woody were close friends. They both grew up in Nashville and in the documentary Rising Low, Mike Gordon interviews Billy Cox and he talks about his relationship with Woody and how long they’ve known each other. So that was a personal thing also. To go in there and play that song and do a couple takes with Billy Cox and have it come across the way it did was just really a magical thing. We cut it as a three-piece, but I knew Bernie Worrell was coming in to play on some other stuff and I thought it would be nice if we added organ to it and we added that after the fact.

    JW- “Which Way Do We Run.”

    WH- I wrote that one six or eight years ago. I wrote it about the time I was leaving the Allman Brothers, so some time around ’96. It was another one of those departure songs where I didn’t know if it would fit into a Gov’t Mule album or not. There were certain songs that I would write that would always start on an acoustic guitar and there would always be room for two or three of those kind of songs on a Gov’t Mule record, but the majority of the record had to be more band-driven. This song may have wound up being a Gov’t Mule song with Woody. It’s hard to say. I don’t think he ever heard it. I don’t think I ever played it for him. When I was showing Dave Schools some songs, that was one of the first ones that I showed him as options for songs for him to record. He just gravitated towards that one and he said we shouldn’t look any further. He wanted to do that one. It was a pleasure putting it together. Dave played great. We brought Danny Louis in to just do some atmospheric kind of keyboards really. That song is a nice example of some of the new directions that Gov’t Mule is taking. There’re influences that have always been there, but maybe didn’t come out until now.

    JW- And finally, “Babylon Turnpike.”

    WH- “Babylon Turnpike” was written at about the same time “Sundance” was written with Johnny Neel. We wrote both of those together. It’s a similar kind of story in the way that it was too straight-ahead jazzy for the Allman Brothers and probably for any project that I had done up until now. I wondered if it was too jazzy for this project, but when Alphonso [Johnson] came on board, I thought, ‘Well, Alphonso’s such a great upright player. Why don’t we take a shot?’ Johnny was gonna be part of the sessions anyway.

    There’s an interesting story that goes along with that song. Danny Gatton, before he died, had called me and we had never met in person, but his manager was a mutual friend and was trying to get the two of us together. Woody and I ended up playing at the Danny Gattin Tribute, but Danny’s manager had called and asked me if it was ok to give Danny my phone number and I said it was. So he called me one day and said he was looking for material for his new record and if I had anything. I told him I had this jazzy song called “Babylon Turnpike,” but that I didn’t have a demo of it. I thought maybe Johnny and I could whip up a demo and send it to him. So one day during Allman Brothers sound check, Johnny and I played it – just the two of us – recorded it straight into a DAT or cassette and sent the only known copy to Danny Gatton.

    He called me back and said, ‘Man, I really love that song, but it’s a little too jazzy for this record. My next record is going to be a straight jazz record and I’d like to do it on that album if that’s ok with you.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’d be honored.’ Of course he never made that record. He died before he had the chance. So that song has a strange history about it. When we recorded it with Alphonso, it was such a pleasure just kind of sinking our teeth into something that was more straight-ahead jazz than anything we had ever done. To me, it was the perfect way to close the record. It’s almost like when that song ends, you turn the light off.


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    "Catfish Blues"--do they use the same outtro as Jimi from his "Blues" album??? The "Cat's Squirrel" jam and snippet of "Spoonfull"??

 

 

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