12.29.14 A Conversation with Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes (Huffington Post)
Mike Ragogna: Warren, first of all, can you believe it's been 20 years for this ensemble of Mule-igans?
Warren Haynes: No! When we started it was just as a side project for fun. We had no aspirations on a 2nd year, or a 5th year, or a 10th year, much less a 20th year.
MR: What are some of your favorite mile markers for the Mule?
WH: I think each of our studio records marks a period of musical growth and expansion. Similarly most of our "live" releases represent the band doing something different than we had done in the past. I'm very proud of our latest studio release Shout! as I think it showcases the most diverse array of influences of any our studio releases which is appropriate for our 20th Anniversary.
MR: You've been identified as an "alternative" or "indie" band when that label was all the rage. But it being twenty years later and considering you're now releasing Dark Side Of The Mule--which I'll ask you about in a second--what kind of music do you feel the band is creating now? And from your perspective, how has the band's live shows evolved over the years?
WH: We're a rock band that draws its influences from a lot of directions: blues, jazz, folk music, soul music, psychedelic music, reggae, really any genre that we consider timeless. Our live shows have always reflected that, maybe even more than our studio releases as the live shows are 3 hours long so anything goes.
MR: Okay, Dark Side of The Mule. How did the concept come about and how do you think Pink Floyd will react when they hear it?
WH: It's important to know the history/tradition of our Halloween shows. Every Halloween for almost a decade we've given ourselves the luxury of "donning a disguise" if you will. We've performed entire sets of Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, etc. This year we did 2 1/2 hours of Neil Young music in addition to an 80 minute set of all Mule music. We were considering a few different options for Halloween 2008. The choice to do Pink Floyd was solidified by the news of Rick Wright's death just prior to making a decision. Not sure if Pink Floyd will hear it but if they do I would hope they would like it. I've never met David Gilmour but I worked with Roger Waters on the Levon Helm Tribute concert. He also came with Eric Clapton to the Beacon Theater to see the Allman Brothers during our 40th Anniversary run where Eric sat in with us.
MR: Sweet. Are there any other classic albums or band concepts you want to pat homage to in the future?
WH: Well, we will continue to do our thematic Halloween and New Year's Eve shows. If something seems appropriate we may release it as part of our series of archival releases.