10.02.14 After 20 Years, Gov’t Mule is Still Getting Gritty
"Are you feeling good and nasty?"
The question from rock legend Warren Haynes was more statement than question for the crowd gathered at the 2013 Hangout Music Fest.
In one of the festival's grittiest performances, Hayes stood with his signature Gibson Les Paul guitar blazing in the midday sun, paused, looked into the crowd and apologized for playing "those nasty songs."
Haynes then proceeded to get nastier as he led the band through "Broke Down on the Brazos."
On Tuesday, Pensacola fans will prepare for a gritty and nasty night as Govt. Mule hits the Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place.
As guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band and the Dickey Betts Band, Haynes stands in line with American rock icons who've combined their love of blues and rock 'n' roll.
In 2013, Gov't Mule celebrated its 20th anniversary with the release of a double album, "Shout!," and Haynes doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
In a PNJ telephone interview, Haynes discusses "The Mule," rock 'n' roll and his return to Pensacola.
Q: At last year's Hangout Fest you apologized for playing those "nasty songs." What makes a Warren Haynes song so nasty?
A: (Laughs) I guess that's in the ears of the beholder. I'm not sure what I was thinking of at that moment, but Gov't Mule is definitely a rock 'n' roll band in the truest meaning of the word, and along with that comes a nice bit of dirtiness and heaviness that goes back to all of our favorite rock 'n' roll bands of the past.
Q: What is going on inside of you when you're playing in front of a crowd?
A: When you're performing onstage, the best performances are the ones where you completely lose yourself in another zone where you almost even forget you are performing. The most you can hope to achieve in any performance situation, the less thinking the better, and especially for bands like us that thrive on improvisation, the best improvisation comes when you lose yourself in the music and completely just ride the wave. You can't force those moments to happen and when they do, you have to be thankful. When you have a great chemistry like ours and you afford yourselves the luxury of staying together as long as we have, you can anticipate them more often. That's what we live for; those times when the music is playing itself.