12.29.14 An Interview with Gov’t Mule: 20 Years Mighty (The Aquarian Weekly)
Gov’t Mule has a specialty for every season. In spring and summer you’ll find them headlining festivals everywhere—including an annual appearance at the Mountain Jam Festival that frontman Warren Haynes helped found. Come fall and winter, Mule fans clamor for tickets to the band’s musically-costumed Halloween and New Year’s Eve shows. Haynes also organizes the epic “Xmas Jam” with other musicians each December in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, to fundraise for Habitat for Humanity.
The ambitious singer/guitarist/songwriter has led one of rock’s most dynamic and hardworking live acts for two decades. Though Haynes is exceedingly humble, he has every reason to be proud of Gov’t Mule’s legacy: what started as a side project of the former full-time Allman Brothers guitarist blossomed into a relentless touring force beloved for constant setlist surprises, frequent collaborations, and expert improvisation.
Prior to heading to Madison Square Garden to play the national anthem at that night’s Knicks game—and in the midst of preparations for his huge holiday shows—Haynes graciously found time to chat with The Aquarian.
You’re going to do an AC/DC theme at your New Year’s Eve show in New York this year with Myles Kennedy. How’d you decide to cover them?
Well, for getting close to a decade now we've been doing these thematic shows: one on Halloween, one on New Year's Eve. Sometimes the theme is covering an artist or a band, and sometimes it's covering a particular record. Last year we did a Doors set with [Doors guitarist] Robby Krieger. Every year it's something different—we usually have some sort of special guest and it turns into a big marathon show.
[We've been] talking about AC/DC for a few years, and we've been talking about it with Myles because it's perfect for him. Vocally it's a little out of my range, but with Myles being the perfect person for that role I'll be able to concentrate on playing guitar. It'll be different and fun for me. We're picking a nice, long set of fun stuff to do—not just a greatest hits set—but more of the obscure stuff too. AC/DC is party music and New Year's Eve in New York City is party time, party place.
Yeah, I've been to a few of your New Year's Eve shows and I'm always impressed by how you guys really take it to the max every time.
Thank you. It's an undertaking, you know, it's a challenge. It takes a lot of work and preparation but we love it and I think it makes us better in the long run.