12.08.14 Warren Haynes talks Allman Brothers, John Scofield and new Gov’t Mule releases
Why did it take so long to release this batch of Gov’t Mule records? They go back a ways – Sco-Mule was recorded in 1999.
“That’s probably the biggest question of all: Why did Sco-Mule take so long to come out? The answer being that out initial plan was to release it a year, year and a half after it was recorded, because we were starting to embark on our next studio record at the time. Everything changed when Allen Woody passed away; that one got shelved for obvious reasons. Then once we decided to continue, because we didn’t know if we would, the focus became getting the next chapter of Gov’t Mule together and creating new music.
“It took a while to feel like the right time, and it’s the right time now partially because it’s the 20th anniversary and partially because the schedules are working out for us to do a tour with John Scofield.”
On paper, yours and John’s styles are so different. What does he bring out in your playing?
“I think when we play together, it automatically challenges me to play more jazzy, and it gets John to play a little more bluesy and rocky. We kind of meet in the middle, and interesting things happen at that point. It inspires us to explore different parts of our personalities. It’s fun when the lines blur somewhat.”
What kind of material will you guys do on tour next year?
“All the stuff on the Sco-Mule release, plus some stuff from his catalog and some stuff from my catalog. We’ll do some outside stuff, too. Even though the release is limited to instrumental music, the tour will probably entail the equivalent of two sets – one with John, one without him. Even when he’s on stage, it won’t have to be all instrumental. The key to the tour will be in making every set different. We’ll be honing that in as we go.”
The Stones collection is terrific. No matter which combination of Stones guitarists you’re covering, you nail it perfectly.
“Well, thank you. [Laughs] That’s always good to hear. We get a lot out of playing music by artists that we admire. I try to strike a balance between being myself and maintaining my own voice, but also paying tribute and acknowledging the fact that these guys were influences. I think if that balance is achieved, it’s the most effective thing for the music. It sort of gives it a reason for being, as opposed to just being a jukebox or karaoke. I mean, no matter how close we can get to sound of spirit or vibe, nobody can ever really sound like the Stones. [Laughs] As long as you get the spirit right, that’ll take you pretty far.”