Warren Haynes: A Man in Motion (at the White House, Apollo Theater, Terrapin Crossroads, a Ramble and More)
You’re certainly more familiar with that catalog than Sco. How does that play out from your perspective?
He’s done stuff in the past with Phil but not a ton so he has to kind dig in and study the stuff in his own way. But he’s such an amazing musician that a) it’s not a problem and b) he’s going to add his own personality to it regardless, so it works out great. I think it’s kind of a nice wild card that he’s not thinking about, “Oh, in such and such a year Jerry played it this way.” He’s just thinking, “Oh, this is a cool song that I just checked out and this is what I feel.”
One final February performance I want to ask you about is the Ramble up in Woodstock where you stepped in for Levon Helm. That night you performed with Donald Fagen. How many times had that happened before?
I think we’ve played together three times prior to this past time.
I was stunned when I first learned he was singing “Shakedown Street” on that Dukes of September Rhythm Revue tour [Fagen later performed the song with the Allman Brothers Band at the 2011 Beacon Theater run]. Did he ever explain to you how that came about?
No, I just heard that he had been doing it with Levon’s band. So when he was coming to sit in with us, he and I communicated by email. I brought up, “Hey, what about ‘Shakedown Street’? I know you’ve been doing it with Levon.” He said, “Yeah, that would be cool.” Then he responded, “What about ‘Down Along the Cove’?’” a Bob Dylan song. Now the ironic thing is I don’t know whether he knew it or not but the Johnny Jenkins version of “Down Along the Cove” had Duane Allman playing side guitar. So it was a perfect suggestion. Then he came in and rehearsed in the afternoon with us and we went through both of the tunes and played them later that night. It was very cool.
Next month the Live at The Moody Theater DVD with the Warren Haynes Band will come out. Right now you have one gig announced for this year with the band. It sounds like you have a lot of things going on, but do you anticipate that the group will come back together for any other dates in 2012?
There’s been talk of doing another run which would be in addition to all the other Mule stuff that’s going on. I don’t want to be held to it but we’re hoping to do three more weeks this year or something like that.
I know that you have a lot of other recording projects on the horizon but do you think you might go into the studio with that band at some point?
I think that would be fun. We become very close as a unit and developed a band personality and we work together very well. It would be really fun to do that.
As for the DVD have you watched it at all?
Yeah, I had to give my insight on the mix and the editing and all the creative parts of it. So yeah, I watched it a few times.
In doing that and checking out the band from an altogether different perspective, was there anything that you learned about yourself or the group?
The band had grown a lot by the time we got to Austin, which is where we filmed it. We started playing together in April, so by November we were smoking. There’s an ironic thing that ties into this story. One of the covers we chose to do that night was [Steely Dan’s] “Pretzel Logic.” We played a really, really long show knowing that if some songs weren’t up to par we could always eliminate them but in the tradition that goes along with what we do, our audience doesn’t want you to eliminate anything. They want the whole show, warts and all, which is what we decided to give them. So there’s a 12-minute “Pretzel Logic,” which was really good, and I was talking to Donald Fagen about it and we decided to do “Pretzel Logic” at the Ramble the other night. So I was really honored that he and I sang it as a duet. We traded verses which was a big thrill for me.
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Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
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