Warren Haynes: Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag
An opportunity presented itself in 1986 when Dickey Betts invited Haynes to a vocal session where he was recording a demo. Matt Abts was the drummer for the Dickey Betts Band and recalls, “Marty Privette, the bass player, who lived in Nashville had been talking about Warren Haynes and [told Betts], ‘You’ve got to hear him play.’ He had quite a reputation back then.”
Betts liked what he heard, welcoming Haynes into the group and into Allman Brothers Band when they reformed in 1989. Throughout the years, as Haynes met new steady collaborators in Gov’t Mule, Phil Lesh & Friends and The Dead, he continued to push against the limitations that those studio sessions imposed.
“The whole idea of discovering the music as you’re playing it is something I’m very intrigued by and is a big part of everything we do,” Haynes says. “When you’re talking about some of the more complex numbers, especially in odd time signatures, there are certain ones that if someone gets off track, it’s really hard to get back on.
“An example in Gov’t Mule is the song ‘Wandering Child.’ If any individual loses the time signature, it’s hard to get back. And I can remember two instances where we almost had to stop playing because we were scared we weren’t going to get it back.
“In The Dead, an example would be ‘King Solomon’s Marbles.’ That’s another one where you’ve got to be completely focused and if you lose it, then it’s hard to jump back on the train.
“I’m more enamored with collective improvisation than I am with improving my own playing, and maybe those two things go hand-in-hand. You have to shut the cerebral part of your brain off to a certain extent and get lost in the music. You can spend years—sometimes decades—learning how to play what’s in your head, and then, I think you reach a point of, ‘Do I play that or do I challenge myself and not play it and wait until I hear what somebody else plays and completely respond to that with no forethought of what I was going to play?’
“The greatest example to me is the Miles Davis Quintet with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. When you listen to the band, you get the sense that none of them knew what they were going to play until they heard what someone else played immediately prior and it’s momentary composition. I feel like I’m getting better at that and it’s something that really appeals to me in a big way.”
Still, Haynes remains drawn to the more traditional form of composition as well. The self-described “lyrical fanatic” and “songwriter freak,” names a pantheon of influences that includes Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Neil Young, Roger Waters and Tom Waits.
“I tend to write based on lyrical inspiration more than musical inspiration,” he explains. “I find it easier to take the mood that a lyric evokes and create music to go with that mood. To me, that’s easier than finding the mood that the music evokes and writing a lyric to it, which is like threading a needle in the dark.”
Haynes cites books as particular sources of inspiration, with Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke and Paul Neilan’s Apathy and Other Small Victories as recent favorites, while the works of John Steinbeck and William Faulkner have served this purpose in the past.
“From a writing standpoint, I’m always moving in a sine wave,” he analogizes. “Sometimes I’m writing; sometimes I’m not. Throughout my life or career, I’ve always had slumps where I don’t write for months at a time. It always freaks me out when it happens, and then, out of the blue, I’ll get an idea for a song and then another one and another. The next thing you know, I’m juggling two or three songs at once and I’m out of the slump.”
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
- Relix Live Fridays: Trey Anastasio at The Fox
- Grace Potter & The Nocturnals "The Lion The Beast The Beat" (Official Video)
- The Allman Brothers Band Before Gregg?
- The M & Ms: Medeski, Mali, Mercurio, Moore at (Le) Poisson Rouge (A Gallery)
- Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger "The Pequod"
- Trey Anastasio with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center
- More Visions of the Hangout Music Festival 2013 (A Gallery)
- A Blowout for the So So Glos
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll