Warren Haynes: Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag
While this may be the case from a creative perspective, there is still a bodily toll. “What we do takes a deep focus and it can be a physical challenge to play a three-minute guitar solo that starts in one dynamic and ends up in a whole other dynamic,” Haynes acknowledges. “It can be mentally and emotionally draining because you have to hang on every note—not only that you’re playing yourself—but that everybody onstage is playing.”
Back in 2005, when Haynes took a few nights off during The Allman Brothers Band summer tour, rumors swirled that he might be sidelined for an extended period due to a stroke or other severe ailment. As to whether there was any truth to them, Haynes suggests that it, “kind of got blown out of proportion. I missed a few shows because I was having a bunch of tests run but it all turned out to be good.”
In response, however, he currently places renewed thought and effort on treating his body properly while on tour.
“One of the hardest things about being on the road is eating properly, and obviously, I’m someone who struggles with that, but it’s a unique lifestyle and we’re on a unique schedule,” Haynes says. “People don’t get off work and immediately go to bed. If we play a show until midnight or one o’clock in the morning, it’s not like you’re going to bed an hour later. A lot of musicians, especially singers, don’t like to eat right before a show. Let’s say I ate something at four or five o’clock, showtime’s at eight or nine, then, at midnight, I’m starving. The worst thing to do is eat late at night or eat right before you go to bed, especially when the choices might be really bad. So it’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle in that way.”
Such considerations have become all the more important, following a profound life change that took place in late September: Warren Haynes became a first-time father.
In October of 1997, Haynes married Stefani Scamardo. (The Radiators served as the wedding band, although Gov’t Mule made an appearance as well.) Scamardo met Haynes in the summer of 1989, when she lucked onto a pair of house seats released just prior to The Allman Brothers Band’s appearance at Merriweather Post Pavilion and received an after-show pass from a friend of the promoter who was sitting in her section. Backstage, she met both Haynes and Woody, who had both recently joined the group, and a friendship blossomed into something more. Scamardo, a recent George Washington University grad and a former college athlete who had captained the basketball, softball and soccer teams, soon found her way to New York and began a job at Island Records, where she eventually ascended to the role of A&R coordinator. Her career path impacted Haynes, a lifelong Southerner, who soon settled in New York City as well. (“When I left Nashville in ‘89, New York was on my mind, and then, when I met Stefani, it all kind of fell into place.”)
A couple of years later, Scarmardo started a management company called Hard Head from a nickname Haynes had given her when playfully referencing her obstinacy. She worked out of a spare bedroom in the apartment that she shared with Haynes, advocating for such groups as Xanax 25 and Cherokee Sex Workshop. In 1996, at the suggestion of Abts and Woody, she began managing Gov’t Mule and has been at it ever since—in addition to signing talent and running the company’s Evil Teen Records. In 2003, she also started juggling a gig as one of the founding DJs on SiriusXM’s Jam_On channel.
Amid all of their collective activity, Haynes and Scamardo had always planned on entering the ranks of parenthood only to experience heartache along the way.
“Stef and I have been trying to have a baby for years and years,” Haynes explains. “We tried all the natural stuff and we went through four tries at in vitro insemination. We’ve done it all.”
Eventually, the couple looked into adoption and during the break from Warren Haynes Band tour, while Hall and Higgins traveled to Europe with Scofield, the couple welcomed a newborn son into their lives.
“This is a whole different type of pressure than I’m used to,” an exhausted Haynes explains with a laugh four days after adopting Hudson Samuel Haynes. “[It’s] someone else’s life that you’re about to adopt into your own family and take care of forever. The first couple of nights in the hospital, I hardly slept between the uncomfortable conditions and just being a nervous wreck. It’s a serious lifestyle change. One thing that’s different about adoption is that unlike going through nine months of pregnancy, one day we’re not parents and the next day we are.”
An enthusiastic Abts shares: “I am so excited for him. I called him yesterday sobbing because I know their deal and they’ve wanted a child so badly and it’s taken them a long time. When he emailed me a picture of the child, saying what a proud father he is, I crumbled. It’s so good. My son just turned 18. The thing I’m proudest of in life is being a father and Warren is going to be such a great dad.”
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