The New School of Gov’t Mule (Relix Revisited)
The bereft duo used the Deep End projects to burn out some of their grief and anger—anger because according to the Mule drummer, Woody was due to enter a rehab facility two weeks before he died, making his untimely death even more tragic. Although Haynes may have been psychically prepared for Woody’s death, Abts wasn’t blindsided by his friend’s tragic end—but not because he had any prescient dreams. The evidence of the bassist’s rather compulsive behavior was right in front of him every night: Friends saw him self-medicate as the trio powered through grueling tours.
“My vision of Woody after all that we went through, is that I visualize him very happy. Warren and I have talked about this recently, because Allen Woody had a great sense of humor. He was a really funny guy. But the last six months of his life were torture. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced going through anything with an individual—he had some drug problems. And it’s really painful and heartbreaking, but in the last couple months of his life we were going to force him into rehab. And he was literally a couple weeks from going into rehab when he died. And it was such a miserable time in our life but you have to go through all the stages of grieving. It’s textbook, you know? But now, Woody pops in my mind and he’s laughing, and his sense of humor is intact, and that’s what I think of, in the present, and that’s a good thing. We miss him dearly. And it’s been three years. It’s hard to believe.”
Going right into the belly of their sadness, Abts and Haynes got in touch with all of Woody’s bass idols and asked each one to take over his bass parts on a Gov’t Mule song, if only to put off making a decision whether they would continue the band or not. The Deep End Vol. I came out in 2001 and became Gov’t Mule’s fourth studio album as well as a deepfelt tribute to their fallen compatriot. They recorded each track with top-tiered bassists that Woody admired, tapping such stellar bassmasters as Cream’s Jack Bruce, Bootsy Collins, the Who’s John Entwistle and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The second installment, The Deep End, Vol. 2, released a year later, had no fewer high-wattage players; in fact most of the musicians, like Les Claypool, Metallica’s Jason Newsted, Yes’ Chris Squire, and Me’Shell NdegeOcello asked to be included in the collection. Finally, in late 2003, Gov’t Mule released The Deepest End, the final chapter in the series, and at the end of what became perhaps the longest running audition for a replacement for Woody, they hired former Black Crowes bassist Andy Hess.
In the meantime, Haynes was playing guitar with Phil Lesh’s Phil and Friends, but he had also been lured back into the Allman Brothers’ circle. He joined the band for their annual stand at New York’s Beacon Theater in 2001, and then later cowrote almost all of their Hittin’ the Note in 2003. “That wouldn’t have happened if Woody was still there,” says Haynes, running a restless hand back and forth over his chin. “Woody and I both—not so much in a spoken way—knew that there was no reason for us to go back because we were placing full-time attention on Gov’t Mule. And there was no reason to look back. But of course all that changed when Woody died.”
For better or for worse, death always seems to be a lightening rod for opportunity for Haynes. At the risk of a reductionist analysis, the guitarist is rather a necromancer of sorts, something he sheepishly admits to. “I had this revelation that I would have never known Allen Woody had the Allman Brothers not continued after losing Berry [Oakley] and Duane [Allman]. Andy’s an amazing player, and we’re lucky to have him. He’s different than Woody but that’s what we have to have. To be in search of somebody like Woody would just be futile, and nobody wants to clone their lost ingredient. I’ve been in so many situations where people have lost members. It’s almost spooky. Being involved with the Allman Brothers, and then being involved with Phil, and The Dead, and Gov’t Mule. It’s like, wow, it’s all a little too close to home.”
That’s why Haynes decided to call last year’s tour Rebirth of the Mule, to exorcize the old ghosts and to explain that the band was an entirely new entity now, what with keyboardist extraordinaire Danny Louis and Andy Hess as fully-tenured members.
Beth Hart shares the opening track from her latest album, Bang Bang Boom Boom, live at Relix.
Jamie Lidell sets up in the Relix boiler room and delivers a tune from his 2005 album Multiply
Duane Trucks is happy to announce his new project, King Lincoln. Watch them perform “Coffee” live and acoustic at Relix’s Online-Video Coordinator’s loft in Williamsburg.
Here’s another song from Crystal Bowersox’s new record All That For This, live at Relix.
WYATT share a song in the famed Relix boiler room.
Goodnight, Texas share a song from their latest studio album, A Long Life of Living, live at Relix.
Warren Haynes performs a solo, acoustic version of “Railroad Boy” and explains how he adapted the traditional Celtic song for Gov’t Mule, backstage at the Hangout Music Festival.
Australia’s Alpine recently made their NYC debut at the Relix office with this song from their new album A is for Alpine.
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.
- Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
- Visions of Bonnaroo Thursday (ALO, Jack Johnson, Polyphonic Spree, Allen Stone…)
- Deer Tick Share "The Rock"
- Win a pair of passes to The NINES Festival
- Robert Hunter Will Return to the Stage for Eight Shows
- Mumford & Sons’ Ted Dwane Shares Photo, Update
- Jack Johnson: Bonnaroo Song, Mumford Cover, "Mudfootball" with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
- The Making of Pretty Lights’ A Color Map of the Sun
- Interlocken Confirms Daily Lineups, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Punch Brothers, Keller & The Keels and More Added
- Mumford and Sons Cancel Bonnaroo Show, Summer Tour
- Ed Helms: Bonnaroo, Banjos and a Bit of Phish
- Robert Hunter Will Return to the Stage for Eight Shows
- Tedeschi Trucks Band Share New Song
- Warren Haynes to Play Jerry Garcia’s Wolf on Symphony Tour
- Patty Griffin in Boston
- Jack Is Back: Jack Johnson Talks Bonnaroo, ALO and New Album
- 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