When guitar legend Warren Haynes comes to Augusta next week, he’ll bring along not only his musical skills but also years of memories of performing with three of America’s greatest live bands – The Allman Brothers Band, the Dead and Gov’t Mule.
Gov’t Mule will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, at Jessye Norman Amphitheater, 1 Ninth St. The show will also feature the New Orleans band Galactic and is being presented by Huka Entertainment and Friends With Benefits Productions. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $35 at www.cityspintickets.com.
As one of today’s biggest in-demand live bands, Gov’t Mule’s catalog has racked up 120 million-plus Pandora plays, over 60 million Spotify streams, 3 million downloads from their official website, www.mule.net, and sold millions of records, the latest of which is the wide-ranging 10th studio album, Revolution Come … Revolution Go.
Haynes, along with drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist/guitarist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson, entered the studio to begin working on Revolution Come … Revolution Go on Election Day 2016. As such, some of the lyrical content on the new album observes the current acrimonious political climate threaded together with a call for unity.
During a recent phone interview from his home in New York, the Gov’t Mule frontman said that his fondest memories are those of sharing a tour bus with Gregg Allman, who died May 27, and the late Allman Brothers bassist Allen Woody traveling, listening to great music and laughing … for mile after mile with his bandmates and friends.
The Grammy Award-winning frontman for Gov’t Mule discussed how traveling, like life, is so much better when you have friends to share the experience with, the difficulty he faces with the recent loss of band members and the gratitude he holds for the therapeutic and healing power of music.
The Augusta Chronicle: You are no stranger to making political statements on Gov’t Mule’s albums, and the band’s new record Revolution Come … Revolution Go is no exception. What do you hope fans take away from the album concerning the political divide we are all experiencing?
Haynes: We are making music first and foremost and any lyrical content that people latch onto is always a good thing, but it is kinda secondary to the overall picture. As you mentioned, every Gov’t Mule record has dealt with social climate and political climate, but always from an observer’s standpoint. We never get into a preaching sort of standpoint, so it is up to people to take it for what it is.
Chronicle: On the new album, there is a song called The Man I Want to Be. Did you write this song about anyone in particular?
Haynes: It is somewhat autobiographical I would say. It is coming definitely from a direction of classic soul music as far as what it is influenced by. It definitely has a gospel and soul sort of influence, but it is a very personal song to me and I am very happy with the way it came out on the record.
Chronicle: Recently, you have lost a lot of friends, bandmates and colleagues. How do you get through such challenging times?
Haynes: It has been a rough six months or so for us and there are some, I guess somewhat coincidentally, and somewhat not so much, but there are some songs on the record that kinda tie into that. There is a song called Traveling Tune that talks about some of the people that we have lost along the way. Everybody deals with personal loss the best they can and I am very grateful to have music in my life, which is something that helps in those sort of times.
Chronicle: What does the rest of the year look like for Gov’t Mule?
Haynes: This is our first studio record in almost four years so we are very excited to be on the road for the next year or so promoting Gov’t Mule. We are going to be touring worldwide … and in the states a lot but it feels good playing all the new stuff.
After the concert at Jessye Norman Amphitheater, a Gov’t Mule After Party: Jerry Garcia Birthday will be held at Sky City, 1157 Broad St., featuring Caleb Tokarska. The doors open at 10 p.m. with music at 11 p.m. Admission is $5 for ages 21 and older. Visit skycityaugusta.com.