Published Apr 01, 2000When discussing jam bands, one inevitably focuses on images of neo-hippie optimism in both the music and the audience. While the bulk of Gov't Mule's fans fall into this category, guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes finds the dark side far more interesting, and clearly has no problem professing it on the band's new album, Life Before Insanity.
“A lot of our songs have tended to be dark anyway,” he says. “We're not a happy type of band. That comes from the fact that my favourite songwriters over the years have written about dark-natured things. I do feel like there are some more positive things on the record than anything we've done before, and I'm pretty pleased with the overall diversity of it.”
A heart of darkness begs the question of where it comes from growing up in the American South perhaps, or spending too much time on the road? “In a world full of musicians, there's bound to be some heartache and struggling within yourself. I just tend to look around me and write about what's going on.”
Could Haynes's near ten-year stint with the ever-tumultuous Allman Brothers Band have contributed? He insists he remains on good terms with the Southern rock kings. Haynes and bassist Allen Woody finally jumped the Allman's ship three years ago to make Gov't Mule their full-time gig and carry the torch for bong-rattling blues-rock.
"Our new record is deliberately more of a song-oriented record because we released the four-CD live album last year, which was all long jams," Haynes says. "With that, we proved what we're capable of on stage so it made sense to us that people now see what we're able to do with songwriting. The longer we stay together, I think the better we are at finding that balance."