One of the biggest jam band festivals of the summer kicked off yesterday. Mountain Jam, held at Hunter Mountain in New York, is curated by guitarist/singer Warren Haynes, who is front man of Gov’t Mule, a member of the Allman Brothers Band, and a solo artist.
The festival is only one of many things Haynes has on his mind lately: there’s also the new Gov’t Mule record, a couple shows with the Allmans, and an upcoming solo tour performing the music of Jerry Garcia backed by local symphony orchestras.
Haynes discussed all of these topics and more in a recent interview with Radio.com.
Regarding the new Mule album, Haynes says that they have a fairly unique idea for a bonus disc that will be included with the album.
“Gov’t Mule is almost finished with a new release that we’re hoping to have out in September. The upcoming tour is called ‘Prepare To Shout,’ the record is called Shout. I also think–at the risk of sounding cliche–this is possibly the best record we’ve ever done. The band feels great, sounds great.”
“The significance of the title, Shout,” he continues, “is that we are going to create a bonus disc with alternate versions of the same songs with a bunch of different singers. The alternate versions will be someone other than myself singing.”
Haynes won’t reveal just yet who those singers are, but says he the band felt so strongly about the idea that they delayed the release of the album in order to get the bonus disc finished.
As for the Allmans, they’re still an ongoing concern, and they’ve got a string of dates in August and September. The current version of the band–which includes Haynes, founding members Gregg Allman (keyboards, vocals), Jaimoe (drums) and Butch Trucks (drums) along with Marc Quinones (percussion), Oteil Brubridge (bass) and Derek Trucks (guitar)–has been together since 2000. That’s longer than any previous lineup of the band.
And although the Allmans haven’t released a new album since 2003’s Hittin’ The Note (and with no new album on the horizon), they still try to keep adding new songs to their live set. For instance, at their recent Beacon Theatre residency, they played a cover of the Beatles’ “Rain” for the first time, although it had been part of Gregg Allman’s solo repertoire.
“It’s really important to the band to continue breaking new ground, and it’s more fun when there’s new material to play, even if its a cover song we’ve never played before,” Haynes says. “The Allman Brothers’ audience is a very diverse, somewhat complex audience. Different poeple are there for different reasons. Some fans are huge jam band fans who want us to take the long excursions. Some other fans are there for certain songs. Of course, we’re not one of those bands that are gonna play all the biggest songs every night. A nice balance of the two is where we are, we wouldn’t be around and still as valid as we are without that balance.”