Rock torchbearers Gov’t Mule are celebrating their 20th anniversary with an extensive tour and a series of dynamic live archival releases that highlight the group’s versatility and epic, fearless live performances. No two Gov’t Mule shows are alike, as the band draws on the more than 300 songs in their repertoire (and often a host of special guests) to create a unique experience each and every time. Their steadily expanding fan base knows that the Mule always has something special waiting for them. Expect the unexpected.
The deep chemistry and steely confidence shared by the quartet allow them to tackle any form of music and stamp it their own while remaining true to the spirit and intent of the original. This can of course be heard any time guitarist-singer Warren Haynes, drummer Matt Abts, bassist Jorgen Carlsson and multiinstrumentalist Danny Louis take the stage, but a series of new live archival releases really drives the point home.
Gov’t Mule was formed in 1994 when Haynes and bassist Allen Woody were playing in the Allman Brothers Band and talking about their shared passion for old school power trios.
“We were listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, Cream and Free, caught up in the musical freedom they displayed,” says Haynes.
Haynes called up drummer Matt Abts, with whom he had played in the Dickey Betts Band. The band recorded three increasingly ambitious studio albums and performed countless shows before Woody died in August, 2000. After briefly pausing to ponder their next move, Haynes and Abts began recording The Deep End, two CDs featuring guest bassists, ranging from the Who’s John Entwistle to the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh.
“Everything we’ve done collectively has led up to where we are now,” says Haynes. “But those Deep End sessions, and the experience of playing with so many bassists and adapting to different sounds and approaches had a profound effect on Gov’t Mule and what we’ve done since.”
Louis, a longtime collaborator, became a full-time member of Gov’t Mule in 2001, and the group has been a four-piece ever since. Bassist Carlsson has been with the group since 2008, solidifying the lineup.
“I think a lot of the music we’re doing now is very similar to the music we were making in the earliest years with the obvious exception that we are no longer a trio,” says Haynes. “In some ways we’ve come full circle and in other ways it only makes sense if you step back and connect the dots. And that seems right to me. You want to keep growing and you never want to be static, or done changing.”