Hard Working Soul
Adding up the raw data - solo performances, participation in multiple bands, invitations to sit in with friends' bands, and studio sessions - it's fair to conclude that Warren Haynes is among the hardest working performers in music today. But for the 23rd greatest guitarist of all time (as determined by Rolling Stone), music doesn't feel like hard work. Haynes is just doing what he loves, being what he is. He's a man who loves music. Everything about it, really: creating it, playing it, singing it, experiencing it, appreciating it, sharing it.
"Musicians are the biggest fans," he says. "That's why they become musicians in the first place."
This love of music has led Haynes to some extraordinary collaborations that have defied the laws of genre labeling and propelled his reputation far beyond the notorious boundaries of jamband scene quarantine. For example, he co-wrote a No. 1 single, Garth Brooks' "Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House," which remained on the charts for twenty weeks. He was the only guest musician at Dave Matthews Band's high-profile Central Park Concert, September 24, 2003. He appeared on fellow singer/songwriter Everlast's second post-House of Pain solo album, EAT AT WHITEY'S. And he compelled metal icon Jason Newsted and hip-hop country boy Kid Rock to join him on stage, at the same time.
For audiences, to see and hear Warren Haynes perform in any capacity is to witness his love firsthand. To catch him alone on stage, with only his voice and acoustic guitar, drives the point deeper still. The unadulterated emotion he pours into and gleans from music - any music, his own or another's - takes on the prominence of a lead instrument, sharing in the delivery rather than just inspiring it.
Growing up in Asheville, North Carolina, Haynes remembers getting his first taste of musical nourishment at the tender age of six when he heard black gospel on the radio. He was raised by a father who loved Merle Haggard and Bill Monroe, but he was coached by two older brothers partial to Miles and Coltrane, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, Dylan and Van Morrison. At first he was most interested in vocalists like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, zeroing in on even B.B. King's voice, not just his licks.
At 12, however, he informed his dad he wanted to play guitar. He had found rock. And suddenly, the guitar gained some ground as he elevated Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to 'personal hero' status. Spurred further by his brothers, Haynes traced his heroes' collaborations and influences, embarking on an ongoing journey of musical discovery, touring blues and rock greats, expanding his own sound as he learned.
By the time he was 20, Haynes had a solid performance background and his guitar playing was starting to turn heads. He had gained the attention of country singer/songwriter David Allan Coe, who brought Haynes into his fold. In all, Haynes appeared on nine of Coe's albums and he toured with Coe throughout America and Europe for four years. When Coe's band opened for The Allman Brothers Band at Atlanta's Fox Theater in 1981, Dickey Betts joined them for a few songs. It was a chance meeting that ultimately changed Haynes life.
A few years later in 1986, Betts and Haynes met again in Nashville. Betts was looking for backing vocalists for an ultimately unreleased album. In 1987, Betts called on Haynes to form a band. When Betts began work on PATTERN DISRUPTIVE in 1988, Haynes co-wrote the songs.
Haynes became a full-fledged Brother in 1989 when ABB embarked on the Reunion Tour. He has since been key in the production of four studio albums, three live albums and two DVDs -- co-writing all of the original songs for HITTIN' THE NOTE. With producer Michael Barbiero, he produced and mixed HITTIN' THE NOTE, the ONE WAY OUT double live CD and the LIVE AT THE BEACON THEATRE DVD. And, as a member of the Allmans, he has, to date, earned five Grammy nominations with a Best Rock Instrumental win for "Jessica" in 1995 off 2ND SET.
But Haynes' solo personality was never lost in the Allman mix. He recorded the solo album TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS in 1993, and even then attracted some heavy-weights like keyboardists Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones) and Bernie Worrell (P-Funk) to record with him.
It was 1994 when then Allmans bassist Allen Woody and Haynes hatched a plan to bring the power trio structure back to rock. They teamed up with Betts' Drummer Matt Abts, and Gov't Mule was born. In 1997, Haynes and Woody left the Allmans to dedicate themselves to Mule full-time.
Haynes would continue to write and record with Gov't Mule, on his own, and as a member of multiple major groups. "Singing and songwriting and guitar playing are all equal in my mind," he says. "Basically I'm thankful that I have all three in my life."
On his solo performances, Warren plays a custom amp called Stefani, which is a 2 6v6 with trem and reverb. For group work with Gov't Mule and Allman Brothers Band, he adds 4 X 12 cabs. Category 5 Amps has developed a custom 120 watt head for Warren called the Jezebel and he now plays a Camille in addition to the other amps.
Warren Haynes website
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