GOV'T MULE "Howlin' Wolf was a real pioneer"

7. November 2021

Gov’t Mule

GOV’T MULE „Howlin’ Wolf war ein echter Pionier“

Warren Haynes, one of the most successful representatives of modern Southern Rock, has recorded a pure blues album for the first time with his band Gov't Mule, which will be released on November 12. In the interview, the 61-year-old guitarist and singer talks about the genesis of "Heavy Load Blues" and encounters with his idols.

eclipsed: "Heavy Load Blues" was recorded live at Power Station New England on analog tape. Is that a vintage recording studio?

Warren Haynes: It's a replica of the legendary Power Station Studios in New York City, where many important albums were made until the 1990s. It's a versatile studio with a lot of equipment. It allowed us to record two albums at the same time completely independently: Parallel to the blues record, we recorded the follow-up to "Revolution Come...Revolution Go" in the big recording room during the day and worked next door at night in a small space with a smaller drum set, as if we were playing a blues session in a live club

eclipsed: And the albums also sound very different?

Haynes: Both records we recorded analogue, otherwise there are not many similarities. Completely different equipment, everything

eclipsed: Do you actually play more tense as soon as the red recording lamp is on?

Haynes: Sometimes it's hard to forget that the lamp is on. The whole purpose of these studio sessions was to play as if we were performing live. So we were all standing in a cramped room without headphones, with me only having a small monitoring device for vocals. Each microphone picked up each instrument, just like they used to do with blues records. If someone played something the others didn't like, they had to live with it. Gov't Mule tends to record live to the greatest extent possible anyway, but with this blues stuff it happened 100 percent

eclipsed: Why does this style lend itself so well to expressing extreme emotions?

Haynes: The blues is very similar to black gospel music in that respect: the same melodies, the same phrasing, the same musicality, the same feel, just with different lyrics. In fact, the blues emerged from black gospel music. People expressed themselves with this sound in times of extreme hardship, making something positive out of their situation - which is an amazing feat. After all, we all hope to be able to turn our problems into something positive. In the last year and a half with Covid-19, everyone has shared hardships in some way that they normally would have suffered alone. Now, though, everyone is kind of together, and everyone can relate to the feeling of the blues in some way.

eclipsed: Did you still meet B. B. King, Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker in person?

Haynes: I was lucky enough to play with John Lee Hooker on stage and also on his last studio album "Face To Face", which was released posthumously. But I'm too young to have met Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf personally. I did, however, get to play music with B. B. King, Junior Wells, Albert Collins and Willie Dixon in one way or another. That's something I really appreciate and will never forget.

eclipsed: What was John Lee Hooker like?

Haynes: During the time I was with him, he was always very funny. People thought he was a bit affected because he sometimes looked funny, but in truth John Lee was very friendly and always joking. Our relationship wasn't very close, but at least I got to play with him. For someone like me who makes bluesy rock, artists like Hooker weren't just heroes. They invented or developed the sound that allows us to do what we do.

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