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How did you approach recording the horn section?
That’s an Austin-based horn section that we added after the fact. All the tenor sax solos, including the sax through the wah on “Sick of My Shadow” and the harmony saxes on the end of “Real Lonely Night” were played by Ron Holloway. He has been a good friend for many years and will be in the band I tour with.
With all the horns and keyboards, it’s easy for some instruments to get lost in the shuffle. How did you avoid having a cluttered mix?
We went for a pretty old-school approach. The organ, piano, and Wurlitzer were all recorded mono. That means whenever there are two or more keyboards playing at the same time there is no stereo panning of the keyboards. We didn’t go for the stereo Leslie sound or the stereo piano sound. The goal was for everything to sound natural, so Ivan Neville’s organ and Clavinet is on the left side, and Ian’s piano and organ comes from the right. We wanted to leave space for the guitar and vocals in the center. It was a pretty natural, old-school way of doing it, as far as making room for the sax and the horns. We had a vision way in advance for what we wanted this record to sound like.
For Gov't Mule gigs, Haynes plugs his Gibson Les Paul Inspired by Warren Haynes into a
Diaz CD- 100 amp driving an Engl cab. Photo by Brian Shupe
Did you have specific albums in mind?
We didn’t physically go and A/B the sound. We just wanted to go from what it sounded like in our memory. A lot of that started with using vintage equipment, vintage mics, and recording to analog tape. Also, recording at 15 ips, which is very, very old-school. The intent was to make the record sound like it belonged with the music that influenced it.
Do you think any of the songs from this album will creep into a Mule or Allman Brothers set list?
We’re actually starting to play “River’s Gonna Rise” with the Allman Brothers now. I can imagine some of the songs would get played with Gov’t Mule, even though I chose to record them for this other project. When the time comes, we’ll look at some of them and reinterpret them as Gov’t Mule songs.
Looking past this album, what projects are on the horizon?
I think the music business is reinventing itself to such an extent that it’s probable we’ll come out with a lot of projects—even if they’re released through our own label. I don’t want to wait nearly this long to do another solo record. I have several projects in mind, but I’m guessing the next thing I’ll do is a new Gov’t Mule record, and I’m excited about that. But I want to start working on another solo record very soon as well. And it won’t be like this one—it will be completely different. It will probably have more acoustic instruments and come from a singer-songwriter direction.
Warren Haynes' Gearbox
Gibson Les Paul Inspired by Warren Haynes, D’Angelico New Yorker NY-4, 1969 Gibson ES-335, 1967 Gibson ES-355, 1959 Gibson Les Paul, 1959 Gibson ES-345, Gibson Custom Shop, Firebird V
Trainwreck, Gibson Voyager, PRS Dallas 50-watt, PRS Club 30, Fender Super Reverb, Fender Pro Junior, Fender Vibrolux
Hughes & Kettner, Rotosphere, Dunlop Cry Baby wah