By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
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If there's a busier classic-rock guitarist than Warren Haynes, we can't think of one offhand. Somehow he manages to coordinate his schedule between playing with the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead successors/survivors The Dead, his own blues/jam band Gov't Mule and scattered solo projects.
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Haynes reveals the depth of his blues knowledge on Gov't Mule's latest album, last year's By a Thread, which he released on his own Evil Teen label. Although Haynes still lives in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina — when he's not on the road, that is — Thread has a deep Texas pedigree. Gov't Mule recorded it at Willie Nelson's Luck Studios outside Spicewood, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons guests on lowdown, stomping opener "Broke Down on the Brazos."
Chatter reached Haynes last week in his Lawrence, Kansas, hotel room under an alias that still makes us laugh every time we think about it. We won't tell you what it is, but think his first name and a very famous Russian novel.
Chatter: What are some other funny rock and roll aliases you've heard over the years?
Warren Haynes: Good question. One of the guys from the Grateful Dead was Hugo Fugyasev. [Note: Say it fast.]
C: Between playing with the Allmans, Gov't Mule, The Dead and your solo stuff, where do you get the stamina for all that?
WH: I always tell people if I'm going to be as busy as I am, I'd rather do it in different projects instead of all in one. I think it would be much easier to get burnt out on something if you're doing the same thing all the time. Going back and forth, you bring fresh energy to and from the situation. It's nice [that] about the time you start getting tired of one thing, to be able to do something else.
C: Do you ever take any time off?
WH: Yeah. Usually after Thanksgiving up through the time period now. We don't normally work this time of the year, but we are this year because we have a new record. Usually I get December, January, February [off].
C: As someone who goes back and forth, do you prefer being the front man or a side man, or does it make a difference?
WH: I enjoy my role in each of the situations. Gov't Mule is the thing that I see being more continued in the future.
C: What did you think of Willie's studio?
WH: I love that place. We did our last record (2006's High & Mighty) there as well. It's a great place to record. He's got great equipment, but there's also a very unpretentious vibe. It's very comfortable, and it's far enough from town where you feel sequestered, like you're just there to work.
C: Have you ever met anyone more laid-back than Billy Gibbons?
WH: (Thinks for a minute, then laughs.): He's pretty laid-back. Gregg Allman's a pretty close tie.
See more with Warren Haynes at blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks.
Free Press Houston and Pegstar announced the lineup to this year's Summerfest this past Sunday. Oklahoma psychic friends the Flaming Lips headline, alongside Memphis roots-punks Lucero and NYC jazz-benders Medeski, Martin & Wood. Other acts playing Summerfest, scheduled for June 5 and 6 at Eleanor Tinsley Park, include instant party-starter Girl Talk, Houston boss of all bosses Slim Thug, Canadian indie-pop twinklers Stars, sometime Beastie Boys DJ Mix Master Mike, hardcore/thrash club-wielders Cro-Mags and grindcore trash compactors Municipal Waste. Among the 50 local and regional Summerfest artists, meanwhile, are Grandfather Child, B L A C K I E, Young Mammals, Giant Princess, Rusted Shut, Buxton, Sharks and Sailors and DJ Jester the Filipino Fist. Tickets, currently priced at $22.50, are on sale now at www.freepresssummerfest.com.
1. Tim Easton, Porcupine
2. Various Artists, Crazy Heart Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
3. Fox Derby, Regular Dreams
4. Sondre Lerche, Heartbeat Radio
5. Spoon, Transference
6. Midlake, The Courage of Others
7. Vampire Weekend, Contra
8. Patty Griffin, Downtown Church
9. Ray Wylie Hubbard, A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C)
10. Beach House, Teen Dream
1. Neil Young, "After the Gold Rush"
2. Foo Fighters, "Best of You"
3. Fleetwood Mac, "Say You Love Me"
4. Wolfmother, "Woman"
5. The Hollisters, "Better Slow Down"
6. Boz Scaggs, "Breakdown Dead Ahead"
7. 3 Dog Night, "Never Been to Spain"
8. Taj Mahal, "Hello Josephine"
9. Guy Forsyth, "Mad"
10. U2, "Angel of Harlem"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)
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