Warren Haynes

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You wouldn't know it from listening to Warren Haynes' work as a solo artist, as a member of the Allman Brothers Band, and frontman for Gov't Mule, but there was a time when he didn't play guitar. He says, "I didn't even get my first guitar until I was 12. My oldest brother had an acoustic guitar, and I would bang on it and try to play."

Guitar wasn't even his first love. Around the time he was 8 or 9, growing up in Asheville, NC, Warren's two older brothers began turning him on to soul music. He would sit in his room, singing Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett. He became fascinated with the sounds of Motown and Memphis. "All I cared about was the singer. The really strong singers really knocked me out. Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops still is one of my favorite voices of all time, and I always liked B.B. King, even before I liked the blues. His voice was the main thing."

Guitar didn't escape Warren's attention long, however. He would soon turn on to rock 'n roll. "I really liked Eric Clapton. He was the first guitar hero that I had. I liked the real heavy Cream stuff. I liked all the Derek and the Dominos stuff." Warren's brothers used his admiration of Clapton to expand his musical horizons to take in the blues masters. They would tell him to check out a Howlin' Wolf record because Clapton plays on it. Interviews with Warren's favorite guitarists led him to other blues players and the scope of his guitar playing grew accordingly.

It wasn't long after discovering the pleasures of guitar playing, that Warren was performing for appreciative audiences at walkathons and pool parties. Then, when he was abut 14, he started hanging out around local pizza parlors that had been converted into nightclubs. "We were way too young to be drinking, but we thought it was cool to go in there and listen to live music. They didn't really hassle us too much." About six months later, word got out that Warren played guitar. The regulars wondered what "the kid" could do, so they offered him the stage. Warren remembers, "This guy played left-handed, but he played upside down. So I played his left handed guitar and turned it over. It was turned right, but it was awkward. The first time I ever played professionally in a club I was playing and upside down Les Paul in this little hippie club."

Things progressed quickly for the guitarist. He played in bands on local gigs, and then in a band called Ricochet, which developed a good regional following. One day, Warren got a call from David Allen Coe. Coe wanted Warren in New Orleans the next day. It was a good break for a young man at the age of twenty.

Warren played with David Allen Coe form 1980 to 1984. He traveled all over the States and went to Europe with him as well. He played on nine of Coe's albums. Warren also met Dickey Betts an dGregg Allman through David Allen, and when Coe's band opened up for the Allman Brothers at the fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, Dickey sat in.

After four years. Warren moved to Nashville to do session work, but the Allman Brothers connection wouldn't go away. Dickey was doing some demos in Nashville and called someone up to put together a group of background singers. As fate would have it, Warren was one of them. "Dickey came up to me and said, 'Good!' and started laughing." Good-natured ribbing aside, Dickey kept thinking about Warren's guitar playing. He called Warren up later, and invited him down to work on some songs. Those songs turned into Dickey's solo album, Pattern Disruptive.

At the same time, Gregg decided to record "Just Before The Bullets Fly", which Warren co-wrote, as the title track to his 1988 album. It's no wonder that when the Allman Brothers reformed their reunion tour in 1989, Warren got the call. That tour marked the beginning of eight extremely productive years of touring and recording. During that span, Warren's songwriting, singing, and guitar playing helped the Allman Brothers record five albums (Seven Turns, Shades of Two Worlds, An Evening With the Allman Brothers Band, Where It All Begins, and 2nd Set). These albums became the Brother's most critically acclaimed records in fifteen years. The band was nominated for three Grammy awards, two of which were for the instrumentals co-written by Warren and Dickey Betts ("True Gravity" in 1990, and "Kind of Bird" in 1991), and they won a Grammy in 1995 for "Best Rock Instrumental Performance" ("Jessica"). Many critics give Warren credit for putting the fire back in the Allman Brothers Band.

In 1993, Warren stepped into the spotlight with his first solo record, Tales of Ordinary Madness, on Megaforce Records. He recruited Chuck Leavell to share production duties, and Chuck also played on the record. A year later through an impromptu jam with the Allman Brothers Band partner Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts (who Haynes new from the Dickey Betts Band), Gov't Mule was born.

The trio released their critically acclaimed debut album on Relativity Records in 1995, and quickly gained a loyal fan base by hitting the road during the Brothers' touring breaks. Warren was voted #1 slide guitarist by Guitar Player magazine in both 1995 and 1996. Meanwhile, the Mule released a second record, Live at Roseland Ballroom, which received many critical accolades. In the fall of 1998, Gov't Mule recorded Dose, on Capricorn Records, which was produced by Michael Barbiero (Blue Traveler, Gun's n' Roses, Soundgarden).

Warren's latest Capricorn Records release with Gov't Mule is entitled Live...With a Little Help From Our Friends, with appearances from such fellow musicians as Jimmy Herring, Chuck Leavell, Bernie Worrell, Randall Bramlett, Yonrico Scott, Derek Trucks and Marc Ford. Included on the new album are many fan favorites and covers like Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" from a 1999 New Year's concert at the Roxy Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia and a duet with Marc Ford on Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer".

Warren is currently working on material for his follow-up solo album and can also be heard on Kevn Kinney's up-coming release.

Related Warren Haynes Resources

  1. Life Before Insanity by Gov't Mule (5.0 Stars · 2 Reviews)
    Cool heavy stuff without the doom, death, and destruction.
    Recordings: Rock/Pop · 5002 Hits · Posted on 2/27/2000 by Greg Seeno (119)
  2. This is an amazing example of a killer power trio band that can jam all night, and they have a great selection of guests, they have some really long jams on the second disk, this is a great band.
    Recordings: Rock/Pop · 3068 Hits · Posted on 2/27/2000 by Eric Stanbrough (1108)
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Nov 29 2015

Warren Haynes Talks New Acoustic Folk Album, 'Ashes & Dust' (7/28/2015)
Warren Haynes’ name is more likely to be evoked alongside those of Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Paul Kossoff, Steve Marriott or even David Gilmour, rather than Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie. And yet there’s always been a literate stor...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Nov 29 2015

Warren Haynes Offers Details on His Split with Allman Brothers Band (6/16/2015)
When Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks announced their intentions to leave the Allman Brothers Band in early 2014, it seemed to most people that the two guitarists were stepping down independently of the rest of the band. But as Warren Haynes revea...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Nov 29 2015

Warren Haynes Delivers Brilliant Album ‘Ashes and Dust’ — Exclusive Interview (7/15/2015)
When I think of Warren Haynes, singer/songwriter is not what comes to mind. Until now that is. Because surprisingly, Haynes is not just a killer guitarist, he can write and deliver a mean story-telling song as well. Known for his wicked guitar p...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Nov 29 2015

Tony Iommi, Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes Recruited for 2016 Rock Fantasy Camp (10/12/2015)
Steve Vai, Tony Iommi, Zakk Wylde and Warren Haynes have signed on for the 2016 edition of Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, taking place February 11–14 in Los Angeles. The guitarists will take part in the camp’s Q&A sessions and the concluding ja...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Nov 29 2015

Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Joe Bonamassa, Warren Haynes and More Honor Les Paul in New York City's Times Square — Video (6/10/2015)
Yesterday, June 9, 2015, was the 100th anniversary of the late, great Les Paul's birth. To celebrate the occasion, the guitar community threw one hell of a party in New York City's Times Square, not far from the Iridium, where the legendary guit...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Nov 29 2015

Acoustic Nation with Dale Turner: The Soulful Acoustic Work of Warren Haynes (10/7/2015)
Warren Haynes—the eclectic electric-guitar ace behind Gov’t Mule and longtime Allman Brothers Band member and touring guitarist for the Dead—is no stranger to Guitar World readers. His virtuosic, polished blues-rock playing owes just as much to...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Feb 16 2015

Robben Ford Premieres New Song, "High Heels and Throwing Things,” Featuring Warren Haynes (2/16/2015)
Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of "High Heels and Throwing Things,” a new song by guitarist Robben Ford. The track, which is from Ford's new album, Into the Sun, features Gov't Mule frontman Warren Haynes on guitar. Into ...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Oct 20 2014

For Sale: Nine Gibson Les Pauls Played by Warren Haynes at Final Allman Brothers Beacon Theatre Shows (10/20/2014)
Thanks to an arrangement between the Gibson Custom Shop, the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House and Warren Haynes, a special selection of Gibson guitars is now available to the public. Each of the nine hand-selected Les Pauls will be ...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Aug 26 2014

Brian Farmer, Warren Haynes' Longtime Guitar Tech, Dead at 53 (8/26/2014)
Warren Haynes’ longtime and beloved guitar tech, Brian Farmer, died Sunday, August 24, at his home near Nashville. Farmer died peacefully in his sleep. He was 53. "He was a close friend, a devoted worker and a lover of life,” Haynes said. “We tr...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Mar 27 2014

Gear Rundown: Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band (3/27/2014)
The Allman Brothers Band played 10 nights at New York City's Beacon Theatre before having to postpone their final four shows of the run due to Gregg Allman’s ongoing struggle with bronchitis. They played the final two nights, Friday and Saturda...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Jan 9 2014

Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes to leave Allman Brothers Band (1/9/2014)
Read more about Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes to leave Allman Brothers Band at MusicRadar.com Guitarists Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes have announced that they will be leaving the Allman Brothers Band in 2014. The pair are leaving to concentra...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Jan 9 2014

Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks to Leave Allman Brothers Band at End of 2014 (1/9/2014)
Last night, longtime Allman Brothers Band guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks announced they'll be departing the band at the end of 2014. "For 25 years and 15 years respectively, we've had the honor and pleasure of playing, living, learnin...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Sep 25 2013

Book/CD: Learn to Play Warren Haynes' Legendary Licks (9/25/2013)
This book/CD set — Warren Haynes Legendary Licks — presents the music of guitar hero Warren Haynes. It includes note-for-note transcriptions from 13 of his songs; detailed performance notes on how to play licks, fills, riffs and solos; an enhan...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Sep 23 2013

Warren Haynes Discusses His Grateful Dead Tribute Show and Gov't Mule's Star-Studded New Album, 'Shout!' (9/23/2013)
This is an excerpt from the November 2013 issue of Guitar World magazine. For the rest of this story, plus a John Petrucci cover story and poster and features on Santana, Guthrie Govan, Zakk Wylde, Lamb of God, Joan Jett, Slash and more, check o...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Sep 16 2013

DVD: Learn Slide Guitar from Six Masters, Including Mick Taylor and Warren Haynes (9/16/2013)
The DVD Learn Slide Guitar with 6 Great Masters! offers six great lessons from the masters of slide guitar: Lee Roy Parnell, Arlen Roth, Warren Haynes, Mick Taylor, Greg Martin and Jay Geils. Lesson 1: Arlen Roth on open E tuning, slide fundamen...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Jul 23 2013

New Book/CD: Learn Slide Guitar from Warren Haynes (7/23/2013)
Learn the slide guitar stylings of Warren Haynes from the man himself! In Warren Haynes — Guide to Slide Guitar, the legendary guitarist of Gov't Mule, Phil Lesh and Friends, the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band offers instructions on...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Apr 16 2013

Video: Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks and Gregg Allman Perform "Midnight Rider" at Crossroads Guitar Festival (4/16/2013)
Eric Clapton's fourth Crossroads Guitar Festival took place this past Friday and Saturday night at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Besides Clapton, this year's lineup included Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, the Allman Br...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Nov 2 2012

Santana, Warren Haynes, And Derek Trucks Talk Tone With Paul Reed Smith (11/1/2012)
Stevensville, MD (November 1, 2012) – Paul Reed Smith recently sat down for a chat with Carlos Santana, Warren Haynes, and Derek Trucks. They passed along the video and this press release. Enjoy: If you could listen in on a conversation betwee...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Oct 29 2012

Interview: Warren Haynes Discusses Gov’t Mule's New 6-Disc Box Set, 'The Georgia Bootleg Box' (10/29/2012)
Gov’t Mule recently released the first installment in their Bootleg Series. The Georgia Bootleg Box is a six-disc set capturing a three-night run from Georgia in 1996. The band was recorded live at The Georgia Theater in Athens on April 11, The...
WholeNote shared a news item about Warren Haynes
Sep 7 2012

Jam Session: Warren Haynes on Getting Started With Slide Guitar (9/7/2012)
This column comes from Warren Haynes' classic Guitar World column, "Jam Session." When I first started to play slide guitar, I would play in standard tuning. I soon discovered that many slide guitarists tune their strings to form a chord, such a...