In the afternoon before his band Gov’t Mule played the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, Warren Haynes stopped by the WZLX studio for a chat with Chuck Nowlin. The band came to Boston with a new album in the works and, according to Haynes, “close to being finished.”
Haynes added that the near-complete new album from Gov’t Mule is due out “early next year,” so we can expect new material from the band around January or February. We can also expect one of the new tracks to be a tribute to the late Levon Helm of The Band, who in April lost his battle with cancer.
With the election coming up on November 6, Chuck brought up Haynes’ frequent involvement in politics with Gov’t Mule and support for incumbent President Barack Obama. He talked about February’s Blues From the White House event, which featured Gov’t Mule along with Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and B.B. King, which he showered with praise.
“I’ve been there a few times because of our association with the president, but it never fails to be an awe inducing event,” he said. “I was honored to be part of it.”
Gov’t Mule’s Halloween show in Chicago is expected to have a Jimi Hendrix theme, which means the band will play 90 minutes of Hendrix songs that they haven’t performed before. Haynes is clearly a huge Hendrix fan and admirer.
“I don’t know anyone I’d put above Hendrix as far as the influence he’s had on rock and roll and guitar,” he said.
“Yeah, uh…That’s wrong,” as Haynes bluntly put it, but he made it clear that he wasn’t knocking Van Halen, who he says “influenced guitar more than anyone since Hendrix, probably.”
But according to Haynes, Van Halen’s influence on guitarists has been more negative than positive, bringing about an entire generation of “shredders” whose sound is defined not by good songwriting, but endless soloing.
“It wasn’t [Van Halen's] fault, but a lot of [his influence] turned into some really bad music – a lot of wankers who tried to play like Van Halen and wrote terrible songs came after that – but that happens anytime anything innovative comes along,” he explained.
Listen to the entire interview between Warren Haynes and Chuck Nowlin below.