Modern day southern rockers Govt Mule started as merely a side-project for latter-day Allman Brothers Band members Warren Haynes (6 April 1960, Asheville, North Carolina, USA; guitar/vocals) and Douglas Allen Woody (b. 3 October 1955, USA, d. 26 August 2000, Queens, New York City, New York, USA; bass), but soon took on a life all its own. Haynes and Woody had been part of the Allman Brothers circle for several years by 1994, when the duo jammed with drummer Matt Abts (b. 30 September 1953, Oklahoma, USA) at a Los Angeles club after a local Allman Brothers Band gig in May of that year. The trio remained in contact and continued to play when their busy schedules allowed it, as its members began to take the new project more seriously with each successive jam session. At first, Haynes and Woody attempted to keep Govt Mule going along with their Allman Brothers Band duties, resulting in albums such as 1995s self-titled debut and 1996s Live At Roseland Ballroom.
By April 1997, Haynes and Woody had both handed in their resignation to the Allmans and were now free to focus on Govt Mule full-time. Unlike their work with the Allmans, Govt Mules music crossed over into hard rock territory at times. The trio signed on with Capricorn Records, and issued two albums during the late 90s. Dose and yet another live set, 1999s Live With A Little Help From Our Friends, which featured contributions from members of the Black Crowes. Govt Mules fifth release, Life Before Insanity, was issued in early 2000, but just a few months after its release Woody was found dead in a New York City hotel room. Haynes and Abts opted to carry on, and for 2001s The Deep End: Volume 1, enlisted an impressive roster of renowned rock bass players to take Woodys place, including Jack Bruce, Larry Graham, Roger Glover, John Entwistle, Mike Watt, the Red Hot Chili Peppers Flea, and Phishs Mike Gordon. Gordon filmed the albums recording sessions, which were included as part of the documentary, On The Banks. In 2002, The Deep End: Volume 2 was issued, and like its predecessor, included a wide variety of acclaimed bass players lending a hand.
Subsequently, Andy Hess became the full-time bass player and Danny Louis was recruited on keyboards, and the band was able to complete their 2004 release Déja Voodoo with a stable line-up. A second album by the new-look quartet followed in 2006, and spawned an unusual dub version featuring guest appearances from Michael Franti, Toots Hibbert and Willie Williams.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.