Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers) Interview, August 1993


George: On the phone, I have Megaforce recording artist, Warren Haynes. He’s touring both solo and with the Allman Brothers. The Allman Brothers will be appearing at the Garden State Arts Center on August 8th and the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia on August 4th. What is your hometown?

Warren:  I’m originally from Ashville, North Carolina.

George: Is there any special message or purpose that you try to convey through your music?

Warren: Not really. I mean, lyrically I try to touch on a bunch of different messages, but it’s music first. It’s meant to be listened to and enjoyed and if some of the lyrical content happens to sink into your brain, that OK as well.

George: What is your favorite part of your musical career. Do you like performing the most or recording,that kind of thing?

Warren: I guess if I had to choose between performing live and recording, I would choose performing, just because the audience really plays into it a lot. The audience gives you so much energy, that you really can’t muster up by yourselves. But I enjoy both aspects of it quite a bit. I think one keeps the other fresh. If I’ve been in the studio a long time, it’s a big relief to go out and play live and vice versa.

George: Tell us a little bit about your musical history.

Warren: There’s a lot of stuff that’s kind of nominal. There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve played or sang on, over the years, that doesn’t really represent what I do. The last three Allman Brothers records and the last Dickey Betts record, my record, and there’s about ten David Allan Coe records that I did; and if you look through them, there’s two or three songs per album where I contributed something somewhat valid. That was back in the time when I was doing really the side man thing.

George: What do you do when you’re not on tour?

Warren: Well, recently that hasn’t been very much. I like to play sports and I like to do other projects, musically, that are totally different from the ones that I usually do. That kind of keeps things in perspective as well. I like to travel, and check out different places that I’ve never been, and all kinds of stuff like that. I haven’t had very much free time recently, so I’m trying to recollect what that would be.

George: Do you have any time in your career that you would say is your most memorable performance?

Warren: I guess, at this moment, playing Madison Square Garden with the John Lee Hooker tribute was very memorable for me. For one, playing with John Lee Hooker, that was a very memorable experience. Playing with Willie Dixon a few months before he died, that was great. That was all part of the same event, the John Lee Hooker tribute. Myself, and Gregg Allman, and Woody from the Allman Brothers played. It just went on and on, the people that were there for that tribute. It was a very wonderful experience. To me, I’ve always looked up so much to John Lee and to Willie Dixon, that had a lot to do with it. Joe Cocker was on that bill as well. Just a lot of great people showing their appreciation to John Lee.

George: Is there a significance to the title “Tales Of Ordinary Madness?”

Warren: Well, I took the title from Charles Bukowski, and he had used it for a title of one of his compilations of short stories. And I just thought the title was really cool and summed up what I was trying to say collectively in my songs, not so much that my lyrics resemble his work or anything, just the title itself.

George: When did you know that you wanted a career in music?

Warren: Well, I guess, I thought I knew it when I was a kid, you know, when I first started playing. It was so important to me and I was consumed by it and obsessed by it..and I knew I wanted to do it, but the more I did it and the better I became, it started making more and more sense, more than a childhood fantasy. It’s such an odd thing because I guess that a lot of musicians, if they’ve known early on, how tough it was going to be, then maybe they wouldn’t have been so insistent about going into professional music. It can be very bewildering at times, but I’m very glad that I made that choice. I don’t think that I had a choice. I think sometimes if you’re that obsessed with something, then you just have to do it and make it through the hardships.

George: What is your personal favorite track from the album?

Warren: I think my personal favorite is probably “Broken Promised Land.” I really love the way that it closes the album and the girl that sang at the end, Alfreda Gerald, did an amazing job improvising with my guitar solo. It just has such a powerful, emotional, spiritual feel, that every time I hear that, it still gets to me.

George: How long did it take to record the album?

WarrenHaynesTalesofOrdinaryMadnessWarren: Seven weeks.

George: How long does it take you to write a song?

Warren: Some of them fifteen minutes, some of them a year. It just depends really. Some of them come very easily and you feel like you’ve just been holding it in, and holding it in, and finally it just kind of pours out and it’s done. Others, little pieces come out here and there and they don’t make sense together and then it takes a long time to put all the little pieces together.

George: Do you have a single or a track that you would like to call attention to?

Warren: Yeah, the new single is “I’ll Be The One.” The first single was “Fire In The Kitchen,” which was actually received rather well. I was very happy about that.

George: What happens after the tour? Do you have any plans?

Warren: Well, I going to continue touring with my band, when the Allman Brothers tour is over and I think around October, we’re going to go into the studio with the Allman Brothers and work on a new studio record. But I still have a lot of touring to do, for this album.

George: So I guess it would be incorrect for someone to say that you are “formerly of the Allman Brothers.”

Warren: Yes. It’s come up that way a few times in print, but people just assume that, because we try to give them every indication that I’m doing both things.