One door closes, another opens. It doesn't always work out that way, of course. But when Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody died of a heart attack in August 2000, the remaining band members -- guitarist Warren Haynes and drummer Matt Abts -- were reluctant to simply replace their fallen friend and colleague. Instead, they turned the bass slot into a revolving door through which has passed a stunning array of world-class players, including Les Claypool, Phil Lesh, Tony Levin, Bootsy Collins, Flea, Larry Graham, Meshell Ndegeocello and Chris Squire. The results of their experiments were released last year on a double-CD set called The Deep End. Now comes the just-released sequel, The Deep End Volume 2, containing performances culled from the same sessions.
As with many bands graced with a gift for improvisation, though, the ideal way to experience the Mule is live, and the group has a solution for its lineup problem there, too. They've tapped a revolving cast of bassists for the tour; currently they're playing with George Porter Jr. (the Meters) and Greg Rzab (formerly of the Black Crowes). Look for an adventurous set featuring plenty of Mule originals plus some choice covers. Also expect to stay awhile. It should be obvious from Haynes' busy schedule -- he's still a member of the Allman Brothers Band and Phil Lesh and Friends, too -- that this guy likes to play.
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