A Q-and-A with rock legend Warren Haynes

By Alexandria Sardam

Soulful rock legend Warren Haynes is noted for being one of music’s most intelligent and talented blues guitarists of all time.

Made famous for his work with the Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule and the Warren Haynes Band, Haynes’ insatiable talent spreads beyond his shredding guitar style.

His hard-nosed, loyal dedication to making gritty music and pushing his personal music limits has crafted Haynes into one of the most gnarly and sought-after guitarists and singers of our time.

The Warren Haynes Band will be playing at Busters Wednesday. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9. Tickets are $25 in advance and $28 at the door, and the show is 18-plus.

So you were a fan of the Allman Brothers before you started playing guitar with them. What was it like being a part of that?

Well it was such a gradual process. I was an Allman Brothers fan since the time I was 9 years old and my oldest brother brought home the first record when it was just out, and having two older brothers, I got force fed a lot of great music.

Hearing the Allman Brothers, even at such a young age, was very overwhelming. Of course I grew up hearing each record as it would come out. By the time the “Live at Fillmore East” record came out I was starting to play guitar and all my friends that were the same age had that record. We were all studying it and very enamored with it. Then you fast forward and I started playing with Dickey Betts when I was 25 or 26, which was many years later and that led to me, three years later touring the Allman Brother when I was 28. They reformed after having been broken up for 9 years.

They asked me to come along and at that point it was really the only expectations to do a summer tour, an anniversary tour and it was nothing really beyond that but it went so well that we did it the next year and the next year and here it is 23 years later, I’m still there.

Has there ever been a moment that it’s all just kind of hit you at once?

I tend to not forget that in general. I’m very grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve been given.

You can work your ass off and still not be successful, so I’m very fortunate to have worked with so many great people through the years.

What was it like playing with some of the remaining members of the Grateful Dead: Bob Weir and Phil Lesh?

I started playing with Phil in the late ‘90s and it was through him that I was able to join the Dead and be part of that for 2004 and 2009 when they did those tours.

So all the remaining members playing together was a very special thing. Of course playing with any of them individually was always fun.

You are listed as No. 23 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list. That’s quite an honor.

Those kinds of lists are what they are — they’re someone’s opinions and I appreciate that very much. I’m honored and flattered that someone would think of me that way. I think my list would probably have been completely different but that’s neither here nor there. I take more pride in being acknowledged for all the hard work I put into something because music, it’s not a competitive sport.

You’ve accomplished so much as a musician. Is there anything you haven’t done yet that you want to tackle in the future?

Well I have a lot of records that I want to make as far as in the process of making another Gov’t Mule record. I want to do solo records in the future that will be different from any of the solo records that I’ve done in the past.

There’s a lot of people I’d like to record with and perform with but obviously the list is getting shorter. I’ve been very blessed to check most of my heroes off that really long list and again that’s not something I take lightly.

Who’s an artist that you’ve listened to since you were young and still listen to today?

Oh, there’s so many.

I think I was lucky to come up in a time period when a lot of timeless music was being made. All the soul music that I grew up listening to, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and of course blues like Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, B.B. King, Albert King and Freddie King.

Songs and songwriters like Roger Waters, Neil Young and Tom Waits and obviously Bob Dylan — who I’m an enormous fan of — and Bob Marley.

When I listen to stuff like that, or Van Morrison, or Ray Charles, it kind of brings me back to square one.

When I get saturated with my own disappointment of modern music, I’ll always go back and listen to something that I consider timeless and it never fails. That music is going to stand up 200 years from now.