Last year’s One Night Only concert featured a similar lineup, with Skerik instead of Karl—how did that concert come together, musically, considering the group hadn’t had much experience together?
Well, I think that everyone, including both the musicians and the audience, goes into this knowing that it’s not going to be a situation that’s rehearsed over and over; there’s going to be a ton of improv. It’s more about the spirit of the event and the spirit of the five of us playing together. So, even we don’t know where it’s gonna go musically until it goes there. And that’s the beauty—the whole point of the journey is to see what happens. I love the fact that we’re gonna be able to do it again—even though we said it was only gonna happen for that one night. [Laughs.]. It was so much fun. Every chemistry is different. Every situation where you get a bunch of musicians together to play, you try to cater to the strengths of the individuals and to the strengths of the collective. A lot of it just happens on the fly. A certain amount of it can be based on rehearsal and that sort of thing, but once we go out there, everything changes and the script goes out the window.
Gov’t Mule released your Live at The Capitol Theatre album earlier this year—what kind of significance does this venue hold for you, especially now after having that landmark event for the band?
I’ve always had a lot of reverence for that venue. It’s one of my favorite places to play. And for numerous reasons: It looks great and sounds great, and there’s a great history. The vibe of the whole staff and venue is what music venues are supposed to be.
In the new issue of Relix, you mention that you’ve been writing new songs, some that could be part of a solo release and some that would be more suited to Gov’t Mule.
It’s funny—I’ve been writing a lot of stuff that’s in between the Man In Motion  and the Ashes & Dust  material. In my mind, I’ve been describing it kind of as Muscle Shoals sound. I’ve written a lot of songs in that direction in the past few years, so I can see something along those lines being an upcoming project. Also, as I mentioned, I did write a few instrumental pieces, which I had not done in a while. That’s probably gonna be a part of the next Gov’t Mule record, which we haven’t dived into it yet. But, we’ve talked about that and how we’re all excited about exploring some instrumental songs and some big instrumental sections. We’re just talking a lot about what kind of record we want the next one to be, because it will be the first Mule record after surviving 25 years. [Laughs.].
Right, exactly. Opening a new chapter.
Yeah absolutely. One that we never thought we’d have the opportunity to open. We never planned on being around nearly this long.
Which do you see coming first, a solo album or a Mule record?
I don’t know—I haven’t really crossed that bridge. I’m really looking forward to both, in the way that I get to be back in the studio and get back to work, you know? I feel like there’s a lot of projects on the horizon.
Speaking of Gov’t Mule, you guys have a New Year’s Eve run in the Northeast coming up this winter, which ends with a return to the Beacon Theatre in New York. That venue obviously also has a lot of history to it, especially with you, Mule, the Allman Brothers, etc.
Well, I love the Beacon. It’s the place that I’ve probably played more than any other venue—gotta be close to 300 times that I’ve played there. [Laughs.]. I love it—just a classic New York theater. It was great before it was remodeled, then after the remodel, even greater. I’ve always loved playing there since the very beginning. I never saw the Fillmore East, but some of the original members of the Allman Brothers talk about how the Beacon reminded them of the Fillmore. And not just the audience, but something about the vibe in the venue itself. Obviously, the Beacon is more of a traditional theater. I’ve just had so many wonderful experiences there—walking on stage there feels very comfortable.
And you’ll be starting out that run in Philadelphia with support from The Allman Betts Band, who are kind of carrying on the mantle of the Allman Brothers Band with the next generation of musicians in that family.
I’m really happy that they’re doing what they’re doing, keeping the tradition of that music alive. Their music is obviously different than the Allman Brothers’ music, but it follows in that sort of tradition. Obviously I’ve known all of those guys for most of their lives—and a big part of my life—and I’m really happy for them. When we get to do some shows together, it’s always fun. We did a show recently with Mule in Jackson Hole, and Duane Betts came out and played with us, and he sounded wonderful as always. We will play together whenever we can.
Any final thoughts on the upcoming One Night Only benefit show at The Cap?
I’m just super psyched to get back together with that group of musicians. What a great opportunity for all of us to play together. That’s a lot of my favorite musicians on the planet. I’m being redundant now, but we just don’t get to play together often enough.