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Douglas Allen Woody
Allen Woody
August 25, 2000
Age 44 
 Heroin Overdose
 
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  Veteran rock 'n' roller Douglas Allen Woody, a longtime bass guitarist for the legendary Allman Brothers Band, was found dead inside a Queens motel yesterday morning.  At 10:30 a.m., a chambermaid found Woody, 44, lying dead inside a room at the Marriott Courtyard Motel on the Grand Central Parkway, police sources said. 

The sources said they were investigating the cause of death, and had not ruled out a drug overdose. 

Woody, originally from Nashville, TN, joined the Allmans in 1989, along with slide guitarist Warren Haynes, when the group was being re-formed after one of its periodic breakups. 

With his thundering bass licks, he carried on the band's tradition of hard-driving, Southern blues fused with rock 'n' roll, regaling millions of music lovers with such revered anthems as "Whipping Post," "Ramblin' Man," and "Jessica." 

 In April 1997, both Woody and Haynes quit the Allman Brothers Band to devote their full-time energies, along with drummer Matt Apts, to their own group, Gov't Mule, a powerful blues-driven trio reminiscent of Cream, Mountain, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

    
  Gov't Mule Bassist Woody Dies 

                    Gov't Mule bassist and former member Allman Brothers Band 
                    member Douglas Allen Woody was found dead Saturday in a 
                    motel in the New York borough of Queens. He was 44. Woody's 
                    death was confirmed by a police spokesperson, who said that the 
                    specific cause and time of death had not yet been  
                    determined. A spokesperson for the band's label, 
                    Capricorn Records, also confirmed his death, but  
                    said the label has no further information at deadline. 
  

                    A message posted yesterday (Aug. 27) on the band's 
                    official Web site shared the news with fans. "We were 
                    very saddened to learn yesterday morning that Allen 
                    Woody unexpectedly passed away sometime Friday 
                    evening or early Saturday morning," the statement reads. 
                    "It is our understanding that Allen had an early morning 
                    flight scheduled from New York to his home in 
                    Tennessee. At the present time, that is all the 
                    information that we have." 

                    Information regarding an education fund for Savannah 
                    Woody, the musician's daughter with his wife Jenny, is 
                    also available on the site.  

                    Woody joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1989 as it 
                    was reforming after a seven-year hiatus. In 1997, the 
                    bassist and guitarist Warren Haynes officially left the 
                    band to concentrate on Gov't Mule with longtime friend 
                    and drummer Matt Abts. The Gov't Mule side project 
                    began when the trio informally jammed together in 1994 
                    in Los Angeles following an Allmans show. 

                    Explaining Gov't Mule's creative philosophy in a 
                    biography written around the time of the band's 1998 
                    Capricorn debut, "Dose," Woody said, "In so many ways, 
                    we rely on spontaneity and unpredictability: you can get 
                    electrocuted at any time." 

                    Gov't Mule's third studio album, "Life Before Insanity," 
                    peaked at No. 16 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart in 
                    March. The band was due to kick off a 20-date tour 
                    Sept. 2 in Columbus, Ohio.  

                                           -- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

 
NY TIMES
        
 D. Allen Woody, Bass Player for the Allman Brothers Band, Dies at 44 

          By NEIL STRAUSS 

               Douglas Allen Woody, a former bassist for the Allman Brothers Band 
               and a spin-off group, Gov't Mule, died on Saturday at the Marriott 
               Courtyard Motel in Queens. He was 44.  

          The cause was unknown, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the 
          New York City medical examiner's office. An autopsy performed 
          yesterday was inconclusive, she said.  

          Allen Woody, as he was known, was born in Nashville, where his father, a 
          truck driver, weaned him on the blues, country and rock oldies. Inspired by 
          watching Paul McCartney play with the Beatles, he began learning the 
          bass at age 14. Not long afterward he first heard the Allman Brothers 
          Band on the radio and became interested in exploratory Southern rock.  

          Mr. Woody majored in music at Middle Tennessee State University and 
          worked selling instruments at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, where he met 
          many of the city's top musicians. In the mid-80's, he joined the Artimus 
          Pyle Band, led by the former drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was Mr. 
          Pyle who introduced Mr. Woody to Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers 
          Band, who suggested that Mr. Woody audition as bassist.  

          Mr. Woody joined the Allman Brothers Band when the group re-formed 
          after a seven-year hiatus in 1989. Previously the band had lost three 
          members to early deaths, two of them bassists and the other its cofounder, 
          Duane Allman, who was killed in a 1971 motorcycle accident.  

          The revised line-up, with Mr. Woody on bass and another newcomer, 
          Warren Haynes, on guitar, helped bring the band new commercial and 
          critical success. In 1994, while still touring with the Allmans, Mr. Woody 
          and Mr. Haynes formed a side trio with a drummer, Matt Abts, called 
          Gov't Mule. They recorded for Capricorn, a label that had a longstanding 
          feud with the Allman Brothers over record royalties.  

          Three years later, Mr. Woody and Mr. Haynes left the Allman Brothers to 
          devote themselves to their trio. Gov't Mule added a harder edge to its jams 
          and explored a wide terrain that ranged from free jazz to the alternative 
          rock of Radiohead.  

          An avid biker with tattoos and a handlebar mustache, Mr. Woody was 
          distinguished by his ability to move from slow, blues-drenched playing to 
          fast, pronounced runs. He was also known for playing customized 
          instruments like a double-necked combination of a guitar and a mandolin.  

          Gov't Mule recorded five albums for Capricorn and was set to begin a tour 
          on Sept. 2.  

          Mr. Woody is survived by his wife, Jenny, and his daughter, Savannah, 
          both of Nashville. 

                         Gov't Mule Bassist Found Dead In Queens, N.Y.
                                            Former Allman Brothers Band/current 
                                            Gov't Mule bassist Douglas Allen 
                                            Woody was found dead on Saturday 
                                            (Aug. 26) morning in a hotel in 
                                            Queens, N.Y. He was 44.  

                                            Woody was found sitting up in a chair 
                                            in his room at a Marriott Courtyard by 
                                            a hotel worker, according to a 
                                            spokesperson for the band at 
                                            Capricorn Records. A preliminary 
                         autopsy report was inconclusive and showed no immediate 
                         cause of death.  

                         Woody grew up in Nashville and began playing the bass at 
                         the age of 14. After a stint in the Artimus Pyle Band in the 
                         mid-'80s, Woody joined the Allman Brothers Band, along with 
                         guitarist Warren Haynes, in 1989 when the band re-formed 
                         after a seven-year hiatus. The two spent seven years with 
                         the Allmans before breaking out in 1997 and forming Gov't 
                         Mule with drummer Matt Abts, a side-project which first 
                         surfaced during a 1994 Allman Brothers show in Los Angeles 
                         and later turned into a full-blown gig on the band's 1998 
                         Capricorn debut, Dose.  

                         Gov't Mule was scheduled to kick off a 20-date tour in 
                         support of its latest effort, Life Before Insanity, on Sept. 2 in 
                         Columbus, Ohio. Details on the status of that tour are 
                         currently pending.  

                         Woody is survived by his wife, Jenny, and a 3-year-old 
                         daughter, Savannah. The funeral for the bassist will be held 
                         at the Hermitage Memorial Gardens in Hermitage, Tenn. on 
                         Thursday (Aug. 31).  

                         In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Savannah 
                         Woody Educational Fund, c/o Hard Head Management, P.O. 
                         Box 651 Village Station, New York, N.Y., 10014.  

                                                                 -- Kevin Raub --AllStar News

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From Mule.net
 
     Asked to explain the creative philosophy behind Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody (10/2/56 - 8/25/00
     frames a characteristically wry response:  "In so many ways, we rely on 
     spontaneity and unpredictability:  you can get electrocuted at any time," he laughs. 

     The spontaneous combustion approach has yielded great results for all three members of 
     Gov't Mule:  Woody, drummer Matt Abts and guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes.  Even prior 
     to forming Gov't Mule with Abts, Woody and Haynes earned national attention 
     as members of the Allman Brothers Band.  And during the past decade, Haynes' 
     slide guitar pyrotechnics have marked him as one of the world's premier 
     guitarists, revered by fans and critics alike.  Fueled by Abts' fierce drumming, 
     Woody and Haynes have achieved new levels of combustibility in Gov't 
     Mule:  now Dose, their Capricorn Records debut, shows Gov't Mule blowing the 
     roof off the laboratory. 

     Leadoff track "Blind Man In The Dark" opens the album with a blast of grinding 
     funk, possessing a rock edge reminiscent of earlier classic power trios.  Dose 
     proceeds to storm through rock, blues, soul, folk, and jazz terrain, and includes 
     a knockout cover of the Beatles' "She Said She Said" for good measure. 

     Alongside brawny instrumentals ("Thelonius Beck," "Birth Of The Mule"), Dose 
     possesses a distinctive lyrical depth, from the lethal allure of "Thorazine Shuffle" 
     and barbed observations of "Towering Fool"; to the fractured, fragile optimism 
     of "I Shall Return."  "Writing helps exorcise my demons," admits Haynes; "it's 
     my therapy.  In general I'm a pretty happy person, but if I didn't have that 
     outlet God knows where I would be." 

     The album includes a pair of intriguing covers:  an eerie, stark version of the Son 
     House classic "John The Revelator," and the aforementioned reworking of the 
     Beatles' "She Said She Said."  "That one was Woody's idea," says Haynes; 
     "whenever we do a cover we try to make it our own -- very different from the 
     original.  With 'She Said' we put the full Mule treatment to it:  we end up slowing 
     it down and roughing it up a bit." 

     Producer Michael Barbiero (Soundgarden, Blues Traveler, Guns 'n Roses) 
     fostered the album's relaxed, confident mood.  "Michael really knows what we're 
     all about," nods Abts.  "He has recorded with us before, he's seen us live many 
     times, and understands our need to explore new directions.  For Dose we 
     experimented with a lot of different sounds and textures in the studio, yet 
     Michael captured the spark and freshness of a live setting." 

     The group's adventurism in the studio reflects their searing live shows, which 
     have consistently blown away audiences throughout the country.  Band 
     members admit that the concert stage is Gov't Mule's natural habitat:  "Playing 
     live has always been the key for us," says Abts.  "Feedback from the crowd is 
     addictive in the best sense possible, because the audience pushes you to move 
     forward and grow." 

     All three band members had crossed paths prior to joining forces as Gov't 
     Mule.  Haynes, a native of Asheville, NC, had played with the Dickey Betts Band 
     before joining The Allman Brothers Band for an extended gig. 

     Oklahoma-born Abts, an army brat who lived in military bases all over the world 
     before finally settling in Virginia at age 16, met Haynes when both were playing 
     with Dickey Betts.  Abts' list of credits includes stints with Montrose and 
     Ex-Rolling Stone guitarist Mick Taylor. 

     And Woody, born and raised in Nashville, played bass with The Allman Brothers 
     for several years alongside Haynes.  Haynes and Woody are widely credited 
     with giving the Allmans a much-needed shot in the arm:  the two men penned 
     many of ABB's newer songs, and contributed greatly to the group's resurgence. 

     In May 1994, while Haynes and Woody were on tour with the Allmans, they 
     jammed with Abts at a Los Angeles club following an ABB show.  "It was pretty 
     exciting," says Haynes.  "As we played together more and more, we got to 
     thinking that maybe we should put the time and effort into making it a real 
     band."  In April 1997 Haynes and Woody amicably departed The Allman Brothers 
     in order to focus on their efforts with Abts and Gov't Mule. 

     Oh, and about the name Gov't Mule:  the phrase was originally used by Allman 
     Brothers drummer Jai Johanny Johanson in a conversation with Woody, who 
     liked it so much that he mentioned it to Abts and Haynes.  "It can mean different 
     things to different people," admits Haynes, adding with a laugh "besides, the 
     name kind of describes us:  we're a slow, hard working, non-glorious animal." 

     All self-deprecating humor aside, this animal continues to accomplish 
     impressive feats -- individually and as a group.  A pair of previous albums, 
     1995's Gov't Mule and 1996's Live At Roseland Ballroom, have earned broad 
     critical acclaim.  Haynes was named "Best Slide Guitarist" by Guitar Player 
     magazine in 1995 and 1996, and his name is increasingly mentioned among a 
     select league of legendary guitarists such as Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, and 
     Johnny Winter.  Now, Gov't Mule's new union with Capricorn Records marks 
     another milestone in the group's collective ascent.  "There's a whole mystique 
     surrounding Capricorn," says Woody;  "it's cool that Gov't Mule is now a part of 
     the picture." 

     The new album and new label testify to Gov't Mule's innate strengths, as well as 
     a collective growth.  "The smaller the lineup," says Haynes, "the more important 
     a band's chemistry becomes.  In a trio, you better have a strong chemistry or 
     you're sunk.  We had an instant chemistry from the very beginning, but in the 
     long run the most important thing is what you end up actually doing with that 
     initial chemistry and how you build upon it."

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