August 26, 2000 – Douglas Allen Woody (Allman Brothers) was born on October 3, 1955 in Nashville, Tennessee. His father, a truck driver, weaned him on the blues, country and rock oldies. Woody picked up both the mandolin and bass guitar at a very young age. Watching Paul McCartney play with the Beatles, he began learning the bass at age 14. Inspired by such bassists as Mountain’s Felix Pappalardi, Cream’s Jack Bruce, and Hot Tuna’s Jack Cassady, Woody began playing in local bands. Not long afterward he first heard the Allman Brothers Band on the radio and became interested in exploratory Southern rock. Allen started as a guitar player, but later on switched to bass.
He majored in music at at Middle Tennessee University. After graduating, he worked at local Guitarshop in Nashville for eight years, where he met Artimus Pyle, ex-drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd , who gave Allen his first big break by giving him a job as bass player for APB.
After short stint in The Artimus Pyle Band, he worked with The Peter Criss Band, Blue Floyd, and Montage before joining the Allman Brothers Band along with guitarist Warren Haynes upon the group’s reunion in 1989. He played on 5 albums with them.
The fusion band I played in was called Montage; we were together for seven years and worked all over the Southeast. I did a lot of studio work, and in some respects I was young and stupid, because I thought I could eschew the usual procedures and play rock and roll my own way in Nashville, and I learned quickly that it couldn’t happen (chuckles).
I played with Peter Criss, and I was in Artimus Pyle’s band for five or six years; Artimus had a lot to do with me ending up in the Allman Brothers. He introduced me to Warren Haynes around ’85, and Warren and I would jam occasionally over the next few years.
Then one time, Warren told me he was going to be in the Allman Brothers, and at the same time we were cutting some tracks for the new Artimus Pyle Band album at Butch Trucks’ studio. I’d met Butch earlier; we were friends. He came up to me at his studio and told me his band was going to get back together; I said something to him like “Well, I guess you’ll be needing a bass player,” almost as a joke, but he said: “Yeah, that’s what I want to talk to you about.” I thought to myself, “Wow, he’s serious!“
In 1994 Woody and Haynes formed side project Gov’t Mule with former Dicky Betts drummer Matt Abts to create an outlet for songs the two had written.
Gov’t Mule was a strongly southern rock influenced power-trio and jam-band that gathered a large cult following from the very beginning. Woody and Warren Haynes finally left The Allman Brothers Band in 1997 to concentrate on Gov’t Mule full-time.
Allen was a enthusiastic bass collector with almost 500 different instruments and he was also widely known for his custom-made bass guitars, including double-necked combination of guitar and mandolin and a sitar-like bass.
Gov’t Mule recorded three albums with Allen Woody and they were enjoying growing success when disaster struck in summer of 2000.
Allen Woody was found dead in a Marriott Courtyard motel in Queens, New York on Saturday August 26th in 2000. He was 44 at the time of his death. The cause of his death has not been publicly confirmed, which has caused a lot of speculation among Gov’t Mule fans, but is widely believed to be drug related. He was 44.