AUGUST 26, 2000 – Bassist DOUG WOODY (b. October 3, 1955 in Nashville, Tennessee as Douglas Allen Woody) was found dead sitting up in a chair at the Marriott Courtyard Motel in Queens, New York. A preliminary autopsy performed was inconclusive and showed no immediate cause of death. He was survived by his wife Jenny and daughter Savannah.Best known for his eight-year tenure in the Allman Brothers Band and as co-founder of Gov’t Mule, Woody picked up both the mandolin and bass guitar at a very young age. Inspired by such bassists as Mountain’s Felix Pappalardi, Cream’s Jack Bruce, and Hot Tuna’s Jack Casady, Woody began playing in local bands, and eventually majored in music at Middle Tennessee State University.
It was through a job as a salesman at Nashville’s famed Gruhn Guitar Store that Woody became friendly with several renowned musicians passing through the area, which led to an invite to join the Artimus Pyle Band (led by the ex-drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd). Through his association with the Pyle Band, Woody became friendly with Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band, who suggested that he try out for the group, \]who were in the process of reforming during the late ’80s. Woody joined The Allman Brothers Band along with guitarist Warren Haynes upon the group’s reunion in 1989. He toured and appeared on such releases as “Seven Turns” (1990), “Shades of Two Worlds” (1991), “Evening With the Allman Brothers Band: First Set” (1992), “Where It All Begins” (1994) and “Evening With the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set” (1995).
It was during his Allman association that Woody befriended Haynes, which led to talk between the two of forming a side band – specializing in blues-based heavy rock (a la Mountain, Cream, Led Zeppelin, etc.). With drummer Matt Abts signed on as well, the trio took the name Gov’t Mule, and issued their self-titled debut in 1995. But what was originally thought to be a side band soon took on a life of its own, and both Woody and Haynes handed in their resignations to the Allmans. Gov’t Mule continued to solidify their standing as one of the US’ top blues-based hard rock acts, with such further releases as 1996’s “Live at Roseland Ballroom,” 1998’s “Dose,” 1999’s “Live with a Little Help from Our Friends” and 2000’s “Life Before Insanity.” But just a few months after Gov’t Mule’s latest studio offering, Woody was found dead.After his passing, a fund was set up for Woody’s young daughter, The Savannah Woody Educational Fund, while the surviving members of Gov’t Mule decided to carry on with Andy Hess assuming bass duties after a three-year period that saw a rotating group of bass players including Mike Gordon, Dave Schools, Oteil Burbridge (Woody’s replacement in the Allman Brothers Band), George Porter Jr. and Les Claypool. The group’s next release, “The Deep End: Vol. 1,” including several different renowned bassists filling in for their late friend, while Woody himself made a posthumous appearance on a previously unreleased cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother.” In addition to his work with the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule, Woody also guested on a few recordings by other artists, including Little Milton’s “Welcome to Little Milton” and Kevn Kinney’s “Flower & the Knife.”Allen was an 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. The Canadian band Big Sugar wrote one song “Nashville Grass” about Woody’s death and funeral.
The movie “Rising Low,” directed by fellow bass player Mike Gordon, is a documentary about bass players dedicated to the memory of Allen Woody and features bass players that he respected and knew in his lifetime.READ MORE: