After spending a number of years contributing to the Allman Brothers Band, guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody formed a side project with drummer Matt Abts with Gov't Mule. Their 1995 self-titled debut showcased a stylistic combination of Southern rock and psychedelic blues.
Being something of a jam band, Gov't Mule followed up with Live at Roseland Ballroom – their 1995 New Year's Eve show opening for Blues Traveler – before going back into the studio to make 1998's Dose. That pattern continued for the next couple of releases, as well, with Live...With a Little Help from Our Friends – their 1998 New Year's Eve set featuring members of the Black Crowes, the Allman Brothers Band, Parliament/Funkadelic – coming in 1999 followed by Life Before Insanity in 2000.
That summer, on August 26, Woody was found dead in a New York City hotel room. The group organized a benefit concert, One for Woody, with proceeds going toward Woody's daughter's education. Performers included Phil Lesh, the Allman Brothers Band, the Black Crowes, Edwin McCain, and others.
Gov't Mule put their new studio project on hold temporarily, then forged ahead using guest bass players, including Bootsy Collins, Mike Gordon of Phish, John Entwistle, Les Claypool, Chris Squire, and Flea, for what would become a two-volume set dubbed the Deep End. On the side, Haynes worked with the Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh and Friends, and other Grateful Dead groupings.
When Gov't Mule went on tour in 2001 to support Deep End, Vol. 1, bassist Oteil Burbridge was along for the ride as one of numerous fill-in players. The following year, a second Live...With a Little Help from Our Friends installment was issued with the Deepest End: Live in Concert CD and DVD coming in 2003.
Andy Hess was recruited as Woody's newest replacement in time to hit the studio to make Déjà Voodoo. Keyboardist Danny Louis also signed on for the set and the 2006 follow-up, High & Mighty. A dub/reggae offering – Mighty High – made its way out in 2007.
Another double live collection also came in 2007 with Benefit Concert with By a Thread dropping in 2009. By this point, Hess was out in favor of Jorgen Carlsson. ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons also made a cameo on the recording.
For 2010, a three-disc set titled Mulennium offered the band's full 1999 New Year's Eve performance at the Roxy Theatre in Atlanta featuring the original roster, including Woody, as well as guests like the Black Crowes and Little Milton. Gov't Mule's annual calendar continued to include tour dates and festivals like Bonnaroo, Hangout Music Festival, and more.