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Published: 2014/08/25

Brian Farmer, Longtime Warren Haynes Guitar Tech, Dies

Photo: Bert De Jong

Warren Haynes’ longtime guitar tech, Brian Farmer, passed away yesterday at his home near Nashville. The info was announced today via Warren Haynes’ Facebook page with a quote from the guitarist that reads, “He was a close friend, a devoted worker, and a lover of life. We traveled around the world together and shared many experiences—mostly while laughing. He will be missed by a huge circle of friends and family.”

Farmer was a key member of the Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers road crews since the 1990s, and also worked with Haynes when he toured with other groups like Phil Lesh and Friends. Prior to taking the job with Haynes, he worked for Johnny Cash.

Farmer, who was beloved by those who knew and worked with him, was known for his uncanny resemblance to Haynes, and the pair even shared a birthday. During one Gov’t Mule Halloween show, Farmer was able to trick the crowd into thinking he was the Haynes when he opened the show on guitar. He was also occasionally performed during setbreak with other members of the Gov’t Mule road crew.

Speaking with in 2008, Haynes said:

Brian Farmer was Allen Woody’s friend and at the point we were looking for a guitar tech/bass tech, Woody recommended Farmer and he casually alluded to the fact that, “Oh he kind of looks like you.” I didn’t realize what he meant until I met Farmer and I definitely see the similarities but at the same time we look way different too.

The odd thing about my relationship with Farmer is we didn’t find out until quite some time later that we have the same birthday.

Today also marks the 14th anniversary of original Gov’t Mule bassist Allen Woody’s death in 2000.

Gov’t Mule will release a full statement on Farmer’s death shortly. Relix publisher Peter Shapiro released the following statement:

I think all fans of Warren Haynes will miss the sight of Brian Farmer roaming the wings of the stage, handling and tuning Warren’s guitars so when Warren had them in his hands the sounds that came out of them was always pitch-perfect. His smile and vibe were infectious and will be remembered with a smile forever.

Phil Lesh also weighed in via the Terrapin Crossroads Twitter:

So sad to hear of Brian Farmer’s passing- a true pro and devoted friend. Fare thee well, Farmer- I love you more than words can tell.

Farmer on stage with Gov’t Mule at Bonnaroo 2009- photo by Dean Budnick


There are 43 comments associated with this post

Clive Bigsby August 25, 2014, 12:17:10

I saw Rich G of Mule Army mentioning something about news about Brian…I didn’t expect this. I don’t even know what to say. RIP Brian Farmer, thank you for all your work through out the years with Warren, ABB, Mule, etc. Wow…you will be missed.

Bryan August 25, 2014, 12:19:35

It’s not often that fans know who those faceless guys running around the stage. Proud to say that in the community of bands I follow these guys become our friends. More than direct link to the band, they come as important as the band. Available, engaging and never taking themselves too seriously. Brian Farmer was one of those guys. Famous in his own right, always a smile and engaging with him was as cool as talking to Warren. You will be missed.

me August 25, 2014, 12:35:22

Wow… mini-Warren is gone, Brian may you rest in peace… what a sad day. Who didn’t at one time, or another think they were seeing double or got tricked by seeing Farmer and thinking they were seeing Warren. Never knew they shared a birthday, a nice little side note while reading a sad article. Met him once and although it was brief, he seemed like a great guy… wish his family and friends the best at a tough time.

Justin Bette August 25, 2014, 12:45:58

Huge loss obviously. Never met him but can’t count how many times I saw him onstage. Thank you sir for keeping our favorite bands on point! All the best to your family and friends.

Mulehead2 August 25, 2014, 13:13:55

You’ll never have to wear flip flops in heaven. Peace out BF…you will be greatly missed by all.

RIP! August 25, 2014, 13:17:17

I met him at Hangout 2010 outside the fest where his truck had gotten towed. I thought he was Warren the whole time as I had just gotten turned onto Mule. Super nice guy! RIP Brian.

Dennis August 25, 2014, 13:18:17

Sad news….just a great dude

Susan Thomas August 25, 2014, 14:06:09

A loss we as a FaMuley will never get over…He was the opening act for Gov’t Mule….Love you

Blooby August 25, 2014, 14:14:12

Wow, this is just shocking news. What a sweet guy and such a loss.

Jim August 25, 2014, 14:58:57

He was such a part of the show, sort of a performance artist without ever trying to be one. Pre show won’t be near the fun w/o Farmer!

Randy Yochum August 25, 2014, 15:42:59

He was also a tech for Johnny Cash for a while. He loved to share stories about “Mr.” Cash.
I often told Brian that, HE, not Warren, was the hardest working man in rock and roll.
Lay down and take your rest Brian!

Michael Welter August 25, 2014, 16:24:23

He once told me; “I never give away guitar picks until the show has ended, it’s bad luck.”. Farewell.

cosmicbein August 25, 2014, 16:40:08

Never saw a road dog as happy as Brian,he was always smiling and enjoying each and every gig.Sad day for all who knew his overjoyous spirit for life.

Tom August 25, 2014, 16:41:38

Will miss Brian on stage during “Don’t Step On The Grass”. Great guy, he will be sorely missed.

Jerry Hickman August 25, 2014, 17:12:24

This is a sad day for the Famuley he made the music possible !!!! His presence will forever be missed !!! The band in sky has is best Tech ever !!!!

Richard August 25, 2014, 17:13:35

Those of us who lived on the rail with the Mule spent many a pre-show joking with the man, always had a chuckle, always remembered us. This is just too much.

Scrobaggia August 25, 2014, 17:19:15

R.I.P. Farmer. A sad day for us all. #ThankYouFarmer

Micky Marotta August 25, 2014, 17:23:14

I am shocked and saddened at the loss of a friend and a great person who did much for the bands I love. Brian had a lot of talent in many areas. He will be missed greatly. Micky the fe-Mule

Mulemeasap August 25, 2014, 17:23:49

Deeply stunned, and saddened by this news. Had the pleasure of meeting farmer on several occasions. He made a stranger feel like a life long friend. My thoughts go out to his family, and friends. RIP. May you tune the strings of the angels harps in heaven.

Momuler August 25, 2014, 17:42:47

Farewell Farmer you were a BMF tech. You made them sing . Peace to you and your family.

al August 25, 2014, 18:01:07

I don’t know how they will do Xmas Jam without him RIP

mr chip August 25, 2014, 18:38:12

Fare thee well brian please give my regards to
Woody &Johnny for me you will be missed and
my condolances to warren and the boys
( what a long hard ride its being)

KB August 25, 2014, 19:24:29

He was such a nice and humble guy the few times I talked to him. He always tripped me out when he would wear his, “I’m not him” shirt. Thanks for all the shows man.

PM August 25, 2014, 19:38:00

How many guitar techs do you know by name, Farmer was a legend, RIP

Bobby Bello August 25, 2014, 20:55:17

Yo Farmer it’s Bello.As I sit here Crying over the news about You Brian remembering All the times nothing but Good & how EveryTime you’d see me What would You say???” “There’s Bobby Bello, He’s such a Fine Fellow” Well truth be told Thats what We All Said & Feel about You..Your One of a Kind & Eye ain’t Lyin Proud to Say You were One of My Friends… BRIAN.!!!! Peace Brother Man. Much Love from Bobby&the Bellos…

Al August 25, 2014, 21:31:41

RIP Brian. Thank you for everything you did to ensure the fans were able to truly enjoy the music you had a hand in. The guitarists in heaven are very lucky to have you there.

Susan Bendas August 25, 2014, 21:58:01

Brian was a great talent and, a genuine good-spirited human. I will treasure my time of meeting him and having a moment in time of a fun, spontaneous moment. Here,I wish I could share the photo I took last week, in which Brian posed exclusively for me. I’m grateful.

Dawn M Brown August 25, 2014, 21:59:42

RIP This is such a sad day! Alot of your friends and fan referred to Brian as baby Warren You will b sadly missed I feel so blessed to have seen him at the peach festival @ montage mt PA I send love and my condolences to Brian’s family ,friends ,& loved ones! I hope everyone will remember what a great person he was I will never forget him & it won’t b the same without him! I know he will bring as much joy in heaven as he did on earth God bless his family Peace & love always

Bombero August 25, 2014, 23:04:34

Man, just saw him @ the Peach two weeks ago. He was having fun with the crowd while he was setting up for the Mule. RIP

Keith Juceam August 25, 2014, 23:40:01


Bill Brina August 26, 2014, 01:30:02

Sad news. When I saw him at Mountain Jam in June (at the Mule van) he seemed suddenly older. I wondered if he was ill; we’ll see what Govt. Mule’s forthcoming statement says. The guy was, without question, the best guitar/bass tech (and repairman) of all time. He’ll be missed, that’s for sure. I must have seen Warren Haynes in person well over 100 times since Farmer came on board (circa 1994). In all that time, I can’t remember any show where Warren’s formidable arsenal of Gibson guitars, foot pedals, amps etc. were not all in perfect working order. Every guitar, in tune, always. Every effect precisely calibrated. No buzz. No hum. No sudden bursts of unwanted feedback. No “technical problems”. Not even from the Firebirds. Not even from the 12 string Les Paul Gibson — a tuning disaster waiting to happen if there ever was one! And, whenever Govt. Mule or the Allman Bros. had special guests — and more often than not they did — the guitar rigs for those special guests likewise functioned perfectly. Likewise, whenever Warren sat in with anyone else — a very frequent occurrence — the sound was always “just right”. I’m sure there were some nights when equipment malfunctioned, and the sound was affected, but I honestly can’t say I remember any. I had the pleasure of running into him on many occasions at shows; at the Mule van, and on the road. He was a very nice guy with a wonderful deadpan dry sense of humor. And an expert on merkins!

Juan Ho August 26, 2014, 05:23:33

A great guy- he gave me some shows at the 2001 PLQ run. He was passing them out to fans before the show. Later I got picks after shows. Last time I ran into him outside of the Hard Rock in Oct 2010 in Vegas and he stopped to say hi and chat. Last time I saw him he was tuning Wolf on Jerry’s birthday a year ago. I’ll miss him. Condolences to his family, Warren and everyone else.

JD August 26, 2014, 09:29:11

Was fortunate enough to work along side Brian at a Mule Show a couple years back. The guy has forgotten more about guitars and tone than most could ever hope to know. The great gig in the sky just got one awesome guitar tech. I hope his family and friends will find comfort in this time of sorrow, and may all be at peace. See you on the other side Brian.

Woody August 26, 2014, 10:08:38

Very sad. Condolences to the Farmer family, Mule family and all who looked forward to seeing him on stage.

SINGMAN August 26, 2014, 11:03:51

Oh so sad. We just saw him at the Peach. He was rapping to the crowd, cracking us up. Never saw the man without a smile no matter how stressful his job was. See you on the other side brother….....

Greg Mulehead August 26, 2014, 12:37:05

Very sad. I will miss the tradition of people yelling Warren! when he came out and the signs for Don’t Step On The Grass. This is going to make this day even harder every year for Warren than it already was. Stay strong.

R L August 26, 2014, 13:31:01

We all lost a good man and friend with Brian’s passing… he was always gracious before the Govt Mule & Allman Brothes shows… Before we got to know him better, I calld him Little Warren.
RIP Buddy … We miss you already !!

peacesignguy August 26, 2014, 15:43:51

Really saddened to hear this. He was a backstage fixture at many shows I’ve been to. I often found myself watching the stage wings to see what Farmer was up to instead of following what the band was doing. My lady and I had the pleasure of chatting with him a couple of times before Mule shows. He was always friendly, funny and open with us. Thanks Brian! Peace

Daniel Miller August 26, 2014, 18:28:47

Bro through the years and now through the tears you will be remembered by all, thank you for being so kind to me and my family it was always a pleasure to be close to the stage and visit, just small talk but it spoke volumes to me and to have you personally hand me one of your picks was a great moment I will always treasure it. I cant count the times I’ve spoke to you and you always had time for us. Thank you . my God I will really miss you, rest my brother. D.R.

Kelly Riley August 26, 2014, 22:26:07

Rest in Peace Brian, saw you @ The G. Mules & Allman Bros. concerts, You were The Best Ever @ what You did, keep them in Tune Upstairs! Condolences to your Family & Friends.

Ed Muskie August 27, 2014, 11:13:49

Any word on what caused Farmers demise?. Met him at The EGG in Albany, New York a while back when Warren Haynes made a stop there promoting his latest solo disc. Nice guy, loved talking with fans and he had plenty of his own.

Doug August 27, 2014, 13:56:30

sad news..Brian let 4 redheaded preteen kid band up on stage in Sioux Falls in July while setting up in morning. He let them handle Warren’s guitars for pictures, told stories and gave those SF kids a few moments of time on the big stage. Great guy…

Susan Tedeschi Trucks August 29, 2014, 09:57:49

Brian was a great guy!!! He always made me smile!
He treated me with love and respect and always was a blast
to be around! We will miss you Brian! I will miss your speaking voice and your pranks and your smile and unconditional friendship!! Side stage will never be the same
with the Allman Brothers!! We all loved you so much!
It’s hard to believe you’re gone. ❤️💖🍄🌠⭐️

gregg fan September 1, 2014, 06:06:57

RIP brian.

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