b. USA. While playing bass guitar with David Allen Coe’s band in the early 80s, Hayes heard a local musician at The Brass Tap club in Asheville, North Carolina. This was guitarist and singer Warren Haynes and because Coe and his lead guitarist happened to be on the point of parting company, Hayes recommended Haynes for the slot. Almost overnight Haynes was hired and thus began a long and fruitful musical relationship with Haynes. A few years later the duo left Coe and formed their own band, Rich Hippies. This was in Nashville, Tennessee, and the others in the band were Dennis Robbins (slide guitar), Tommy Irwin (steel guitar) and Mark Deaver (drums). The Rich Hippies stayed in existence for about a year, folding in late 1985. Later, Hayes made occasional appearances in Gov’t Mule, a band originally co-led by Haynes and Douglas Allen Woody.
In the late 80s, Hayes and Haynes formed an annual charity show, The Christmas Jam: Musician’s X-Mas Reunion, back in Asheville. The first of these shows was held on 29 December 1989 at the 45 Cherry club. Eventually, the Christmas Jam evolved into two shows, one hosted by each of the duo. That presented by Hayes, the Hometown Holiday Jam, plays at Asheville’s Orange Peel.