8/31/06 Widespread Panic State-Of-The-Art Sound

Dolby Laboratories announced that it will demonstrate the Dolby Lake Processor at the PLASA06 conference and exhibition at Earls Court in London, September 10–13. Dolby will demonstrate the Dolby Lake Processor in its booth (BB12), showcasing the innovative approach for managing loudspeaker systems for live events, fixed installations, and in studios. First introduced in the US in February 2006, the Dolby Lake Processor has already been incorporated into many of the summer's leading world tours including those by Madonna, Widespread Panic, Tool, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Slayer, Tom Jones, and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The Dolby Lake Processor, the first live sound product released by Dolby, which acquired Lake Technology in September 2003, enables sound engineers to improve the quality of sound management while saving time in the setup and handling of loudspeaker systems. The processor provides better control and flexibility of complex speaker systems throughout setup and during events, improving the sound of the system so audiences have a better experience. Additionally, the software application provides centralized control for a network of these hardware processors. Based on Lake's trusted sound reinforcement technologies, the new system includes an easy-to-use interface for real-time management, an advanced loudspeaker processing system, and unique Iso-Float ground isolation technology.

With Digital loudspeaker and equalization technology, this item features configurations up to four-by-twelve. The Dolby Lake Processor is the visionary approach to controlling any loudspeaker system while simultaneously improving the sound quality and effortless control of even the most complex speaker systems.

In addition to providing a dynamic solution for live events, the Dolby Lake Processor is a useful tool for engineers working in the studio, enabling audio equalization with a unique set of specialized Raised Cosine Equalization tools for mastering, broadcast, and recording.

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8/31/06 Attendees not happy @ Jazz Aspen

Jazz Aspen takes risk with Labor Day lineup

Rick Carroll - Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

A few weeks ago Snowmass resident Monte McConnell wrote a letter to the local newspapers, declaring that he planned to skip the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival because he was unimpressed with its lineup. McConnell offered a bold prediction: the festival would set a record for low attendance.

Jim Horowitz, the festival's executive director, said he read the letter, and he's heard some bickering about the musical acts that will take the stage Friday through Monday.

"I think this poses a very interesting question," he said. "People around here will let you know what's wrong with everything. And one of the biggest complaints we have over the years is 'we're tired of you bringing in the same acts.'

"So we've made a concerted effort to try to keep our lineups fresh, and it's challenging. We don't have the flexibility that Red Rocks has. We can't sit back and wait. But we're trying to cover all the bases and we're trying to do things that no other festival does."

Armed with Georgia-jam band Widespread Panic and its fanatic following for two shows in 2005, last year's Labor Day weekend festival in Snowmass attracted 31,900 over the five-day event, falling shy of the previous year's record attendance of nearly 34,000. A combined 17,400 people went to see Widespread Panic, with 10,200 of those attending the second show, held on Friday. Other headliners included Willie Nelson and John Fogerty.

The 2004 Labor Day Festival featured performances by Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow and Steve Miller. The Johnson show attracted 11,000 concert-goers, a single-day record.

Unlike McConnell, Horowitz made no predictions for the attendance figures at this year's shows.

"Whether it's up will depend on whether there's buzz and good weather," Horowitz said. "But weather will trump everything."

Horowitz will get no argument that the musical talent at the upcoming festival is as diverse as ever, from hip hopper Kanye West to classic rocker Don Henley, along with country diva Leeann Rimes and the Orthodox Jewish rapper known as Matisyahu.

Booking that kind of lineup, Horowitz admitted, is a risk.

"Sure," he said.

Part of the reason for booking the eclectic collection of talent, Horowitz said, is because the feedback he had received in the past was that the festival was getting too staid -- with acts such as Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and others making return visits to the stage.

Horowitz said he's a bit miffed by the negative reaction, like that of Aspen's Mark McKown.

"I think it's the worst Jazz Aspen festival ever," said McKown. "And I've been to every one. This year I'm going to see Gov't Mule at Red Rocks instead."

Said Horowitz: "I think everyone is entitled to their feelings. I heard people say that John Mellencamp was not as big an act as other classic rock acts. I don't know what that is based on."

Mellencamp backed out from his scheduled Sunday performance earlier this month, and Henley was booked as his replacement. Horowitz said cancellations are simply part of the business of booking entertainment.

"You have to understand that some of the bands that we intended to have just didn't work out," Horowitz said. "The rumor of the spring was that the Black Eyed Peas were coming and the reason for the rumor was we had a handshake deal with the Black Eyed Peas. It looked like we had a deal with Paul Simon. It looked like we had a deal with Steely Dan. But it didn't work out."

But Horowitz said the negative sentiment he has received this year has been matched with an equal rush of praise.

"I just think it depends on who's talking," Horowitz said. "Music is very subjective. While some people may not consider that Kanye West compares well to Jack Johnson, it's completely arbitrary.

"He's sold way more records than Jack Johnson, but people ask why don't we get Johnson and Bob Dylan and Widespread Panic every year. And have these people seen Kanye West? Do they know he headlined Lollapalooza in Chicago earlier this month and drew 65,000 people?"

MY COMMENT: Of course Kayne West would draw 65,000 in Chicago. First of all, he's from Chicago and secondly, Chicagoans love hip hop! The question should be do they know Kayne West is an entirely different genre of music than Widespread Panic, Bob Dylan and Jack Johnson and comparing West to Johnson is laughable in my opinion! It will be interesting to see what the attendance numbers add up to be after all is said and done. Especially with Govt. Mule performing at Red Rocks on Saturday 9/2 with guests Yonder Mountain String Band pulling many thousands away from Jazz-Apsen. I have a feeling they're going to wish they had brought back Panic! - sp-


8/30/06 Honest Tunes plays Panic & more

There's a website out there where you can tune in online and listen to some great music.

KXUA 88.3FM broadcasts everyday, 24/7, from the University of Arkansas studio in Fayetteville, AR.

They also host a weekly webcast called Honest Tunes Radio Show.
You can tune in every Tuesday night (8pm central) and hear "2 hours of jam and roots music" including Widespread Panic, North Mississippi Allstars, The Derek Trucks Band w/ Jimmy Herring, Particle, Phish, Grateful Dead and a good variety of new music.

I've tuned in on many occassions and was really glad I did. I think you might enjoy the Tuesday show as well. Give 'um a listen.

8/29/06 - Beanland Sells Panic

Surfing today I made a stop over at the Beanland website. Beanland, as you probably know, is George McConnell and Jojo Hermann's old band.

I thought it was interesting how most of the merchandise sold though Beanland's on-line store was Widespread Panic stuff. My surprise is in why they would continue to sell WP stuff? It could make one wonder if the separation between George and Panic was indeed amicable and no animosity felt amongst them. As always, comments are welcomed and appreciated.



8/25/06 Running With Ghosts (Relix interviews)

This article is written in the September/October 2006 issue of Relix Magazine.
There's no way that I'm ambitious enough to rewrite the entire article but I will post scanned copies of it here for you to read.

Click on each photo page to read.











8/25/06 Widespread Panic Giving Back

Project Safe, a nonprofit organization working to end violence against women, will host its fifth annual Groovy Nights celebration.

Each year for the past 5 years this organization holds it's annual event and this year's theme is Back to the 70's.

The event will be held at the Classic Center in Athens, GA on August 25th and features a dinner buffet, dancing, musical entertainment and even a giant game of Twister.

To help raise money there will be a live and silent auction which features items graciously donated and autographed by the members of Widespread Panic.



According to Ticketmaster.com two upcoming dates for Panic in December include on a Huntsville High School.(click pic above)
Fri, 12/01/06 Widespread Panic Huntsville High School currently not on sale and Sun, 12/31/06 Widespread Panic National Event - SCS Nashville, TN currently not on sale. Now if you look at the right hand corner of the page shown in the picture it states *TESTING* ORLANDO DATA CENTER* NOT A VALID EVENT.

Whoosh! I was beginging to think that either Buck was incredibly desperate or every one of the 1,128 kids at Huntsville High had to have a Panic fix.


8/21/06 Widespread Panic Tour With VENUE

from: Mix Magazine
Aug 21, 2006 12:45 PM

On any given night, Chris Rabold, front-of-house mixer for Widespread Panic, handles anywhere from 60 to 80 inputs, including specialized inputs such as trigger lines that serve as sidechain key inputs to open some drum and percussion gates. Rabold recently switched to Digidesign’s VENUE live sound environment primarily because of the system’s comprehensive TDM plug-in architecture, which allows him to replace all of his analog gear. A surprise bonus was the system’s automatic delay compensation and low plug-in latency (usually under two samples). Rabold also makes extensive use of the VENUE system’s direct busing to Pro Tools for multitrack archiving and creating downloadable mixes for fans.

Rabold discovered VENUE after a call from Eighth Day Audio account exec Owen Orzack. “Owen called me up on his way home from a VENUE demo and more or less told me he had just seen the perfect console for me. The desk could handle a lot of inputs and the creative potential of the board was huge due to its compatibility with hundreds of TDM plug-ins. He also knew I had become frustrated in the past with overcoming conversion latency problems inherent with other digital desks when having to use additional outboard gear.

“With my previous digital desk," Rabold continues, "I was still sending certain inputs out of the console just to get certain specific sounds from some of my trusted analog pieces. Bringing those inputs back into the board created a whole slew of timing issues if you tried to blend those newly affected sounds with the same unaffected inputs. Owen saw that VENUE had the ability to alleviate these types of timing issues that had plagued me in the past, and that it could provide me more than enough sonic diversity via the available plug-ins. He was right! I had a rack of outboard gear nearby for comfort’s sake for two whole shows. They haven’t seen the light of day since.”

Some of Rabold’s preferred plug-ins include Digidesign’s Smack!, the Bomb Factory Joemeek SC2 compressor and the Focusrite Forte. “Smack! can be whatever you want it to be, mean or subtle,” says Rabold. “I use it primarily for the latter on bass, vocals and snare drums, so that should show how highly I think of its performance. The Joemeek can produce some really cool sounds: If you want your drums to pop, give this guy a try. I use it as a drums subgroup compressor and on a toms subgroup.

“The ISA stuff is just so transparent. It’s hard to hear any of the usual artifacts that result from compression. It finds a home on guitars, a few vocals and on some keys inputs. I also need to mention the Phoenix plug-in from Cranesong. I think ‘holy s***’ sums up my feelings on this one. I’ll be honest, the last time I hit any analog tape really hard was in college and I probably didn’t mean to then. The resulting effect produced by Phoenix is intended to mimic that tape saturation sound, and it is sweet! Things get fatter, punchier, bigger. I use it on drums, vocals, acoustic guitars, Leslies and the overall stereo bus. Amazing.”

Rabold also makes daily use of VENUE’s Virtual Soundcheck. “Often times, I’ll listen back during the day to the previous night’s show through a pair of near-field monitors. I’ll work on this or critique that. The ability to work on the mix without the band even in the building is a dream. It hones your skills and challenges you to go back and look closely at what you’re doing as an engineer. It’s a pretty big statement, but I truly feel that VENUE has helped make me a better engineer.”

The band tracks their shows nightly on a Pro Tools rig, with systems engineer CW Alkire overseeing all of the recording aspects. The mix is straight off the stereo bus with a bit of audience blended in. These recordings are saved as WAV files, burned to DVD and sent to the company that handles the Website for posting. To hear the dynamic duo of VENUE and Widespread Panic together, check out www.livewidespreadpanic.com.

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8/20/06 Reminiscing NYC Radio City 2005

Nothing really new this week since the boys are probably at home relaxing and not thinking about anything except playing with their dogs and hugin' their wives. They have a couple of weeks to gear up for the begining of their Fall 2006 tour starting at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York City. If you had the opportunity to see their 2005 run at RCMH then you'll remember on the last night when JB said, "Isn't this a nice place"? It was a nice place and I had a good time....for the most part.

I had no problem with the shows, they were great! I love that city. I've traveled their many times in the past with friends for sightseeing, visiting all the tourist attractions and catching a few Broadway (and off-Broadway) shows. My brother is a stage actor and that has helped me appreciate the "stage" performance. New York can be a fun experience but like any big city it has it's shady characters and with 8 million people that can make for a lot of shady characters!

When we were short a ticket for last years Saturday night Panic show we met up with a local fella who truly epitomized the shady New Yorker type. He stood about 5'2 as of us girls towered over him like the Empire State Building. He had dark hair and eyes and spoke with that New Yorker accent. He flipped though his clothing pulling tickets out of every pocket and carefully checked each one for seat sections. "I wanna give you ladies the best I have and I'll give ya a great deal"!

I figured he was either a ticket broker or those tickets were fake. I looked over the ticket and compared it to the ones we had. It was good! He was legit. So he sold us the "best" ticket he had for $10 over face but only if we gave him a kiss. This only happens to girls! We gave him a quick kiss and it seemed to suffice. We took our ticket and went on our way. But that wouldn't be the last we saw of our new NY friend.

Since he knew where one of our seats were located he decided to pop in the Panic show and hang out with us. My seat was upstairs and my girlfriend had the ticket from Mr. NY which was on the main level Schools-side. When I came down stairs I ran into Mr. NY and he asked if I wanted a better seat. Can you beleive that asshole had seats in the third row center? So the "best" ticket he sold us wasn't his best afterall!

I decided to sit with him for a few songs in the third row staring directly at JB. I love to dance during the shows and whether I'm with someone I know, someone I don't or all alone, I'm dancing! So there I am flailing away enjoying the music when all the sudden this jerk, who had apparently never even heard of Widespread Panic, starts doing some disco dancing up against my ass and his hands were reaching in a No-NO direction.

It's an extreme moment when you're thinking... I like this seat but I don't like this guy! Up to that point I was having a great time and I didn't want anything to harsh my mellow. The row behind me was passing a pipe at their knees so I picked up on that thinking Mr. NY could use some chillin'. I pass him the pipe and he shakes his head, No. I keep dancing while trying to push his incessant hands away from me. I resolve that I won't let this ass bring me down and I'm ready to slap him upside his head.

Luckily, for both of us, setbreak came up and I headed back to find my girlfriend as Mr. NY followed along. We decided to try and ditch him as we went downstairs to hide amongst the crowds adjacent to the restrooms. It worked! But he still knew where we were sitting!! We went to the balcony and hung with some familar faces we had met in Chicago a week earlier. But I longed for my third row seat....sigh

After the show we walked the three blocks down to the Hilton. Some acquaintances had a suite there and were arranging a Limo to go out to see Jerry Joesph on the boat cruise after-party. Now, I know that New York is a huge city. There are 8 million people there. And I realize that we're only 3 blocks from RCMH but what are the odds that we run into Mr. NY at the Hilton??

Well, things got weird and things got hectic and I decided to go back upstairs to the suite to find my people. Someone is in the suite but I don't know who it is and they don't know where anyone else is. So I go back downstairs and I see the limo outside. I run in to get my friend who is rolling her eyes at Mr. NY's advances. He's wants to go with us and I have to explain to him why he can't go. Can you say aggravating??!!!

I run back upstairs and see a girl I recognize from the group. She thinks that everyone has left and she's upset. So she comes downstairs with us and we can't shake Mr. NY. I finally have to give up my cellphone number to him just to make him leave. He actually called me while I was standing there just to check if I gave him a phoney number.

Finally us girls, once again, walk outside. The hotel door guard thought we were insane and kept laughing, shaking his head at us each time we went in and out the door. Where's the limo? It was parked right there! It's not there!! Would they have really left without us?

The answer was YES. It's 1 am and the boat has probably left the dock. We decided to go get drunk in the bar. Later I passed out in Penn station...but that's another story.

There's always an adventure awaiting when you travel. You have to remember that traveling means leaving your comfort zone but that's a good thing and you'll have memorable stories to tell your friends.


8-13-06 Chicago Theater Audio Stream

Sorry Stream has been temporarily removed

08/13/06 Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL

1: Pusherman > Hatfield > Rock, Weight Of The World > Nobody's Loss > This Part Of Town > One Kind Favor, From The Cradle > Fishwater

2: Goodpeople, Driving Song > Disco > Don't Be Denied > Surprise Valley > Driving Song > Impossible > Drums/Bass > Arleen > Papa's Home > Space Wrangler, Tennessee Before Daylight > Chilly Water

E: End Of The Show > Last Dance

Entire show with John Keane on guitar/pedal steel,
Sam Holt on guitar/vocals

Only 'Tennessee Before Daylight' (original by Outformation)

8/13/06 Widespread Panic kick out the jams (Show Review)


Widespread Panic kick out the jams

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Concert review

By Derek Serafin

Saying that Widespread Panic are attentive musicians is a bit of an understatement. Judging by their first of three sold out shows at the historic Chicago Theater on Friday, the band displayed their talent in a set mixed with frantic highs and dull lows.

As is considered typical of artists who fall into the "jam band" category, Widespread Panic managed to flesh out a number of their songs from relatively short in length to opuses that would span upwards of 15-minutes. Friday's show was full of songs not only being extended in length, but also it saw songs meshing and flowing almost flawlessly into one another.

Early in the bands' set, Widespread Panic took three separate, unrelated songs and combined them into one sinuous and fluid number. Beginning with 1994's "Junior," Panic then went into a slowdown before launching into "Down" and finishing off the nearly 20-minute jam session with a cover of Billy-Joe Shaver's "Chunk of Coal." The bands' ability to combine songs in such a way that they are almost one continuous track is truly a testament to their abilities as musicians.

Also, as is traditional with jam bands, band members took turns exchanging in lengthy, occasionally arduous solos. Fortunately, though, Widespread Panic managed to keep their solos not only on the short side, but also did not allow them to take over their entire set. "Tall Boy" saw the bands three guitarists, John Keane, Sam Holt, and lead singer John Bell all exchange solos one after another. While sonically, the solos were all very well executed, the three guitarists appeared to be almost bored while playing them. When Bell went into his solos during the evening, he would almost always be seen with his back to the crowd as he performed. While it is understandable that this is done as a way to not only keep time with the drummer but also to keep the attention of the audience on the music rather than the musician, a little bit of visible enthusiasm would not have hurt Bell.

The main problem that arose during the three-hour evening was the way the show was divided up. Rather than playing one continuous set, Widespread Panic broke their show up into two halves and a two-song encore to conclude the evening. Closing out the bands' first set, they ended on an extremely high, energetic note with their cover of the Grateful Dead's "Cream Puff War." Once the song ended, the band headed off stage as the houselights came back on to begin what should have been a brief intermission. The main problem was that this "brief intermission" wound up spanning 45-minutes. Seeing as how the band had just finished their first set on such a high note, this untimely and drawn out intermission really ruined the flow of the nights' set. While the crowds' energy remained high for the rest of the show, with fans dancing in the aisle of the Chicago Theater, they never quite reached that same peak again.

8/13/06 Image Of The Day

Let's Get The Show On The Road

Backstage, Indianapolis, IN - Lawn @ White River - 8/8/06

Interview with John Bell from Something Glorious

from Something Glorious.com
Possted by Ari Bendersky on August 12, 2006


SomethingGlorious: So today's your birthday? Mine was yesterday.
John Bell: Well, happy birthday.

SG: You too! So, did Panic really hit the 20-year mark this year? Holy Crap - I guess that means we're all old!
JB: Ehhhh, I don't know a little old (laughs). 20 years is basically, that's like, it's good to know you're able to stick with something and that you're engaged with something that you would stick with that long.

SG: Did you think you'd be around this long?
JB: Mostly it's a one-day-at-a-time kind of a thing. Along the way we recognized we tried to side step certain things that might get in the way of us staying happy for that long. Little things like sharing equal songwriting credit. As far as how long it was going to go, I don't look into the future that much about that kind of stuff. It was kind of see what you're doing now and have fun now. As far as we knew, we were watching bands get together and break up all the time, being in Athens, for whatever reasons. People being too big for their britches.

SG: How did you maintain the band?
JB: For one, I should say, we were lucky. All of those elements [ego, family, etc.] were present. One thing that helped us with cash issues was when we met our manager Sam Lanier and Buck [Williams] came along years later. Sam got us into a position where we incorporated and got us into a system of checks and balances. For two years, we each made $68 [a show] and I remember when we got our first raise - cracking $100. The other elements are always there - egos and the petty bullshit that can pop up - but we were out there having fun and getting gigs, whether there were people there to watch us or not - a lot of times there wouldn't be, it might just be the bartender. I remember one time we played a gig and there were a few people there and after the first set the club owner said he wanted to close down for the night.

SG: How are things different now than when you started or even 10 years ago?
JB: You know, when you're on stage, it's still the same bit. The other thing, the trappings that come along with, not success, but not going away, doing interviews, TV shows, etc. that stuff is different. We've been doing that for so long now that it's part of the dance. But getting on stage and playing and trying out new songs, that can be as fresh as it was in the beginning. The way we approach the music helps facilitate that. We get up and allow each other the freedom to experiment within the tunes and explore them in a more primitive jazz format. Instead of going out and basically doing a skit - playing the songs the same way in the same order and the whole presentation is choreographed. It works for other people but we don't do that. That adds to the band being able to just still have fun and keep doing it.

SG: Have the band's philosophies or goals varied much?
JB: I don't know. I could only speak for myself, but I would venture to guess it's the same for everybody. Individually our goals change in the course of things. Musically, depending on what mood you're in at that time. As a band, I think mostly our only goal to see what can happen and not sabotage it.

SG: What's the future of the band?
JB: There are other considerations in the sense that before we were just, at first it was just four guys having fun and happy to be doing something like living a daydream of playing music together and riding off to another city and drinking beers and meeting new people. Now there's a business aspect to it where we have at any given time 30 people on the road. We've got a permanent situation with the company that's built around the band, about 20 people. Financially you feel a little obligated to keep the machine cooking, but also there's an angle that none of the folks we've been associated with - it doesn't feel like they're in it for the financial stability. A lot of them are friends we've had since our first year in college. And they've made sacrifices along the way. There was an attraction to the band, the music - in the same way we were attracted to playing music together. I gotta still stick with the day-to-day thing. If you get too far ahead of yourself it's an opportunity to sabotage things. If you're looking toward the future, you're not looking at the here-and-now stuff.

SG: There's a line on "You Should Be Glad" [on Earth to America] that says "It's good to be back again." Do you feel like you all went through a dark period, both personally and musically, after Mikey died and you've finally come out of it?
JB: Well, [laughs]. I've gotta say, for me, being in the band and being here everyday, it's hard for me to look at things that objectively and actually draw a conclusion as clearly as that. I do know that what we're doing as a band is supposed to be doing what we're doing and leave it out there so people can have their own experiences and impressions. Lyrically on that one, JoJo put a lot of stuff together that didn't make a lot of sense.

SG: So are you in more of a happy place?
JB: What I can tell you for sure is we went to the Bahamas and we worked with Terry Manning on this one and we did the recording in three weeks. Maybe that had something to do with it. We were in whole new surroundings. We did overdubs and stuff but it wasn't very laborious. You came to the table with what you had that day and that's how it went down. If you're hearing something that sounds reminiscent of older times it could be the amount of time spent on the record. That's not to knock John Keane - that's how we learned to work in the studio. There was no intention of getting away from John; we just wanted to go to another place to go away from some of the other stuff. Athens was so familiar. People knew where you were. All of a sudden you're forced to be polite.

SG: The record actually sounds more like a return to Panic's roots.
JB: Interesting - I wouldn't have... I guess I'm surprised that's your take on it. That's the magic of it all. Everybody gets to take what they can out of it.

SG: Tell me about the "Earth to America" movie - what made you decide to air the Fox show instead of doing a proper spring tour?
JB: We talked about doing a tour but the record was coming out in June and we were like, you know, it would be fun to go out and do your usual stuff you do in support of a new album. Spring - we wanted to do a few shows but we enjoy the time off to do other stuff. The filming, we've had a relationship with Regal Cinemas and this opportunity arose. It's something a little different. You get to have a little popcorn. It's a novelty. I haven't gone and seen concerts - like "Stop Making Sense" or "Rust Never Sleeps." But to do something live and all of a sudden go to a movie theater puts a new twist on things. I was curious to see if kids would dance or sit and watch it like television. Hopefully enough folks know about it and have theaters near them.

SG: Any new tricks up your sleeves in terms of your live shows?
JB: We never go along those angles but we will come up with some things just to keep ourselves entertained. Sometimes like going out with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band or we'll look up and change the lights. Beyond that we'll probably bring back some tunes we haven't played since Mikey passed away.

SG: Like what?
JB: I don't know [laughs]. We hadn't played "Coconut" for awhile and then we decided to play it again. If we were sitting there worried about what the audience wanted, all of a sudden we're in a territory that's not our mind. All we'd be doing is second-guessing [ourselves]. We're making ourselves happy and giving it our all with enthusiasm and that's what people will come to see. At least that's my theory. If we were trying to create the ultimate musical love potion, we'd forever be second guessing ourselves and the music would take a hit.

SG: Are you planning on dusting off any old songs you haven't played in awhile?
JB: They're all up for grabs. Basically you don't know for sure until you try it on and go ahead and once they are played again live - it might just be that one time. We don't think too hard out here.

SG: Were you approached by Lollapalooza to play again? How come you're not doing Bonnaroo?
JB: We do some stuff but we usually bounce around. We won't do Jazz Fest every year or Memphis in May every year. Again, you create a thing where there isn't a routine and an expectation. All of those things are fun but they can get old if you're there over and over again. It's nicer to come around and for folks to say they remember us from a few years ago.

SG: What are some personal things you like to have on tour?
JB: I bring so much stuff - I should really whittle it down. It makes that whole J.J. Cale "Traveling Light" song a big lie. I get a smattering of books with me, usually too many, half I never get to. Laptop and cellphone are crucial. A guitar and recording device in case ideas start popping up. And a hand-held recorder. Those are really the essentials. Clean underwear.

SG: Why didn't John Keane produce this album?
JB: We wanted to get out of the country. Compass Point [Studios in Nassau, Bahamas] was available and close by and had all the equipment we needed and it's Terry's house - his domain.

SG: What do you feel you accomplished differently under Terry's guidance?
JB: There's a huge comfort zone in Athens and with John. What I discovered on a personal level is that you rediscover yourself if you're in a new environment and you rediscover things about yourself that kind of earmark what your personal essence is about. It seems to pop up, it's a sense of familiarity of yourself and your own experience and the way you recognize yourself. The very core of that recognition seems to pop up when you throw yourself in a different environment. If you hang out in the same place for a long time, it's easy to fall into the trap of identifying yourself with your routines. If you jump out of that those little parts of yourself you say, "Oh yeah, that's me." The other things don't cloud that sense of recognition. It's subtle. What's hip in the recording process and you're stripping things away and getting close to your you-ness, all of a sudden you're doing it musically and getting it on tape, that gets a chance to come out in the recording. To me that was very exciting. At first, I was just happy Terry and I got along.

SG: And how was recording in the Bahamas - how did you get anything done?
JB: We worked 12 hours a day. We didn't do any fun Bahamas-type things. It's beautiful when you look out in the ocean, but when you're just looking around ... the U.S. has gotten hold of it. One guy that was helping us out doing some driving and stuff. He said about 15-20 years ago that there was a law you couldn't bring in outside influences like TV or newspapers. I guess when computers and satellite dishes came it was hard to enforce. I bet it was a lot prettier when it was still just the Bahamas.

Email: ari@somethingglorious.com

8-12-06 Chicago Theater Audio Stream

Sorry...stream has been temporarily removed

08/12/06 Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL

1: Travelin' Light*, A of D > Sleeping Man*, Papa Johnny Road*, One Arm Steve*, Time Zones**, Trouble**, Give* > Maggot Brain* > Flat Foot Flewzy*

2: Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, I'm Not Alone**, Holden Oversoul* > Henry Parsons Died*, You Should Be Glad* > Drums > Blight* > Action Man* , Red Hot Mama*, City of Dreams**

E: Pilgrims* Solid Rock*

First and Second sets with Sam Holt on guitar
* with John Keane on guitar
** with John Keane on pedal steel

8/11/06 Interview w/ Dave Schools (Chicago Sun Times)


Panic renewal

August 11, 2006

Widespread Panic is one of the most successful touring bands in America today, but as its legions of devoted "Spreadheads" know, the Southern jammers haven't had an easy climb to the top.

The musicians have survived 18 years of touring; the cancer death of founding guitarist Michael Houser in 2002, and a yearlong hiatus in 2004 to reach the point where they're celebrating their ninth studio album, "Earth to America," recorded with producer Terry Manning (Led Zeppelin, Al Green, ZZ Top) in the Bahamas, and released last June.

I spoke with bassist Dave Schools in the midst of a tour that comes to the Chicago Theatre for three sold-out concerts tonight through Sunday.

Q. How does it feel to be the other famous band from Athens, Ga.?

A. Are you referring to the B-52's? [Laughs] It's funny, because I have lived here for 23 years now, and one of the reasons I went to the University of Georgia was because of the B-52's. By the time I got here, they had moved to New York, but R.E.M. was starting to take off on the college circuit. People would bill "From Athens, Ga." bigger on the ad or poster than the name of our band, so all of these trendies would show up thinking, "Oh, more of that classic Athens sound," and then they would get us! [Laughs] Since then, Athens has proven itself to be indefinable: It just keeps cranking out great, unique and original bands.

Q. A lot of the press for the new album has focused on how you went to record in a tropical paradise, changing the way you made records in the past. What was the goal?

A. The goal was something we have been chasing for about five years but have never been able to accomplish: Just to break the mold of what we always did to make a record, which was basically living at home and recording at [producer] John Keane's [studio], where we have had lots of success. We just thought, "What would happen if we went somewhere cool, to one of these classic 'destination studios'?" I was lucky enough during the year Widespread Panic took off to put together a band and go down to Compass Point Studios to work with Terry Manning on the Stockholm Syndrome record. Terry and I hit it off, and I got a good chance to pick up the vibe of the area. You submerse yourself into an area for a while, and there is no way that it's not going to affect how you play.

There was a bonus involved, which none of us could have foreseen: We were all living together in this house, and we'd eat breakfast together, go to the studio, do our work, come back around midnight and have a few drinks while watching the moon rise over the bay. It was a really good thing that we were thrown back together like old times. We got a chance to get over things that had happened and planned what we wanted to do the next day, and it was a lot of fun.

Q. Do you still feel as if you have something to prove after the break and the loss of Michael Houser?

A. I think we prove that every time we step onstage -- or at least I hope we do.

Q. I know the band dislikes the word "jam," but it is important to the group to take the songs somewhere new onstage?

A. Absolutely. We'd go insane if we had to play something the same way every night. I think that would be my definition of hell. You know the "Saturday Night Live" skit where Paul Simon is stuck in the elevator playing Muzak versions of his songs? His personal hell! Mine would be being stuck on stage playing the 150 songs we have written in our catalog the same way every night.

But you're right: I have never liked the term "jam band." When it first came into fashion, there were a few jam bands, and I always thought that it was pretty limiting. It never spoke to the songwriting ability of the original jam bands which, to me, were always the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead. The reason those guys stick around is because they have great songs, and the reason they were able to jam for half an hour is because those great songs had great melodies. I think people just assume we're another one of these jam bands that wanks around for 20 minutes, and they never bother to listen to the records.

Q. But not being hyped in the media has worked to your advantage: Your fans are incredibly devoted.

A. Thankfully for us, they are uber-fanatics. I don't know if it was the guy from the Sun-Times or the Tribune that shredded our performance at Lollapalooza, but he was overwhelmed with e-mail from our fans. It probably makes him hate us even more!

Q. Um, actually, that was me. I really disliked your performance at Lollapalooza in 2005, but I respected the passion of the fans who disagreed with me, so I thought it would only be fair for us to chat.

A. [Laughs] Well, it's apples and oranges, and there is something out there for everyone!


8-10-06 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Audio Stream

Sorry...stream has been temporarily removed

08/10/06 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

1: Intro, Old Neighborhood > Greta > Knockin' Round the Zoo, Pickin Up The Pieces, You Got Yours > Diner > Proving Ground, Radio Child, Ain't Life Grand
2: Intro, B of D*, Second Skin*, Travelin' Man > Traveler's Rest > Vacation > Can't Change The Past** > Drums > Astronomy Domine Jam > This Part of Town > Makes Sense to Me > Low Spark of High Heeled Boys > Imitation Leather Shoes
E: From the Cradle, The Take Out > Porch Song

All songs with John Keane on Guitar and Sam Holt on Guitar
* Sam Holt only
** Sam Holt on Vocals
[First 'Traveler's Rest (Outformation instrumental)
First 'Can't Change the Past']


8/9/06 Mike Houser Tribute (in pictures)

We miss you Mikey!
Watch Mike perform Happy Child from Red Rocks in 2000