9/29/06 Preview Rupp Arena

After time off and with a new album, band recovers from death of founding member and another lineup change
By Walter Tunis

At its last Rupp Arena performance in 2003, Widespread Panic found itself reeling as much as rocking.

The audience-friendly Athens, Ga., jam band was still fresh was the loss of founding guitarist Michael Houser, who died a year earlier from pancreatic cancer. But his replacement, Mississippi-born George McConnell, proved a healthy catalyst for the fresh grooves on the Panic's then-current album, Ball.

But the Rupp performance was also one of the band's final outings before slipping into a yearlong hiatus -- its first extended break since the band was formed in 1985.

Now we have the Panic back in working order with a new studio album, a renewed attitude and, surprise of surprises, another shift in the guitar ranks.

"Everybody experienced the break in a different way," said Panic vocalist, rhythm guitarist and de-facto leader John Bell. "Dave (Schools, the band's industrious bassist) went out and played a lot. Jo Jo (Hermann, the Panic's keyboardist) played in a little Mardi Gras-style band. But aside from an acoustic show I do for charity every year at the House of Blues in Orlando, I wanted to see what it felt like not performing. It was the longest time I went without being onstage since I was 18. And, you know, it was a little strange.

"But you get some perspective in a situation like that. As a band, you're together so much of the time. All of a sudden we didn't have that for a year. I think that refreshed our appreciation and friendship for each other. You remember who you are without identifying yourself so completely through music."

A smattering of concert albums kept the Panic's grooves visible during and immediately after the hiatus. Among them: Night of Joy with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the earthy New Orleans funk brigade that will share the stage Sunday with the Panic at its Rupp Arena return; Uber Cobra, a predominantly acoustic set; and Jackassolantern, a sampler of Halloween performances. But new studio music didn't arrive until last spring.

On Earth to America, the band switched producers (from John Keane to Terry Manning), temporarily relocated to the Bahamas for recording sessions and opened the scope of its tunes to include string arrangements on the Eastern-flavored Second Skin and the finale toast May Your Glass Be Filled.

"The recording studio can offer a very clear environment to play in," Bell said. "You can hear a lot. You can even hear phantom sounds. They aren't there on the recording, but you all of a sudden hear them in your head. They could be strings or a horn section. These situations can also help direct you ideas for vocal harmonies or melody lines. That's when the song starts coming alive for you. All you have to do then is re-create what you're hearing in your head."

To help preview the new material, the Panic set up shop at Atlanta's Fox Theatre in May for a performance that was simulcast live in movie theaters across the country. A DVD of the concert will be released in November as Earth to Atlanta.

Then panic struck in the Panic camp. When the band took to the stage of the Louisville Palace for a two-night run in August, McConnell was gone. The player who helped guide the band through a heartbreaking personnel transition was history.

For Bell, the why and how of McConnell's split is "not something I get too excited to talk about."

"Sometimes relationships have certain lives of their own," he said. "Some last forever, some don't even begin and some are sort of in between. George's relationship with us was one that was in between. It has happened, and everyone has moved on."

The split led the Panic back to its original choice of replacements for the late Houser: guitar jam band celebrity Jimmy Herring, whose credits include roles in Col. Bruce Hampton's Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead (the short-lived Jerry Garcia-less reformation of The Grateful Dead) and Phil Lesh and Friends.

Herring initially turned down the offer to join the Panic, having committed to touring with The Dead. But his official Panic debut at Radio City Music Hall last month was a quick and easy fit, Bell said, as Herring's musical communication skills proved as keen as his instrumental prowess.

"Music starts with people as individuals. It's all a matter of how well you get along on a personal level as well as a musical one.

"But then, when you get down to it, music can be pretty personal."


9/27/06 Nugs Delivers the Downloads

Music service provider nugs.net enterprises, LLC, offers a turn-key solution for online music distribution. The nugs.network currently delivers music downloads for over 100 artists including Dave Matthews Band, Metallica, Phish, the Grateful Dead, Barenaked Ladies, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic, the String Cheese Incident, and major festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

Private label websites within the nugs.network include LivePhish.com, LiveMetallica.com, LiveWidespreadPanic.com, LiveDownloads.com, LiveCheese.com, and the free music channel at stash.nugs.net.

The nugs.network delivers over 2.5 million downloads per month to nearly 1 million users. More than 50,000 users each month listen to nugs.net radio and download monthly podcasts from the nugs.net live music archives.

9/26/06 Vermont Cynic - Concert Review

09/19/06 Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, VT
1: Send Your Mind, Little Lilly, Ride Me High > I'm Not Alone > Better Off, Crazy, Down, Tortured Artist > Henry Parsons Died

2: Goodpeople, Heroes, Casa Del Grillo, Weight Of The World > Mercy > Drums > Hatfield > Goin' Out West > Chainsaw City

E: Time Waits, Travelin' Light

Setlist by Everydaycompanion

Concert Review: Widespread Panic

by Cassidy Gale

Being up in the great Northwest of Vermont the people of town thrive to hear rhythm. And apart from major music segues, Burlington just happens to be the intersection of all greater cities-a port for all greater music.

A positive vibe pulses the streets and the convergence of musical entities, music junkies, and musical thirst are bred together. We, as fans, need to be fed a note, a measure, a song, a set, a performance, any musical commodity to grow.
The pangs of musical hunger are stronger in the mountains than in the city and Widespread Panic recognized that.

A positive vibe pulses the streets and the convergence of musical entities, music junkies, and musical thirst are bred together. We, as fans, need to be fed a note, a measure, a song, a set, a performance, any musical commodity to grow.

The pangs of musical hunger are stronger in the mountains than in the city and Widespread Panic recognized that.
The recent replacement of John McConnell with Jimmy Herring and his Fender aided our anticipation - which was much obliged after the dazzling dozens of solos Herring laid down. The speed in which Jimmy plucked and pulled and picked those strings reverberated through the feet of the dancers, his sheer dominance over the guitar created difficulties in paying proper respects to Bell and Keane.

Bell's voice captivated the ears with a throaty blues and melancholic jazz styling that kept in time with the circle of rhythmic percussion drumming relating the tapping feet of performers and swaying bodies of the audience.

An unexpected rendition of Mercy had us begging for more. As Jimmy took control over the solos, Bell strummed and picked contentedly more rhythm along side Keane, a producer-turned-special-guest playing electric and the occasional (should have been more frequent) pedal steel. John Schools dabbled and dazed us on a six string - performing fantastically for the sole bass line laid underneath drums, percussion, three guitars, and set of keys. A show charged by much more than bass, a line lay steadily underneath and Schools executed the performance pristinely.

As Jimmy made a ditty to fill any empty measures, Jojo Hermann relieved Herrings wailing fingers with a funky organ beat. He and Sunny Ortiz jammed on the rhythm, accentuating with added beats, slides, and over all intricacy that gives just a little bit more to the song. As if a full set of percussion weren't enough Todd Nance brushes out an accommodating drum performance providing a few more vertebrae to this back bone of a band. The players all held together a certain role in their performance here in music crazed Burlington, and all though Herring took control, he lead in the most generous, rocking way. Jams doted on everyone.

The intimate venue, Memorial Auditorium, allowed personality to flow through the field. As in any show, the front packed together, grooved, moved, and weaved together while the back was a dispersion of the deep pulse emulating from the stage.

The expense at first deterred interest (hefty for Burlington, pale in comparison to the major cities) but disappeared after Jimmy's first thrashing chord change. By the end of the encore, Travelin' Light pumping through my neurons, euphoria was actuality. The musical competition here in Burlington is a fierce one. In our endless need to dance but our incessant xpectation for the best music has to offer we enter performances like this with the highest of standards.

Widespread Panic has been meeting a criterion for decades and refuses to perform at any lower standard. And Herring, with his fast formidable fingers and a history as provocative as Panic's, allows us to expect even more.

Widespread: A much anticipated event, a greatly appreciated experience, an unfathomable amount of dancing. My feet still hurt.


9/24/06 SOLD! WP Autographed Guitar Helps Fightfighters

Widespread Panic's signed Fender guitar was sold on 9/24. It went from a minuscule $83.00 opening bid on September 5th to a whopping $1,100.00 at the final moments of The Firefighters Fund Auction.

The nonprofit organization received guitars from the stars and auctioned them off in an all month, on-line auction. The proceeds are going to The Firefighters Fund in order to support 12 local volunteer fire departments in the Hayman Fire burn area and the Ambulance District of Colorado.

The Fender was signed by John Bell, Dave Schools, Todd Nance, Jojo Hermann, Sunny Ortiz and George McConnell in July 2006 and donated to the Fund.

The highest bid of all the 'Stars Guitars' was $2,603.00 and went to a priceless OLP MMI-TGD Trans Gold Guitar signed by Eddie Van Halen on 8/1/04 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

$2,603.00 Eddie Van Halen signed guitar
$2,350.00 Crosby, Stills, Nash signed guitar
$1,100.00 Widespread Panic signed guitar
$1,104.00 Allman Brothers Band signed guitar
$ 800.00 Wilco signed guitar
$ 800.00 YES signed guitar
$ 675.00 Govt. Mule signed guitar
$ 650.00 Godsmack signed guitar
$ 630.00 Ziggy Marley signed guitar


9/24/06 Boston Herald - Concert Review

09/22/06 Agganis Arena, Boston, MA
1: Tall Boy* > Papa Johnny Road* > Space Wrangler**, Time Zones*, Surprise Valley*, Chest Fever*, This Part Of Town*, From The Cradle*, Pigeons*

2: Chilly Water > Jack > Chilly Water, Rebirtha*, Pilgrims**, Rock, You Should Be Glad*, Greta, Fishwater*

E: Expiration Day**, Walkin' (For Your Love)*

* with John Keane on guitar
** with John Keane on pedal steel

Setlist by Everydayday Companion

Panic spreads fun-loving vibe through crowd
By Christopher John Treacy
Sunday, September 24, 2006

When Jerry Garcia died, a mammoth community of music lovers was left without a campground to call home, and like-minded jam bands experienced a surge of popularity that’s still thriving. In fact, a slew of cult-level bands were guaranteed an audience for as long as they cared to tour. Georgia’s Widespread Panic is one of them.
That’s not to imply WSP is some sort of nostalgia act or a covers outfit. Twenty years of recording gives the band a hearty vault of original material, and its set at Agganis Arena on Friday night pulled from all corners. But it’s the caravan mentality of Panic’s audience and the generous party spirit with which the band performs that create the traveling musical-circus feel the Dead pioneered. And so the Spreadhead hath sprung.

Over the course of two action-packed sets, WSP delivered a fusion of classic rock influences. And even after the early August departure of lead guitarist George McConnell, the late Michael Houser’s replacement, Panic sounds better than ever with Jimmy Herring, who’s previously toured with the Dead and Aquarian Rescue Unit.
Opening with “Tallboy” from 1997’s “Bombs & Butterflies” established a joyous groove that built ever higher. Frontman John Bell let loose his weathered, throaty howl with impressive flexibility. The dual drumming of Todd Nance and percussionist Domingo Ortiz created a thick rhythm section brimming with conga-laden complexity, further fortified by Dave Schools’ slap-happy bass. Herring was right at home, throwing down solo after solo, his fingers moving up and down the fret board at blinding speed.
The band reached back to 1988 for the swinging “Space Wrangler,” built the new “Time Zones” on a Latin riff reminiscent of early Santana and led the ecstatic crowd into the chunky boogie-woogie of “Surprise Valley,” with John “Jojo” Hermann hammering out a sinister organ blues. No less fun but somewhat harder rocking was a cover of the Band’s “Chest Fever.”
The second half began with the bad-assed riffs of “Chilly Water,” during which liquid repeatedly sprayed up from the bobbing mass and Bell’s howl became a guttural growl. The trippy “Jack” was entertaining but a little muddy, though things picked up with “Greta.” Touring member John Keane switched seamlessly between guitar and pedal steel.

A lengthy intermission made the natives restless; Agganis security had its hands full with Spreadheads and their no-holds-barred ways, but it was all in the spirit of fun. It’s hard to take issue with a scene built on music that exudes such warmth. There’s nothing cold or calculated going on with Widespread Panic, and it’s refreshing to see how the other half lives.


9/21/06 Herring widespreading himself too thin?

Jimmy Herring, the newest guitarist for Widespread Panic, has been associated with many bands throughout his distinguished career. Most recent was Herring/Rodgers/Sipe which formed soon after the Codetalkers' Bruce Hampton was forced to stop touring due to heart illness. Codetalkers' front man Bobby Lee Rodgers teamed up with Herring, Jeff Sipe and Neal Fountain and toured through spring/summer 2006 including their headlining show at SmileFest as well as performing at the Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash in Aug 06.

According to the band's MySpace site:
"After playing seven dates in May 2006 that ended with a headlining slot at SmileFest in the mountains of North Carolina, Herring, Rodgers, Sipe and Fountain have decided to roll with this ensemble. This project will undoubtedly draw the attention of Codetalkers fans, A.R.U. fans, fans of icons The Dead and Phil Lesh and Friends and beyond."

If Herring had decided to roll with the Herring/Rodgers/Sipe ensemble then what is the future of Widespread Panic?

It would stand to reason that the band, Herring/Rodgers/Sipe, may soon change their moniker with Herring's new commitment to Panic. This leads us to assume that Herring is completely on board with Widespread, right? But if Herring has decided to roll with Widespread Panic ensemble then what is the future of Bobby Lee Rodgers and the longtime acolytes of the Codetalkers?

There has been no official word from the WP organization that Herring is actually the new official longterm guitarist for Panic other than their announcement made on August 3rd which states:

"Widespread Panic is happy to announce that Jimmy Herring will be joining the band as lead guitarist. Jimmy, who in the past, has toured with The Dead and Aquarium Rescue Unit, said he is extremely excited to join his old friends on stage this fall. The tour will start September 14th with a three day run in New York City at the legendary Radio City Music Hall.

All this would certainly lead one to beleive that Herring was not in place as the Widespread Panic guitarist any earlier than Summer 2006 and might leave one wondering if Jimmy plans to fulfill commitments made with 2 bands or perhaps if he plans on performing with Panic only on their Fall tour. Let's hope we hear something more official from WP soon concerning the future of guitarists for the band.


9/20/06 "WP Forever" NOT Widespread!

Facebook yanks student racial group
UA students exposed teen 'white power’ group

September 20, 2006

TUSCALOOSA, AL | Law enforcement officials are investigating several local high school students who formed a Facebook group with the apparent intent to promote “white power."

The group’s page on the social networking Web site included a black and white photo of Ku Klux Klansmen and the words "WP is the way to be."

Six Tuscaloosa County High School freshmen and a student at Paul W. Bryant High School were listed by name as officers in the group.

The group was apparently exposed by University of Alabama students, many of whom posted comments on the site condemning the group.

A check on Facebook Tuesday for other, similarly named websites uncovered one, called “WP!" that was started by UA students.

A description of the Web site says, “if you dont know…dont join and it aint widespread," presumably a reference to the band Widespread Panic.

Members of the group said in e-mail messages to the News that the group was formed as a joke, anti-Widespread Panic group. UA spokeswoman Cathy Andreen said she was unaware of the group.


9/19/06 Widespread Panic at Fashion Week

Just days before Widespread Panic performed in New York City, dozens of top celebrities took a walk under the world famous Radio City Music Hall's marque for CBS's 2006 Fashion Rocks.

What I thought was so great about this was that tons of celebrities from Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Paris Hilton, Madonna & so many more were interviewed on the red carpet directly underneath the famous RCMH marque. Why was that so cool? Because the marque boasted in huge block letters WIDESPREAD PANIC 3 NIGHTS! SEPT. 14, 15 & 16.

The show aired live on CBS on Sept. 9th has been replayed on Style and MTV networks. Widespread Panic's show went on fashionably at the end of NYC's Fashion Week.

One drawback to Widespread playing that particular weekend was not only all the hotel rooms were sold out because of fashion week but Jimmy Buffet was playing down the street to an almost sold out Madison Square Gardens.


9/9/06 Widespread Panic Trivia

Which popular TV show featured Widespread Panic's Black and White Oval WP sticker in at least 13 episodes?

The sticker wasn't always shown in the same location

The answer is somewhere in this blog.
Feel free to post your answer under comment


9/7/06 Earth To Atlanta DVD November 14th!

The highly anticipated recording was announced at the Official Widespread Panic Website and plan to release the DVD on November 14th.

EARTH TO ATLANTA the concert DVD is from the national simulcast that was shot live at the Fox Theatre on May 9th, 2006.

The setlist includes:

From The Cradle
Solid Rock
Ribs And Whiskey
Travelin' Man
Bust It Big
Don't Wanna Lose You
Chainsaw City
Let's Get Down To Business
Barstools and Dreamers
Driving Song
Second Skin
May Your Glass Be Filled
Time Zones
You Should Be Glad
Tall Boy
None of Us Are Free
City of Dreams
Walkin' (For Your Love)

The release date is November 14th on Sanctuary Records! Stay tuned to widespreadpanic.com or my blog for more details to come.


9/7/06 Haynes losing Herring Chemistry?

In a September 5th interview by Greg M. Schwartz, Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes said, "I think the reason that Jimmy [Herring] and I meshed so well together is because there's the right amount of similarities in our playing, and the right amount of differences in our playing."

"There's enough similarity to where we kind of understand what each other is doing and are able to complement it, but even more important is the contrast between the two styles and the two sounds. And as with any chemistry, it's just something that either happens or doesn't happen. I mean, you can work on it and make it get better and better and better, but there's gotta be a starting place. With us, that definitely existed at the beginning."

Herring, of course, will be joining team Widespread Panic and kicking off the band's Fall Tour in New York City on September 14th. We're all hopeful that the chemistry between Haynes and Herring will be now picked up and shared with the members of WP!

Click here to read the entire Govt Mule interview.


9/7/06 JAS Attendance Down Due to Lineup

Not So Good News For JAS
by sweetpea

With great weather over the picturesque mountain setting, this years Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) wasn't exactly a blockbuster and certainly didn't break any attendance records.

Festival organisers had stayed optimistic with this years lineup despite discouraging comments flooding in from past festival goers over the change in the "genres" of music presented.

A few weeks before JAS, a Snowmass resident 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. The resident offered his bold prediction: the festival would set a record for low attendance.

Many were looking for the type of performances which made the festival successful in prior years including such acts as Widespread Panic.

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.

About one-third fewer people attended the weekend long event with the Sunday show featuring Don Henley being this year's top draw at 7,200 tickets sold. The festival drew 21,500 over the four days.

The Aspen Times News Editorial wrote, "We're not sure why the Jazz Aspen Snowmass ended up with such an unorthodox, eclectic group of musical performers."
Indeed those in attendance were met with a widely mixed group ranging from the smooth traditional country stylings of LeAnn Rimes to the urban rap beats of Kayne West.

Jim Horowitz, the festival's executive director had said "we've made a concerted effort to try to keep our lineups fresh." Horowitz was fully aware of the chances of disaster with the hodgepodge lineup stating, "Booking that kind of lineup is a risk."
Horowitz claimed he made decisions based, in part, on receiving feedback that the festival was getting too staid.

Other performers this year included Susan Tedeschi, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and Los Lonely Boys. Horowitz said that negative sentiments he had received had been matched with an equal rush of praise. He went on to say, "But weather will trump everything." Unfortunately for Horowitz, the festival was met with great weather.

When local residents write to local newspapers saying "This year I'm going to see Gov't Mule at Red Rocks instead" and with the realization of other residents low attendance predictions it's highly possible to see a swift shift back to what some considered "staid" and others consider a successful formula.

Why Do You Feel JAS Attendence Was Down?
Why Do You Feel JAS Attendence Was Down?
Lack of past musical acts like Widespread Panic
Too eclectic of musical genres
JAS is a mood festival and should include bands that respresent that mood
The departure of improvisational/jam type musical performers
Bad choices of performers - plain and simple


7/10/06 Portrait of a Subculture - DVD review (Revisited 9/3/06)

9/3/06 - REVISITED
I still haven't seen this documentary which apparently has been out since the end of August. You can order a copy of the DVD through Amazon. If you've seen it, please leave a comment and get us all a quick review!


7/10/06 - DVD DOCUMENTARY -Dreadheads: Portrait of a Subculture

I reprinted two reviews on the upcoming documentary. The street release date is Aug 29 however you can order the DVD online at Mutantgirlfilms.com.
I haven't seen it yet but apparently have a Widespread Panic interview featuring John Bell and Dave Schools.

Dreadheads: Portrait of a Subculture
By Cheryl Cheng

There are several assumptions one might have upon encountering someone with dreadlocks, aka a "dreadhead": They enjoy such bands as Phish and The Grateful Dead, often smoke joints and live a hippie, bohemian lifestyle lacking gainful employment. Dreadheads does nothing to dispel these stereotypes, as most of the people interviewed fit one, if not all, characteristics, but this documentary does give viewers a better understanding of a subculture that is unified by a particular hairstyle. As to why dreadheads style their hair this way, some cite laziness ("I just didn't brush it"), others explain that it's their "power source," describing an aura of energy that exists in their hair, and still others are less astute ("Your hair is what it is. It's not a style. It's not anything. It's what it is."). Filmmakers Hurlburt and Holmes provide some answers of their own, linking dreadlocks to religious origins and the Rastafarian culture up to the modern-day generation of dreadheads, who form communities across the country. Greater focus is given to some interviewees over others, such as the psychedelic artist who lost her soul mate to drugs or the woman who travels with 22 people and 12 dogs in a converted MTA bus. For those who live in cramped buses or other such unhygienic conditions, there is a segment about generic bar soap as a method to combat dreadheads' common experience with head lice. The documentary also features insightful interviews with The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, Widespread Panic's Dave Schools and John Bell and The Dead's Jimmy Herring as well as sociologists who compare dreadheads to other such fringe groups as circus freaks and the Beat poets of the '50s. Dreadheads is an interesting look at a subculture that should even find renters among those who crop their locks regularly.

Color, NR (mature themes), 77 min., DVD $19.98
DVD: outtakes, interview, video montage
Street: Aug. 29, Prebook: now
First Run: DVD premiere
Directors: Steven R. Hurlburt, Flournoy Holmes


Review by Randy Miller III

Every so often, I sometimes wonder how certain screeners find their way into my lap. I'm a fan of documentaries off the beaten path---which are slowly becoming the norm on DVD, if you haven't noticed---so I assume that's how I got paired up with Steven R. Hurlburt's Dreadheads, an entertaining little film about dreadlocks and the folks that wear 'em. As a thinly-haired man regularly self-shorn by Gillette's latest eight-bladed razor, I'm near the opposite end of the visual spectrum---but as the back cover for Dreadheads emphasizes, you don't have to be part of the subculture to enjoy what's been assembled here.

So what is assembled here? Essentially, Dreadheads gives us a brief overview of the hairstyle's history, casually interlaced with participation from regular (and not-so-regular) Joes who favor this unusual hairstyle. Meatier interviews are also on display here, featuring the likes of former Grateful Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, The Dead's Jimmy Herring and a few members of Widespread Panic. We also learn a bit about the "roots" of dreadlocks, evidenced by earlier connections to Rastafarian culture, religious sects, and its journey all the way to modern American society. Very few myths are dispelled along the way, especially in modern-day terms: most of the folks seen here are big fans of weed, minimal employment and other ways to whittle away free time. As long as they're not hurting anyone, right?

Here's the bottom line: even if you can't fathom a hairstyle that discourages regular washing, you should still find Dreadheads entertaining for the bulk of its brief 65-minute running time. The soundtrack, featuring music by Project Z, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Slang and Atlanta-based Spunhuny, keeps thing moving between interviews and history lessons, while the colorful visuals keep your eyes interested as well. Dreadheads isn't the year's most urgent or thought-provoking documentary, but it's an entertaining diversion that may just answer a few burning questions.

The DVD by Mutant Girl Films should be well-rounded; unfortunately, the screener copy I received doesn't represent the whole picture. Even so, it's a release that bears further investigation. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Quality Control Department

Video & Audio Quality

There's room for improvement, but the 1.33:1 transfer for Dreadheads is pleasing and gets the job done. This documentary exhibits strong color with only a moderate amount of softness, grain and edge enhancement; overall, it's on par with most low-budget documentaries. The audio is presented in a standard 2.0 Stereo mix and features clear dialogue and strong music cues. Unfortunately, no optional subtitles or Closed Captions have been included with this release.

Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
Unfortunately, this screener barely even came equipped with a menu screen, let alone any usable sub-menus. The 65-minute main feature has been divided into roughly half a dozen chapters, while no layer change was detected during playback. The packaging is very straightforward, as this one-disc release is housed in a standard black keepcase and includes no inserts of any kind. As always, the packaging and presentation for official copies is subject to change.

Bonus Features
No extras of any kind were included with this screener, though online advertisements promise a few bonus outtakes, interviews and the like. Unfortunately, they can't be reflected in this initial review rating---but if we get a more complete version in the near future, I'll update the ratings accordingly. Hint, hint.

Final Thoughts

It's hard to judge Dreadheads as a whole, since this bare-bones screener copy doesn't provide us with the complete picture. From what I saw, though, Steven R. Hurlburt's portrait of this unique subculture is entertaining enough, no matter if you're a "member" or not. As mentioned earlier, official copies of the DVD should offer an improved presentation and a few bonus features; with that in mind, it's a bit easier to recommend overall. For fans of interesting documentaries---and, of course, the hairstyle itself---Dreadheads is a lightweight release worth looking into. Rent It.


POLL :How much confidence do you have in Jimmy Herring working out as Panic's new guitarist?

How much confidence do you have in Jimmy Herring working out as Panic's new guitarist?
How much confidence do you have in Jimmy Herring working out as Panic's new guitarist?
100% He'll be around a long time
50% I'm not sure he'll fit in
0% No way he'll last
I'd rather Sam took the job

9/1/06 Guitars, T-shirts Auction for Firefighters Benefit

Autographed guitars up for auction!!!
by: Lorena Townsend on 8/31/2006

The Firefighters Fund Still Benefiting Local Fire Departments:

June 8, 2002 was a day to remember for thousands of Colorado residents as the Hayman Fire began its rampage across a four county area in Colorado. A local coffee shop ended up harboring numerous fire fighters and refugees during the following weeks. Java Junction, located in Gold Hill Square in Woodland Park, became a sanctuary for those looking for support and a haven for fire fighters looking for a little relief at the beginning and end of each day of fighting the monstrous Hayman Fire.

Following a small contribution from a local citizen, The Firefighters Fund was born. Initially thought that it would be a way to buy food and water for the local fire fighters, The Firefighters Fund quickly grew along with the enormity of the Hayman Fire into an organization that generated over $120,000 and an estimated $1 million in supplies donated by generous people from across the country. These funds and supplies were distributed to seven volunteer fire departments, including NETC, Mountain Communities, Florissant, Divide, Lake George, Trumbull, and 4 Mile as well as fire fighters, evacuees, and volunteers during the fire. The Firefighters Fund has expanded since the Hayman Fire to include Cascade, Green Mt. Falls/Chipita Park, Guffey, Cripple Creek and Victor fire departments and the Woodland Park Ambulance Service. Ongoing fundraising efforts will be divided between all thirteen organizations.

The Firefighters Fund is still active today. Local resident Rob Brown was instrumental in the collection of dozens of signed pieces including guitars, shirts, posters, etc. The Guitar Center provided guitars at cost to The Firefighters Fund. The Firefighters Fund provided T-shirts. Boulder Street Gallery framed a number of the shirts with UV proof glass at cost. Brown obtained the signatures with the permission of Live Nation.

The results of these efforts include guitars signed by:
Yes, The Dead (not for auction), The Allman Brothers Band, Crosby, Stills and Nash,Government Mule, Eddie Van Halen, Nickelback, Blues Traveler with North Mississippi All Stars, Korn, Johnny Lang, Godsmack, Maroon5,Wilco, Ziggy Marley, John Mayer and Widespread Panic;

Framed T-shirts signed by:
Robert Randolph, Primus, Sarah McLachlan, Godsmack, 311, John Mayer, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Blues Traveler, Rush, Gloria Estefan, R.E.M, Incubus, The Dead, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Eddie Van Halen, Dave Matthews, Maroon 5, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper

Unframed shirts: North Mississippi All Stars, Simon and Garfunkel, Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe;

miscellaneous items: Drum Head signed by Blues Traveler, Harmonica signed by John Popper, Washboard signed by North Mississippi All Stars, Poster signed by Big Head Todd and The Monsters.

Firefighters and musical enthusiasts can go online to www.thefirefightersfund.cmarket.com and begin bidding on these items collected by The Firefighters Fund volunteers over the last 4 years. The on line auction will end September 24, 2006 at 6 p.m. (MST).