Widespread Panic is an American rock jam band out of Athens, Georgia. Their career has spanned over 30 years, and has included twelve albums and multiple singles. They have set attendance records at major U.S. venues, such as Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, and Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. They are best known for their live performances, having performed as headliners at every major U.S. festival. Widespread Panic was formed by fellow University of Georgia students John Bell, Michael Houser, and Dave Schools in 1986. They were joined by drummer Ted Nance. Widespread Panic built their reputation playing fraternities and bars, and was signed by Landslide Records in 1987. Later that year they recorded their first album, Space Wrangler, and started touring nationally to promote the album.
In 2002, Michael Houser was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He toured with Widespread Panic until his declining health caused him to quit halfway through the year. His replacement, George McConnell, took over lead guitar duties for the rest of the tour. Michael died August 10, 2002. Despite the loss of Michael Houser, the band continued to record and perform for sold out shows. The band went on a brief break from touring in 2012, but returned in 2014, and have been touring ever since. Widespread panic is known for making an effort to never play the same set list twice, making each show a unique experience for listener. Also, one of the reasons for Widespread Panic’s popularity has been their policy of encouraging fans to record and share their shows.
Widespread Panic Street Dogs Tour 2015
Widespread Panic’s 2015 tour is in support of their September 25, 2015 album, Street Dogs. This album is their twelfth album, and features elements of their live performances. Instead of recording parts separately, the six members of the band performed each song together as a group in the recording studio. The 2015 tour extended across the U.S. and featured performances at the North Coast Music festival and Lockn’ Music Festival. They also have performances planned on December 29, 30, and 31 to bring in 2016 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Their current touring and recording lineup includes original members John Bell on guitar and vocals, and Dave Schools on bass and vocals, as well as Duane Trucks on drums, Domingo S. Ortiz on percussion, John Hermann on keyboards, and Jimmy Herring on guitar. Original drummer, Todd Nance is on personal leave, but is planning to return in the beginning of 2016.