Wednesday, December 12, 2007

First Official Confirmation

Well we have our first official confirmation for '08 as WSMV in Nashville broke the news that Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will grace the Manchester grounds - so much for hipster music blogs.

The unlikely duo put out the critically acclaimed Raising Sand album earlier this year - which you should definitely pick up. You can also tune in to WXPN on Monday, December 24th for the re-broadcast of their appearance on the World Cafe - or just head here and stream it from their archives now.

So no Led Zep, but this is a start.

Thanks to Hidden Track for the heads up on this.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Live Bonnaroo On iTunes

I guess it's been a big week in the world of everything-Bonnaroo. The latest announcement being the return of the Live Bonnaroo download series. Head on over to their iTunes stores for sets from....

Bob Weir & Ratdog
The String Cheese Incident
North Mississippi Allstars
Hot Tuna
Dierks Bentley
James Blood Ulmer
Xavier Rudd
David Bromberg and Angel Band
Mavis Staples
Dr. Dog
RX Bandits
Robert Glasper Trio

Mark Your Calenders

Circle June 12th - 15th of '08 on your calendars as those are the official dates for the 7th installment of Bonnaroo. So start booking your flights, reserving your RV and convincing your friends that it's not that hot in Manchester in June.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Superfly's Response

Here's Superfly's response to the whole Led Zeppelin/Metallica rumor made that made it's way around a few days ago (via

Bonnaroo promoters Superfly and A.C. Entertainment have commented on recent rumors that Led Zeppelin and Metallica will headline Bonnaroo in 2008. In a statement released to Relix/, Superfly and A.C. Entertainment said, “The rumors that are out there about the Bonnaroo 2008 headliners are inaccurate. We're very excited about the lineup that we're putting together for this year's festival. We'll be announcing the confirmed lineup towards the end of January, beginning of February."

So sit tight folks I'm sure more rumors will be swirling around in the weeks to come before the official announcement.

Monday, December 3, 2007


As quickly as rumors get started they also get squashed just as easily. So before the hellfire from Bonnaroo fans could light up message boards saying how Superfly is ruining the festival with booking Metallica and they'll never attend it again, etc. Q Prime Management - who represent the hard-rockers - flat out denied the report that the band will be in Manchester next June. Read about it here.

Led Zep And Metallica To Headline In '08???

This story has been making it's way around the internet, so thought I'd post it here....

Via the Digital Media Wire:

An anonymous reader tipped Bob Lefsetz, author of The Lefsetz Letter, yesterday about an interesting development in the live music world: “Zeppelin just confirmed for Bonnaroo. They can't officially announce until after the London gig so pass it on! Also Metallica is confirmed on the bill too!”

Anyone who has experienced the unique event that is Bonnaroo (or its younger sibling Vegoose) knows the four-day Manchester, Tennessee show’s trademark is its eclectic mix of bands. Considered “the largest hippy festival in the world,” as Andrew Stockdale, lead singer of Wolfmother said onstage last June, the festival organizers always manage to add plenty of non-hippy artists. In 2007 there was also the addition of a “classic” billing, the reemergence of The Police.

If the anonymous reader is right about Zeppelin and Metallica, Bonnaroo 2008 has a leg up on alternatives like Coachella before ’07 is even finished.

Make of it what you want. There has been tons of speculation that the reunited Led Zeppelin will in fact announce a full-blown world tour, but as of now they are sticking to their story that their upcoming one-off performance will be just that. I really didn't believe the rumors about The Police, but that turned out to be true.


Rock Daily has some more on this story - head here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Brushfire Records Live At Bonnaroo & Vegoose

There hasn't been any real need to post anything here for awhile, though it does seem that I'm still getting a good bit of traffic, thought I'd get something up about the new Brushfire Records release Thank You And Goodnight: Brushfire Records Live At Bonnaroo And Vegoose. Here's some info on it....

On October 30th, Bonnaroo and Vegoose will release "Thank You And Goodnight: Brushfire Records Live at Bonnaroo and Vegoose" a collection of live tracks from Jack Johnson, G. Love & Special Sauce, Matt Costa, Money Mark and ALO. The album's release has been limited to Independent Music Stores in the US, at the festivals, as well as at the artist's websites.

An artist's career is born in the studio, and their reputation cemented on the stage. Over the past few years, Bonnaroo and Vegoose have become two of the world's biggest stages, and Brushfire's artists have been pleased to be part of those great line ups.

This compilation captures just a few of the great moments laid to tape in Manchester and Las Vegas. Jack Johnson contributes "Island Style" a duet with local Hawaiian star John Cruz as well as "Staple it Together" , and "Constellations" two tracks from his 2005 triple platinum LP In Between Dreams. "Constellations" features a beautiful guest appearance by Dan Lebowitz of ALO on lap steel. "G. Love and Special Sauce are featured on "Take You There" from 1997's Yeah It's That Easy, and "Hot Cookin'" from his latest (and fastest selling) LP Lemonade. Matt Costa contributes two tracks from his debut album Songs We Sing the title track and "These Arms". The album features debut performances of 2 tracks from Money Mark's Brushfire Records debut LP Brand New By Tomorrow "Summer Blue" and "Color Of Your Blues". Finally, ALO contributes "BBQ" and "Wasting Time" from their 2005 release Fly Between Falls.

This one's not featured on the album, but here's Jack Johnson with Mud Football from Bonnaroo '03.....

And here's some full performances from some of the artists featured on the cd....

Jack Johnson - 2002-06-22 - Manchester, TN

Jack Johnson - 2003-06-13 - Manchester, TN

G. Love & Special Sauce - 2003-06-15 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN

ALO - 2005-06-09 - This Tent - Manchester, TN

Jack Johnson - 2005-06-11 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN

Matt Costa - 2006-06-15 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

G. Love & Special Sauce - 2006-06-16 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You Know You're A Deadneck When....

Unfortunately I didn't get to see David Cross, but here's his first show from Thursday night....

David Cross - 2007-06-15 - Early Show - Yet Another (Comedy) Tent - Manchester, TN (MediaFire Link)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sunday, June 17th

Elvis Perkins


White Stripes

Widespread Panic

Saturday, June 15th

Dr. Dog

The Hold Steady

Franz Ferdinand

Friday, June 15th

Press Tent

Cold War Kids

Kings of Leon

The Whigs

Thursday, June 14th

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Tea Leaf Green

Non-Music Randomness

Best Non-Musical Moment: Seeing The Police leaving in their motorcade. Does it get anymore rock star then having 10 plus police motorcycles and cruisers zipping the band in three vans straight off the grounds? It was my Almost Famous moment.

Worst Moment To Be Wearing A Yankees Hat: Craig Finn declaring that he won't push his baseball team on anyone, but that "Let's all agree that the Yankees suck." - which was followed by an exuberant cheer and Yankees suck chat. I was the loneliest Yankees fan at Bonnaroo at that moment.

If You're Happy And Your Know It Clap Your Hand: Just about every band I saw engaged the audience to clap along to their songs.

Hip T-Shirts: Seemed everytime I turned around saw someone rocking a t-shirt from Threadless

Best Place For A Nap: The Current TV tent was definitely the place to be to grab some quick shut eye in the comfort of AC. Comfy couches and swing chairs, along with tvs and headphones made for the perfect conditions for a quality mid-day snooze.

Wrong Tent: I'm sure it's a pain in the ass trying to schedule all the bands into the various tents, but putting The White Stripes on the Which Stage wasn't the right choice. The Stripes show was probably one of the most highly attended shows of the festival, but instead of being on the main stage it was on the Which Stage. This is a band that is playing Madison Square Garden, how many other bands there claimed that honor besides Panic? They needed to be on the Main Stage.

Doh Moment: Sitting in the wrong tent waiting for Dr. Dog. For some reason we were convinced they were playing That Tent and we sat there for a good 20 minutes wondering where the rest of the crowd was. I finally figured out we where in the wrong place when I noticed no keyboard on stage. We made it over to This Tent just in time for the opening song.

Coolest Tent I Didn't Get Into: From what I heard the Somethin' Else (Blue Note's jazz tent) lived up to its billing and was an absolutely amazing place. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to make my way in there, sure wish I did though.

Wilco - What Stage - Sunday, June, 17th


You Are My Face
Side With The Seeds
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Handshake Drugs
Shot In The Arm
Via Chicago
Impossible Germany
Sky Blue Sky
Shake It Off
War On War
Jesus, Etc.
I'm The Man Who Loves You

The Late Greats
Heavy Metal Drummer


There are tons of reviews of the festival floating around, by people that are probably a bit more eloquent then me, but first off want to give a big thanks to the folks over at Big Hassle for granting me media access to the festival. Now onto the business at hand, here's some coverage you might want to check out....

Hidden Track - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Stereogum - Bonnaroo Archives

The Weight - Bonnaroo Photos - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

The Greenhaus Effect - Bonnaroo ADD

Rock Daily - Bonnaroo Coverage

Current TV @ Bonnaroo

MTV's Bonnaroo Coverage

Dave The Butcher - Bonnaroo In Retrospect

Relix / - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday Part 1, Saturday Part 2, Sunday

As I stumble on more I'll link them here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bonnaroo 2007 Torrents

Alright the festival is over and the music is rolling in. As shows get posted I'll link them here, so keep checking back......

Thursday - June, 14th

Apollo Sunshine - 2007-06-14 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Clutch - 2007-06-14 - This Tent - Manchester, TN

Lewis Black & Friends - 2007-06-14 - Yet Another (Comedy) Tent - Early Show - Manchester, TN

The National - 2007-06-14 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

Tea Leaf Green - 2007-06-14 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Friday - June, 15th

The Black Keys - 2007-06-15 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

Bonnaroo Superjam - 2007-06-15 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Brazilian Girls - 2007-06-15 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN (24 Bit)

Cold War Kids - 2007-06-15 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

Dierks Bentley - 2007-06-15 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Gillian Welch - 2007-06-15 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Hot Chip - 2007-06-15 - This Tent - Manchester, TN

Kings of Leon - 2007-06-15 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

Michael Franti and Spearhead - 2007-06-15 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN

The Nightwatchman - 2007-06-15 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

The Richard Thompson Band - 2007-06-15 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Sound Tribe Sector Nine - 2007-06-15 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

String Cheese Incident - 2007-06-15 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN

Tool - 2007-06-15 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

Tortoise - 2007-06-15 - This Tent - Manchester, TN

Saturday - June, 16th

The Flaming Lips - 2007-06-16 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals - 2007-06-16 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

Galactic - 2007-06-16 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

Girl Talk - 2007-06-16 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Gov't Mule - 2007-06-16 - This Tent -Manchester, TN

The Hold Steady - 2007-06-16 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

Keller Williams & The WMDs - 2007-06-16 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

North Mississippi Allstars - 2007-06-16 - Sonic Stage -Manchester, TN

The Philadelphia Experiment - 2007-06-17 - Somethin' Else - Manchester, TN

The Police - 2007-06-16 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

Scott Amendola Band - 2007-06-16 - Somethin' Else - Manchester, TN

Spoon - 2007-06-16 - That Tent - Manchester, TN

Ween - 2007-06-16 - This Tent - Manchester, TN

Xavier Rudd - 2007-06-16 - The Other Tent - Manchester, TN

Ziggy Marley - 2007-06-16 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

Sunday - June, 17th

Feist - 2007-06-17 - This Tent - Manchester, TN

Ratdog - 2007-06-17 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

The White Stripes - 2007-06-17 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN

Widespread Panic - 2007-06-17 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

Wilco - 2007-06-17 - What Stage - Manchester, TN

Wolfmother - 2007-06-17 - Which Stage - Manchester, TN

I'm Back!

Thoughts, picutres and torrents later on today. But this is how I felt at the end of it all....

Had a great time after a rough couple of days do to lack of sleep, but finally snapped out of it on Sunday and had a blast!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


For a better look head here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Current @ Bonnaroo

Thought this was another pretty cool thing going on down in Manchester as well - Current TV (you know that channel that Al Gore started) will be down at Bonnaroo all weekend long provide exclusive on-site coverage. Here's some info....

In a groundbreaking partnership with the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Current TV will produce and present closed-circuit programming of customized content at the sixth-annual music festival, in addition to airing comprehensive coverage of Bonnaroo all weekend long on-air on Current TV

In Current TV’s innovative, pioneering fashion, the network is heading to Bonnaroo to cover everything the festival has to offer. Current@Bonnaroo will feature an array of exclusive coverage and viewer-created content highlighting the moments, stories and characters that define the spirit, culture and community of fans at the largest outdoor music festival in the nation. Current TV has a daily connection with this audience on-air and will tap into them to cover their Bonnaroo experiences from their points of view. Current@Bonnaroo's four production crews and “The Current Fix” music host Douglas Caballero will roam the festival grounds – from backstage to the campsites to Bonnaroo's 100-acre entertainment village – to capture the culture of the fans coming together at Bonnaroo 2007.

No other network covers music culture like Current TV, which – with its involvement at Bonnaroo – is the first cable network to create customized content for programming at a music festival.

Check your local listing for where to find Current on your cable line up. Head here to find out more about their coverage of the festivities.

AT&T Blue Room Webcast

For those of you not heading down to Bonnaroo fear not you can still watch the festivities from the comfort of your own home - no tent required - live courtesy of the folks over at AT&T's Blue Room - watch all weekend here. I watched a lot of last year's festival this way and it was fantastic. Their schedule isn't up yet, but when it is I'll pass it along.

HT's Bonnaroo Battles

My friends over at Hidden Track have kicked off their Bonnaroo coverage today with a great post on schedule conflicts throughout the weekend. Their 'Roo correspondent TJ takes a look at some of the big battles - check it out here and weigh in with your thoughts.

Monday, June 11, 2007

2 Days And Counting

So that's it folks - coverd 78 artists and a handful of comedians. It's been quite the rewarding process to undertake something like this. Found some new bands to check out and tried to get you excited for a bunch that I've already been into. I'll try to get up a couple more things before I head down, and lots when I get back. And if any of my loyal readers feel like trying to meet up down there shoot me and email -

Please be safe, but most of all have fun.

Bonnawho's Who - Dr. Dog

Official Bio:

Dr. Dog
has been creating music in various incarnations in their hometown of Philadelphia for nearly six years now. From the humble beginnings of THE PSYCHEDELIC SWAMP, a concept album realized in the damp ruin of a flooded basement, through the critically acclaimed EASY BEAT (2005) the band has cultivated a strong national following through their energetic live shows. They spent the better part of 2006 in the studio cooking up two new releases: a six song EP called TAKERS AND LEAVERS, which will be released worldwide on Sept 12, 2006, and WE ALL BELONG, a long player that will see the light of day February 27, 2007.

The early years of Dr. Dog were spent largely in and around Philadelphia until the spring of 2004, when the band was invited to tour with My Morning Jacket after MMJ front man Jim James heard Dr. Dog’s first non-concept album TOOTHBRUSH. Using the money they raised on the MMJ tour, the band added a microphone to their home studio and recorded their second album EASY BEAT.

The band first released EASY BEAT on their own, selling it at shows and through the mail in cases where a generation of emailers were willing to put a check in an envelope and buy a stamp in return for a copy of the album. While not the most technologically savvy means of delivery the method worked to build a fan base outside of Philly for Dr. Dog and even caught the attention of a few journalists along the way.

Along with Rolling Stone, Spin, Alternative Press, Fader and many others, The Philadelphia Inquirer raved EASY BEAT is an“ infectious debut album ... Beach Boys-style three part harmonies layered over skewed bouncy rock songs." The New York Times went on to call EASY BEAT an “ extraordinary catalog of off kilter ballads and light-headed riff rock ... All nine songs, filled with breezy vocal harmonies and unexpected digressions ... epic."

The later half of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 saw the band on tour in the United States and throughout Europe before entering the studio in the Spring to work on their next two releases. Both works will be released in North America on Park The Van records, a Philly-centric Indie label that shares the band’s passion for promoting the city’s rich and growing music scene. Rough Trade records will handle the two releases in the rest of the world.

The recording sessions for the band’s new album WE ALL BELONG yielded material that the band did not feel worked with the album as a whole but seemed to work as an excellent bridge between EASY BEAT and WE ALL BELONG. Dr. Dog released this material as a six song EP, TAKERS AND LEAVERS, this past September. Rolling Stone raved the EP “matches the Shins with smart, retro psych rock.”

Abandoning their usual method of production and opting for a new experience, Dr. Dog recorded WE ALL BELONG on a 24 track, 2-inch tape machine as opposed to their previous releases, which were recorded on their faithful 8-track. A band that thrives on using creative muscle to overcome the inherent limitations of a minimal amount of equipment, the 24-track introduced new possibilities as well as new challenges. Taking full advantage of both, Dr Dog managed to make an album that at once captures the organic spirit that is so important to the band while introducing new layers of vocal harmonies and textured instrumentation the band had only been able to imagine prior.

WE ALL BELONG was recorded for a good part of 2006, in-between headlining dates and a European tour with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and US dates with The Strokes.

The fall of 2006 marked the beginning of the most exciting stage in Dr. Dog’s career to date. The band toured in support of TAKERS AND LEAVERS beginning with a co-headline run up the west coast in early September with Cold War Kids. After that, the Dogs made their way to Houston, Texas to begin a tour supporting The Raconteurs. In addition, Dr. Dog toured the UK with the Magic Numbers and toured America with The Black Keys.

WE ALL BELONG features all the charms of Dr. Dog’s critically acclaimed album, EASY BEAT, but introduces the listener to a rich complexity only hinted at in the band's earlier work.

Dr. Dog will tour extensively in support of WE ALL BELONG in 2007.

Live On Stage:

Alright we're down to my last profile and its for probably my favorite band at the moment. If you haven't heard of or seen Dr. Dog please do yourself a huge favor and A) go out and pick up We All Belong - it's my favorite album of 2007 and B) GO AND SEE THEM AT BONNAROO - they are absolutely fantastic live. I don't think I've ever seen a band play with as much energy as them. They dance around and genuinely look like they are having a blast on stage. I've seen this band about 5 times already have left with a grin from ear to ear each time. Check them out for yourselves, here they are with an in-store performance of the "The World May Never Know"....

And we'll go with this pretty cool acoustic, impromptu, street performance of "California"....

Got one show for you, which I have actually downloaded awhile back and it's great....

Dr. Dog - 2007-03-21 - The Waiting Room - Omaha, NE

Music Videos:

Dr. Dog has two music videos so we'll just go with both. First up is the kind of creepy, video for "Fool's Life"....

And to counteract that the animated one for "My Old Ways"....

For more on Dr. Dog head over to their official website.

Set Time: 6/16, This Tent, 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bonnawho's Who - Wilco

Official Bio:

As Wilco prepare to release their new record Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch Records May 2007) let us take a moment to reflect on what's been nothing short of a collective wild ride of a decade. Their most recent album, 2004's A ghost is born, earned the Chicago band two Grammy Awards. Two of their earlier albums, 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and 1996’s Being There as well as the DVD I Am Trying to Break Your Heart have been certified gold. And the band – Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Mikael Jorgensen, Nels Cline and Pat Sansone – have been heralded by critics everywhere: “the world’s most exciting live rock band” said London’s Sunday Telegraph, “capable of nearly anything” said Spin magazine.

Looking further back, there's much more to the story. Tweedy assembled Wilco following the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, the band he formed with Jay Farrar in Belleville, Illinois in the late 1980s. Wilco have released eight albums (including two collaborations with the estate of Woody Guthrie). There has been a well-documented departure from one large record company and a well-documented arrival at a new one. There has been the birth of the Internet, file-sharing, streaming, downloading and free culture. There have been books, documentaries not to mention the personnel changes and a few personal crises. But for all the tumult there has always been Wilco, a rock band fronted by Jeff Tweedy, creating music and playing it live for its audience, year after year.

Speaking in 2005 upon release of their live record Kicking Television, Tweedy told the Detroit Free Press "It's really the best it's ever felt. I would say at this point, I don't think I've ever been in a band that's felt this connected and unified with the collective vision.”

Live On Stage:

These last few post have been about bands that I'm most excited about catching, and this post is no exception. I haven't seen Wilco since New Year's Eve of 2004 when they played MSG - just seemed like New York City wasn't on their touring itinerary for a few years - so I'm counting down the hours till they hit the stage. The band just released their new album Sky Blue Sky which I've really been enjoying despite the mixed reviews. Here's the Dylan inspired "What Light" off of the new album....

And let's also go with "Walken" another new cut from last year's Lollapolooza....

Wilco has fell into favor with the jamband crowd, so there has been a bunch of great live shows floating around....

Wilco - 2007-05-28 - LKA Longhorn - Stuttgart, Germany

Wilco - 2007-04-18 - Palais Theatre - Melbourne, Austrailia

Wilco - 2006-04-22 - William & Mary Hall - The College of William & Mary - Williamsburg, VA

Wilco - 2005-02-24 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

Wilco - 2002-10-29 - The Ryman Auditorium - Nashville, TN

Also going to throw in a couple of Jeff's solo shows. Not only is it great hearing these songs stripped down, but his stage banter is equally as entertaining....

Jeff Tweedy - 2007-03-03 - Letters to Santa Benefit - Living Room Concert (#3) -The Coleman Home - Winnetka, IL

Jeff Tweedy - 2007-01-10 - Bijou Theater - Knoxville, TN

Jeff Tweedy - 2005-03-05 - Vic Theatre Chicago, IL

Music Videos:

I gave you a couple off the new record, now let's go all the way back to A.M. - here's Wilco with "Box Full Of Letters"....

Since they didn't do much as far as real music videos, let's also go with "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" just for the unintential humor of it....

You can also check out one more....

I Must Be High

For more on Wilco head on over to their official website.

Set Time: 6/17, What Stage, 5:30 PM - 7 PM

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Bonnawho's Who - The Hold Steady

Official Bio:

A Citizen’s Guide to The Hold Steady & their newest recording Boys and Girls in America c/o Vagrant- Release Date: 10/03/06

Straight from Craig Finn and Tad Kubler
With Little to No Bullshit


Bobby Drake, Drummer: “He’s a real salt of the earth guy. He’s an auto mechanic. On the road he’s real commando style. He doesn’t get out of his clothes. A lot of sleeping in the van. Ready for action. On our last tour, he barely drove, but then on this really scary stretch of the Canadian Rockies, he took over. He’s up for that. That’s him.”

Galen Polivka, Bass: “We call him ‘Top Shelf.’ Affable guy. Bartender by trade. In the band, in some ways, that’s kind of his role. Chat people up. He’s real friendly. Good bass player. You don’t get any drama out of Galen. Doesn’t even get too drunk. Real solid.”

Franz Nicolay, Keyboards: “Real musical. He’s got sort of a punk rock thing. Drinking wine out of the bottle, walking around wearing fingerless gloves. Definitely more European than us. But that the same time not politically correct. And he likes baseball.”

Tad Kubler, Guitar: “Out of control. One of my favorite guitar players ever. We call him the Janesville Jammer. [Tad is from Janesville Wisconsin] After the show, the Koob [pronounced Kooooooooooob] can get a little fuzzy. There might be a disappearance.” (The Koob also sends out Bulletins on the band’s Myspace page and answers email. Amongst 41 million other duties.]

Craig didn’t mention himself. But he’s the singer guy. You know him.


John Agnello. He started at the Record Plant like twenty years ago. Did a lot of the Dinosaur Jr. stuff, worked with Mark Lanegan, The Breeders. He mixed the last two Drive-By-Truckers records (we’re big fans of those guys), just finished up the new Andrew W.K., the new Son Volt, and the new Sonic Youth.

We did all the main tracks, drums, keys, Wurlitzer, at Water Music in Hoboken. I did some of my guitar stuff and we did the bass stuff there, too. Did the vocals at Atomic (in Brooklyn). We really tried to go in and play as a band. Have a couple of drinks and capture what we do. John was a conduit for that, keeping things loose. If somebody came up with something—he was like, “Dude, keep playing that, I’m gonna hit the record button, then we can go back and revisit that.”

We wanted to work with somebody that didn’t know us, that when it came down to it, didn’t worry about hurting our feelings when it came to getting good performances out of everybody. Somebody older. Our attitude was like, this guy’s got twenty years on us, let’s hear what he has to say about it.


Like any good producer John has a technical side and a psychology side. And his psychology side was pretty interesting to watch. I think he was impressed that it seemed like within the band there was a lot of chaos and then people stepped up and focused pretty quickly.

There’s something that Galen said a long time ago that I always think about. We were at SXSW, and there were labels interested in us and we had meetings with our manager and our publicist and all of these people, and later Galen said, “I kinda got nervous when we were talking about this stuff. I had some anxiety.” And then we went to do this radio show and he said, “But once I put on my bass, I wasn’t nervous.” I think that’s the one thing we can control is the music that we play. Once we’re playing, it’s not that chaotic.


Sounds like five guys playing music together. I’d say the less is more thing is the strength. There were a couple songs where I said, “I’m not gonna play on the first verse of this song.” Some places we ended up taking some guitars out when we were mixing. This seems like it’s probably the most personal record I’ve ever heard Craig write lyrically. I speak as a fan of Craig’s. He and I never discuss his lyrics—I don’t want to because it might take some of the mystique away—I like to listen to him as much as anybody else does. There were a couple of times when we were mixing and mastering, where I was like “Wow. I’ve never heard him say that before!”


No. I moved to New York when I was 29 years old, so maybe you’re hanging out with a better quality of person. When you’re 18, there’s some idiots who are like, “We’re gonna go drink this under a bridge, you wanna come?” And you’re like, “Yeah. Absolutely. How would we not want to drink under a bridge?” I think Minneapolis is pretty unique. The delinquents out there are pretty delinquent. And everyone’s got a car, so there’s like, a lot of mobility. A lot of bad ideas can be put into action quickly. ‘Cause you can like, haul stuff.


Looking back on Separation Sunday—it didn’t always seem that human. It was really heavy, but it didn’t always seem like five guys playing music together. It seemed like music and then this grand statement. It was never as fun as I wanted it to be, so you know we tried to make with this record something a little more fun, but also something that sounded like people playing music together, you know? We were talking about records that we really liked, and Every Picture Tells a Story by Rod Stewart was one. There’s like a glaring mistake on the first song of that record, but it sounds great. He literally comes in too early. So we recorded the record live, to try to capture the sound of the band more. Also, lyrically, I wasn’t concerned with as much of a concept, or story. It’s more thematic than a linear story.


Well, Boys and Girls in America comes from Kerouac. In On the Road he says, “Boys and Girls in America have such a sad time together.” The record is kind of about love and guys and girls and relationships. Most of the songs go back to that. But that’s an umbrella—you can do a lot of things within that. The songs are a little more self-contained. They don’t relate as much to each other but all go back to this one big thing. The first song “Stuck Between Stations” is about the poet John Berryman, and he had a lot of issues with love and had affairs, depression, and another song “Chips Ahoy” takes place at a horse race, but is still about a guy and a girl. I’m trying to keep challenging myself, and get it back there rather than telling this one long story.


For one, not doing a concept record. ‘Cause if I did two in a row, then it’s like you’ve got to do one every time. You’re the guy who makes these concepts. A lot of the concept records in the 1970s were about a dude who, well, rock and roll has been banned, and he has to break it loose and save rock and roll and freedom. If I do another one, I definitely gotta do that. ‘Cause one of my first concerts was Styx, Killroy was Here.


It’s definitely still us. Huge guitars. I made up these exercises on guitar in areas I wasn’t very good at playing, and in doing so, I tried to come up with parts in songs for them. Finger picking is terrible for me. There’s one song on the record that’s mostly just acoustic guitar and Craig—the two of us—and there was a couple of flubbed notes in the song. Led Zeppelin used to do that. And that was the approach—really letting go, and really letting it happen. It was really liberating in a way.

But I think that listening to everybody’s performance on the record—if you go back and listen to the first and second records, on the third one you can really see how the band has grown, how everyone has really worked on what they do. How it’s developed and progressed. Hopefully the next record will be another step in what we wanna do, and what we wanna do is become better players and better players with each other.


CRAIG: So many amazing things happened to us that were just flattering. We were the subjects of a curriculum at a school (Columbine High School) in Colorado, and that was the most incredible part of the year. We spent most of the day there. The kids wanted to talk about writing, books, baseball, themselves, telling you, “I’ve got a guitar, too. I’m learning to play.”

The teacher heard us on NPR and he wanted to teach the students about literary allusions and he thought Separation Sunday would be good for that. He brought it in and the kids hated it. But as they started talking about the lyrics and what they meant, they got really into it. We walked into the school and there were banners, a kid on a ledge with a metalled-out guitar, and a little amp playing “Your Little Hoodrat Friend.” People cheering. It’s all on film. It was really something.

These were quote-unquote at risk kids that we were playing for, not that I know what an at-risk kid looks like, but they just seemed like kids, you know? There were some jocks, some skaters, a lot of nerds. Quite honestly, kids that were probably having a hard time because they were smart. You just wanted to grab them all and say, “It’s all gonna be okay. You’re in 9th grade, it’s the worst time ever. Just don’t do anything really stupid, and I swear to God in two years it will be cool.” At the same time I was really impressed with the teacher, because I think –rock and roll is not often recognized as a real positive thing for kids. And I think of the role it played in my life. It really helped me…


We’ve been known to play two and a half hours. But that got a little ridiculous. Now we play about and hour and ten minutes. And encores. For a while we were doing this thing where we would play as long as we possibly could every single time. This was an ill-advised period where I was also thinking it was awesome to do shots onstage. We’d do songs where we’d kind of vamp, and I’d have a lot to say. So the band would be chugging behind me and I’d be like, “Check this out…” A lot of monologues. In review, I’d be like, ‘I don’t know if that was such a good idea.’”


CRAIG: Dudes will be misbehaving and their girlfriends won’t even be there. That’s the Hold Steady crowd—tons of drunk dudes and then the girls that are there are totally pissed. I think it’s getting better. Like more chicks.


CRAIG: Yeah. The smaller shows, there’s always some dude totally into it. He’s pumping his fists, and he’s pretty drunk and then his chick is just like pissed that they’re there. I think they come to the show kinda drunk and then they get drunker. A lot of dudes are doing shots with their buddies.


CRAIG: In the dressing room, it’s Jim Beam, but I think dudes are into tequila. A Hold Steady show is a show where you take the next day off of work. No one’s even fooling themselves. Which is a good feeling. Clubs have always told us that our liquor sales are really good for the amount of people that are there.


CRAIG: I think the music supports partying in a positive way. Most people can feel good and forget their problems. There’s definitely a culture. I think the band drinks a lot. There’s a lot of drinking on stage. I drink Bud or Coronas. The big thing I have learned is the way it works best is to not drink until about ten minutes before we go on, and then to drink as much as possible while we’re on stage. I have to sing a lot, so there is physically not much time to drink. But I can drink a six-pack onstage. A lot of it spills. A lot of it is for show.


TAD: I’d like to. In terms of songwriting, I don’t see why we couldn’t.


TAD: Yeah. One thing I’ve noticed as we grow as a band—this sounds cheesy—but everybody really takes care of each other well. Somebody runs out of money, somebody’s there to make sure that you get lunch and you’ve got beers to drink. As much as we can bicker and fight—you spend that much time in a van with anybody and tensions run a little high—everybody’s really good at watching out for one another. It’s because we hang out together. If you are at Hi-Fi on a Friday evening, chances are you’re gonna catch all of us in the bar at the same time. It’s hard to tell when hanging out ends and work starts, or vice versa.

Live On Stage:

It took a little while to get into The Hold Steady. I just really didn't know what to make to this boozy/Stringsteen inspired/bar band with witty pop culture infused lyrics and big crunchy classic rock guitar licks, but the more I listened to them the more I kept going back to their albums. Craig Finn writes some really clever songs, where the lines just stick with you. I recently caught them for the first time earlier this year and their live show really lived up to the hype. This performance from a hometown Brooklyn gig at Warsaw sums up what they're al about best, here they are with "Most People Are DJ's"....

I know you're going to want more, here's a couple of shows you should download....

The Hold Steady - 2007-03-17 - Newport Music Hall - Columbus, OH

The Hold Steady - 2006-11-25 - The Black Cat - Washington, DC

Music Videos:

I think we're going to go with a two-fer for you. First up "Stuck Between Stations" off their critically acclaimed album from last year Boys And Girls In America....

And since I love the word play in this one, here's "The Swish"....

Few more to check out....

Chips Ahoy

Your Little Hoodrat Friend

For more on The Hold Steady head on over to their official website. Also you can head to their MySpace page where you can download their take on "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" - I did a whole post on this over at Hits From The Blog - check it out here.

Set Time: 6/16, That Tent, 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM (is this the perfect Happy Hour set or what?)

Bonnawho's Who - Bob Weir & Ratdog

Official Bio:

There may never have been a band that has evolved more dramatically than RatDog. It began as a laid-back blues ensemble in 1996, but it eventually became a snarling rock band with a fabulous jazz trio at its heart. Of course, all those forms are simply different facets of Bob Weir's unruly musical personality.

Even when his first band, the Grateful Dead, was playing close to 100 shows yearly, Weir needed other outlets, and he developed a solo career that began with albums like "Ace" and "Heaven Help the Fool" and continued through his sidebands "Kingfish" and "Bobby and the Midnites." He then settled into a special duo partnership with the distinguished bassist Rob Wasserman.

As their music evolved, they reached out into musical realms that required more players. RatDog was born, and began to grow. First came the drummer, Jay Lane, one of the Bay Area's best, a member of the Freaky Executives and the Uptones. He introduced to RatDog the incredibly gifted jazz/blues/rock pianist, Jeff Chimenti. Guitarist Mark Karan came to Weir's notice in the summer of 1998 when they played together in The Other Ones, and he proved far too good to let go. The Lane/Chimenti jazz pipeline produced another addition to RatDog, the fine Bay Area saxophonist Kenny Brooks, a New England Conservatory of Music graduate and a long-time member of the Charlie Hunter Quartet.

Finally, early in 2003 Rob Wasserman decided to concentrate on his various personal projects (his duo relationship with Weir endures), and RatDog went sniffin' for a new bassist, finding him in Bay Area veteran Robin Sylvester. The London native has been a Bay Area fixture for more than 20 years, and is best known for his long-time close association with the legendary (and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member) saxophonist Steve Douglas, which put Robin in recording and performing situations with Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, and Ry Cooder. Robin is a vital addition to a band that's ready to explode.

RatDog's music represents Weir's complete repertoire, from blues like "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "Little Red Rooster" to the psychedelic stylings of his Grateful Dead classics like "Playing in the Band," "The Other One," and "Throwing Stones," to his own Dead rockers like "Cassidy," "One More Saturday Night," and "Sugar Magnolia," to some of his solo material, like "Josephine" and "Bombs Away." The 2000 release of the band's first studio album, "Evening Moods," added a bevy of hot tunes to the song list, including "Odessa," "Bury Me Standing," "Two Djinn," and "Ashes and Glass." Of late, he's also included a number of Jerry Garcia tunes in the mix, including Dead classics like "St. Stephen," "Terrapin," and "Touch of Grey."

2001 saw the release of "Live at Roseland," a double-CD collection from a Portland, Oregon show, and a big favorite among Dead Heads.

Hybrid Recordings released "Weir Here," a two-CD career retrospective of Bob's complete ouvre (one disc studio, one live) in 2004.

Bob Weir and RatDog. It'll grab hold and not let you go.

Live On Stage:

While some people prefer Phil & Friends, I'm unabashedly a Ratdog fan - short, shorts and all. I've seen Bob and his band 14 times and have never left disappointed, he knows how to please a crowd. Ratdog has become quite tight over the last few years with this line-up in place, take a listen for yourself. Here they are with "Sugar Magnolia".....

I'd say my only real complaint has been the addition of too many Jerry songs into the mix, it's just a little tough sometimes hearing him handle some of those ballads. Here some shows to check out....

Ratdog - 2007-03-10 - Beacon Theater - New York, NY

Ratdog - 2007-02-14 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA

Ratdog - 2006-08-19 - Gathering of the Vibes - Indian Lookout Country Club - Mariaville, NY

Ratdog - 1997-01-1997 - The Mall - Clinton Inauguration Celebration - Washington, DC

Let's go with a couple more live clips. First up probably one of my favorite Dead tunes "Jack Straw"....

And here's one with his summer tourmante Keller Williams, doing "The Weight"....

For more on Ratdog head on over to their official website.

Set Time: 6/17, What Stage, 3 PM - 4:30 PM

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bonnawho's Who - Kings of Leon

Official Bio:

“I think people tend to expect a certain sound from us,” says Kings of Leon’s drummer Nathan Followill, “but on this record, we tried to throw them for a loop.”

Indeed, it’s not business as usual on the Nashville-based quartet’s ambitious, eclectic new album Because Of The Times. Where Kings of Leon’s last release, 2005’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, was “a fuzz-encrusted rocket of controlled violence,” as Rolling Stone put it, packed with emphatic two-minute bursts of raunchy guitars, brawny drums, and growled vocals, Because Of The Times finds the Followills (brothers Nathan, Caleb, and Jared, and their first cousin Matthew) opening up, relaxing the rules, and reveling in the joys of their newfound musical freedom.

“We took the limitations off of ourselves,” says frontman/rhythm guitarist Caleb. “We went into the studio with an open mind, thinking let’s do whatever it takes to get these songs to the next level. Because we really have a lot of music inside of us and a lot of different places we can go.”

It would have been easy for Kings of Leon to make Aha Shake Part II and call it a day. That album (along with its predecessor, 2003’s Youth and Young Manhood) transformed these sons of a Pentecostal minister, who grew up traveling with the preacher around the rural Deep South, into indie stars in the U.S. and major rock stars in the UK. In 2005, Harp magazine called Kings of Leon “the freshest breeze to blow through the modern music scene since punk rock turned everything upside down and inside out in the late ’70s.”

But instead of resting on their rep, the guys chose to challenge themselves. “We weren’t scared to try anything,” Nathan says. “I think that’s the difference between this album and the last. We weren’t timid at all. Every song showed us something we had inside of ourselves that we didn’t know existed, which enabled us to be even bolder on the next song.”

To that end, Because Of The Times (the title refers to an annual preachers’ conference the boys attended growing up) contains Kings of Leon’s first-ever album track that clocks in at longer than five minutes (“Knocked Up”), the first song with vocal effects (“On Call”), and the first one you could verifiably call an arena-rock anthem (“Black Thumbnail”). Then there’s the breakneck “McFearless,” the chiming “Ragoo,” the scuzzy “Charmer,” and the waltzing “The Runner” — a song so pretty, it’s damn near a lullaby. “I can sing pretty if I want to sing pretty,” says Caleb, whose slurry Southern cadences were once a hallmark of the band’s sound.

Perhaps because it was the first album the band have made in which they entered the studio knowing exactly how they wanted it to sound, Because Of The Times is Kings of Leon’s most diverse collection yet. Brimming with ideas, it represents a huge leap forward both in songwriting and musical prowess. Though Caleb writes the majority of the lyrics, “this was the first album where all four band members contributed equally and had a say so in every song,” Nathan says. Adds Caleb: “because we were trying to make a different-sounding record, we had to sit back and listen to each other a little more.”

To shepherd them through the process, the Followills turned to their long-time producers Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller) and Angelo Patraglia. “Ethan, man, he knows how to get it out of you — how to get you to perform at your highest level,” Nathan says. “And Angelo wants you to perform at your highest level, but he wants you to have fun while you’re doing it because that comes across in the recording. He’s the one that gets us to step out on a limb and try something that we’d never think of trying in a million years. It’s a great balance.”

This time around, the band told Johns and Petraglia that they wanted to take a more proactive role in the recording process. “We wanted to go for the sounds that we were hearing in our heads,” Nathan explains, “because your record represents you as a band. But when you’re young, as we were when we made our first two albums, we didn’t know that.” However, there’s nothing like touring with consummate pros like U2 (in 2005) and Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam (in 2006), that’ll force a young band to grow up fast.

“On the last night of the Dylan tour,” Caleb says, “Dylan came into our dressing room and he says [here Caleb affects Dylan’s husky rasp:] ‘What’s that last song you guys played?’ And I said, ‘Uh, it’s called ‘Trani’ [a little ditty about transvestite hookers from the first album]. And Dylan goes, ‘That’s a hell of a song.’ “I think that was pretty much the biggest thrill of my entire life.”

So where does one go from there? On tour, of course. “That’s our thing,” Nathan says. “We’re a live band, that’s our bread and butter. We like to get up there and put on a good show. We start rehearsing tomorrow and I’m sure we’ll be kicking ourselves in the ass for recording such hard album parts that we’re going to have to play live every night.” He pauses, then says brightly: “But I’m going to have some huge arm and leg muscles and a bare chest!”

Live On Stage:

If you know me at all (which is probably highly unlikely), you'd know about my obsession with the Kings of Leon. I've seen these go from opening for The Strokes to headlining at Bowery Ballroom to Roseland and now a fall date at Radio City Music Hall - looks like my band is all growns up. They've got a main stage slot this year and their popularity really on the rise. I guess opening for U2 and Bob Dylan will do that for you. Here they are with "McFearless" off their recently released album Because Of The Times....

There isn't a heck of a lot in the way of live shows floating around, but I can recommend their stellar live EP called Day Old Belgium Blues. Here's their set from Bonnaroo from back in '04....

Kings Of Leon - 2004-06-12 - That Tent - Bonnaroo Music Festival - Manchester, TN

Music Videos:

Let's go with what I think is their best video for the ultra catchy song "The Bucket"....

Few more to check out, including a couple with Caleb rocking porn-tastic mustache....

On Call

Molly Chamber's

King of the Rodeo

Red Morning Light

Four Kicks

For more on the Kings of Leon head on over to their official website. I highly recommend circling them on your schedule though, it's a set your not going to mix since they're essentially playing in their backyard.

Also check out Dave The Butcher's KOL bender - head here.

Set Time: 6/15, What Stage, 3:45 PM - 5 PM


Looks like they managed to squeeze a few more artists into the line-up with the addition of the winners OurStage - who've all earned slots at the Sonic Stage. Here's the info....

OurStage, the only 100% democratic online competition for emerging music and film talent, is pleased to announce the three OurStage winners who will perform at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, taking place June 14th – 17th in Manchester, TN.

Ashleigh Flynn, American Babies and Nico Stai will take the OurStage-sponsored Sonic Stage during the four-day festival, which will feature more than 100 bands and 20 comedians on 13 stages. OurStage will also have its own tent area next to the Sonic Stage at Bonnaroo - where artists and bands gather for smaller, intimate sessions during the festival. With an expected attendance of over 100,000 music fans, Bonnaroo is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the U.S.

“We’re excited to be working with OurStage and truly believe in their potential to bring the best up and coming artists of today to music lovers everywhere ,” says Rich Goodstone, of Bonnaroo. “OurStage may be how each of us and the media discover music before any other source.”

Nico Stai

A former frontman for LA-based bands Tinpaco and The Bonnie Stai, Nico first started performing solo in between band projects. Appearing in local LA clubs, his intensely raw and emotionally charged performances quickly sparked the rise of a growing following in the Los Angeles area. Nico Stai performed at this years Noise Pop festival and SXSW music convention. His music, often described as haunting and stirring, has been likened to everything from early Springsteen and Leonard Cohen, to Radiohead and Bright Eyes.

Nico is currently in his third month of competitions on OurStage. His track, “Song of Shine and Shame,” placed at #2 in the Acoustic Channel in May and is currently ranked at #2 again for the June competition. Through his participation in OurStage competitions, Nico has also won a spotlight on the Paste Magazine “Culture Club” podcast. Of OurStage, Nico says, “Ourstage has presented this amazing opportunity that we weren't expecting. It's an honor to have this many people that had never heard my music before vote for it.”

Set Time: 6/15, Sonic Stage, 3:15 PM - 3:45 PM

American Babies

Tom Hamilton is only in his mid-'20s, but the singer commands his nursery of American Babies with all the seasoned know-how of someone twice his age. Hamilton's band is positively huge, a co-ed family comprised of two guitarists, a bassist, an xylophone virtuoso (!!), Mr. Hamilton himself, and a solid drummer. Such a lineup could easily create a large, boisterous sound, but the American Babies apply a "less is more" mentality to these rootsy, country-infused tunes.

American Babies have been competing on OurStage since the website launched in March 2007. Their track, “Invite Your Friends,” has placed twice in the top ten for the Country/Americana Channel.

Set Time: 6/16, Sonic Stage, 12 PM - 12:30 PM

Ashleigh Flynn

Ashleigh Flynn hails from Kentucky where she grew up foot stomping along the Ohio River as the steamboats and barges made their way to the muddy Mississippi. Currently based in Portland, OR Flynn is releasing, “Sneakin' Out with Ashleigh Flynn,” a documentation of a night spent playing with Sneakin’ Out – one of Portland’s best alternative bluegrass bands at one of Portland’s most renowned listening rooms, The Mississippi Studios. The sold out performance featured National songstress Tracy Grammer.

Ashleigh has been competing on OurStage since the website launched in March 2007. A two-time Country/Americana channel winner, she has also placed in the top ten for the Acoustic Channel and is currently ranked in the top ten for the June competition in the Electronic Channel.

Set Time: 6/17, Sonic Stage, 1:30 PM - 2 PM

About OurStage, Inc: OurStage is the only purely democratic online competition where the fans decide who’s the best in emerging music, film and video. The OurStage mission is to help talented artists achieve critical exposure by solving the greatest challenge on the Internet today: sorting quality content from the sea of mediocrity online. OurStage provides a neutral, trusted, game-free platform, in which the true judgment of the fans drives the best content to the top. Through its wealth of partner programs, including Bonnaroo, Paste, CMJ, PLUG Awards, Slamdance, Relix, Gen Art, Noise Pop, Videomaker, IFFBoston, and many others, OurStage offers winning artists real opportunities to actually launch their careers.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bonnawho's Who - Widespread Panic

Official Bio:

In a world of instant anything and disposable everything, Widespread Panic stands apart. The notion of a band surviving for more than two decades, continually thriving and creating vital music, is almost unheard of in this age of digital sound bites, corporate radio, and pretty video faces. One thing about Panic, they do things on their own terms.

“Part of being in Widespread Panic has always meant trying to break preconceived models of how bands are supposed to work and how they’re presented to the world at large,” explains bassist Dave Schools. This ethos permeates everything the band does from songwriting and recording to touring and finances. The music these six men make has earned them accolades in nearly every major music magazine, but it's their revolutionary business model that's led to features in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Variety, CNN, Billboard Magazine, CNBC and Fortune Magazine.

Panic doesn’t follow the usual format of touring only when there's a new album and then laying low between releases. They tour constantly, and every show is different. In 21 years they’ve never repeated a setlist. They don’t fight for the limelight and search for recognition in the usual places. All songs are credit to the band, and their frontman, John Bell (JB), refuses to even acknowledge his place as the leader.

“I put pressure on myself to be a viable, equal member of the band” says JB. “And leadership - if that perception is imposed or present - that's more because I'm in that traditional role of standing in the middle, singing and playing guitar. But, there is nothing that goes down that's not a democratic process. And 99% of the time, we move unanimously.”

When something is this genuine and this uncompromisingly real, you can sense it immediately. “It still feels like it did when I first started,” says drummer Todd Nance. “That’s kind of crazy. I think we’ve done over 2000 shows and the night before we go on tour I still can’t sleep.” Through their passionate performances Widespread Panic creates a space where people can connect to something larger than themselves. Schools says, “It’s the same sort of fervor that happens at a big tent revival, except no one is telling you how you’re supposed to feel. People are just stumbling into a shared feeling all at once, and it’s overwhelming and surprising and quiet satisfying when it happens.”

JB continues, “The biggest selling point of Widespread Panic is the fan base that comes out to shows and buys our albums. Their relationship with the band, and with each other just as an entity all by itself, that’s the phenomena. And, it’s always been this way.” That relationship has been paramount to the success and longevity of the band. Their fans are some of the most dedicated in the world. In addition to the more than 3 million albums sold, fans follow them around the globe, setting attendance records at some of the most prestigious U.S. venues, and making Widespread Panic a fixture on Pollstar’s annual Top 50 Tours list for more than a decade.

Although the band-fan dynamic, timeless songs and wild rock shows are the defining aspects of Widespread Panic, it doesn’t stop there. The band is dedicated to leveraging their success for those less fortunate. There’s John Bell’s annual Hannah’s Buddies event (which raises funds to fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy), Panic Fans for Food (conceived and run by fans, helping feed hungry communities through donations at Panic concerts), Tunes for Tots (which, in just two years, raised $200,000 for musical equipment in public schools), and their ongoing work with Nu├ži's Space to help keep music and arts alive in the state of Georgia.

There’s no way JB could have predicted this life when he began playing guitar with band namesake, Michael “Panic” Houser, back in 1981; and he probably never thought this far down the line when they started the band in 1986 at the University of Georgia with Schools and Nance, eventually joining up with percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz and keyboardist Jojo Hermann. Nance reflects on those early days with great fondness, “Our first year, I remember the Uptown wanted to raise the price from one buck to two bucks and we were like, ‘Nobody will ever pay two bucks to see us.’ So, we made them compromise at a buck fifty. I think we were all a little surprised that people wanted to come and watch this experiment. We were really just playing to make ourselves happy, and by doing that we made other people happy.”

The story of Widespread Panic is also inexorably tied to the dark summer day of August 10, 2002, when Michael Houser lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. “There’s not a day that goes by where we don’t miss Mike” says JB. “What we learned together as a band continues, with slight adjustments.”

Following Houser’s wishes, the band pushed on and never canceled a show. For a few years after Houser’s death, longtime friend and guitarist George McConnell joined the band on stage and was present for the Widespread Panic’s 2006 studio release, Earth To America. Recorded in the Bahamas with legendary producer Terry Manning (Led Zeppelin, Lenny Kravitz, ZZ Top, Al Green) at his renowned Compass Point Studios, Earth To America pushed the band to new creative heights and forged a lasting relationship with one of the best producers in the game. Manning was so impressed that he’s even equated Panic to what very well may be the greatest rock band of all time. “I worked with Led Zeppelin years ago, and I just felt a little bit of a similar vibe and energy with these guys," says Manning. "They have a similar mix of individual skill and power that Zeppelin had when I worked with them.”

Using the Earth To America sessions as a building block, Panic has already begun work on their next album with Manning. Although still in the very early stages, Schools also hears a bit of Zep in what the band has laid down, commenting, “Some of the songs really strike me as something you might have heard on Physical Graffiti. They’re complex, beautiful, deep, and it rocks. And its got some melancholy and a lot of color.”

Although the band is excited about the next album, there’s something much bigger going on in the world of Widespread Panic, and his name is Jimmy Herring. Having toured with The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Herring is the perfect lead guitarist for Panic. Taking over where McConnell left off, Herring brings a fresh dynamic to the band and everyone is feeling it.

“There’s a lot of musical happiness in my soul, which is due in part to having a like-minded experimenter. The bass and guitar really go hand-in-hand,” says Schools. Hermann continues, “I’ve just never played with a guitar player like Jimmy before. Everyone’s speaking the same language.” Perhaps Nance says it best, “It’s like our little dreams are coming true. How lucky are we to get another chance after Mikey, to be able to find that chemistry?”

Herring's magic is clear to anyone who's seen Panic play since he took over lead guitar duties on September 14, 2006. Magic is never easy to find, not even for the people making it. “I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time and a friend since about 1989," says Herring. "I grew up wanting to be in a band [like Widespread Panic]. This is what I’ve been hoping for my whole life. It just came to me pretty late.”

With Herring on guitar, a new album in the works, and a major tour ahead of them, Widespread Panic continues to embrace the passion they’ve shared with fans for over 20 years. “We’re barreling down the tracks and beginning yet another chapter,” says Schools. “It’s not necessarily even an Act Three - life isn’t easily split into acts like theater. It’s been challenging, but it feels like there aren’t any limitations. We're still being children with active imaginations and finger paints.”

Live On Stage:

I'm pretty excited at about seeing Panic for the first time south of the Mason-Dixon line and outside for the first time in a long time. After some line-up reshuffling it seems like Jimmy Herring was the missing piece of the puzzle after the passing of Mikey. From all accounts, mostly from my friend Chilly Jackwater, the band seems hitting their groove again. Here they are with "Ain't Life Grand" from last October....

Also let's go with this performance on Conan from way back in '95....

Some shows for to get your Panic on....

Widespread Panic - 2007-04-18 - Tennessee Theater - Knoxville, TN

Widespread Panic - 2002-06-22 - Bonnaroo Music Festival - Manchester, TN

Widespread Panic - 1995-10-13 - Pompano Beach Amphitheater - Pompano Beach, FL

Widespread Panic - 1993-09-19 - Campus Center - SUNY Fredonia - Fredonia, NY

Widespread Panic - 1992-02-21 - Auburn University - Lamda Chi Alpha House - Auburn, AL

Widespread Panic - 1986-07-08 - Uptown Lounge - Athens, GA

Music Videos:

Widespread only has one music video as far as I know and it was directed by Billy Bob Thornton (who makes a brief cameo at towards the end) and features Laura Dern as well - how's that for some star power. Here's "Aunt Avis"....

I'll throw in one more clip for good measure. Here's this cool video of JB and Mikey jamming together....

For more on Widespread Panic head on over to their official website.

Set Time: 6/17, What Stage, 8:30 PM - 11:30 PM