Athens and Onward (The Jambands.com Reader Interview With Dave Schools Part 2)
Photo by Jake Krolick
In late August we ran part one of our reader interview with Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools. Now that the group has returned to the road for more shows with the Allman Brothers Band, we thought it was a fitting time to present Part Two. Here he talks about the band’s next album, his move to California, his admiration of Hot Wheels and much, much more.
A number of folks had questions for you about Panic’s possible return to Europe, wondering if anything was imminent.
Oh talk is cheap, Dean (laughs). Europe’s hard. It’s really expensive to go over there on tour and it’s prohibitively expensive for a band on our level, especially because we haven’t been back in 10 years. It’s a luxury to have your own gear and every time we’ve rented gear it’s been a nightmare. So believe me it’s on our mind and we want to go back, we just want to make it work exactly right. Also, most of the time they want you to have product, even though I don’t know how important it is in today’s music atmosphere that you have a new record to push. So I would suspect that once we get out of the studio in January or February and have something under our belts, we might just sneak over there.
That relates to another question a number of people asked. So the band’s intention is to begin work on another studio album in the near future.
Absolutely. There have been improv jams, things that have been happening naturally and tossed around in the rehearsal room. I have a couple songs that Jerry [Joseph] and I wrote. JoJo has some songs, JB has songs, Jimmy’s got songs, Todd’s got songs. So it’s a matter of working those out.
I think we’re just about at the point of going back to the old school way of doing things and breaking a few of them out on stage and giving them a road worthiness test before we take them into the studio. I could be speaking out of my butt but I think everyone pretty much feels that way. There have certainly been some instrumental ideas that have been cropping up on purpose, in the middle of improvs or between songs on stage and those have the tendency to turn into songs.
Here was another popular one. A number of people wanted you to name some of your favorite venues to play.
Those change obviously because a lot of them come and go. We used to love playing the Cat’s Cradle in North Carolina. I recently wrote something about the Georgia Theater for Relix and I started ruminating about the early jamband east coast circuit. You’re in Providence, what’s that place called?
Either Lupo’s or the Living Room.
The Living Room, we played there with Phish.
That was the first time I saw you guys play.
Really, when they did “Big Black Furry Creature from Mars” as an encore? [5/11/90]. Hey all you haters, bands love each other so piss off [Laughs]
So you had the Living Room and of course you had the Wetlands and you had the Bayou in DC and Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Then you had the Georgia Theater in Athens and that sort of made the scene and that’s where a lot of these of friendships were forged. So even though some of those places were dives and probably major fire hazards and I’m not saying that about the Georgia Theatre, I have nothing but great memories of those places because they were part of this road we traveled and saw each other and fomented the scene.
Then you have your places that are famous, like who doesn’t want to play Radio City Music Hall? Who doesn’t want to play at the Warfield or the Fillmore? I’ve always enjoyed playing the Greek Theater in Berkley and of course you have places like Red Rocks and the Gorge that there’s nothing like anywhere. Another one of my all time favorite plays to play is the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium. There’s something dark and old and cool about the place.
And then you have your personal favorites where maybe you saw a show when you were a kid. Or playing Madison Square Garden and going, “Wow, this is sort of the same view Jimmy Page had when they were shooting the Song Remains The Same. Those are big deals. Playing the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, which is where one of my favorite Grateful Dead tapes was recorded. Those are big deals to someone like me.