Today we also wish to acknowledge the life and legacy of Widespread Panic guitarist Michael Houser who passed away three years ago, on August 10, 2002.
Soon afterwards, Warren Haynes, told Jambands.com, Mikey was a wonderful spirit. He was one of those guys who was always in a good mood and was always making other people feel better. Musically, he was always exploring. It was all about trying to find some new territory and innocence really took over his musical style. I remember playing with them in 93 in Virginia and it was Freddy Jones Band, my band, Dave Matthews Band and Widespread Panic, and that tells you how long ago that was. I got up and played Low Spark of High Heeled Boys’ for about 45 minutes and it was great. I remember Dave Schools coming up to me and saying you know, Mike does his thing and his thing is like stream of consciousness. He just plays and you just join in there with him. He was trying to prepare me for the fact that it wasnt going to be like a traditional [jam] it was just going to be like bobbing and weaving and musical conversation. When we got done everyone was smiling and hugging.
‘Aside from being a stylist on the guitar, Mike had a cool songwriting style as well. His overall sound was such a big part of Widespread Panic. His approach to guitar was a little different than the average person and that helped make Widespread what it was. It was the sum of all those people, but he was a really big part of that sound. Again, he was such a wonderful person to be around, that plays into the music as well. Your spirit comes through your music.
‘Weve lost a lot of great people recently and the older we get, thats going to happen more and more. We just have to seize the day and take advantage of the opportunities that are here now and live life to the fullest. Not to say, to excess, but just enjoy your life and be thankful for the friends you have and the experiences that youve had because you never know. We always learn from these kinds of experiences.’
Meanwhile as for news from the Widespread Panic camp, the Drive-By Truckers have been confirmed as the opening act for two dates on Panic’s extensive fall tour. The two southern-rock titans will join forces on October 14 at Antioch TN’s Starwood Amphitheatre and October 15 at Macon, GA’s Macon Centreplex. The Truckers recently collaborated with Widespread Panic in both Cincinnati and Noblesville, with Jason Isbell and Patterson Hood joining the group onstage on both occasions. Widespread Panic’s next scheduled appearance is a two-night stand at Snowmass, CO’s JazzAspen on September 1 and 2.