|WIDESPREAD PANIC - BIOGRAPHY||
One of the many neo-hippie jam bands which inherited the road-warrior mantle left behind by the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic established a devout grass-roots following on the strength of constant touring and a loose, rootsy brand of Southern rock informed by jazz and blues textures. The group's origins dated to 1982, when vocalist John Bell and guitarist Mike Houser first began playing together while attending college in Athens, Georgia; when bassist Dave Schools left academia to join the duo the next year, Widespread Panic was officially born. Taking their name from the anxiety-ridden Houser's nickname "Panic," the band recorded their debut single "Coconut Image" in 1986; drummer Todd Nance joined soon after, followed by the addition of percussionist Domingo "Sunny" Ortiz and finally keyboardist John "JoJo" Hermann.
Widespread Panic released their energetic debut LP Space Wrangler in 1988 on the tiny Landslide label; after several years of relentless touring, they signed to major label Capricorn, which issued the group's eponymously titled sophomore effort in 1991. Appearances on the 1992 and 1993 H.O.R.D.E. tours greatly expanded their fan base prior to 1993's Everyday, while 1994's Ain't Life Grand spawned the AOR hits "Airplane" and "Can't Get High." After teaming with fellow Georgian Vic Chesnutt to record 1995's Nine High a Pallet under the name Brute, Widespread Panic reconvened for the album Bombs and Butterflies, released in 1997. In the spring of 1998, the band released Light Fuse, Get Away.