From Chilly Water to Wood Tour: An Honest Tune Interview with John Bell

Over the past year, we have had the opportunities to sit down with Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools & Jimmy Herring, so it seemed only natural that before the book is closed on the year that marked the 25th anniversary for the jam veterans, that we would have a chat with front man, John Bell.

Though the Widespread Panic story is one of many successes, it is also one that has seen its share of bumps in the road, loss of loved ones and changes in personnel. Through it all though, the band has never wavered from the thing that seems to complete them on a level of which few other things can — continuing to create, inspire, give and receive through what seems to be the love of their life: playing music.

In a classic Panic move, the boys — who have achieved success primarily through being plugged in and electric — have decided to play their final pre-hiatus shows in as stripped down a setup as possible for the forthcoming Wood Tour.

Further, they continue to release portions of their vast archive in the form of multi-tracked discs, much as their forefathers, the Grateful Dead has done with Dick’s Picks. The most recent release, 1997 at the Fox, was released yesterday.

With all of these late occurrences in mind, Ian Rawn hopped on the phone with JB for what turned into a 45 minute discussion ranging from  –amongst many other topics — the early days with Michael Houser and his untimely passing to the lyric “an honest tune with a lingering lead,” the archive releases, the recent Tunes for Tots benefit at the Georgia Theatre and even a brief discussion about one of Bell’s latest creative passions, photography.



From Chilly Water to The Wood Tour:

An Honest Tune Interview with Widespread Panic’s John Bell

For more on Widespread Panic, log on to