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25 Years of Widespread Panic

Blue Ridge Outdoors - Front Porch - Widespread Panic

Consistently interesting covers have always been part of the Panic repertoire. Whose songs do you like singing best, besides your own?
I love doing the Talking Heads stuff. They’re catchy tunes, and there’s good meaning to find in them without getting really heavy. It’s kind of like reading Doonesbury.

A lot of hype has been made about the band’s upcoming hiatus. Does reaching 25 years make it seem like a good time to take a break?
I don’t think the two have anything to do with each other. We’ve taken breaks before, and we feel like it will be healthy to stop what we’ve been doing for so long and take a deep breath. I want to see something different and then come back refreshed. We’re having a great time playing right now, but there is something very beneficial to walking away for a second and feeding another side of yourself. It’s only going to help us feel more vital when we come back and start writing music again.

What are you going to miss most?
Growing up I played a lot of sports—soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter, golf in the spring. Getting on stage is one of those things we look forward to with every new season. I’ll miss the energy of hearing the whistle blow and trying to score a goal.

Do you have any idea what fans can expect the future of Widespread Panic to look like?
People try to make plans for you, but that’s not what time off is. My plan is to wake up one morning and know that no one is telling me what to do. We’ve been doing this for a while, and we’re ready for a little time with no responsibilities and nothing tugging at us. I’m ready for a chance to do a little daydreaming.

So what do you do when you’re not on the road?
My wife Laura and I live in the mountains of Georgia, near where the Appalachian Trail begins, and we own a wellness center [Cedar Heights Center in Clarkesville]. I’m there most of the time, when I’m not on the road, and I work around the grounds and maintain the gardens. Things keep growing, so I know I’ll stay busy.

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