Widespread Panic Guitarist Fights Cancer
Michael Houser, guitarist for renowned jam band Widespread Panic, has been diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. "I want to assure all of you that all that can be done has been done," Houser writeMichael Houser, guitarist for renowned jam band Widespread Panic, has been diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. "I want to assure all of you that all that can be done has been done," Houser writes on the band's official Web site. "As for me, I am at my home in Athens, Ga., surrounded by my family, and being well taken care of."
"In the words of Lou Gehrig, 'Though some of you may have thought I have caught a bad break, I feel like the luckiest man in the world,'" he continues. "Between my best friends, [Widespread Panic members] J.B., Todd, Sunny, Dave, and JoJo, and you, our friends, and best support group in the world, I feel strong and well taken care of. I have hopes of playing again soon, although I can't say for sure when or where, and I hope to see you all there."
Widespread Panic is in the final stages of a summer tour is next scheduled to play tonight (July 16) at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Little Rock, Ark. Houser last played with the band at its July 2 show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Guitarist George McConnell, a longtime friend of the group, has been sitting in on various songs throughout the tour, and has playing the entire show with Panic since Houser's exit from the road. Saxophonist Randall Bramblett has also been touring with the band.
Widespread Panic's tour will culminate with its Seven Fiddler's Music Festival Aug. 17-18 in Greenwood Village, Col. As previously reported, Ben Harper, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Steel Pulse, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Angelique Kidjo, and Keller Williams will all perform during the event.
Houser, vocalist John Bell, and bassist Dave Schools founded Widespread Panic at the University of Georgia in the mid-1980s. Soon after, drummer Todd Nance and percussionist Domingo "Sunny" Ortiz rounded out the group; keyboardist John "JoJo" Hermann joined the fold in 1992. The band has released seven studio albums and three live sets, including this year's "Live in the Classic City" (Sanctuary).