A Collection of Michael Houser Interviews and Jams January 06, 2016 14:04

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Today we remember the late, great Michael Houser, founding member and original lead guitarist of Widespread Panic, who would have turned 54-years-old on this day.  Houser appeared on 7 studio albums during his 16-year tenure with the band from 1986 till 2002. He is also featured on 4 live albums by Widespread Panic, as well as several archive releases, live video concerts and compilations.  His adolescent nickname was "Panic" due to his then frequent panic attacks, and this moniker later became the inspiration for the band's name.
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Widespread Panic's large rhythm section, and John Bell's virtuosity as a rhythm guitarist, allowed Michael to pursue an atmospheric lead guitar style that often lingered behind the primary melodies. His predominant use of the Ernie Ball volume pedal caused him to spend most of his performance time balanced on one leg, this would eventually lead to circulation problems causing his left leg to become numb. In 1996, during an acoustic tour known as the "Sit and Ski" tour, he was reminded of how much more comfortable and accurate his playing was while he was seated. Subsequently, Houser returned to playing all shows seated in 1997. His playing style used a volume pedal for sonic effect, rather than just for volume control.

Widespread Panic always shared writing credits for all of their songs during the Houser era, but he wrote many of the band's standards, including Porch Song, Airplane, Ain't Life Grand, The Waker, Impossible, B of D, and Vacation.

Houser was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2002.  He died just a few months later on August 10th, 2002.  We've compiled a combination of interviews and live jams in hopes that those reading can become more familiar with not only the amazing guitarist, but the genuine, one-of-a-kind life that Michael Houser lived. 

Interview w/ Michael Houser, Sonny Ortiz, and John Bell :: Ranch Bowl :: Omaha, NE :: 08.01.95
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Michael Houser & John Keane Shopping in Chinatown :: 07.03.00
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MoBoogie's Widespread Panic Mikey Webisode
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Widespread Panic :: "Diner" :: Winston Salem, NC :: 08.06.2000
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Widespread Panic :: "New Years Countdown > Surprise Valley > Pusherman" :: 12.31.00 :: Atlanta, GA
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Widespread Panic :: "The Waker" :: Red Rocks :: 06.28.02