Fourteen Years Later: Remembering Michael Houser of Widespread Panic August 10, 2016 14:05

Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of legendary guitarist Michael Houser, who lost his life after an aggressive battle with pancreatic cancer on this day in 2002.  Houser became a founding member of Widespread Panic in 1986 while attending the University of Georgia with John Bell.  His adolescent nickname was "Panic" due to his then frequent panic attacks, and this moniker later became the inspiration for the band's name.  Houser wrote many of band's most popular songs, including "Porch Song," "Airplane," "Ain't Life Grand," "Blue Indian" and "Vacation."  He appeared on 7 studio albums during his 16-year tenure with the band from 1986 until 2002.

As co-founder and lead guitarist of Widespread Panic, Houser established an incredibly unique and atmospheric lead guitar style which truly defined the band's sound and resonated across the entire music scene.  Due to hip problems in the 1990s, he played and performed while seated, adeptly using two foot pedals.  At age 40, Houser was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2002, and he ultimately passed away on August 10, 2002.  In celebration of the life of Michael Houser, we have compiled video footage from five our favorite Houser era jams for your viewing pleasure below.

We miss you everyday Mikey, and we are forever grateful for the gift you shared with the world.


 Watch Widespread Panic perform "Pleas" > "Love Tractor" in Paris, France on June 17th, 1998 here:

Watch Widespread Panic perform "Holden Oversoul" > "Weak Brain, Narrow Mind" at Red Rocks on June 24th, 2000 here:

Watch Widespread Panic perform "Airplane" in Asheville, NC on November 22nd, 2000:

Watch Widespread Panic perform "Driving Song" > "Breathing Slow" at Oak Mountain Amphitheatre on April 28th, 2002 here:

Watch Widespread Panic perform "The Waker" at Red Rocks on June 28th, 2002: