Rough Road

Despite two tragic deaths, Widespread Panic hasn't slowed a bit.

After founding member and lead guitarist Mikey Houser succumbed to cancer in the summer of 2002, many a Widespread Panic fan (call 'em Spreadheads) figured the ride was over. But the hard-touring, hard-rocking Georgia six-piece brought in a new axman and followed Houser's directive to keep going without him. Earlier this month, lighting director Dino Derose was found dead in Austin, Texas, apparently the victim of a hit-and-run. Big, bad bassist Dave Schools talked to Outtakes about overcoming loss:

Outtakes:Seems you guys are in constant rebound mode. Dave Schools: I guess it's that first rule of show business -- the show must go on, if you want it to. Obviously, we want it to. The Houser thing, that was pretty deep, and it still affects us to this day. The Dino thing, it's still really fresh. I thought I saw him walking down the sidewalk in Memphis yesterday. The rebounding thing is pretty easy when you're out here in the midst of everything -- everyone has their job they have to do. These days off, you get more deeply affected.

Ever feel like there's a reason behind these tragedies?Certainly there's something positive to be gained for those of us that manage to carry on. You learn mainly that the longer you do carry on, the more people you have to say bye to. Does it make us stronger, or is there a big lesson to be learned? I don't know. Despite being sort of a literary and spiritual guy, I don't see much sense in either of these.

How has Houser's death influenced the music?Widespread was really so busy going about the business of dealing that it may have only worked into the songwriting in a subtle way. In our minds, the best thing we could've done was put that song "Traveling Man" on the Ball record because it was the last song Mikey brought to the band.

That's heavy.Certainly when we were recording Ball, there was a phantom guitar we'd all hear from time to time in our headphone mixes. We'd be playing and kinda stop and go, "Is that on tape? Where'd that come from?" -- Jonathan Zwickel

Widespread Panic plays at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 18, at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $29. Call 561-966-3309.

Sonic Surgery

It's been two years since I first examined Bob, an athletic young stud who came in for a routine checkup. Though all of his test results were normal, he came back only a month later -- and every month after that before I finally gave my diagnosis: Dude was a hypochondriac. Bob didn't believe he could go a whole year without being seen.

Same could be said about the horde of bands returning to South Florida for the second or third time this year. These guys seek approval like a deluded patient desperate for a clean bill of health. It's not like I'd be making any astounding discoveries at any of these repeat appointments: Alkaline Trio/My Chemical Romance, October 10 at Revolution (the Trio was last seen on July 6 at Revolution, MCR at the Warped Tour on August 6); Black Label Society, October 15 at Club Cinema (way back on September 4 at Ozzfest); Avenged Sevenfold, October 17 at Revolution (Warped Tour); Fall Out Boy/Starting Line's "Nintendo Fusion Tour," October 19 at Revolution (ditto); Retard-O-Bot, October 23 at Club X-It (been there September 23 at Revolution); and Norma Jean, October 26 at Revolution (done that February 23 at Revolution).

I ask these ego-driven rockers: Do you think I have an endless supply of tongue depressers? Do you want to saturate the market? When I say you're good for the year, I mean the whole year, not until the next corporate-sponsored gig. Unless a band is touring to support a new album, biannual visits are as redundant as the last four albums by the Doobie Brothers (resuscitating on October 13 at Seminole Hard Rock Live). My eyes and ears should be checking out new patients. At this point, the most interesting case I'll see this month is M.I.A. boy band Hanson (October 23 at Club Cinema). Hell, at least when the Beach Boys wander into town for the gazillionth time (October 23, BankAtlantic Center), they can play the Alzheimer's card.

Findings: You're OK, OK? Next! Diagnosis: Hyped-up hypochondria. Treatment:An apple a day, an appointment a year... is that too much to ask? -- Doc Le Roc

Diggin' the Stones

In the annals of rock 'n' roll history, nothing matches the Rolling Stones' 40-year-old reputation for sex, scandal, and outrage. To see how well you know the Stones' self-made legend, take the Outtakes quiz on these raunchiest of rockers. The more answers you get right, the greater your, ahem, satisfaction.

1. Although the Stones would be hounded by drug busts throughout the 1960s, what early encounter with the authorities arose from a far less likely circumstance?

2. What 1968 album featured a cover deemed so offensive that a plain white sleeve had to be substituted in the United States?

3. Of all the Stones' famous drug busts during the 1960s, the raid that took place at Keith Richards' country estate on February 12, 1967, may have been the most infamous not only for the substances found but also due to a certain individual involved. Who was the hapless bystander, and what was the controversy?

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