Colonel Bruce Hampton on Widespread Panic: In The Beginning
This week I interviewed Mr. Colonel Bruce Hampton. We discussed everything from his Atlanta roots, music, football, literature, Billy Bob Thornton, Sling Blade, seminal bluesman, Bruce's music career, his future plans, various projects, hilarious tales, worldly wisdom, Widespread Panic, prophesies and the upcoming documentary on the Colonel titled Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton.
Since Widespread Panic will play Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia, on The Wood Tour before they disappear for a while, I thought this excerpt from my interview with the Colonel regarding Widespread Panic was appropriate. He met them right when the band was being assembled back in the early 80s. Among other things, the Colonel penned the liner notes for Panic's album Ain't Life Grand.
JC: All these years later, what is one of your earliest memories of Widespread Panic?
BH: They were the nicest band I ever met at the time. They were so young when they started. They used to work and play at The Uptown Lounge in Athens. Dave worked the door. Todd tended bar. I think JB was around playing the pinball machines. I remember thinking after having this long conversation with Dave Schools at the time, 'Wow, this young guy really knows a lot about music. More than anyone I'd heard.' He was talking about Miles, Trane and Monk. As a band, they just blew me away.
In the 80s everyone had bad hair and stupid shoes. They were good cats. They were at the right place at the right time and it worked. You just didn't find people like them. There weren't people like them back then. It was really uplifting to see people with such good intentions...
Look for the full 2012 Swampland Colonel Bruce Hampton interview in the next week or so.