We Miss You, Mr. Houser

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the passing of Widespread Panic guitarist Michael Houser. Lost to pancreatic cancer at the far-too-early age of 40, Houser was a craftsman of the first order and a subtle, often underrated originator on his instrument. His brilliance with a volume pedal alone warrants him a spot in guitar history books, and his angular take on the blues was equally unique. In his short time here he touched myriad lives, and we encourage you to pause and reminisce with us today about all the fine and stirring things the man brought to this world.

Here's Mikey playing "Happy Child," a prime example of his nigh effortless breeziness. He didn't need to be showy because all the notes were well chosen and in the right order.

Check out this "Surprise Valley" from Halloween 2000, which finds Houser soaring especially high, his hard edge cutting the air and clearing the way for everyone else in Panic to join him up on the cloud edge.

A lil' "North" jam in Central Park with Jerry Joseph, Todd Nance and Dave Schools.

Holding one's own against Carlos Santana is no easy thing. Mikey does just fine on this "Maggot Brain" captured in October 2001 at Greek Theatre in Berkeley.

And a final taste of Houser goodness with Brute in 2001 can be found here.

[Published on: 8/10/08]

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ScIFreak starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 08:54AM
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This is pretty sad. I have a question for all your WSP heads, when was his last show with the band, and where could I get a recording is it very emotional set list wise?

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 09:05AM
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RIP . . .

I'll be @ Cervantes' in Denver tonight for "Songs for Mikey," featuring Sam Holt and two other dudes from Outformation. Panic tunes all night! Anyone else going?

daveapaug starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 09:08AM
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Mikey's last show was 7/2/02 - Cedar Rapids. Pretty standard setlist, however, one of those shows that needs to be in your collection if you are a head, and if you have a collection that is. Thanks Mike, I can still remember the smile on your face while you were tearing it up with Santana. RIP

mrbrownstone419 Sun 8/10/2008 09:30AM
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i went to the last show in cedar rapids and then hit the next show at summerfest in milwaukee. it's not really a special set list because i don't think anyone knew at the time it would be his last. i recall that a lot of people in the audience at summerfest noticed that houser wasn't set up and everyone just assumed he was taking a night off and would be back soon, which of course never happened. i could be wrong about that hole senerio though, as i'm just a casual fan. at least they finally got one of the best guitar players in the scene today (imo) to try to fill his shoes.

BRabbit Sun 8/10/2008 09:31AM
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fuck cancer.

Robusto Sun 8/10/2008 09:50AM
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Classy homage to MH. Well done Jambase.

garriswh Sun 8/10/2008 10:35AM
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That surprise valley rips.

RIP Houser

thedrugsdontwork starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 11:04AM
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god he was good....i guess i'm just grateful i got to see him on at least a 15 or so occasions before he passed.

cwp111 starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 11:08AM
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3 night oak mountain run 4.26-4.28 2002 is what you want to hear for "last" mikey stuff. bonnaroo 2002 was hot as well and was when people actually knew how sick he was. also of note, that "haloween" video above is 10/31/2000 but we all knw that the real haloween 2000 was in NOLA ;0)

tourfan starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 11:19AM
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I do miss Mikey greatly. Jimmy is a great guitarist, and I am glad he's with Panic. But Mikey, your eclectic sound and your warm and charming disposition are dearly missed indeed. May God keep your soul eternal my friend, and forever smilling with us. Your prescence is always felt when I'm at a show.

SpreadRed87 Sun 8/10/2008 11:48AM
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R.I.P. brother your licks are here to last and you will never be forgotten!

powernet Sun 8/10/2008 11:52AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



ryan420 star Sun 8/10/2008 11:55AM
Show -54 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
phishy100 starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 11:58AM
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To the person asking about Mikey's last show I was there at the Five Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids, Ia. I have a recrding not the best by any means but acoustics there are horrible. Don't know if it was really an emotional show but brings tears to my eyes when I listen to it.

Flat5 Sun 8/10/2008 12:17PM
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funny remember how we all used to bitch about how bad Houser sucked? turns out he was right all along. That was some truly unique playing. He will be missed.

dsawthestone starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 12:29PM
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RIP mikey

Ryan420- You're a cunt

rainydaywomen420 starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 12:39PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I would like to second bnaylor's response and say FUCK CANCER. Mikey was a brilliant guitar player and although i never had the chance to see him with the band he is grately missed indeed. Its a damn good thing music never dies.

RothburyWithCheese star Sun 8/10/2008 01:20PM
Show -29 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
wspencer21 starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 01:30PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Ryan420-Poor Taste- How would you like it if someone said that to you if one of you Family Members died. If you dont like the band, fine, do yourself and all of us a favor and dont waste your time with hurtful things.

Thank You Jambase for Remembering Mikey! I was fortunate to see Mikey play, and was hooked from the first note. Standing in front of Houser with his hair blowing in sync with what he was playing, and catching a glimpse of his smile underneath it is something I will always remember. Listening to 10/31/93 today and excited to catch them play in Aspen later this month...Miss You! You are our companion to the wind mr. houser!


brainhouse420 Sun 8/10/2008 02:12PM
Show -27 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 02:17PM
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never really checked out panic, but that happy child above sounds beatutiful, can you guys give me some dates of some good standoutshows to pick up?

**thanks appreciate the help

-YEah Ryan - poor poor taste

mrbrownstone419 Sun 8/10/2008 03:47PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


07/02/02 (Tue) US Cellular Center - Cedar Rapids, IA

Set 1: One Arm Steve, Pigeons, Airplane > Sleeping Man, Wondering > Rock, This Part Of Town, Papa's Home > Worry

Set 2: Can't Get High, Fishwater > Can't Find My Way Home > Blackout Blues, Christmas Katie* > Jam** > I Walk On Guilded Splinters*** > Drums**** > Bear's Gone Fishin' > I'm Not Alone, Makes Sense To Me , E: She Caught The Katy**

Comment: * with Randall Bramblett on saxophone ,** with George McConnell on guitar, Randall Bramblett on saxophone ,*** with George McConnell on guitar, Randall Bramblett on saxophone, Stanton Moore on percussion ,**** with Stanton Moore on percussion

Lineup: Galactic Opened

LuvMuscle777 Sun 8/10/2008 04:54PM
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08/18/02 Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Greenwood Village, CO

1: Old Neighborhood*, Action Man*, Radio Child*, Rebirtha*, Stop Breakin' Down Blues*, Down*, Doreatha*, One Arm Steve*

2: Driving Song** > Sleepy Monkey** > Driving Song**, North***, God Was In The Water*, Ride Me High* > Drums**** > Goin' Out West* > Surprise Valley* > Climb To Safety*****

E: Don't Be Denied*, Travelin' Light*

Entire show with George McConnell on guitar/vocals

* with Randall Bramblett on guitar/saxophone/vocals

** with Sam Holt on guitar

*** with Jerry Joseph on guitar/vocals, Sam Holt on guitar

**** with Brad Rosen on kit, Leon Mobley on percussio

***** with Jerry Joseph on guitar/vocals, Randall Bramblett on

This is the second show after Mikey passed, and if the "Don't Be Denied" doesn't bring tears to your eyes, then you have no soul

worry23 starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 05:53PM
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Great Videos, R.I.P. Mikey, your music will live on forever

blue1971 Sun 8/10/2008 06:55PM
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Sad day, 6 years ago. I am glad Panic carried on, but I miss Mikey at every show. Hope the band and all fans are coping well today. Say a small prayer for the Houser family.

beadiamondsomday starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/10/2008 10:25PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


ryan 420, i checked your profile and you even look like a douche that girl your w/ looks ugly and hopefully someone you love will die soon. sorry had to say it. i just dont understand how in this day and age someone could have such little responsibility (sp) that they have time to read an article on a band they arent interested in. get a job or a life, i was hoping this would be the one thread w/ no negativity. anyway we miss you mikey. thanxx soooo much for the memories and tunes you left us. thank god for jimmy and turn sam up

jalew Sun 8/10/2008 11:40PM
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wow. the disrespect here is extremely unfortunate. this story is in honor of a musician who passed away at a young age...a member of our community. what the fuck is wrong with people wishing death on others and being so crude. just because we love music and love to party doesn't mean we are stupid idiots. well, at least not all of us.

r.i.p. mikey. you will never be forgotten. thanks for the jams!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 04:25AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

my last show was the roo, 2002, I got to see mikey play with steve winwood, it was a dream come true for the band to play with that legend.

Its a good last memory of one of my favorite guitarists.... I miss that volume pedal sound!!!!

Coconut Phil starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 06:03AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Coconut Phil

We miss you man, your music will always be played.

mandophine Mon 8/11/2008 06:41AM
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I hate wsp but this guy right here was a solid guitarist for certain

travelinman1975 Mon 8/11/2008 07:18AM
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Bonnaroo 2002 was the last time I saw Mikey and it was incredible, I think most of my group realized that it was the last time we would see him play and he did not disappoint. RIP Mikey

travelinman1975 Mon 8/11/2008 07:23AM
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Hey PorNoFunk, check out the show they just released from Carbondale, that whole tour was smokin.

discocham starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 08:42AM
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6/22/02 @ roo was my last show to see Mikey. This show rips and is still one of my favorites. I'm not normally a big Tall Boy fan but when you add Dottie Peoples in there watch out!!! Mikey didn't want the band to stop after he passed and I for one am glad they are still layin it down. The fiddle player(forgot her name) that played with them at Rothbury sounded eirily like Houser. bluntnbisco...once again you show musical retardedness. RIP

sunnbear starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 08:46AM
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This whole weekend was very bittersweet, for the lack of a better word. Saturday was spent listening to old Dead and missing Jerry. Sunday, the same with the Panic tunes and missing Mikey. Today, I'm just completely physically and emotionally drained. Last words on the subject: I miss you guys. Could never forget you. RIP.

sleewell Mon 8/11/2008 09:18AM
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i was at the last Cedar Rapids show. looking back now i still get goosebumps as i write this. it wasn't the best show ever but there was something really powerful in that room that night that i will never forget. it was almost like this enormous spirit that was floating around, i know other people felt it too, it was crazy. Mikey was truly an amazing musician and a great human being, his sound and spirit were something very very special to me and many others. i am so grateful for the shows i got to see and will remember them for the rest of my life. i continue to miss seeing his setup when i go to shows but am also grateful his spirit and music lives on with the new lineup, Jimmy is doing a bang up job and making us all proud to be part of such beautiful music and community.

thedrugsdontwork Mon 8/11/2008 09:42AM
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that makes 3 of us for having bonnaroo '02 as our last show w/him. and yes, the disrespect here is just mind-boggling. the man was a human being that had friends and family that cared about him.

jasonthehead Mon 8/11/2008 10:04AM
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I had forgotten about this anniversary yesterday. I was listening to some classic Panic though, thanks to the good fortunes of iPod on shuffle with 1/3 of the playlist being WSP. Now I know the reason why "The Last Straw" was hitting me so hard, as the sun set on my Sunday, and my weekend, Mikey washed over me, through me, once again. That never gets old, but missing you sure does. Thanks for everything Panic.

matticus Mon 8/11/2008 10:16AM
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4-26-2002 Vacation. "Panic Grapped My Legs And Dragged Me In!" Thanks for the music brother!

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 11:49AM
Show -11 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
nsafay Mon 8/11/2008 11:50AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

My last Mikey show was Bonnaroo 2002 as well. It was really a great thing to see him pllaying in front of so many people, but inside it was tearing me up knowing and seeing how sick he was. When they came out of drums into Vacation, it numbed me. R.I.P. Mikey! Much love!

theivywall starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 01:01PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



gregboyer starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 01:04PM
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Ryan, Blunts, and Bonnaroo can all eat shit and die. Herring is great but WSP will never be quite the same. Check out 10/5/99 Phoenix, 10/28/00 NewOrleans, and 10/31/01 for some stellar shows! Those videos at CentralPark with Jerry Joseph and at Greek with Santana were excellent. I just wish they both were longer. Keep up the video links Jambase!

Broesau starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 01:12PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The emotional show was the one at Fiddlers Green in CO, the first show they played after his passing (i think). At the start of the second set, everyone had lit these little candles and the lights went down, the band came out and J.B. said something in a teary voice and then they busted into Papa Legba and I swear to God you could here Mikey playing there that nite. Miss 'im.

Side note, anyone who would come on this thread to hate, I hope you remember doing that when someone you love dies, cancer touches everyone sooner or later, and disrespecting a dead family man is unforgiveable, especially in a public forum like this. Keep it to yourselves, you subhuman fucks.

Broesau starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 02:07PM
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...And Ryan420 is a bald chubby-chaser who looks like a total douche

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 02:21PM
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Last night at Cerventes' was pretty damn cool. Sam Holt and company even busted out THE WAKER. I've been waiting to hear that tune since Houser passed.

greengrass starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 02:28PM
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He was and will always be a great part of the music that has touched me..

Chaloupka Mon 8/11/2008 03:34PM
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Here's the setlist from "Songs For Mikey," featuring Sam Holt and other Denver musicians:

Set I

A of D


U Got Yours


B of D


This Part Of Town


Take Out*

Porch Song*

Set II


Can't Change the Past

Pickin Up The Pieces**

Ride Me High**

Mini Drums

Ride Me High**


Travelin Light

Travelin Man


Aint Life Grand


Last Dance

Chilly Water

Will the circle be unbroken

*With unknown guy on fiddle

**With Cecil "Peanut" Daniels on horn

timmyp starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/11/2008 07:31PM
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10/31/01 was a ripper. The whole 2002 spring tour was great. I don't know how the other guys got up there and did their thing on that tour like they did. I was fortunate enough to be able to hit every show that spring with the exception of Oak Mountain (work, what a bummer). But IMO they let Mikey lead the charge everynight that spring. I look back on 4/21/02 in Ashville and 4/24/02 in Savannah with very fond memories. Tell somebody you love them today. You just never know when old man death will come knockin'.

beadiamondsomday Mon 8/11/2008 10:48PM
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jalew. didnt really wish death on homeboy just meant that to say some shit like that sounds like they have never lost anybody if they had they wouldnt say something like that. anyhow

Navin R. Johnson Tue 8/12/2008 06:43AM
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Navin R. Johnson

"An honest tune with a lingering lead that's taken me this far" - Miss you Mikey. Not the same down here without you.

Navin R. Johnson Tue 8/12/2008 06:46AM
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Navin R. Johnson

Oh, and Ryan420....your a dick. How dare you say something so crass and obnoxious like that. Karma is a bitch bro.

johnnyroad Tue 8/12/2008 07:56AM
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damn mikey we all miss you. you took me places ive never been....you introduced me to people i would have never met.... you changed my life in a positive way.....ALL BECAUSE OF YOUR MUSIC.....for that i thank you. R.I.P brother

timgregan starstarstarstar Tue 8/12/2008 07:44PM
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find a rendition of Gimme. such a heartfelt song. i believe the opening lyrics are "Gimme you hand Michael" Gonna go listen to The TakeOut. Classic Houser tune. Good shit. We miss you brother.

thehurricane23 Wed 8/13/2008 09:54AM
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R.I.P - you were gone way too soon. Roo 02 was my last time seeing him and I still tell people how powerful the performance was. Demons were being exorcised on stage that night in Tennessee. The Testify actually meant something. In the morning the world wasn't the same, and when Mikey passed the world lost a great person

thehurricane23 Wed 8/13/2008 09:56AM
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It was hard enough for a fan to look on stage knowing he was sick, I cant believe the band was able to hold their shit together, true professionals.

Nuwingi starstarstarstarstar Wed 8/13/2008 12:10PM
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Michael Houser is truly a legend - The kind of legend that grows as time passes - I will always think of the good times, the friendships and the life lessons learned because I was fortunate enough to hear his music

someone asked about good shows to grab - 5.5.95, 1.22.96, 4.3.96, 5.7.97, 10.10.98, 4.27.99, 10.28.00, 7.28.01, 4.26.02, 4.28.02 - all pretty well circulated and you can probably find killer copies of each

galenpg Wed 8/13/2008 03:38PM
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i haven't read this whole thread, but what ryan420 said must be one of the most disrespectful things i have ever read in my life. i'm not even that big of a spread head, but that's a fucking pathetic thing to say- one of those moments that makes me lose hope in the human race-you piece of cat shit. if there is any way to ban someone from the site, its got to be this guy. RIP Houser- i'm sure your jammin wherenever you are

tnspreadhead89 starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/14/2008 02:56PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

to the comment below, mikey's last show was 07/02/02 in Cedar Rapids, IA. Whoever attended that show are some extremely fortunate people. R.I.P. Mikey!

Jeff Kash Thu 8/14/2008 05:57PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
froey starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/15/2008 03:25PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

7.2.02 was my first panic show. mikey had a shirt next to him all night that read 'iowans for panic.' i honestly didnt know much about the band prior to going but i was really blown away. i have a pic with him smiling looking to his left with the shirt. thats how i will always remember him.

makesensetome Fri 8/15/2008 05:07PM
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mikeys energy will always be missed because of what he brought to the table....i think i speak for most us when i say we should rise above ryan and leave his ass behind....

ps awesome videos and i want a free panic show soon

BlowsAgainsttheEmpire Sun 8/17/2008 07:12AM
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Thanks Michael Houser(of Boone, NC) for the music!

BlowsAgainsttheEmpire Sun 8/17/2008 07:14AM
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Remembering the other rockers who passed in August Jerry Garcia, Bobby Sheehan(Blues Traveler), & Allen Woody(ABB & Gov't Mule)

mcallis1 starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/18/2008 08:14AM
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Even though I never say Panic with Houser, man he was fucking awesome.....God Speed my man....

BlowsAgainsttheEmpire starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/22/2008 05:28AM
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also keeping Dick Latvala(August 6th, 1999) in mind.