JoJo Hermann: A Bayou Gratitude

 
I feel like we are just clicking on all cylinders live. We knew it would be a long process becoming a band, not just Jimmy Herring taking over but really becoming a band. This couldn't have worked out better. It is a band now and that is all we ever wanted. We just wanted to be six people as part of one unit being a band. Jimmy has come through in the biggest way.

-JoJo on Widespread Panic

 
Photo of Panic by Casey Flanigan

The band started to get this fresh energy with old songs being brought back into the rotation and then George McConnell was no longer a member of the band. Why did George and Panic go separate ways?

Herring & Hermann by Casey Flanigan
That is a good question. That is one I really don't have an answer to. It is so long ago it is just hard to be objective about it. You know, I love George. He is like a brother and I always will. It is definitely not the outcome that anybody wanted, but Jimmy has just been phenomenal. We've been with Jimmy I think two years now and it has just really taken off onstage. We're happy right now.

I think especially for you it was probably a difficult time.

It was a difficult time. I tell you for a long time not a day went by when I just didn't think about it all the time. I obviously have very strong feelings about it, but I keep those to myself. I just keep them to myself. It was just a weird time.

Now you guys are in a pretty exciting phase. What has Jimmy done for Panic?

Jimmy has kind of been a sacred brother from a long time ago, back in the ARU [Aquarium Rescue Unit] days when we did the HORDE tour. I sit ten feet behind his amps and every night just kind of pinch myself and say, "Wow, I'm a pretty lucky keyboard player to be sitting behind Jimmy." But not just Jimmy, I feel so fortunate to be on the stage with these five individuals. I feel like we are just clicking on all cylinders live. We knew it would be a long process becoming a band, not just Jimmy Herring taking over but really becoming a band. This couldn't have worked out better. It is a band now and that is all we ever wanted. We just wanted to be six people as part of one unit being a band. Jimmy has come through in the biggest way.

Some of these songs from the earlier day, how have these changed? Has he done anything for these tunes? What does he bring to the band?

JoJo Hermann by Keith Berson
What Jimmy brings to the band is just Jimmy. It is what we all bring to the band. We just bring ourselves. Every night we come to the table and we just bring our food to the table. One night I'll bring a gumbo, one night I'll bring a ham sandwich. We're all eating at the same table. What he brings is Jimmy, and boy, what more can you ask than that? I mean, he is the nicest guy on the fucking planet. He just has so much respect for the music - not only our music, but music in general. He has so much respect for it. He knows exactly where to go at any given time. It is just weird. The thing about Panic - or any band - you reach a point where you know each other's lines and you can communicate with each other telepathically. You don't have to sit in the dressing room and map things out. Now with Jimmy we can do that. Everybody is just communicating by pure instruments and the music.

What new musical developments are on Panic's horizon?

We've been bringing in new songs and new riffs over the last tour, and slowly but surely these new jams we've been bringing in will turn into songs. We've been writing a lot of new riffs. We'll get together in the summer, turn them more into songs, then break them out in the fall and record next year.

How was your experience with the latest album?

The last album [Free Somehow - 2008] was a blast. It was kind of a rush job. I wish we had a little more time in the studio as a band. It was a different kind of approach, but I enjoyed it. Recording in the Bahamas, you can just go for a walk on the beach. It was a blast, a great experience, but I'm not sure we can do that anymore. I'm hoping we do the next one in Athens.

Why in Athens?

Staying close to home. I spend a lot of time away from my family and when you record abroad, it is not like you get to go home and spend time with your family.

Does Panic have the desire to keep going for another decade?

Absolutely. We'll do this until someone drops dead onstage. I'll do this until I collapse onstage. There is just no place you would rather be than on that stage, right now. We're just having such a good time. I'm at that stage where I look forward to every day and every show, and where I wake up and I just feel so lucky to have hooked up with this band and organization. I just savor each day with it.

Is that a change from fifteen years ago?

It is. I'm a lot nicer and more laid-back. We have a chance to step back. When you're on the road 250 days a year and you're young, you are trying to reach a certain place, with records and shows. Not so much musically, that hasn't changed. You're still trying to reach a place musically, but I think we take the other stuff much more in stride. We tour a lot less. It is really a perfect balance of family and band right now.

JoJo is currently on tour with his Mardi Gras Band with shows through the weekend; dates available here. Panic's only current dates are six shows in April and some summer festivals; dates available here.

12/31/08 "Chilly Water"

And one old school vid just for good measure...

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[Published on: 2/26/09]

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Comments

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/26/2009 05:20PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Chaloupka

Word.

PickinKind Thu 2/26/2009 05:33PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

PickinKind

dude has got soul

canoftunapudding Thu 2/26/2009 05:57PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

class act!

deadpig79 Thu 2/26/2009 07:08PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

deadpig79

jojoagogo

phishspread-aholic starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/26/2009 07:25PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

phishspread-aholic

classiest band in the biz. jojo is the man. cant wait until panics gears start turning towards the summer tour. I NEED IT!!!

gmoo Fri 2/27/2009 12:01AM
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gmoo

Wow. Great interview. Glad to hear that things are going well.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} Fri 2/27/2009 04:44AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

jojo tears it up, one of my long time favorites of WSP.

JBforPresident Fri 2/27/2009 07:00AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Great interview! and JoJo rocks! OB is going to warm up the Jazzfest run nicely. I wish the Mardi Gras band was playing in the land of Mardi Gras...

linsbee314 starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 07:27AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"Every night we come to the table and we just bring our food to the table. One night I'll bring a gumbo, one night I'll bring a ham sandwich. We're all eating at the same table." ---best JoJo quote of the year!

Get it JoJo!!

philhitz Fri 2/27/2009 09:14AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

fallin in & out of love on my own

Marcsmall Fri 2/27/2009 10:21AM
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Marcsmall

Saw him Solo Accoustic the other night and it was great....The place was only about half full, which I love, ad the music was amazing

rainydayman starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 11:04AM
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rainydayman

Nice article. Thanks.

rainydayman starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 11:11AM
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rainydayman

My god, those Herring solos on Chilly Water are out of this world.

crazynate Fri 2/27/2009 12:06PM
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crazynate

JoJo is the man!

God I can't wait for panic to annouce there summer dates.

irtimed starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 12:36PM
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irtimed

that tall boy rules! haha.

granola starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 01:03PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

That was a great interview. I really enjoyed it.

Ter starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 03:45PM
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Ter

CHEERS TO PANIC!! Bringin it every night, thank you Jojo! Beware! of the man who builds monuments to himself!

Dire46daysWolf Fri 2/27/2009 04:10PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Dire46daysWolf

we do have a new president, jimmy is the shit in panic and Houston Nutt won us a cotton bowl...yeah it's pretty good

Jeff Kash Fri 2/27/2009 06:49PM
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Jeff Kash

Isn't this the dude that Zach Randolph punched in the face?

TheJuice starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 07:49PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

TheJuice

no you're a retard.

come back to nashville jojo

widespreadfred starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 08:50PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I love the line "we'll do this until someone drops dead on stage" LOL..

Long live the Panic!

revjones Sat 2/28/2009 09:28AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

god bless JoJo. monday nite at the fox was FUN. nice interview.

breckenridgejam starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/28/2009 02:21PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

breckenridgejam

I just saw JoJo and his Mardi Gras band for free in Vail last night and it was a down right dirty NOLA get down party! I got my red beans cookin' and I'm gonna get me some!!!

moejoerisin Sat 2/28/2009 04:47PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

moejoerisin

anyone seeing these guys in the mountains should get their early to check out the opener - Midnight Ultra.. denver-based three piece that tears it up!!

moejoerisin Sat 2/28/2009 04:48PM
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moejoerisin

get there* (< grammar nerd)

WPTRAVELINGLIGHT starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/28/2009 07:54PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

WPTRAVELINGLIGHT

JoJo is a MONSTER on the ivories...! "and down the road, that call him Junco..."

Flat5 Sat 2/28/2009 09:34PM
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Flat5

My girlfriend fucked me over. Let's party

phisherman81 Sun 3/1/2009 10:30AM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
pwahl89 Mon 3/2/2009 08:43AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pwahl89

GO REBELS...HOTTY TODDY

MOERON10 Wed 3/4/2009 05:16PM
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good read.jojo is the shit.cant wait to see what panic has in store for us

in years to come.

MOERON10 Wed 3/4/2009 05:20PM
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oh phisherman81 dont be mad cause panic still rocks the house down,and your band sucks.peace panic fans

panic111 starstarstarstarstar Sat 3/14/2009 07:50PM
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panic111

yyyyyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!