In Memoriam: Widespread Panic Founding Drummer Todd Nance 1962 – 2020



  • Aug 19, 2020 • 10:22 am PDT

    Widespread Panic and the Nance Family released statements regarding Todd Nance’s tragic death.

Founding Widespread Panic drummer Todd Nance has died at age 57 today in Athens, Georgia due to “sudden and unexpectedly severe complications of a chronic illness.” The news of Nance’s passing was confirmed by Relix after an announcement from collaborator Cody Dickinson. Both Widespread Panic and the Nance Family issued statements in the wake of Todd’s death.

Todd Nance was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 20, 1962 and quickly developed a passion for music. He began drumming as a teenager and moved to Atlanta after graduating high school. The drummer forged a friendship with school mate Michael Houser and in 1986 teamed with Mikey, bassist Dave Schools and guitarist John Bell to form Widespread Panic in Athens.

Nance was behind the kit for Widespread Panic from their first show in 1986 through their rise to a nationally touring and recording powerhouse. Todd took a hiatus from the band in the fall of 2014 to “take time to attend to personal matters” and returned for their Panic En La Playa desintation event in 2016. However, Duane Trucks took over the role permanently when Panic next took the stage.

Nance performed on each of Widespread Panic’s 12 studio albums with the exception of Street Dogs. Todd did receive co-writing credits on all six originals featured on the 2015 LP. Panic expanded with the addition of percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz shortly after forming and the classic lineup was established when keyboardist JoJo Hermann joined in 1992.

In recent years, the drummer took part in a number of projects including the Interstellar Boys and Todd Nance & Friends and collaborated with the likes of Bloodkin and Dyrty Byrds. “Saying goodbye to my dear friend and drumming brother, Todd Nance,” Cody Dickinson wrote in a note on Facebook. “Todd had that deep, southern boogie groove. It was undeniable and infectious. The real deal Holyfield. His signature drumming style influenced so many. His performances brought happiness and joy to us all.”