What other charities are you involved in? I noticed you guys are very much into children’s charities.
The one we’re most proud of is the Tunes for Tots, which is basically trying to fund music programs. We buy instruments and that’s been real successful. I’m the most proud of that one, because school band did a lot for me. It’s kind of nice to give back to that.
Congratulations on being recognized by the Georgia General Assembly in February. What was that experience like?
It was wild. It’s really controlled chaos but, when we first walked in, the governor’s wife kinda checked us out to make sure they were going to let us into the place [laughs]. She was a nice lady, and we went in and then met the governor. Then we went into the General Assembly and they read the document. J.B., Sunny and myself performed a song. It was real cool—and kind of surreal.
When they told you that you were being honored, were you notified through a formal letter?
Well, some lobbyists got behind it—go figure. They were Panic fans and it’s something that the state does for musicians and actors. I guess they thought we deserved it and got it pushed through. Yeah, it was pretty cool.
Just a few more questions…How do you pick your set lists for your shows these days?
It’s done by committee and we basically have a master list of all the songs we currently play. The most we try to repeat is one song a week, so we try to keep it fresh and keep the shows as varied as possibly. Basically it’s like a pitching rotation for a baseball team. The songs that become available to be played— that will fit—we put them in. We try keep not repeating too many songs because people like to come see us over and over, so we try to give them some sort of variety.
I’m sure a song that wasn’t on the list slips in from time to time though?
Yeah, Halloween is really good for that because we pick songs that we used to like as kids. Or always wanted to play, so we’ll get those together. Or, have something special to the audience.
Speaking of songs that fall into the rotation, I hear there is a bit of a backstory to “Nights in White Satin,” which you played on your 25th anniversary?
Yeah, there’s a bit of a backstory with that. (laughs) Before we had enough of our own songs to play, that was one of the songs in our repertoire. Michael Rothchild—who signed us up for our first record deal with Landside records—he was one of those beautiful people in the world —a really a great guy giving us a shot and everything, but he had one request – not for us to ever play that song again. We figured 25 years was long enough. We wanted to play one of the songs we played 25 years ago, and that happened to be one of them. And, actually, we played it on the same site. It used to be a bar and now it’s the Civic Center. But yeah, our anniversary show was played at the same place our first show was, so it was very cool.