Widespread Panic made its Wanee Festival debut at last year’s event. The band will return to Wanee in 2011, as the fest kicks off on April 14 in Live Oak, Florida. Last month just prior to the band’s Austin City Limits taping, drummer Todd Nance took some time for the following conversation that begins with his thoughts on Wanee. From there he discusses Panic’s 2012 plans, his Romper Stompers group, why Panic didn’t play “Nights in White Satin” for nearly 25 years and a bit more.
This is your second year at Wanee. How does it compare to the other festivals where you’ve performed?
Wanee is a very cool festival. I went last year, I thought it was really cool, laid back. It was a really fun experience. We look forward to going back this year.
What about it did you particularly enjoy?
I like the way its just laid back – its not gigantic, it’s really cool. It’s a nice time of the year when it’s not miserable, so muggy and all that stuff. It’s a nice laid back event.
Let’s move on to your 25th anniversary. Is there more news on your documentary?
We started working on some stuff. The last timed we filmed was Halloween. And I have to be honest with you, I haven’t heard anything recently—we’ve just been getting ready for the tour. Tomorrow we leave to go to Austin where we’re taping Austin City Limits. It’s the third time on the show, and we’re very happy to be back. Then our spring tour sets off in April, and we’re getting ready for that. So we’re getting ready to hit the road.
How long are you guys going to be on the road for this year?
We’ll do three tours this year—spring, summer and fall—each tour is about five to seven weeks.
So are those rumors of Widespread going on hiatus not true for this year?
Not this year, but next year we’re talking about taking some time off.
If you guys take a break, do you think you’ll get more into [your side project] Romper Stompers?
Probably so. Matter of fact, once I get off this phone call I’m going to go practice with those guys. (laughs)
When are you guys coming up north? I’d like to see that show.
Well, you know, next year may be a good time for that. You know, it has morphed itself into more of just a rock and roll band. We started off with kids songs—or songs that we thought of when we were kids—but it’s kinda grown into a rock and roll band with a bunch of grown juvenile’s.
Are you still playing kids songs?
Well, not really. We play songs based on a kid’s perspective. The idea was to write songs that kids would like. Not so much A-B-C songs but songs about your treehouse and songs about not liking to eat broccoli. But now it’s kinda turned into just a rock and roll band. We’re all real happy with the music and that’s why we keep doing it, but I don’t see us going to a pre-school to play. The one thing we did do is try to find something to support some kind of children’s charity or awareness. We figured that’s how we would continue the children vibe going and give assistance. This weekend we will give some money to a family, and we did a show in Colorado for a child disability. I guess that’s more of the child angle that we’re taking now.