Michael Houser

Guitarist, singer for rock band Widespread Panic

Michael “Mikey” Houser, guitarist and singer for rock band Widespread Panic, died Saturday Aug. 10 in Athens, Ga., battling pancreatic cancer. He was 40.

Houser began playing in 1982 with the band’s vocalist, John Bell, while both were attending the University of Georgia. The band formed three years later with bass player Dave Schools, percussionist Domingo Ortiz and keyboardist John “JoJo” Hermann.

Widespread Panic developed a large following, including fans of “jam” bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish, with its blues-based music, long, improvisational passages and progressive percussions.

Houser is survived by wife Barbette and a son. All three were involved with Athens Academy, where memorials can be sent: the Michael Houser Music Fund; Athens Academy; P.O. Box 6548; Athens, GA 30604.

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