Widespread Panic founding drummer Todd Nance dies at 57

Drummer Todd Nance of Widespread Panic performing to a sold out crowd at the Tabernacle in 2012.
Drummer Todd Nance of Widespread Panic performing to a sold out crowd at the Tabernacle in 2012.

Credit: Robb D. Cohen / www.robbsphotos.com

Credit: Robb D. Cohen / www.robbsphotos.com

The founding drummer of Athens-reared Widespread Panic has passed away.

Todd Nance died early Wednesday morning in Athens, according to a statement from his family, after “sudden and unexpectedly severe complications of a chronic illness.” Nance was 57.

The beat keeper for the jam rockers, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, met future Widespread Panic bandmate Michael Houser in the late-‘70s while in high school. After moving to Atlanta in the early-‘80s, Nance was contacted by Houser to join a band with Houser’s University of Georgia dorm-mate, John Bell, as well as bassist Dave Schools. The first show as Widespread Panic with Nance on drums took place at a charity event in Athens in 1986.

In 2014, Nance took a hiatus from Widespread Panic for personal reasons and officially left the band in 2016. He was replaced by Duane Trucks, who has served as the Widespread Panic drummer since Nance’s departure.

Although no longer a member of Widespread Panic, Nance still performed in the Interstellar Boys and Todd Nance & Friends. One collaborator, Cody Dickinson, penned a tribute to Nance on his Facebook page, praising the drummer for his signature drumming style and “deep, Southern boogie groove.”

The Widespread Panic website also paid homage to Nance, a “funny, adventurous and kind soul,” and noted, “for 30 years, Todd was the engine of Widespread Panic.”

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