After taking most of last year off the road, Widespread Panic's "batteries are re-charged" according to keyboardist John "JoJo" Hermann.
"Everybody's refreshed," reports Hermann. "A lot of the material is fresh, and it's just great to get away for a little bit and miss each other, and it's good to get away from the songs for awhile. That way you start to miss it a little bit and don't take it for granted. It's a positive."
And, he adds, there's no concern that Widespread Panic will ever stay apart when the Georgia-formed improvisational rock group takes one of these periodic breaks.
"It's more like, 'Let's not play between here and here, and then let's come back here," explains Hermann, who's also producing a documentary about the late Georgia singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt. "It's almost like a vacation, really. A sabbatical. It probably helps to keep us from breaking up, y'know?"
The time away has also expedited the progress towards new material for the sextet. Hermann says the band members are "coming in with ideas and just kind of throwing them around at each other right now," but he thinks that will lead the group into the studio for a follow-up to 2010's "Dirty Side Down."
"I think next year we're definitely going to get together and write some songs," he says. "It's definitely feeling like we all want to get back into the studio next year. We haven't planned anything yet but there's definitely a feeling of writing with a purpose, which is a good thing."
Widespread Panic performs Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 and $30. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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