Editor’s notice: In celebration of our 10th anniversary, each week we will republish a narrative from our archives that sparked robust response from readers, showcased nice writing or marked historical hallmarks in the evolution of Atlanta’s arts group.
Our 2015 story caught up with Duane Vans as he crammed in as drummer for Widespread Panic. The nephew of legendary Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Vans and the younger brother of guitar icon Derek Vans, Duane Vans moved to Atlanta after high school and spent 4 years of apprenticeship within the band of Colonel Bruce Hampton. Within the years since this story was first revealed, Vans has turn into a permanent member of Widespread Panic, the world’s most popular jam band.
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Say the identify “Vans” to anybody in the rock music world and there’ll be quick recognition. In any case, as one of the Allman Brothers Band’s founding members, the late Butch Vans performed drums with that legendary group for 45 years.
Add to this Butch Vans’ nephew, Derek Vans, who was a guitar prodigy and finally landed the gig as one of many Allman Brothers’ guitarists until the band retired final yr. Derek Vans has also cast a substantial solo profession, at present enjoying lead guitar next to his wife, blues singer Susan Tedeschi, in the Tedeschi Vans Band. He’s usually acclaimed as certainly one of rock music’s all-time greatest guitarists.
Staying with a longstanding household tradition of maintaining the Vans identify at the music forefront comes now Derek’s youthful brother, 26-year-old drummer Duane Vans.
After graduating highschool in Jacksonville, Florida, the youngest Vans packed a couple of luggage and his drum package and moved to Atlanta. In his eight years in Atlanta, Vans has graduated a four-year internship with the Colonel Bruce Hampton University of Life and Music, and plays part-time within the Exhausting Working People, an up-and-coming band with established musical greats Dave Faculties, Neal Casal, Todd Snider and Chad Staely.
Final yr, Vans acquired the break of a lifetime: he was put within the coveted position of enjoying drums for the preferred jam band on the planet — Widespread Panic.
Whereas residence for a brief respite before joining Panic for the kickoff of their upcoming spring tour, ArtsATL caught up with Vans to discuss how he’s doing his half in “Keep on Truckin’,” his household’s legacy and his emergence with Widespread Panic.
ArtsATL: Once I met your mother at a Colonel Bruce present a couple of years again, she advised me you have been all the time banging on one thing, whilst a child. She stated she used to take a seat you down in the kitchen flooring and allow you to hit pots and pans with picket spoons whereas she was cooking. That’s her first memory of you drumming. What’s yours?
Duane Vans: I truly keep in mind banging on pots and pans once I was very younger. I requested my mother and father for my first drum package. They acquired me somewhat kid drum set for my third birthday.
ArtsATL: And how previous have been you once you have been capable of take drumming critically?
Vans: Properly, after my mother and father noticed I used to be actually excited with the little kid drum package and that I used to be going to stay with training, my dad referred to as Uncle Butch and informed him I was going to wish a real set. I consider I used to be in first grade — in order that’d make me somewhere round six. I keep in mind coming residence from faculty and seeing a bunch of packing containers sitting on the carport and just being so excited. That is undoubtedly my first reminiscence of eager to play drums and take it significantly.
ArtsATL: Having been surrounded by your uncle, Butch, and your older brother, Derek — both of whom are master musicians — did you ever think about being anything aside from a musician?
Vans: I keep in mind being in kindergarten and being asked to write down down what I needed to be once I grew up. And I considered the one two attainable solutions have been both a drummer or an archaeologist. I chose drummer.
ArtsATL: Why was the other selection archaeologist?
Vans: As a result of in 1995 Jurassic Park was large and I liked dinosaurs [chuckles]. However, really, it was all the time drums for me.
ArtsATL: How influential was your Uncle Butch on your improvement as a drummer?
Vans: The truth that it was Uncle Butch who truly put that first real drum package in front of me was — I feel — big. And, the truth that he’s such a implausible drummer has, little question, all the time served to encourage me. But, additionally, just being who he’s has all the time been inspirational to each me and my brother because whereas being profitable, Uncle Butch has all the time held a high bar of musical integrity.
ArtsATL: What about your brother, Derek? Has he been supportive along the best way?
Vans: Oh wow, completely. Derek and I are about nine years apart. Once I was a kid, he made me feel all proper about the fact that all I needed to do was both play music or take heed to music.
In high school, it actually helped that Derek had already gone by way of, and the academics knew he was a musician and that I needed to be one too. When all you possibly can think about is getting out of sophistication so you’ll be able to go play some music, it helps to really feel understood.
It was Derek who would come to my room and hand me an album and say, “Take heed to this. You’re really going to like this.” He introduced me to John Coltrane, Elvin Jones, Wayne Shorter and so many greats this manner. Derek was all the time there handing me the appropriate report at the right time [chuckles]. He was an actual hands-on mentor.
ArtsATL: What would you say to those who may say the street has been paved for you as a result of your final identify is Vans?
Vans: I actually consider it’s all about perspective and the way you handle the cards you’ve been dealt. Career-wise, nepotism in the music enterprise is like another enterprise. In case your dad works for Boeing, it’d assist you to get on there. But with music, how heavy you’re taking that duty will present shortly. Regardless of what floor superficial success you could be having fun with, it’ll ultimately collapse in case your intention isn’t concerning the music. I discovered that from Colonel Bruce.
Making and enjoying music includes so many people to think about, like your bandmates and the followers. It’s a must to work out why you’re doing it. For me, bearing the Vans identify is as much a duty as it has been a bonus and given me a leg up.
ArtsATL: You simply referenced Colonel Bruce Hampton. Throughout virtually 4 years of enjoying with him, what would you say is one of the best lesson you took from the experience?
Vans: That’s a tough one because there have been so many lessons I took from enjoying with him. They usually’re fixed. However I assume that he helped me get clear about my very own intentions with my music. You’ve obtained to journey cramped in vans and typically sleep on floors but nonetheless adore it since you get to play.
And you need to be in it not for the attention or the money however due to the music. He helped me see that it’s essential to make certain that what you’re doing is actual and that you simply’re not just doing it to get by. In other phrases, my time with the Colonel taught me you possibly can’t wield your sword recklessly.
ArtsATL: You say the lessons you took from Colonel Bruce are “constant.” Wouldn’t it be truthful to deduce those classes proceed to permeate into your life immediately?
Vans: There’s little question. Every single day, I keep in mind one thing that came from those hours driving in that van with him. I was 19 once I started with Bruce and doubtless took a few of what he was saying as preaching back then. However as I’ve gotten older, these lessons have sunk in.
Bruce truly provides everybody round him a spot to be free. You assume you’re directing all this power at him, but really, he steps out of the best way and allows you to direct that power at this thing that becomes your personal. He’s like an invisible leader. He cleverly leads without main. So, yeah, I undoubtedly assume the Bruce stuff has marinated and continues to marinate.
ArtsATL: Final yr when Widespread Panic’s drummer, Todd Nance, determined to take an indefinite hiatus from enjoying, you have been requested to hitch the band. What’s it been wish to work with a band as seasoned as Panic?
Vans: It’s virtually indescribable. It’s been an insane learning experience on so many ranges. Panic has such an enormous catalog of music, and they are written so incredibly properly. As a musician, with the ability to adapt to the room — regardless of how huge or small — is vital. And, in fact, Panic has an enormous and extremely loyal fan base, so the rooms Panic play are big.
ArtsATL: Once you have been requested to take a seat in for Todd Nance, what fears, if any, crossed your thoughts?
Vans: Just getting it proper. Panic plays to their fans, not above them. Their followers are very passionate and respond to every twist and turn the band makes. There’s an unbelievable trade of power at a Panic present between the band and the fans. The fans are as much a part of the show because the band. The interplay is so involved.
I know how much the fans love Todd, so I didn’t need to simply study the songs; I actually needed to attempt to respect Todd’s really feel and make it still appear to be a snug pillow for the followers. So, making sure I do justice to the best way Todd leads or his subtleties has been the primary factor on my mind. However, also, it’s been necessary to me to respect the deep groove between the band. These guys are unimaginable musicians, they usually’ve been at it longer than I’ve been alive. So, yeah, that’s all been heavy to hold.
ArtsATL: And, to date, how has it been going?
Vans: All the blokes within the band have been superb. They’ve all been so supportive and patient with me every step of the best way. I felt the followers gave me love immediately. That was nice and made me need to give it proper back. I couldn’t have requested for more from the blokes or the fans. I’m so very fortunate to have been given this opportunity. And, for me, it’s simply been unimaginable.
ArtsATL: Has there been any added strain because you’re now enjoying together with your father-in-law, Jimmy Herring?
Vans: I’ve recognized Jimmy since I used to be 5 or 6 years previous, so he’s all the time been like an uncle or older brother, and I’m real snug around him. But, as a result of he’s such a beast of a musician, I undoubtedly catch myself saying, “Oh gosh, there’s Jimmy. I’ve acquired to be on my recreation. I’ve acquired to do it for Jimmy.” I don’t need to let him down. But there’s no strain from Jimmy. He’s probably the most affected person and kind-spoken individual on the planet.
ArtsATL: You’re solely 26 and also you’ve already achieved some nice accomplishments many people would wait a lifetime to succeed in. What retains you so grounded?
Vans: Thank you. My dad was a roofer. My brothers and I grew up roofing throughout our summer time breaks. We have been taught that most individuals need to work very onerous to earn a dwelling and typically need to do a job they don’t necessarily take pleasure in doing each day. I get to go sit behind a drum package and make a dwelling doing the thing I really like — play drums. I’m very humbled by that.
ArtsATL: Talking of family, at your loved ones’s holiday desk, counting the musicians, there’s you; your brother Derek; your sister-in-law, Susan Tedeschi; your Uncle Butch Vans; your father-in-law, Jimmy Herring. Is there all the time music concerned at such family gatherings?
Vans: You realize, there’s all the time speak of music or a superb report enjoying, so it’s all the time there. But once we’re all capable of get off the street and get collectively, we actually take pleasure in simply speaking and catching up about other issues too.
ArtsATL: Similar to?
Vans: We like to speak about local Jacksonville soccer — like who’s the brand new quarterback. Or we speak about fishing. Or my brother-in-law, Carter, and I’ll speak about bowling as a result of we bowl collectively — stuff like that. However, yeah, come to think about it, we never really get away from music for too lengthy, although [chuckles].
ArtsATL: Your spouse, Cameron Herring, is an artist, and you each come from families who understand and help artists. What would you say to those young individuals who haven’t gotten the help from family members to comply with their goals to be an artist?
Vans: I do know a lot of people who haven’t been fortunate like we’ve got, and had family help, and it’s arduous. In some instances they’re even estranged from their households because of it, which is gloomy. I feel it’s about finding a group scene so everyone can spur you on to keep going. You need to create your personal household of help and find help from fellow artists. Go on a seek for like minds.
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