John Bell (musician)

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John Bell
John Bell on stage.jpg
Bell onstage performing with Widespread Panic
Background information
Also known asJB
Born (1962-04-14) 14 April 1962 (age 57)
Cleveland, Ohio United States
GenresRock, southern rock, blues
InstrumentsVocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin
Years active1984–present
Associated actsWidespread Panic, JB & Friends

John Farmer Bell (born April 14, 1962) is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the American rock band Widespread Panic, where he is known for his raspy southern drawl that hits a variety of octaves. He is frequently called JB by fans. For more than 30 years, the voice has fueled 150 concerts a year all over the country and created a road warrior mentality for the band and its fans.

Bell grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated from University School in 1980. He attended the University of Georgia and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity[1] where he, Michael Houser, and Dave Schools met while Houser was playing at an open mic night. "Panic," as Houser was nicknamed, began playing with JB and Schools at local Athens, GA clubs, playing mostly cover songs.

John Bell is an active philanthropist, most notably as an advocate for SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). Bell has helped raise over $2 million for SMA research, mostly through his involvement with "Hannah's Buddies". The foundation is named for Bell's goddaughter and niece, who lives with SMA. Bell is involved in an annual fundraiser featuring a golf tournament and evening concert by "JB and Friends," featuring John Bell solo, as well as performing with guests. Guest performers at the benefit have included Col. Bruce Hampton, Vic Chesnutt, John Keane, and Bloodkin, as well as Grammy Award winner Robert Randolph and the Family Band and the North Mississippi Allstars, and Nickel and the Polar Bears. He has also performed at various Habitat for Humanity benefit concerts put on by Warren Haynes.

John Bell has stated that The Cruise on Tues, and The Thursday Drive at 5, a college radio show hosted by Wes Mantooth and Krazy Kliewer was a huge inspiration for a bunch of new songs. Bell has said, "Now that their radio show is over, I have nothing to do but tour. I loved that radio show, those guys should go back to college." Bell resides in Highlands, NC with his wife Laura [2] whom he met while in New Orleans, Louisiana


  1. ^ Francis, Arthur Morius (2015). "2.27 Greek Life at the University of Georgia". Secret Societies Vol. 3: The Collegiate Secret Societies of America. Lulu Press, Inc. pp. 90–97. ISBN 9781312932852.
  2. ^ Flurry, Amy (21 June 2007). "John Bell: Traveling Light". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2009-01-29.

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