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Frequently Asked Questions - Blues Traveler

V2.0 - Last update 05/07/03

DISCLAIMER: This FAQ was started in May of 1995 by Misha Rutman who first posted it later on in 1995. Under no circumstances may this material be reproduced for commercial use of any kind. Under no circumstances may this document be reproduced without this disclaimer. However, this document is encouraged to be freely distributed to music fans and the fans of Blues Traveler but only in its entirety. This FAQ has no association with Irving Music, Inc. or A&M/Interscope Records. It was created for the fans of Blues Traveler by the fans of Blues Traveler. The maintainer of this document holds no responsibilities over any mistakes or misprints within this document.

Misha would like to thank the following people in no particular order:
Elisabeth Sylvan
Laura Myers
Brendan Hill
Andy Weaver
Dave Mallick
Ron Amdur
Dan Aykroyd
Bobby Sheehan
Luke McCormick
Dave Engleman
John Popper
Paul Morrill
Chandler Kinchla
Jon O'Keefe
Dabe Murphy
Brian Lipman

And, of course, personally, I would like to thank YOUR MOM!!!

BT.Net would also like to thank:
Tad Kinchla
Ben Wilson
Travelers everywhere

This is the fan version of the Frequently Asked Questions about the New York-based quartet named Blues Traveler. Version 0.9 was distributed to a limited number of beta-testers who checked the validity of the information within. When the official site subsequently released their FAQ, this document lay dormant for eight years, until it was republished here at BluesTraveler.Net.

Blues Traveler is:

John Popper: vocals, harmonica, acoustic & electric guitars, whistles, 9mm automatic pistol and other assorted weaponry.
Chan Kinchla: electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Bobby Sheehan (1987 - 1999, RIP): 4 and 5 string bass
Brendan Hill: drums, percussion
Tad Kinchla (11/04/99 - present): bass
Ben Wilson (01/00 - present): keys and synthesizers

Blues Traveler's music could be described as a fusion of rock'n'roll, blues, folk and incredible amount of energy. As one of the netters put it: "Go see the live show, man!"


0. Table of contents

1. Internet stuff
1.1 Where can I get this FAQ?
1.2 What Internet sites are dedicated to Blues Traveler?
1.3 Is there an email discussion list for Blues Traveler?
1.4 Is there a news group dedicated to Blues Traveler?
1.5 Do the band members read email? Do they know what is going on here on the Internet?
1.6 Where can I go to download Blues Traveler shows?

2. Fan club information
2.1 What is Gigs at a Glance?
2.2 Why should I sign up for the newsletter?
2.3 How can I get the newsletter?
2.3.1 What if I have to change my address?

3. History
3.1 The early years
3.2 What is the history behind the cat logo?

4. Stage equipment
4.1 What kind of equipment does [band member] use?
4.2 What is the deal with that doll on Brendan's drum kit in older pictures?
4.3 What happened to John's harmonica vest?

5. The live show
5.1 Who has guested with Blues Traveler at their live shows?
5.2 What songs does Blues Traveler play live?
5.2.1 Are there any songs that they recorded at some point, but never played live at all?
5.2.2 Whatever happened to [song]?
5.2.3 What about songs that were "retired" for a few years and then came back into regular rotation?
5.3 Does John Popper ever play any solo concerts?
5.3.1 What are the songs that he has done solo?
5.3.2 What songs did he originally do solo that later became a part of Blues Traveler's repertoire?
5.4 What is the deal with Blues Traveler and David Letterman?
5.5 Does Blues Traveler play any special gigs during the year?

6. Side projects
6.1 What is Wasabi?
6.2 What is the Ritz Power Jam?
6.3 What is a Spinning Traveler show?
6.4 What is High Plains Drifter?
6.5 What is Chan's Fruits & Vegetables?
6.6 What is Is This For Real?
6.7 What is Stolen Ogre?
6.8 What is the John Popper Band?
6.9 What other side projects was Bobby involved in?
6.10 What bands was Tad in before joining Blues Traveler?
6.11 What bands was Ben in before joining Blues Traveler?

7. Taping policy and other bootleg questions (must-read material for fledglings)
7.1 What is Blues Traveler's taping policy?
7.2 Where can I trade? I really want some live Blues Traveler!
7.3 What are some classic/great shows, that are good to have?
7.4 What is the tape trading etiquette?

8. The H.O.R.D.E. Festival
8.1 What is the H.O.R.D.E. Festival?
8.2 Where can I find out more about H.O.R.D.E.?
8.3 What does H.O.R.D.E. stand for?
8.4 What were the lineups of H.O.R.D.E.?

9. Blues Traveler family and crew

10. Actual "frequently asked questions"

1. Internet stuff
1.1 Where can I get this FAQ?

This FAQ is available at http://www.bluestraveler.net/info/faq/btfaq.html.

1.2 What Internet sites are dedicated to Blues Traveler?

There are two major web sites for Blues Traveler information:

1.3 Is there an email discussion list for Blues Traveler?

Yes! The blackcat list is in its tenth year as of this version of the FAQ, and is now at its fourth home in those ten years. To subscribe to the list, visit the page at http://www.bluestraveler.net/interact/list. To get more information about the list itself, including usage, history and biographies, please go to the Black-Cat Mailing List FAQ (under construction).

1.4 Is there a news group dedicated to Blues Traveler?

Yes: alt.music.blues-traveler. Beware that it is quite plagued by spammers who seem to think that it is either 1) a blues newsgroup or 2) a travel newsgroup. If you have email access and don't mind a couple dozen emails a day [or a few large ones if you're in digest format], we highly recommend the black-cat list.

1.5 Do the band members read email? Do they know what is going on here on the Internet?

The band members have their own email addresses but they are not public and do not participate in the mailing list. It is, however a well-known and accepted fact that there are so-called "lurkers" on the list that pass some information along that is posted to the list. So watch what you write, because you never know what the band may see...

1.6 Where can I go to download Blues Traveler shows?

At the moment there are no public FTP or web sites that offer Blues Traveler downloads. However, several fans are working diligently to get the band's permission to upload shows to the Live Music Archive at http://archive.org/audio. If this is something you would be interested in, please email the band and let them know that there's interest - the only way this will happen is if the band knows we want it to happen!

There are also privately-run FTP sites that offer Blues Traveler downloads, but for obvious reasons they cannot be publicized here. If you join the black-cat list (see question 1.3), you will eventually see announcements of downloads available from these sites.

For more information on trading live recordings of Blues Traveler shows, see section 8 of this FAQ or read the Blues Traveler trading FAQ.

2. Fan club information
2.1 What is Gigs at a Glance?

Gigs at a Glance was the official Blues Traveler newsletter. It originally started as a simple postcard which would announce the upcoming gigs for the next month or so - hence the name Gigs at a Glance. In 1991, the mailers started including little notes and cartoons from different band and crew members, and in 1993 they began being more professionally produced as a multi-page mailer. When Gina went off the road in 1994-95, she took over the production of Gigs at a Glance and turned it into a glossy, full-color format newsletter with pictures, and the band began offering fan club tickets. As of 2000, the band ceased sending out mailings, and instead has an email list with "Gina sez..." updates sent out from the band's office.

2.1.1 Why should I sign up for the newsletter?

First of all, it's completely free! As opposed to being a member of other bands' fan clubs, it costs absolutely nothing to be a part of the list at this time. It's a good way of finding out news from the inside and they hope to use the list to extend special offers to Blues Traveler fans in the near future.

2.1.2 How can I get the newsletter?

The easiest and quickest way is to send an email to blackcatz@earthlink.net and give your email address as well as your current mailing address [preferably your home address if you are a student, as most colleges will not forward non-first-class mail]. The mailing addresses are not used yet but may be in the future for special offers.

2.1.3 What if I have to change my address?

Use the same address above, but give BOTH your old address AND your new address.

3. History
3.1 The early years

John Popper was born on March 28th, 1967 in Cleveland, Ohio, but he spent most of his childhood in Stamford, Connecticut. However, when he was 15, his family moved to Princeton, New Jersey where John enrolled in Princeton High School. You may already know that the Princeton school system is a rather peculiar place. Trey Anastasio of Phish, Tom Osander [Tomo] of God Street Wine, and others all went to school in Princeton at one point or another. Most of the kids who went there were from wealthy families, thus they had more room to experiment and were encouraged (at least financially) by their parents to try "something artistic." John, very eloquent and fun, formed a comedy duo with his friend Tom Brown. One of the most successful routines was the Blues Brothers impersonations, where John played John Belushi's "Joliet" Jake Blues and his friend Tom played harmonica like Dan Aykryod's Elwood Blues. Soon after John decided to take up harmonica himself. He would walk around school playing the instrument all the time and that earned him the "harmonica guy" nickname. Once he wandered onto the school jazz-band practicing "She Blinded Me With Science" (by Thomas Dolby) and decided to play along. Needless to say, he left the band in awe after whipping out a harp solo, and became part of the band. It is also interesting to note that John was good friends with Chris Gross - a PHS student of the same year who would later become the "Boneless Messiah", Chris Barron of Spin Doctors - and they talked many times about how their music was fresh and new.

While at PHS, John met a kid named Brendan Hill, who was born in London, UK. In 1983 John and Brendan formed "The Blues Band." The band played mostly keg parties while numerous guitarists and bassists came and went.

Chan Kinchla, son of a Princeton University professor, attended Princeton High at the same time as well. Known as a rock-jock, Chan played football and lacrosse for PHS, but he would rather skip a class and go somewhere quiet to practice his guitar. He took guitar even more seriously after he was sidelined with an injury that prevented him from playing sports. John confesses that at first, that he was intimidated by Chan, but Brendan and John eventually invited him to play with "The Blues Band" in 1986, and after a 3-hour marathon practice he was in. (see next question)

During their senior year in high school, "The Blues Band" lineup changed once more and for the last time: Bobby Sheehan, a Deadhead from head to toe, joined the band closing the door behind him. Following Bobby's addition, a slight adjustment was made: "The Blues Band" became "Blues Traveler" as the band realized that they wanted to do this for a living; Blues Band was too generic and also not descriptive enough of their style of music. The 'Blues' part stems, of course, from the duo that sparked John's interest in the harp - the 'Blues Brothers'. The "Traveler" part is owed to the movie "The Ghostbusters" and, again, Dan Aykroyd. As John himself said on TBS during their House Of Blues show in 1995, the band knew they wanted to be 'Blues Something', and after discarding names like 'Blues Entity', the character of Gozer the Traveler sparked the name that the band answers to today.

The first recording that "Blues Traveler" made was a self-titled demo cut in 1987, while still in 12th grade in Princeton. The hand-made cover had a picture of all four of them, and the setlist included "Sweet Talking Hippie", "What Do You Want From Me", "Severe Infatuation", "Glory Glory", "Bad To The Bone", "Wouldn't It Make You Mad", and "Closing Down The Park".

After graduating from Princeton High School, John, Brendan & Bobby enrolled in the New School for Social Research in the Big Apple to study music. Chan moved to New York City to continue jamming with his bandmates. In school the boys met saxophonist Arnie Lawrence, who taught classes there. Lawrence was very impressed with the musicianship that the boys had, and had said a few times that a lot of students could have learned much from the guys and their pure passion for playing and not being afraid of making mistakes.

In the meantime "Blues Traveler" was trying to live off their music, playing a gig here and there. The Nightingale was their first regular gig, and when the Wetlands Preserve opened up in February of 1989, Blues Traveler knew they had found a home. Blues Traveler did a lot of co-headlining gigs with Spin Doctors, a band formed by their old high school friend Chris Barron, who recruited guitarist Eric Schenkman, drummer Aaron Comess, and bassist Mark White. Blues Traveler, which signed with A&M Records in November of 1989 with some help from Bill Graham, was the bigger band out of the two, but the egos (if there were any) never got in the way of music; the remarkable gigs featured both bands playing for 2-3 hours each. Whoever was first to go would get on stage and put on a killer performance, while the follower would have to do better. The crowd, already exhausted, would be hit head-on with even more intense rock n' roll.

Chan once told the story of how this began as such: "Well, back then we used to play one or two blocks apart, and as soon as one band would finish their set, the crowd would rush out and down to the other show. That band would finish their set and the crowd would rush back to the first one. One time someone grabbed his instrument and ran down to the other show with the crowd, plugged in and started playing. Then someone else from that show got up and ran down to the other show, and by the end of the night, we were both playing in opposite clubs." The music never stopped. Suddenly a few minutes after "40 or 50" by SD went into the sky of improvisations it would crash back onto you with the thunder of "Trust In Trust." Sometimes bands would segue like that 2 or 3 times a show. It was truly a religious experience.

At the same time Blues Traveler released another demo tape, "Dropping Some NYC" with Outta My Hands, Sweet Talking Hippie, Trust In Trust, Closing Down the Park, Bad To The Bone, What Do You Want From Me and others. Just two years later, "Blues Traveler", the self-titled major label release went into print on A&M Records, and the band had finally arrived.

3.2 What is the history behind the cat logo?

From Rolling Stone [typed by Laura Myers]: "Their minds were blown and commitment sealed one afternoon after a marathon three-hour rehearsal that forever became enshrined as the 'black-cat jam' because a black cat wandered up afterward and hung out 'like it was going "woah" with us,' says Popper. A superstition was born: 'Whenever we have trouble, a big event, a crisis of faith or some milestone, there is a black cat there,' Popper says. 'This is truth.'"

This passage described the first practice of Chan with "The Blues Band" in 1985 a 3-hour marathon jam that would later give birth to a multitude of early Blues Traveler songs, including "Weird Chick", "Sweet Talking Hippie", "Mulling It Over" and others. But the cat that hung around the house where the Blues Band had practiced met his fate not so long after the monumental practice (from 'Slow Change'):

Black cat...
Squashed flat...pretty gory
Came to play...
Swept away...no big story

This cat became the mascot for Blues Traveler; it was designed by their friend Darren "D-bone" Greene and later made famous in many pieces of artwork by Tim Vega, sister of singer Suzanne.

The cat has made many appearances over the years, from album covers (Blues Traveler, Travelers & Thieves [if you look closely, there's a panther up in the tree in the upper right], four, and even in the very center of the CD tray for Bridge) to jewelry (each band member has a silver ring with the black cat's head on it) to tatoos (Chan's shoulder) to a host of merchandise. Its most famous appearance was at every New Year's Eve show from 1990 through 1998, where the cat would lose a life in increasingly gruesome ways:

  • 1990, Roseland Ballroom: The cat is "simply beaten by band members and thrown lifelessly into the savage crowd".
  • 1991, Paramount Theater: Curiosity kills the cat when it opens an exploding garbage can.
  • 1992, Paramount Theater: The cat dies in a motorcycle accident, a reference to John's accident only two months earlier.
  • 1993, Roseland Ballroom: A brave cat saves an old lady from thugs on the subway, only to be beaten up by the old lady herself and thrown in front of the train.
  • 1994, Roseland Ballroom : The cat 'crowd surfs' to the front of the stage during the Wobbling Surfer and is eaten by a shark.
  • 1995, Roseland Ballroom: Curiosity rears its ugly head again as the cat "falls into the musical machine which he had been trying to feed and he himself is packaged, squashed flat and marketed".
  • 1996, Madison Square Garden: Kat Kong (in celebration of the band making it "big" climbs the Empire State Building and is shot down by airplanes.
  • 1997, Pompano Beach, FL: The cat is caught in the middle of a DEA drug bust gone bad and shot full of holes.
  • 1998, Chicago, IL: The cat loses its ninth life during a reenactment of the great Chicago fire...but a little black kitten is rescued by a brave firefighter.

    Eerily, the band would be changed forever in the year following the loss of the cat's ninth life, and after a subdued New Year's Eve concert by the John Popper Band in 1999, the tradition was put to rest.

    4. Stage equipment
    4.1 What kind of equipment does [band member] use?

    The most recent list of equipment can be viewed in the band's biographies on the official site, but a more detailed explanation of John's rig can be found in this article - see the section labeled "Popper Tackle" at the bottom right.

    4.2 What is the deal with that doll on Brendan's drum kit in older pictures?

    * As posted by Andy Weaver:
    "The cabbage patch kid seems to have historically changed positions in Brendan's area. It used to be in the back, then it moved up front, and from the way I've seen it, it seems to be cut in half, and coming out of the drums, with arms stretched out and screaming. Rather like one of the escaping souls in Nightmare on Elm Street 6."
    * As posted by Jon O'Keefe on 6/13/95:
    "The dolls name is "Ogre" and he has had it on the kit for years until some student at the Tampa show stole it on 5-22-95 we are looking for a new one or the thief to return the old one. Brendan is heart broken..." This doll is undoubtedly the source of the name for his new side project band, "Stolen Ogre".

    4.3 What happened to John's harmonica vest?

    In the very early days, John used to carry his harmonicas around in an old lunchbox. This obviously made switching harmonicas in mid-song very difficult, and a fellow musician tipped John off to a green army vest that had pockets for carrying cartridges. Always the gun enthusiast, John took to the vest right away, and stuffed it full of harmonicas - he needs 12 different harps to play live and cover all the notes and scales.

    When the band hit the big time with four, John could afford a custom-made harmonica vest that also had room for other equipment as well (see the full explanation in the Official FAQ). However, when John began to lose weight in 2000, it began to fit him rather poorly. After one show in November of 2000, just as he was walking off-stage, he turned and launched the vest, harmonicas and all, into the crowd. After the ensuing scrum, Gina managed to recover the vest in exchange for a couple of autographed harmonicas. John has yet to have a new vest made for him; instead, he uses a small case lined with foam that neatly holds each harmonica in place - not far from the lunchbox he carried some fifteen years ago.

    5. The live show

    5.1 Who guested with Blues Traveler on live shows?

    Among the more famous guests are Carlos Santana, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Chuck D., Lenny Kravitz, Phil Lesh, Taj Mahal and Bob Weir. See the complete list in the setlist archive.

    5.2 What songs does Blues Traveler play live?

    See the complete list in the setlist archive.

    5.2.1 Whatever happened to [song]?

    All In The Groove: The boys said they got tired of it but brought it back in the fall of 1995, and again at Red Rocks in 1998.
    Onslaught: It is very harsh on John's voice. The boys did it a couple of times in '92, but then stopped until New Year's Eve 1996, when it was brought out of retirement by a group of rowdy chanters. "Fledgling" came back for this one show as well.

    5.2.2 What about songs that were "retired" for more than three years but then came back into regular rotation?

    Bagheera: retired as of 04/29/92, brought back 03/31/95 for one show, then returned for the 2000 tour.
    Trina Magna: gradually petered out with two or three playings a year from 1995-1998, brought back for the fall 2002 tour.

    5.2.3 Are there any songs the band has recorded but never performed live at all?

    I'm Walkin'
    Secret Agent Man
    Trust In Me

    5.3 Does John Popper play any solo concerts?

    Yes, but very rarely, and these days, usually never on his own. The first show was done 9/2/90 at the Wetlands Preserve in New York; he played two shows in 1991, one in 1992, one in 1993, and one in 1997. Any solo sets since then have usually been as a part of benefit show (Warren Haynes' Christmas Jam, Voters for Choice). Click here for a full list of these concerts.

    5.3.1 What is the complete list of the songs that he has done solo?

    Please consult the John Popper solo songs page for this information.

    5.3.2 What songs originally did he do solo that later became a part of Blues Traveler's repertoire?

    Best Part
    By My 12 Swords
    Go Outside & Drive
    Just Wait
    Sweet Pain

    5.4 What is the deal with Blues Traveler and David Letterman?

    Blues Traveler is arguably one of David Letterman's favorite bands (Dave introduces the boys as his favorite band). They have been on the Late Show or Late Night with David Letterman 17 times through 1998. The first time it was only John and Bobby. They did 'But Anyway' with the help of the Paul Shaffer & the World's Most Dangerous Band (now CBS Orchestra). It was pretty much a showcase of John's ability to play harp. Other performances included All In The Groove, Ivory Tusk, Conquer Me, Love & Greed, Hook, Run-Around and others. John has also sat in with the CBS orchestra and other guests a couple of times, including Dolly Parton and BB King, and John would play Gloria, Low Rider and other songs with the CBS Orchestra going in and out of commercial breaks. Paul Shaffer, the show's musical director, has guested on two Blues Traveler albums. His keyboard can be heard on Stand, Conquer Me, Run-Around, and others (check the liner notes of the albums).

    5.5 Does Blues Traveler play any special gigs during the year?

    New Year's: Done in NYC until 1996 when they played Madison Square Garden, they took to the road in 1997 to accommodate Chan's wife's pregnancy, and then played Chicago in 1998. The tradition of the black cat losing a life on New Year's Eve ended with the 1998 show; with the passing of Bobby Sheehan in 1999, the band has stopped performing on New Year's Eve.

    4th of July: Done at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado since 1992, the band was forced to cancel in 1999 due to John's angioplasty a week prior but has since returned to playing two shows a year. John always does a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner solo during the show, and from the top of the amphitheater it is possible to see the fireworks for miles around. Definitely a must to attend.

    Any show in New York: When the band comes home, it's always cause for a celebration. Some of the more famous New York homecomings include the four release party at Irving Plaza in 1994, the New Year's Eve run in 1995 and the Madison Square Garden show in 1996, two Thanksgiving shows at Roseland in 1998, and an unprecented four nights without a single repeat at Irving Plaza in 2002.

    6. Side Projects

    6.1 What is Wasabi?

    Named after the green mustard used in sushi, this band was a side venture for Spin Doctors' Eric Schenkman, Mark White, Aaron Comess plus The Authority's Rene Lopez and Blues Traveler's John Popper. Please refer to the Wasabi page for more information on setlists, known gigs and more.

    6.2 What is the Ritz Power Jam?

    This was a gig organized by Walter Durkacz, former talent booker at the Wetlands Preserve. He recruited Warren Haynes (then of the Allman Brothers Band), Noel Redding (of Jimi Hendrix Experience), Chuck Leavell (of Aquarium Rescue Unit, formerly of Allman Brothers Band), Bernie Worrell (of Parliament Funkadelic), John Popper (of Blues Traveler) and others. There were only 2 rehearsals before the gig on February 5th 1993 at the NYC Ritz. 2 sets gave us mostly covers of classic tunes by Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Eddie Cochran, Otis Redding, and others. Dave Matthews also guested on 'All Along the Watchtower', Mike Gordon and Trey Anastasio of Phish on 'Spanish Moon' and 'All Along the Watchtower' and Dave Tronzo on 'Red House.' A second Ritz Power Jam was staged a month later but with much less well-known talent, and the series folded shortly thereafter.

    6.3 What is a Spinning Traveler show?

    Aside from the shows discussed in section 3.1, members of Blues Traveler & Spin Doctors did a joint gig on May 12th 1990 at the Wetlands Preserve in New York City, billed as "Chan's Fruit & Vegetables". They did a famous 45min version of 'Gloria' at that gig, and Warren Haynes guested on a half-dozen songs including 'Louie, Louie.' Other songs included 'Off My Line', 'Come Together', 'Mother Funker', etc. Click here for a complete setlist to the show.

    6.4 What is High Plains Drifter?

    This started as a Chan & Bobby project that included the guitarist and the drummer from First House during the only 1993 gig; it was an excuse for them to go to Colorado, ski and drink a lot and pay their way by doing a few gigs. In 1995 it was Jono Manson (vocals) and Mark Clark (drums) who played with Chan & Bobby. The 1995 gig was treed on the net, and if you look you can find the 8/30/93 gig as well. The songs done were Blues Traveler's 'Weird Chick', 'Warmer Days', 'The Good, the Bad & the Ugly', 'Brother John', 'Crash Burn', 'The Mountains Win Again', and others plus 'Low Rider', 'Rock Me Baby', etc. Jono and the gang took the band on the road in early 1996 after releasing Almost Home on A&M, covering the east coast, and played a gigs in Colorado and the surrounding areas when Blues Traveler was off the road, including a few with John Popper in 1997.

    6.5 What is Chan's Fruit & Vegetables?

    Blues Traveler did a couple of gigs under this pseudonym just like Black Crowes used the name "Blessed Chloroform." However, Chan denied the possibility of it ever happening again. The name came from a company logo that the band saw on a truck in New York one day.

    6.6 What is Is This For Real?

    A Chan & Bobby project in 1992. Only one tape is known to exist but it is unknown if more gigs occurred under this name which later became High Plains Drifter.

    6.7 What is the John Popper Band?

    In 1999, John recorded his solo album, Zygote, in collaboration with high school friend and Cycomotogoat lead singer/guitarist Crugie Riccio. One song was also co-written with bluesman Jonny Lang. Rounding out the studio crew were Cycomotogoat members Rob Clores on keys and Dave Ares on bass, as well as Dave Matthews Band drummer Carter Beauford on drums. The John Popper Band was scheduled to begin its tour in July of 1999, shortly after Blues Traveler's appearance at Red Rocks, but John's angioplasty that month, coupled with Bobby Sheehan's tragic death a month later, forced him to postpone his tour until early September. Drummer Aubrey Dayle, formerly of God Street Wine, subbed for Carter Beauford on drums in the touring outfit, which played a few dozen shows in September, October and November. The band played its last gig on New Year's Eve 1999, and more than likely will not tour again as long as Blues Traveler remains a band.

    6.8 What is Stolen Ogre?

    Stolen Ogre is the result of a collaboration and friendship between Brendan Hill and keyboardist Michael McMorrow. The two met on the H.O.R.D.E. tour in 1996 and quickly formed a bond once Brendan moved to Seattle the following year. Brendan plays and records with Stolen Ogre as time permits, but the band now has a permanent drummer, Matthew Burgess, and tours separately from Blues Traveler as well. The band name comes from the doll, affectionately named "Ogre", that used to be on Brendan's drum kit until it was stolen in mid-1995.

    6.9 What other side projects was Bobby involved in?

    In addition to High Plains Drifter, Bobby was an active player in the New Orleans music scene. Bobby befriended Louisiana bluesman John Mooney, and when a car accident sidelined Mooney's bassist in early 1999, Bobby toured with his band John Mooney and Bluesiana, for most of April and May. In the months before his death, Bobby also did some recording in his new home studio, including one track the night before he died, recorded with Bluesiana drummer Carlo Nuccio.

    After guesting with Galactic a few times in 1998, Bobby was invited to be a part of Theryl DeClouet's assemblage called The House Wreckas. The band played one show in December of 1998, but the only known account of the show does not indicate that Bobby actually played with the band.

    6.10 What bands was Tad in before joining Blues Traveler?

    Tad's main band, dating back to his days at Brown University, was a group going by the name of Dowdy Smack. The band released one CD, Aren't You Delicious, before breaking up in 1998. Tad then went on to play with Smithaus, another Brown University band, for a year and a half before getting the call to join Blues Traveler in November of 1999.

    6.11 What bands was Ben in before joining Blues Traveler?

    Ben played with Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Big Dave & the Ultrasonics from 1992 until late 1999, when the band broke up. In his own words, "that band had broken up and I was kind of twiddling my thumbs deciding whether or not I was going to continue on that track or if it was time to hedge my bets a little bit and go in a little different direction. And a friend of mine happened to pass the information along to me, and sent it in, and continued to plan my life, and boom, I got a call."

    7. Taping policy and other trading questions (must-read material for fledglings)

    7.1 What is Blues Traveler's taping policy?

    Blues Traveler allows and encourages its fans to tape and distribute Blues Traveler shows. Up until the summer of 1994, soundboard patches were allowed, but with a few rare exceptions, this practice has been discontinued. You still can tape the shows if you have microphones and a recorder. The official taping policy can be found here. For more information on how to tape and trade shows, please consult the trading FAQ.

    7.3 Where can I trade? I really want some live Blues Traveler!

    You can always post to the blackcat list, where many people have sizeable Blues Traveler lists. Two of the most popular online sites for hosting trading lists are db.etree.org and phishhook.com - you can search both sites by band and year to try to find that one show youšve always been looking for, or set up big trades with people as well.

    7.4 What are some classic/great shows, that are good to have?

    All shows are good to have, but here are some:
    04/13/89 - (w/ Chris Barron & others) - one of the earliest taped shows in circulation.
    05/26/90 - Spin Doctors>Blues Traveler>Spin Doctors>Blues Traveler - four full CDs!
    09/02/90 - John Popper's first solo concert
    10/31/90 - Spin Doctors>Blues Traveler>Spin Doctors>Blues Traveler
    12/31/90 - NYE gig at Roseland with Spin Doctors, Merl Saunders and more - five CDs!
    01/05 - 01/06/91 - Amazing setlists and tons of guests
    07/12/92 - Gilligan's Island Theme with bagpipes plus a lot of guests
    12/27/92 - half of set I with Merl Saunders on keys
    03/19 - 03/21/93 - the first-ever three-night run; lots of debuts and some great segues
    05/30/93 - Laguna Seca Daze (LSD) gig with members of Phish
    06/24/93 - John Popper solo show - he does Run-around for the 1st time
    02/21/94 - Blues Traveler premiered 7 songs: Fallible, Price To Pay and others
    09/19/94 - release party for four with guests and Closing Down the Park.
    Fall 95 - arguably BT's best tour ever. Any show is great but of special mention is the three-show New Year's Eve run at Roseland.
    07/03 - 07/04/96 - tons of debuts, including the first ever "Traveler Suite"
    08/11/97 - the famous "orchestra show"
    08/29/97 - classic show with Warren Haynes, Joan Osborne
    09/11/97 - the last full John Popper solo gig
    11/21/97 - 11/22/97 - some of the last soundboards - long, great shows with acoustic sets
    01/27/98 - an epic High Plains Drifter show with a mini-Blues Traveler set in the middle; features guests galore including Noel Redding, Warren Haynes, Chris Barron and more.
    07/03 - 07/04/98 - debuts of most of the concept album; Warren Haynes guests
    11/25/98 - billed as a "very special show", features the only in-order playing of the entire "concept album" ever done.
    11/27 - 11/28/98 - incredible homecoming shows; Bobby's last gigs in New York
    06/28/99 - Bob Sheehan's last show ever, Merl Saunders and Phil Lesh guest
    07/05/00 - surprise show at the Fox Theatre, Oteil Burbridge guests
    08/28/01 - the return of Spinning Spiraling Machine
    11/23/01 - 11/24/01 - some great Spearhead guest spots and broken-up Suite movements
    03/21/02 - breakout show with many debuts
    11/07 - 11/10/02 - the first ever four-night stand with no repeats
    7.5 What is the tape trading etiquette?

    Please see the Tape Trading FAQ here, but rule #1 is worth repeating here: under NO circumstances should a live Blues Traveler recording ever be sold or traded for anything other than the equivalent amount of blank or recorded media.

    8. The H.O.R.D.E Festival

    8.1 What is the H.O.R.D.E. Festival?

    The H.O.R.D.E. Festival started in 1992 as a way for Blues Traveler and like-minded bands to play in larger amphitheaters during the summer. It ran through 1998, becoming a larger and more diversified traveling music festival every year. It eventually featured a number of band that later made it big, like Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews Band, Joan Osborne, and many others.

    8.2 Where can I find out more about H.O.R.D.E.?

    Please see the H.O.R.D.E. page at http://www.bluestraveler.net/info/projects/horde.

    8.3 What does H.O.R.D.E. stand for?

    Horizons Of Rock Developing Everywhere (or for the humorous ones: Hippies On Recreational Drugs Everywhere). Originally, the "E" stood for "East Coast" but was changed before the first tour launched.

    8.4 What were the H.O.R.D.E.line-ups year by year?

    1992: The first H.O.R.D.E. was just Spin Doctors, Phish (replaced by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on the second half of the tour), Widespread Panic (replaced by Aquarium Rescue Unit half way through) and Blues Traveler.
    1993: Aquarium Rescue Unit, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, Allman Brothers.
    1994: Big Head Todd and The Monsters, Blues Traveler and others plus guest appearances by Black Crowes, Dave Matthews Band and others.
    1995: Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, Blues Traveler, Black Crowes, God Street Wine plus guest appearances by Joan Osborne and others.
    1996: Lenny Kravitz, Rusted Root, King Crimson and Blues Traveler headlined; Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow and even Neil Young made a surprise guest appearance.
    1997: Blues Traveler's first year off [they opted for only three shows and toured Europe instead], this was headlined by Neil Young, Leftover Salmon and Toad the Wet Sprocket. Other notables included Primus, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Beck, Ben Folds Five, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Taj Mahal and many others.
    1998: Blues Traveler came back on for the last year of H.O.R.D.E., and were joined by Barenaked Ladies, Ben Harper and Alana Davis. Other notables included Paula Cole, Gov't Mule, Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, and Smashing Pumpkins even stopped in for a few dates.

    9.0 Blues Traveler cast and crew

    The Blues Traveler family stretches far and wide, both across the country and across time. All the names listed below have worked for the band at one point or another, but names in bold form the crew as currently constituted.

    * Rich Vink - front of house (sound) engineer from the beginning until 1998
    * Bo Mahoney - current front of house engineer, he has been with the band since their earliest days in various positions, including John's harmonica tech
    * David Swanson - formed "Panfish Productions" along with Rich Vink. They are responsible for the early Blues Traveler and Spin Doctors tapes, from 1988 on, including a producer's credit on Save His Soul and engineering credits on Blues Traveler and Travelers & Thieves. Dave left the road after several years as monitor engineer in 1994, and lent his expertise to the production of Live from the Fall. He now owns and operates a studio, the Art Farm, in the Catskills of New York.
    * Greg Hurst - founder of Empire Audio, sound crew chief/monitor engineer from 1994 through 1997. Web site: http://members.aol.com/empiraudio
    Home office:
    * Gina-Z - she is everything, but mainly she manages the home office, runs the fan club and writes the "Gina sez..." newsletters. Basically, she's been the band mom since shortly after her first show in July of 1988.
    * Dave Frey - founder of Silent Partner Management, Blues Traveler's management company from 1992 through late 2001
    * Debi Burdick - co-founder of Silent Partner with Dave Frey
    * Susan Bank - joined Silent Partner in 1994, handled logistics and planning
    * Shanthi Stone - joined Silent Partner in 1994

    * Tim Vega - T-shirt design, the cover of the first album and some of the New Year's Eve posters. Also known as the brother of singer Suzanne Vega, Tim passed away in April of 2002. Web site: http://tim.vega.net.
    * Darren Greene - designed the cat logo (as well as the 'spin' for the Spin Docs). These days he works as a web/Flash/graphic designer.
    * Jeff Troldahl - artwork designer for merchandise since 2001. Web site: jeffsart.com
    * Sandy Garnett - designed the artwork for Decision Of The Skies. Web site: http://www.sandygarnett.com

    * Paul Morrill - lighting designer from 1989 through 1997. Web site: http://www.levity.com/pmorrill
    * Rosie - lighting designer for 1997 and 1998
    * Laird Beckwith - lighting designer for 2000 and 2001

    * Luke McCormick - New Year's Eve posters for 90-91 and 92-93, also founded rock.net
    * Rich Yaker - co-founder of rock.net
    * Steve Eichner - photographer extraordinaire
    * Gannon Hall - webmaster of bluestraveler.com from 1996 through 1999
    * B00mer - webmaster of bluestraveler.com from 2000-2001
    * Mike Darrah - current webmaster of bluestraveler.com
    * Ze Frank - former lead man of Tad's old band, Dowdy Smack, and advisor for the revamp of bluestraveler.com

    * Greg Martens - early merch manager
    * Jon O'Keefe - current merch manager

    Live production:
    * Jiggs Rogers - the band's first production manager, from 1991 through 1995
    * Daniel Petrafesa - current production manager and lighting engineer. Also one of the first regular Blues Traveler tapers.
    * Jim Digby - production manager from 1997 through 1998
    * Colin Speir - current tour manager. Previously worked as drum tech.
    * Chris Hinson - guitar tech from 1994 to 1998
    * Garrett Alarcon - current guitar tech
    * Fisher - current stage manager/keyboard tech
    * Rush Anderson - bass tech
    * Raul Flores - head of security for the band from 1995 through 1998
    * Dirk Stallnecker - general tech; currently production manager for Widespread Panic

    * Scott Patterson - one of the band's earliest managers
    * Dave Graham - co-founder of Music Unlimited
    * Tom Gruber - co-founder of Music Unlimited
    * Dave Precheur - band manager from 1988 through 2000
    * Amy McCormick - production assistant from 1994 - 1998
    * Heidi Kelso - production manager for H.O.R.D.E.

    * Rob Lester - driver
    * Andy Warden - assistant, 1993-1994
    * Grant Cowell - driver, assistant, roadie, 1989-1995
    * Marty Sheridan

    10.0 Actual frequently-asked questions

    10.1 What kind of harmonicas does John use?

    John uses Hohner Special 20's. He calls them "the Porsche of harmonicas". A few people claim to have seen him playing Lee Oskar harmonicas at some gigs in 2002, but this has not been confirmed.

    10.2 I can't find the song whose lyrics go...

    First, try using the search function in our lyrics section. If you can't find it there, that's probably because it's not a Blues Traveler song. A list of songs commonly confused with Blues Traveler tunes:

    "Hard to say what it is I see in you" - this is "All For You" by Sister Hazel. Visit their site at http://www.sisterhazel.com.
    "The heart brings you back" - the lyrics are actually "the hook brings you back"; the song is "Hook" off the album four. Some unfortunate soul put the song on Napster/KaZaA/gnutella under the wrong title.

    10.3 Has Blues Traveler ever covered "Gin and Juice"?

    No. This song is actually a cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" by a bluegrass band called The Gourds. An overenthusiastic fan took this recording and leaked it to various file-sharing services under fake band names, supposedly to get more people to listen to it. Among other bands, this song has been credited to Phish, the Dave Matthews Band, Leftover Salmon, and even Ween, but Blues Traveler has never covered it, live or on CD.

    10.4 I heard that John was in some kind of an accident? What was that?

    In New Orleans, during the summer of 1992 while riding to the recording studio to finish up the recording of "Manhattan Bridge", John Popper crashed his Honda motorcycle into a station wagon at 70mph. He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent tedious procedures of putting his limbs back together. After his release from the hospital Blues Traveler finished Save His Soul in the fall of 1992. John, however, remained in the wheelchair for more than 18 months, until New Year's Eve 1993. John's weight was a big factor in how fast he recovered. His first 'standing' full length show was at CBGB's on February 21, 1994. Earlier that month, Blues Traveler did Letterman, and John was standing for the whole rendition of "Love & Greed". David Letterman remarked: "It's good to see you standing again, John!"

    In numerous interviews, John mentioned how hard it was to tour in a wheelchair and how he wanted to take a break because it was so hard on him and the other band members. But the boys never quit, primarily because they "would have gotten bored as hell if there was nothing to do." The touring went on and at many shows there would be volunteers who would hold on to John's chair so the big man did not fall off.

    Many believed that "Go Outside and Drive" is about John's accident. This is completely untrue. John wrote the song sometime in spring of 1991 (more than a year before the accident). John performed this one solo at Wetlands on 5/23/91 and 8/21/91.