The four original members of Blues Traveler, who have known each other since their early teens-John Popper, Chandler Kinchla, the late Bobby Sheehan and Brendan Hill -gathered over 25 years ago in the basement of their drummer's parents' Princeton, NJ, home; and the seeds were born for a band who has released a total of eleven studio albums, four of which have gone gold, three platinum and one six-times platinum. Over the course of their illustrious career, Blues Traveler has sold more than 10 million combined units worldwide, played over 2,000 live shows in front of more than 30 million people, and, in "Run-Around," had the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history, which earned them a Grammy® for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Their movie credits include Blues Brothers 2000, Kingpin, Wildflowers and others. A television favorite, they have been featured on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, and VH1's Behind the Music, and they hold the record for the most appearances of any artist on The Late Show with David Letterman.
"We started this whole adventure as a team," says Brendan Hill. "We've taken every step of this as a group together, from the basement to moving to New York, getting signed, hiring a manager, to achieving all our goals."
"I'm a firm believer that rock and roll keeps you young," adds co-founding member Chan Kinchla. "Because I don't feel any different than I did when we started, even though I've got two kids and all kind of other life experiences. We still go back to that mentality we had as kids, smoking pot and learning to jam. We had our first epiphanies about music together. This is a real family affair."
"The way the songs have held up moves me," admits legendary front man John Popper, who has gotten down to a svelte 280 from a high of 436 after a gastric bypass 10 years ago, which he admits saved his life. "We've really got nothing but love from our audience. If something has quality, it's constantly reconsidered through the ages.
From the suburbs of New Jersey, Blues Traveler moved to New York in the late '80s, where they became part of a jam-band scene that packed clubs like Nightingale's, McGovern's and Kenny's Castaways, where they would share the bill with Spin Doctors and Phish.
Represented early on by Bill Graham and son David, Blues Traveler's live reputation led to a deal with A&M Records, for whom they released their self-titled debut, which produced songs like the hit "But Anyway," "Gina" and "100 Years," eventually going gold simultaneously with the album Four. The following year came Travelers & Thieves, also now gold, with songs like "What's For Breakfast." The subsequent gold release Save His Soul followed in 1993, with songs like "N.Y. Prophesie," for which the lyrics were actually co-written by John's Hungarian father, Robert. The recording, and resulting tour, was marked by Popper having to sing from a wheelchair, the result of a motorcycle accident that almost took his life and destroyed the band, which led to a deeper investment from A&M to help support the band during a mettle-testing period in their career. The band's Four, released in 1994, was a watershed moment for the group, eventually selling more than six million albums on the strength of the singles "Run-Around" and "Hook."
2015 will be the 20th anniversary of their Grammy and the release of a new exciting and dramatically different album, from a band that has learned to be ever-changing while sticking to the roots of who they are.