|Birth Day:||March 29, 1967|
|Birth Place:||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
Popper was raised in Stamford, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. He attended Davenport Ridge School, Stamford Catholic High School (now Trinity Catholic High School) and Princeton High School from which he graduated in 1986. He took lessons on the piano, the cello, and the guitar, but none of those instruments appealed to him and he hated being forced to practice.
He formed several garage bands with friends in Princeton, New Jersey, one of which evolved into Blues Traveler in 1987. After graduating from high school, the group's members all moved to New York City, where Popper enrolled in The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music along with two of his bandmates and high school friend Chris Barron. Popper attended for three years but devoted himself to the band full-time once they signed a record contract in 1990.
In 1990, Popper began to perform occasional solo concerts in addition to touring with Blues Traveler. Several songs that originated as Popper's solo pieces have become part of Blues Traveler's repertoire, and vice versa.
In 1992, Popper conceived the HORDE Festival as a venue to gain exposure for up-and-coming independent musicians. It ran until 1998.
In October 1992 Popper was involved in a traffic accident on a motorcycle while traveling to a studio to record for Blues Traveler's third album. The accident put him in a wheelchair for several months, but Popper continued touring with the band despite the difficulties it created.
The band grew a following with its extensive touring, sometimes with over 300 dates a year, and gained a reputation in the jam band scene of the 1990s. Blues Traveler crossed over into mainstream pop/rock radio success with their 1994 album four, which garnered the group extensive media exposure. The Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1996 was awarded to "Run-Around," a song that Popper composed.
Popper was a part of a one-time studio band brought together in 1997 by New York drummer/songwriter Solomon Deniro. Other players included Trey Gunn, Bernie Worrell, Marc Ribot, and Vernon Reid. The group's only recordings were released as the album Gimme Gimme under the name the Devotees. The same recording was re-released by Deniro in 2001 with the title Solomon.
Popper took over in 1998 as front man of jam-band supergroup Frogwings, which released the live album Croakin' at Toad's. Frogwings was mainly active until 2000.
Bolstered by Blues Traveler's mainstream success, Popper released a solo album, Zygote, in 1999 and toured in support of it with his own John Popper Band. The album was produced by Terry Manning, and the backing band consisted of longtime friends Dave Ares, Crugie Riccio, and Rob Clores of Cycomotogoat, with drummer Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band. The album's release came less than three months after his heart surgery, and only days after the death of Bobby Sheehan, Popper's bandmate and best friend. The subsequent tour was canceled midway due to poor ticket sales, and Popper instead took the time to focus on his health.
In 1999, he suffered a near-fatal heart attack brought on by years of compulsive overeating. (He had been diagnosed with diabetes a few years earlier.) Doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center performed an emergency angioplasty which saved Popper's life; he had 95% arterial blockage. Popper later underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost a significant amount of weight.
Popper served as host of the third annual Jammy awards in 2002.
Popper has developed some equipment innovations to accommodate his use of harmonicas during onstage performances. Because each individual diatonic harmonica is tuned to one particular key, he fashioned belts with enough pockets to hold harmonicas in all 12 keys (plus extras) and wore them as a bandolier, or slung over his neck. He frequently has to switch keys multiple times within one song, and this arrangement allowed him to quickly trade one harmonica for another without looking. In 2002, he stopped using the belts as they no longer fit him properly due to his weight loss. One such belt later sold for $2,700 on the History Channel series Pawn Stars. He now carries his harmonicas in a small black attaché case. He uses a special microphone with switches that change the audio effect of the harmonica as it is played through an amplifier, similar to a guitar effects pedal. Popper was inspired by Jimi Hendrix's guitar playing to make his instrument sound however he wanted. He has fashioned a number of floppy-brimmed hats with flattened harmonica cover plates on the band, which he almost always wears during appearances with Blues Traveler.
In 2003, Popper was arrested for possession of marijuana. Popper was arrested again on March 6, 2007 near Ritzville, Washington by the Washington State Patrol. He was the passenger in his own vehicle, which was stopped for speeding, and was found to be in the possession of a small amount of marijuana and weapons. Popper was released the same night. The vehicle had a stash of hidden compartments which contained four rifles, nine handguns, a switchblade knife, a Taser, a set of brass knuckles, and night vision goggles. The vehicle was temporarily seized.
Popper is a member of the Libertarian Party, and has previously expressed support for the Republican Party. He endorsed George W. Bush in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. In November 2008, Popper said, regarding Barack Obama, "this is the first time I've voted for a Democrat, ever." John Popper was a supporter of Ron Paul during the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, even participating in phone-banking at Ron Paul's New Hampshire campaign headquarters. He also played a short set during Ron Paul's "We are the Future Rally," an alternative convention for Paul supporters which was held in Tampa the day before the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Recently, Popper formed a rock/jazz/hip-hop fusion group the John Popper Project with DJ Logic, which released an album in 2006 and performs occasionally. He also performs on the album Global Noize by Jason Miles and DJ Logic (2008).
Popper has co-written songs with Trey Anastasio, Warren Haynes, Chris Barron, and Jonny Lang. He also frequently appears as a guest performer with musicians both famous and obscure, from a diverse variety of genres. He has performed with, among others, jam bands Spin Doctors, Dave Matthews Band, Phish and most recently, the Allman Brothers Band in 2009; bluesmen Eric Clapton and B.B. King; singer-songwriters Jason Mraz and John Mayer; saxophonist Karl Denson; San Francisco's Culann's Hounds; heavy metal band Metallica; rock trio, ZO2 and even with the Hungarian Ambassador to the United States, András Simonyi. He sat in with the Smashing Pumpkins on the second day of their acoustic 1997 Bridge School Benefit appearance, contributing harmonica for their song "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans"; Popper's solo garnered major applause from the audience. He also performed with the Grateful Dead at a tribute to Bill Graham in 1991. He was the harmonica player on Hanson's album This Time Around in 2000, for which he performed on "If Only" and "In The City." He also composed, wrote and performed the theme song for the ninth season of the sitcom Roseanne.
He has been a recurring guest on Howard Stern's and Bill Maher's shows and sat in with the CBS Orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman on occasion. In 2009, he sat in with the Roots on an episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Popper performed "Something Sweet" with the Duskray Troubadours on the TBS show "Lopez Tonight" on March 1, 2011. He also sat in with the house band for the closing number of the show.
Since the success of Blues Traveler, Popper has lived in various locations, including rural Pennsylvania and New Orleans. He currently has a residence near Snohomish, Washington. On November 23, 2015, John and his now ex-wife Jordan welcomed their first child, a daughter, Eloise Ann. John and Jordan Auleb divorced in 2018.
In 2016, Popper along with the rest of Blues Traveler made a cameo appearance in The Meddler.
In August 2016, he announced a pending surgical procedure to repair collapsed vertebrae in his neck, necessitating the postponement and cancellation of some Blues Traveler shows.
Most recently, Popper performed the Blues Traveler hits "Run-Around" and "Hook", as well as a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner", alongside Greensky Bluegrass for Bernie Sanders' "A Future to Believe In" rally at Safeco Field in Seattle on March 25, 2016.
On March 29, 2016, Da Capo Press released Popper's autobiography, Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I'm Not Supposed To Tell written by Popper with the help of Relix co-editor-in-chief Dean Budnick. In the book, among band exploits and a variety of topics, Popper discusses the band's rebound from the death of bassist Bobby Sheehan, the creation of the H.O.R.D.E. tour, his relationship with Bill Graham, and his personal battle with being overweight.
In 2017 and 2018, John began to play solo acoustic performances across the United States. He is often accompanied by Blues Traveler keyboardist Ben Wilson, and performs songs that span both Blues Traveler and his extensive solo catalog.
Currently, John Popper is 55 years, 4 months and 10 days old. John Popper will celebrate 56th birthday on a Wednesday 29th of March 2023. Below we countdown to John Popper upcoming birthday.
On John Popper's Birthday: Remembering When Blues Traveler and Phish Vied for MSG
Earlier this week, John Popper made a surprise appearance along with Peter Shapiro during the Relix Channel's Wayback Wednesday programming, which
Happy Birthday John Popper: Blues Traveler Welcomes Warren Haynes At 2015 Peach Music Festival
Celebrate John Popper's birthday with footage of Blues Traveler teaming with Warren Haynes for "The Mountains Win Again" back in 2015.
Happy 50th Birthday John Popper: 5 Fantastic Guest Appearances
Celebrate John Popper's 50th birthday with a look at five stellar sit-ins featuring the Blues Traveler frontman from the past few years.
Happy Birthday John Popper: Sitting-In With Phish In 1996
In honor of harmonica virtuoso and Blues Traveler frontman John Popper’s birthday today look back at time he sat-in with Phish in St. Louis in 1996.