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Student Interviews Blues Traveler on MTV's FANatic
by Liz Razin
Tufts Daily, Medford, MA
Oct 1st, 1998

There is no question about it. There is no debating it. Tufts senior Vivien and her fiance David are the ultimate fans of Blues Traveler.

With copies of all six of the band's released CDs, every single the group has ever made, some 600 bootleg tapes and the band's rare first album on vinyl, they certainly have the goods to prove their devotion. And, after their appearance on MTV's hit show FANatic, in which everyday groupies get a chance to meet, interview and shmooze with their favorite celebrities and musicians, they definitely have the air time and video copy to prove it.

In an interview with Vivien, the Tufts Daily sought to explore what really makes up the finest follower and most extreme enthusiast of Blues Traveler.

Daily: How were you and David picked to be on FANatic?

Vivien: MTV producers found out about David's Blues Traveler website. They called him and arranged an interview where they found out about me... They liked our love story and asked us to submit a video tape of ourselves, which we made in the multimedia studio in Olin. But then David lost it on a T-ride.

Daily: Then what happened?

Vivien: MTV sent a production assistant to Boston that day to film us. By this point, I knew that they must really like us. We met her in South Station, and she filmed us there.

Daily: How did you finally find out that you made it onto the show?

Vivien: When MTV was still picking its contestants, Dave went away for the weekend. MTV called me 20 times in one day.... They asked me questions like, where are you from and why do you deserve to meet Blues Traveler? Finally, they called me and told me we won. But I couldn't even tell Dave when he returned.

Daily: Was it difficult keeping a secret from your fiance?

Vivien: Yes. It's hard when you live with him and you have a suitcase packed under your bed, hoping he won't see it.

Daily: How many other fans did you compete with to be on the show?

Vivien: 350. The worst part was that we actually competed with two of our friends to be on the show. But we didn't find out about them until after we were picked.

Daily: What was so unique about your show?

Vivien: Normally, the show features only one fanatic and one accomplice, who surprises the fanatic. But once MTV producers found out about our love story, they wanted us both on the show.

Daily: Where did you and David meet?

Vivien: At a 1997 Blues Traveler concert on Halloween night at the Orpheum Theater.

Daily: What did you think about FANatic before you were on it?

Vivien: I thought it was really cheesy. The people seemed ridiculously obsessed with the celebrities whom they were interviewing. I saw this one kid who interviewed Tara Lipinski. He heard that she likes frogs. So he brought like 15 frogs to the interview. I tried really hard not to come off like that.

Daily: How long were you featured on the show?

Vivien: We were only on television for 11 minutes, but it took two-and-a-half days to film.

Daily: What was the craziest statement you made on the show?

Vivien: When we were in the limo, the producers asked me how excited I was. So, I told them, "This is probably gonna be better than our wedding." I cannot believe I said that.

Daily: What did MTV make you do that you would not have done normally?

Vivien: For the primping scene in the bathroom, they made me put on make-up, which I never do. They also had David put gel in his hair, which he never uses. They couldn't show him shaving because his electric razor would make too much noise, and he couldn't brush his teeth and talk at the same time. It was so fake!

Daily: How did you decide what questions to ask Blues Traveler?

Vivien: Before we were chosen, MTV asked us to each submit thirty questions for the band. For the actual interview, MTV cut it down to fifteen.

Daily: What was your favorite question?

Vivien: Although they did not air it, I told [Blues Traveler] that I was friends with Guster, who played at the HORDE and is from Tufts. Guster asked me to ask them if they would play with them. John Popper said okay, and they played together at the HORDE in Portland.

Daily: What question do you wish you did not ask?

Vivien: On my original question list, as a joke, I asked if we could get married on stage. MTV turned it into a big deal... I really want to get married in a church, not on stage... But the director had to prod me to ask them.

Daily: How did they respond?

Vivien: John Popper asked, "We don't have to actually perform the ceremony, do we?" Then, they asked if they could be the groomsmen.

Daily: How did your parents react to this question?

Vivien: They weren't so happy to hear it, but they aren't so happy about us getting married so young. On top of it all, it would be worse at a rock 'n' roll concert.

Daily: What was your favorite part of the interview?

Vivien: When I told the band that I was from Princeton Junction, they all slapped my hand... We talked about the Dinky, which is a little train that travels between Princeton Junction and Princeton, where they are from... We joked about Wawa convenience stores. They appreciated the hometown thing.

Daily: Did MTV exploit you at all?

Vivien: Yes. They told us that they were going to give us ten minutes by ourselves in the limo to talk without a camera. But there was a pen-sized camera in the limo that taped our entire conversation.

Daily: What did you say while you were being taped?

Vivien: Most of the time, I was yelling at David for not shaving in the morning.

Daily: If you could have edited the show, what would you have added or deleted?

Vivien I would have loved to get on camera the dedication that John Popper made to us at the HORDE concert. He said, "I guess this one goes out to Dave and Vivien." Then they played "Just Wait." It was so beautiful.

Daily: How did your friends react to the interview?

Vivien: My friends from high school would randomly E-mail me. They'd say, "What happened to you? Why do you have that ring on your finger?" At Homecoming, people would say, "Hey, there's a famous person."

Daily: How has this experience changed your impression of Blues Traveler?

Vivien: l already knew they were cool. But now they are more human. I feel like they are my friends. For example, at a concert two weeks ago, the drummer saw David as he walked by and said "Hi." It's really cool.

Daily: What do you want to do now that you have been on MTV?

Vivien: I want to meet Jon from Road Rules. I've seen him at Tufts. I think he is an MFA student.

Daily: What was the best part about the FANatic experience?

Vivien: After the interview, when we went to the Horde Concert, John Popper called us on stage to dance with them. But MTV made it look as though we were getting on stage to get married. People have asked me, "Did you really get married?"