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The Web's Entertainment Center, National
Sep 7th, 1999



JohnPopper> Hi everybody!
JohnPopper> I'm really sleepy, but here I am! Ask any question, and you will receive some kind of answer to one of life's mysterious paths.
JohnPopper> Spin the wheel if you dare.

MaxMule> Were there many songs that you wrote for the solo album that didn't get through the final cut?
JohnPopper> There were a couple of songs. A lot of songs on the solo record were songs that Blues Traveler had tried to do but deemed no fit for use.
JohnPopper> Blues Traveler has a style of sound that is great for epic tunes.
JohnPopper> But not really for ballads necessarily...such as "Home" on the new record.
JohnPopper> I saved the song for just such an occasion...but there are other songs that I have written just for the record.
JohnPopper> Now give me your soul!

SiaPapp> John, will you be playing "Home" this Friday at the Somerville Theater?
JohnPopper> Why as a matter of fact I will!
JohnPopper> It's quite a lovely song. What's cool is that the solo band has the ability for nice background vocals.
JohnPopper> Now give me a piece of your soul!

LittlePopper> Jonny Lang is given credit for co-writing How About Now. Does he also play on the song?
JohnPopper> Jonny is a friend of mine and he didn't play on that song, but he and I got together one weekend to write songs and this is what we came up with. His music is entirely the song, and I threw words upon it.
JohnPopper> I'd like to play with him in the future - I'm sure someday it will happen.
JohnPopper> He's dreamy.
JohnPopper> Now give me a piece of your soul!

Ivan> John, I have listened to Zygote 4 times already today, and its great. Do you plan on releasing "Tip the Domino" as a single after "Miserable Bastard"?
JohnPopper> Thank you very much!
JohnPopper> I am glad you liked the record. The interesting thing about "Domino" is that I didn't think it was going to work.
JohnPopper> My longtime friend and guitar player Crugie Riccio had written the song entirely and it has a quirky kind of disjuncted rhythm to the middle of it.
JohnPopper> It wound up being one of the strongest songs on the album.
JohnPopper> I'm not sure they'll make it a single - thats usually up to the record companies as they're the ones who sell the records to the radio stations and the retail marketplace. It's all a big sham.
JohnPopper> You the public are forced to eat whatever they, the faceless nameless conglomerate, shovel at you.
JohnPopper> Keep your innocence and purity. Hold onto it as long as you can.
JohnPopper> And then give me a piece of your soul.

JP+Popper> What is the meaning behind "Evil In My Chair"? Is it a separate persona or a struggle inside with an addiction?
JohnPopper> You have guessed it right on the second try.
JohnPopper> "Evil in my Chair" is the feeling I have when I'm alone and I suddenly have a craving to eat.
JohnPopper> My recent heart condition is symptomatic to a longtime addiction to food. Being diabetic, it's a medical fact that there are some foods that will kill me. Doughnuts come to mind.
JohnPopper> One night I was being very good on my diet and I saw an ad for Dunkin Donuts comes on TV. Suddenly I feel as though I'm being pulled to do something destructive, though I didn't want to. I then transferred my addiction into the form of some guardian angel gone wrong.
JohnPopper> And the song kind of wrote itself.
JohnPopper> And then I had to give him my soul.
LittlePopper> John, "Once You Wake Up" reminds me a bit of "Imagine". Between that and your mention of "Instant Karma" in "Top The Domino", how much of this album drew from your enjoyment of John Lennon's music?
JohnPopper> It is interesting that you mention "Tip The Domino". And thank you, by the way. I must remind you that I didn't write "Domino" - my partner did. But I think you caught something valid in that I always thought that Crugie was very affected by Lennon.
JohnPopper> I think those who know him can see the Lennon quality in his music and his basic social underpinning. I too love John Lennon but where Crugie is concerned it's very special. Crugie writes from the gut.
JohnPopper> Me having written "Once You Wake Up", I'd say that is a Lennon-ish song that I wrote.
JohnPopper> I appreciate the observation. "Once You Wake Up" is really about revelations and how you can't ignore them once you make them.
JohnPopper> It was these very revelations about my life and myself that made this record possible.
JohnPopper> So I feel "Once You Wake Up" is really sort of the theme of the record.
JohnPopper> Now give me some fillet of sole!
FelowTrvlr> Of all the Blues Traveler Songs you could have covered, why did you choose "Fledgling?"
JohnPopper> Firstly, it was a chance to get the song on the radio again - get it played at least.
JohnPopper> As it is one of my favorites, I thought it would be nice to dust it off and give people another chance to hear it.
JohnPopper> But the best reason is, when swimming in my indoor pool I would sing the song in that wonderful acoustic reverb, and it sounded so pretty with a very sparse arrangement.
JohnPopper> I wanted to try to see if I could give a new arrangement and with it a new take on the song.
JohnPopper> I was supposed to have Brian May sit in on the end solo, but at the last minute he could not attend.
JohnPopper> This gave me the opportunity to do a Brian May knockoff guitar solo myself.
JohnPopper> This was a lot of fun.
JohnPopper> Now, my shoe needs to work on its sole.
JCat> Do you enjoy your visits with Howard Stern? I know my friends and I do! We look forward to tomorrow!
JohnPopper> Thanks, me too!
JohnPopper> I love going on Howard's show. I've often said that Howard Stern is the philosopher of our age. I think he is. I get so sick of people talking about Lenny Bruce.
JohnPopper> The only reason is, I never got to know his comedy on a personal level. Lenny Bruce spoke to an entire generation and helped people redefine what is important by pointing out what is so silly.
JohnPopper> With Howard Stern, he's in my generation. I really understand all that stuff about Lenny Bruce in a real way. I would say in my lifetime, there are two main comedians/philosophers I can think of.
JohnPopper> One is George Carlin and the other is Howard Stern.
JohnPopper> There are a lot of good ones, but these two take the chances.
JohnPopper> And Howard is willing to be completely honest every morning.
JohnPopper> And he wants your soul.
a100yearslynda> Regarding Zygote, are you the Sperm or the Egg?
JohnPopper> Am I the sperm or the egg... is this one of those sexual internet letters? If I were French Doors I'd definitely swing out, and up is certainly my direction.
JohnPopper> All 72 inches. Woo-hoo!
JohnPopper> I guess what I would have to say is, I am probably the ejaculate.
JohnPopper> But Zygote very definitely has its own soul.
JasonMillner> John, can you talk a little bit about your relationship with God... "Open Letter" appears to be an affirmation in your belief, but "The Way" seems to at least question the actual existence of God...
JohnPopper> Oh, I absolutely believe in God.
JohnPopper> I think everyone's beliefs are going to be different, and no one belief is going to satisfy someone else - this being the problem with religion.
JohnPopper> I think every belief is valid in this regard. It's like there are 4 billion equally valid religions throughout the world.
JohnPopper> For my part I don't see God as some old man in a sheet throwing lightning bolts.
JohnPopper> I think God is more a way that we are.
JohnPopper> Thats what Daoism is all about.
JohnPopper> But I have to assign a little more personality to that "way".
JohnPopper> I think that things that live and are alive come towards a system that involves a certain kind of justice. I think that when we feel loved or real happiness, that's when we are aware through practical application that we fit into this system.
JohnPopper> And I know for a fact, if you ask out loud for help you will get it, in whatever form it comes.
JohnPopper> Not that I'm trying to save your SOULS...
stonewall> Carter Beauford is a great drummer, kudos for getting him on the album - did that change the creative process on the album, or did he just walk in, play, and leave?
JohnPopper> Holy crazy hell yes!
JohnPopper> Carter almost couldn't do the album - he was only available for four weeks and I needed him for six weeks. I'd never done a record on my own before and was worried about scheduling. I had no counsel.
JohnPopper> I had to make the gamble or not, and I chose to make it.
JohnPopper> It wound up being the best move I made for the entire record. Carter made the record breathe, and a lot of the drumming had to be unique for what I was asking him to do.
JohnPopper> He's a drummer with a lot of soul.
Riddler> Do you every take lyric ideas from outside BT or the John Popper Band?
JohnPopper> If they're good enough, absolutely!
JohnPopper> Lyrics need to pass the simple test, and you can take this down if you would like to submit lyrics to me:
JohnPopper> 1. Are they catchy?
JohnPopper> 2. Do they rhyme?
JohnPopper> 3. Are they lyrics that I, John Popper, could steal and pretend that they're mine?
JohnPopper> 4. Could I win the ensuing lawsuit?
JohnPopper> 5. Is there any way to crush and destroy the actual writer?
JohnPopper> 6. Can I squeeze the writer's family for any money?
JohnPopper> 7. Can I somehow take the writer's stuff - move into his apartment, perhaps?
JohnPopper> 8. Can I have a piece of the writer's SOUL?
Harmonica Slim> Why did HORDE end this past year?
JohnPopper> There are perhaps four reasons, all of which I'll tell you now. On a personal level, I had my hands full with this record. I can do Blues Traveler and one other thing well. This year I chose my record. I'm a better songwriter than I am a promoter.
JohnPopper> Promoters are a sad, twisted lot who urinate in their pants often and experience prostate problems.
JohnPopper> They can't spell very good and their use of grammar is crappy.
JohnPopper> They liken to Mafia Dons, and some of them even like mastadons. I wouldn't want to be one if you paid me $40. $50 - we'll talk.
JohnPopper> Reason #2 - people were getting sick of coming to a festival tour they feel they'd seen already. Lollapalooza, HORDE, Lilith all suffered this fate, as will any festival tour that continues yearly.
JohnPopper> Some things were not meant to be yearly, bi-yearly or quintannual events.
JohnPopper> Reason #3 - factualism. It is my opinion that with every categorized music, be it the all woman tour, the alternative tour, the live jamming tour, the all Filipino tour, the all gastrointestinal surgical tour - you get good women and you get bad women. Heavy metal alternative, punk metal alternative.
JohnPopper> These factions destroy the unity. We were discovering on HORDE that there were old jam bands and young jam bands. The trend for these factions to avoid each other was getting difficult. This is the problem with categorized music.
JohnPopper> Fourthly, I believe that the festival tour is doomed for a much better reason. The reason I like this reason is that it deals with natural selection and Darwin's theory.
JohnPopper> There is simply a better avenue.
JohnPopper> The radio show.
JohnPopper> Every town has the KFOM Rompkapade, Summer Super Motherfunk Fest or Super Wacky Beach Party in which new and good young bands get to play for large groups of people.
JohnPopper> The radio stations buy these young bands with air time, not with money as the festival tours do. To a young band, air time is the most precious thing they can acquire.
JohnPopper> That, coupled with the massively low overhead of all these radio shows in every major market, have resulted in a very effective method, and more efficient mousetrap, and in short, the absolute decline of the dodo that is the recurring festival packaged tour.
JohnPopper> And I say thank God for it!
JohnPopper> Because they take your soul!
TiM_Beam> John -- what was your inspiration for "Miserable Bastard" is it about anyone?? is there a "miserable bastard" somewhere out there?
JohnPopper> Yes there is.
JohnPopper> He lurks inside of me.
JohnPopper> The song was - and I know what you were thinking, I don't go around exposing myself to little old ladies - anyway, the song was about my ability to manipulate personal relationships.
JohnPopper> With merciless aplomb. I think that I've learned a whole lot these last couple years. "Miserable Bastard" represents a part of myself that I am perhaps not too proud of. I like to think there is a little miserable bastard inside all of us. The Machiavelli in me is alive and well.
JohnPopper> Musically, "Miserable Bastard" has nice grooves, as I borrowed from the likes of Prince and De La SOUL.
Harmonica Slim> What words of wisdom would you give young musicians?
JohnPopper> Wise up.
JohnPopper> Never turn down free money.
JohnPopper> Wear a condom.
JohnPopper> Actually, theres that old crew thing I always heard. If it's wet, drink it. If it's dry, smoke it. If it moves, fuck it. If it doesn't move, throw it on the truck.
JohnPopper> A musicians life is full of adages like that. Someday I'll tell you the difference between a slut and a bitch...but seriously, if there is one word I can give you that will save your neck more than any other time it would be SOUL.
CrystFlm> What are your feelings on the current music scene?
JohnPopper> Which one?
JohnPopper> The general music scene, I think, is very general, musically. The music's musicality makes a musical music musing in musical muse.
JohnPopper> I think that music is a dancer. No, I'm sorry, that's rhythm that's a dancer.
JohnPopper> Music has been known to have written the songs, apparently. Music is that little twinkle in Sinatra's eyes.
JohnPopper> But can you answer me this question?
JohnPopper> If music can resound to the hills, to the point of making them alive, why do we tarry so in our daily labors?
JohnPopper> What in fact would we do without music?
JohnPopper> What indeed would we do without song?
JohnPopper> If a train left Chicago at 300 miles an hour and there was no music, who would care that it got to New York when it did?
JohnPopper> I think that the most important thing to remember about music is that it is every bit yours as it is mine.
JohnPopper> Music is like God. Everybody's got their version of what it means. I could sit here and spew crap at all of you about my theories of music forever.
JohnPopper> It won't matter a whit. What should matter is what YOU think about music.
JohnPopper> The great thing about art - and supposed experts want to keep this secret to protect their jobs - is that beauty is really in the eye of the beholder. What you think is what is true to you.
JohnPopper> That's as true as it can be. Did you know that "the sun" in Latin is pronounced SOL.
JasonMillner> Any chance we'll see some of the old solo material on tour this fall... Princeton Eyes, Ain't That Life... Dream On...
JohnPopper> Absolutely.
JohnPopper> What I'm trying to do is play with the band and do the encore acoustically.
JohnPopper> That should provide a nice little lift to the show.
JohnPopper> I really hope you guys like this stuff.
JohnPopper> I don't want to piss any of you off and have you throw fondue forks at the stage.
JohnPopper> Or octopi.
JohnPopper> Or fillets of salmon.
JohnPopper> Or, perhaps a nice piece of SOUL...
JohnPopper> I hope you guys got something out of this interview. Sleep deprivation has left me a bit surreal.
JohnPopper> If you want to chat again, let these wonderful servers know and we'll do it again.
JohnPopper> Doing these kind of interviews brings out this neurotic need in me to talk to everyone there.
JohnPopper> Logistically, this becomes impossible, and I'm left with a slightly empty feeling, as though there's some kid out there in Muncie, IN who strove really hard to put one question up there to get chosen, only to have me swat it down with some glib, sarcastic answer.
JohnPopper> If that is even remotely the case, please forgive me.
JohnPopper> But I do want you to know that Muncie, IN has no good Chinese restaurants, and aside from being referred to as a backwater town, has been known to have a history of sewage disposal problems.
JohnPopper> I thank you for your time and your SOULS.
JohnPopper> PS - I just realized what the capital of Korea is.