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September 11, 2001 - It's more than the trademark harmonica that sets Blues Traveler apart from bands in their genre of loose, freestyle rock. The man behind the harmonica, John Popper - along with his cohorts: guitarist Chan Kinchla, drummer Brendan Hill, bassist Tad Kinchla, and pianist Ben Wilson bring a defining personality to the mix that is often imitated but never quite captured.
Blues Traveler, the multi-platinum album-selling outfit that features harmonica prodigy and vocalist John Popper, is coming to The Pan American Center in Las Cruces on September 12th as part of the second leg of their summer tour in support of their latest album, Bridge.
Like every rock band out there, Blues Traveler's life hasn't been one without surprises, however unfortunate they may be. Three years ago in 1999, Popper underwent angioplasty and later that year, the band lost one of their founding members when bassist Bobby Sheehan was found dead from a drug overdose in his apartment in New Orleans.
Bridge is the band's first album without Sheehan. "After losing someone so close to us, we realized that breaking up the family that remained would only compound the tragedy. So, without a doubt, we decided to carry on," said guitarist Chan Kinchla.
The band didn't have to look far for a new bassist. They enlisted the help of Tad Kinchla, Chan's younger brother, to play bass for the band. "We didn't want Tad to replace Bobby or try to sound like him. The only way this could work would be for Tad to come in on his own. We didn't want to enshrine Bob. We wanted to celebrate what he was trying to build, because we weren't done building it. We're still building it," said Popper. Blues Traveler also added a new member to their crew when they asked veteran blues circuit player, Ben Wilson, to join on as pianist and keyboard player.
Blues Traveler is breaking new ground on this tour, as it is their first run without Sheehan as well as their first run with two new members. "There's an old saying: Before I write or play it, I hope you like it. After I've written or played it, I hope that you like it. But while I'm doing it, I really donšt care," said Popper.
Tickets are $29.50 and $24.50 and are available at all Ticketmaster locations.
September 12, 2001 - Due to the tragic national events in the United States yesterday, Blues Traveler has regrettably made the decision to cancel today's show that was scheduled to take place at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces. Blues Traveler was already in Las Cruces when they made this decision.
The band has close ties to New York City and are concerned for the well-being of family and friends. The band's booking agency, The William Morris Agency, had offices located in the World Trade Center.
Pan Am Center Marketing Director Bobbie Welch said that yesterday's events really hit home for the band, and the band's management stated that it felt inappropriate to perform at this time, and the decision to cancel was made out of respect to the victims of the tragedy.
Refunds for concert-ticket holders will start at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, September 17th at the place of purchase. For further information, please call the Pan American Center Box Office at (505) 646-1420.
Bobbie Welch said that the band is planning to tour in the fall, and if possible they will be back to perform in Las Cruces at that time.