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Faces
by Andy Langer
POV Magazine, National
Aug 31st, 1997



Before "Run-Around" and "Hook" made them bonafide alternative rock stars a few years back, John Popper and Blues Traveler were simply America's most palatable jam band - a hard tourin' outfit of Grateful Dead disciples with a thing for the Blues Brothers. And although their new Straight on Till Morning may be just short of that "mission from God" Jake and Elwood so often spoke of, it's certainly Popper and Co.'s most contagious, commercial and consistent collection yet, with all the markings of a hit for both radio playlists and the band's fall tour setlists.

It's been said that John Popper is the world's most unlikely rock star...

I don't know, why? I'm not really comfortable with the word "star" anyway, so I like to think I'm basically just a rock 'n' roll guy - which means you play music, write your own songs, and do it a lot.

"Doing it a lot" for Blues Traveler obviously means touring constantly. Nearly a decade later, is it still as much fun?

Oh, yeah. I liken it to being in a league or team sport. When I watch the Bulls play I get so horny to go out and tour. To watch Michael Jordan go and do his thing makes me want to go and do my thing. I love executing, and for us, that's about playing live.

Playing live, period?

I can't say "period" anymore - because I really think we made a great record this time, and the record really captures us honestly. Honesty is really the only goal I'm trying to achieve anymore.

So then what's the most dishonest thing you do?

To tell you would itself be an act of honesty, but I guess the most dishonest thing is the fact that I'm really a 45-year-old small black woman. And I suppose I have this reputation as a 30-year-old large white guy. I think I've been carrying it off really well. It takes a tons of padding...