Giovanni’s Superfan Sidebar 04/15/2016 – John Popper

Giovanni’s Superfan Sidebar 04/15/2016 – John Popper

A real time blog where Superfan Giovanni does recap and commentary on the show as it happens and opines on all things ACS

Guest John Popper

Recorded 04-13-2016 – Release Date 04-15-2016

Production Number #1800

Show Page

Adam is opening the show to a funny “his family definitely had the blues but never did any travelling” intro from Dawson and Lynch, Adam jokes about his dad’s band being called “Blues Squatter” and Adam asks him about his book right off the bat.

This is John’s 5th appearance on the podcast, he is also the guest on Take a Knee #75, a fantastic episode, recorded right before this show, so if you want to listen in order, listen to that first!

John was first on ACS #907, then ACS #1071 live from Adam’s old place in Malibu, he came back again for ACS #1190 and he was last on in 2014 for ACS #1388.

John also guested on the KLSX ACS on October 17th 2006, November 3rd 2006 and his final visit was on November 12th 2008, before that he guested on Classic LoveLine with 4 known appearances between 1996 and 2005.


John says his dad is writing his own book, Adam asks about how this book came to be, John says he worked with another guy and would riff while he typed it out.

Adam says that everyone on earth should experiences this, he talks about being asked to write a book and it coming from a financial motivation instead of the BS reply most people give.

Joh nonce again name drops Dean Budnick who got him rolling and served as his book shepherd/producer ala Mike Lynch.


“You’re dyslexic, I’m dumb!” – Adam

John claims that nobody is buying that Adam is dumb, Adam says it’s just like not being taught to play the Harmonica, same thing, he just never got an education.

John shares how he would serve as a class clown and would distract his class, Adam is talking about writing in drips and drabs, just taking it in chunks.


Adam says you get to 331 pages with an hour here, another hour there and at 76,000 words you can see the finish line coming.

Adam brings up his first audiobook experience and how he’s now moved it to his own professional studio, Adam is telling John how to best record his audiobook and they come up with a possible mobile studio recording setup for the tour bus.

John talks about the temptation to push it and eat while reading the book.


Adam is doing a Trunk Club Live Read


Dawson loved Blues Traveler and gets on mic, Adam says that one of the thing he and his wife agree on is music, he shares how they know what each other hate sonically.

Adam says he and his wife share good taste in music, not the same taste.

Adam is now picturing John Popper in ‘The Human League’ after his lyrical reference.


Adam is bringing up ‘Regarding Steven’ one of this all-time favorite songs from John’s band, he says they have the live version and a studio version that was on the soundtrack to the movie ‘White Man’s Burden’ (1995) which neither of them can name.

Adam says it’s a bizarre song to choose for such a film as it’s about a guy named Steven, John says it’s about being left behind and they are now listening to some of the live recording.

Adam says he found the song to be moving as John was moved in the recording which moved him without knowing the backstory.


John is explaining the backstory a bit, Adam is trying to get him to reveal more and John dances around his buddy’s bad life.

Adam is now having Dawson crank it up so we can all rock out to the excellent harmonica riff without lyrics.

Adam asks him about playing a riff like that and if he knows where he’s flying with it, he says he doesn’t and Adam asks how much he can capture of that riff/energy without an audience present.


Adam is having Dawson crank up the growling part of the lyrics, Adam says this is why he doesn’t like people singing songs they didn’t write.

John agrees but does acknowledge legendary singers how made other people’s work their own, John gives an update on Steven and his life now.

Adam is now praising ‘Tears of a Clown’ by Smokey Robinson and brings up a shitty tweets declaring that the song sucked from a listener whom he hopes was kidding.


Adam is doing a Drafts King Live Read


John is back to Steven who contacted him about the band’s success, John plugs his pizza joint as he looks up the name of it.


Adam is talking about the weird dynamic of reaching success and dealing with your old buddies, Adam is willing to play it anyway you want, he’ll pay for dinner or be the guy who’s “changed” and John is talking about the fantasy of being famous and how it never amounts to much of what you’d hopes or imagined.

John comments about hanging out with Bill Murray and getting used to celebrities as people, Adam is now asking John about the height of ‘Blues Traveler’ popularity and how the thanksgiving dinners would go with overcompensation for the siblings who didn’t play Carnegie hall.

John has a good point about treating your family like they’re your road crew and Adam asks if he lost any friends in the process of getting famous and successful.


John says he’s on good terms with many of his exes and he can’t just kick it with them like he used to, he now must define boundaries and John talks about his 4-month old daughter.

Adam talks about the blessing of being able to play that harp in front of the young creature than can respond so immediately, Adam couldn’t use his comedy to amuse the kids until they had higher brain function.

Adam wants John to play along with ‘Tears of A Clown’ and he explains to Adam how he finds the root key to a tune and can then jump in with that defined.


John is now riffing with is harmonica over some Smokey Robinson, this is great!

Adam chimes in with some lyrics along with John, this is very similar to the riffing John has done on the show in the past, and what came before that on Classic LoveLine when John along with Cleto and the Cletones would come in studio and play their music while Adam and Drew (mostly Adam) pretended to be jamming, some fans still think it was Adam and Drew really playing all these years later, nice work!

Adam is now asking John about “can I get a witness” moments and uses the existence of publicists to make his point, he’s bringing up the iPhone argument, it first happened on the 2008 KLSX Morning Show, Adam argued that the device was intended to be more likely to break resulting in more purchases, he quotes Teresa and her “Mother of Pearl” reply that’s etched in the halls of radio history.


Adam is talking about knives and blades with John who loves shooting sports and knives, he says some guns almost lead you to the target.

Adam asks him about this cannon that can throw a can of dog food 1000 yards.

John says he lives in Seattle and talks about the cannon’s historical legacy in the northwest, Dawson now gets on mic to share his legendary story of seeing ‘Blues Traveler’ live in concert only to have a myth form the show later dispelled.

Dawson goes over the details of the heavily charged moment that John later revealed was a gimmick when he came on the KLSX ACS, John was eager to tell him it again.


Adam is talking about the notion of doing something works and playing it like it’s a novelty even though it’s scripted, he says comedians do it all the time.

John Popper talks about ‘Canadian Rose’ and the hopes that there was a person who the song was about, Adam is satisfied knowing the truth about ‘Regarding Steven’ and the notion he was talking to the Devil in the song.

Adam is saying he thought he was talking to his mom, John recalls the original title of the song that contained the details it was an open letter to Satan.


John praises Adam’s love for the deep cuts and the rarer material, Adam explains how you can get a good sample of band that way.

John shares his appreciation for ‘The Hook’ and how he is ok with that being the big hit, if they just had ‘Run-Around’ he might not be ok with it.

John shares how he talked them into the singles and breaking the album on the charts in the early/mid 1990’s and Adam shares how he demanded that KROQ Program director Kevin Weatherly play some Blues Traveler when nobody else was giving them airplay.

The listen to some of ‘The Hook’ and Adam explains how John and Blues Traveler were a genre bending and redefining musical experience for him.


Adam is doing a True Car Live read

Adam says Look-Around edition


John is coming up with the song ‘The Hook’ and how he came up with it, he explains his brother told him he puts too many lyrics in his song, he says he feels like there is a little bit of a similarity to a song form ‘The Police’ and John explains the meaning of the lyrics.

Adam says the good stations wouldn’t truncate the harmonica solo in the middle, that’s how you could tell if they had integrity.


Adam talks about the bands that compose songs they can’t pull off on stage, he mentions ‘Third Eye Blind’ and says Blues Traveler is a band that do pull off their most elaborate tracks, sometimes they even sound better than studio versions.

Adam is asking what John prefers when it comes to touring, he likes to mix it up and play all kinds of venues, he says touring with other bands is fun too.

Adam wants to know if he’s in talks with some bigger artists, he says yes but can’t talk about it.

Adam asks him about opening acts and not wanting to be shown up, John doesn’t care at all and doesn’t think that way.


John has a funny Rolling Stone anecdote about his harmonica playing abilities, Adam likes the story and he says ‘Modern Family’ ripping off his jokes is sweet, it doesn’t piss him off when people in form him.

Adam asks him about touring with the Rolling Stones, Mick was 53 at the time and had more energy than John had in his 30’s and he shares a quote from Mick about not making it feel like work.

John says Runaround and they go into a live read.


Adam is doing a Life Lock Live Read

John is doing all of his harmonica shopping online these days, John is blown away that Dawson does all of the reads live and remarks on it, nice!


Adam is now plugging the PodcastOne archives and wraps up the show.