With Neil Young, Beck, The Ben Folds Five, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Kula Shaker, Primus, Morphine and Cake Like onboard, this summer's H.O.R.D.E. tour may be the hottest ticket going. Blues Traveler frontman and H.O.R.D.E. organizer John Popper sat down with MTV News' Kurt Loder last weekend at Tinley Park, Illinois', New World Music Thater to see how this summer's tour is shaping up.
Kurt: Before you played this set with Neil today, had you ever even talked to him before?
John: Uh, no actually.
Kurt: Just walked up on stage and played...
John: I saw him from afar when we were playing in Hershey last year. And the other guys got to meet him but it was raining and they wanted to keep me dry for some reason. And it was really cool that day because we weren't sure if we could follow Neil and it was a real challenge for us and I thought we did real well because he pushed us really far.That's the great thing about this tour is that you wind up going on after some really amazing bands so you better kick some butt. And that was a really great day for that. And I got right in off the plane, came straight here and he was going up on stage and I sorta' jumped right up there uninvited and started puffin'.
Kurt: And it worked out really well.
John: Oh it was great. I was really suprised 'cuz, like I was telling you before, I was pretty worried about what I was going to do. Because he has a harmonica you see.
Kurt: That didn't deter you though.
John: Nope. No I just figured, try and find a spot. Find a happy place.
Kurt: When H.O.R.D.E. started, you were among one of the guys who were behind it. What did it start out to be? Was it a specific idea?
John: You know, all the bands on the original year were Phish, Widespread Panic, the Spin Doctors and The Aquarium Unit, were all talking about, you know, we all hate playing indoors in the summer and the only way to play ? would be to have a draw and you know if we teamed up maybe that'll be a great thing and we'd draw a big crowd. We'd sorta' have travelled the farthest of all these bands.So we were at home with Phish, and we knew Widespread real well and the Spin Doctors were in New York where we were. I wound up being the one making a lot of the calls. That was an interesing first year. It was eight really great shows and we added on Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. And it was just a really great show and the next year the people who wanted to do it remembered that spirit and it was just a lot of fun. It was hang out with really good bands in the summer and we were all learning from each other. I mean The Aquarium Rescue Unit who had the smallest draw was the band that when they would go on everybody would shut up and listen to them because they were the best band I had ever heard in my life.
Kurt: World's oldest underground band actually. They've been underground for so long.
John: Well, Colonel Bruce Hampton just, he lives underground. I'd take a bullet for the Colonel.