Blues Traveler set to jam at HeadlinersWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Blues Traveler has hooked fans for 16 years with its mix of jam-rock, pop and blues, earning a reputation for lengthy concerts.
The quintet will bring its extended sets to Headliners, 4500 N. Detroit Ave., at 10 p.m. June 9.Joe Purdy will open at 8:45 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $23 at the door.
Last fall, the Grammy Award-winning band released its eighth studio album, “¡Bastardos!” Travelerros Azul are John Popper, vocals and harmonica; Chan Kinchla, guitar; Brendan Hill, drums; Ben Wilson, keyboards; and Tad Kinchla, bass. Wilson and Tad Kinchla joined the group after bass player Bobby Sheehan died in 1999.
Wilson took time last week for an interview while visiting his mom in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Toledo Free Press: ¡Bastardos! where did that title come from?
Wilson: John had always wanted to call a record “Blues Traveler, Those Bastards!” And we didn’t really think that translated quite as well. We started racking our brains and figured out the closest translation in Spanish was bastardos, and we thought the two exclamation points were particularly humorous.
TFP: What was it like meeting John Popper for the first time? The group asked you to audition?
Wilson: The first time I met John actually, I didn’t get the message they moved it [the audition] back a few hours so I showed up to play and walked in and they all had just gotten up, it was like noon, and they were having breakfast. And this was before John’s operation, so he was on a restrictive diet. The first thing I noticed was he had picked up a piece of bacon and he was just savoring it because he knew it was going to be the only good piece of food he was going to be able to have that day because he was having some heart difficulties at the time. He was an incredibly charismatic, talkative guy.
TFP: Blues Traveler is known for its long jam shows on the road. What’s your philosophy when you take the stage?
Wilson: I think our philosophy is get out there and entertain, play as well as we can, try to appease the people that are there to see “Run-Around” and “Hook,” as well as have that other side of the show, kind of our jamming and rockin’ out side. There’re different sides to Blues Traveler and it seems different people like different sides. There’s still a lot of jamming in between songs, but there’s also a recognition that we do write poppy, singly-sounding things and that’s OK, you don’t have to run away from that.
TFP: Why do you think jam music has been popular for so long?
Wilson: There’s an honesty to it in some ways, I think. There’s no BS. You get up there and people have always appreciated that people can play their instruments. It brings back the whole Grateful Dead thing and just kind of good-time music.
TFP: When you were growing up in Ann Arbor, did you come to Toledo?
Wilson: I used to play in another band called Big Dave and the Ultrasonics, and I think we played at Headliners once a long time ago, but I can’t remember. I used to come down and play in Toledo a lot. We played at the Main Event when it was happenin’.
ON THE WEB: www.bluestraveler.com