Blues Traveler is an American jam band from Princeton, New Jersey. Currently, the group is led by harmonica virtuoso John Popper (vocals, harmonica) along with Chan Kinchla (guitar), Brendan Hill (b. March 27, 1970, in London, England, UK) (drums), Tad Kinchla (b. February 21, 1973, in Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.) (bass) and Ben Wilson (b. November 17, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.) (keyboards). Tad Kinchla and Ben Wilson joined the band following the death of original bassist Bobby Sheehan in 1999 of a drug overdose in New Orleans. While Blues Traveler is best known among fans for their improvisational live shows, the general public is most familiar with the group from their fourth studio album Four. Released in 1994, the two singles "Run-Around" and "Hook" gained mainstream radio popularity.
Blues Traveler's subsequent releases were not as successful as the quintuple platinum sales of Four, though the band has maintained a loyal fanbase from the beginning of their career. Their albums with A&M in the later 1990s include Straight on Till Morning and Bridge. The group signed with Sanctuary Records and released Truth Be Told on August 5, 2003. Their latest album, ¡Bastardos!, was released on September 13, 2005.
Sheehan's untimely death in 1999 and Popper's struggle with obesity put a damper on the group's success, and A&M dropped the band after low sales of their 2001 album Bridge. However, the band took this transition period as an opportunity to start in new directions musically. Popper, who at one point weighed in at a dangerous 420 pounds, had gastric bypass surgery in 2003 and is no longer obese.
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