A well-known musician and song writer, John Popper is one of the greatest harmonica players in rock who has been listed as a “Feature Artist by harmonica manufacturer Hohner as a way of paying tribute to the best and most successful harmonica players in the music industry. John is also the frontman of the rock band Blues Traveler who also performs on the guitar and vocals. During his appearances with the band, he has been known to carry a set of harmonicas in 12 different keys which allows him to exchange harmonicas multiple times within a single song.
Born on 29 March 1967 in Cleveland, Ohio, John Popper is the son of a Hungarian immigrant who is related to 19th century European cellist David Popper. He played the trumpet while in Princeton High School Studio Jazz Band, but he was able to persuade the instructor to let him play the harmonica after he did an in-class solo of “She Blinded Me With Science.” In 1987, he formed the Blues Traveler and after graduating from high school, they moved to New York City where they were able to obtain a record contract three years later. By 1994, the band’s album titled “Four” gained much media exposure and in 1996, the song “Run-around” composed by John won the Grammy Award for best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Aside from touring with Blues Traveler, John Popper performed solo concerts in the 1990s. In 1999, he was able to release his sole album, “Zygote” and toured extensively with his own John Popper band to promote it. During the decade, John has co-written songs with other song writers and appeared as guest performer with other musicians and jam bands.
An avid collector of firearms who has built a private gun range on his Pennsylvania property, John Popper supports the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights and appeared on a roundtable discussion on gun control sponsored by MTV.
While he has previously expressed support for the Republican Party and endorsed George W. Bush in the U.S. presidential elections in 2004, John Popper is a member of the Libertarian Party who believes in freedom of markets and individuals. Saying that politics does not influence his choice of performance venue, he has played at fundraisers and ceremonies for politians from both sides of the political fence. During the presidential election in 2008, he admitted voting for Barack Obama saying that it was the first he voted for a Democrat. John has also toured with the USO at various times with Blues Traveler or solo to entertain troops deployed abroad. He recently visited military camps in the Middle East and performed with the Air Force Band and Jamie O’Neal.