The Nasty Blues Traveler The Black Crowes Feud on Howard Stern’s Show
Back in 2001, members of Blues Traveler and The Black Crowes exchanged some harsh words for each other on Howard Stern’s radio show. Check out the full story below!
It’s rare that a feud gets to play out on live radio, but that’s exactly what happened in 2001 when both members of Blues Traveler and The Black Crowes, were booked as separate guests and were set to appear the same morning on Howard Stern’s radio show. Blues Traveler had an album out at the time called Bridge, while the Black Crowes released their own album the same week called Lions. The morning started with Blues Traveler frontman John Popper coming on the show and being told The Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson wouldn’t enter the studio until Popper left. Today let’s explore how the beef started, what happened on the stern show and the aftermath.
The Black Crowes and Blues Traveler would perform with each other as part of the Horde Feistval, which stood for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere. It was a rock festival that was the brainchild of Blues Traveler and it would run from 1992 to 1998 and it would be inspired by Janes Addiction frontman Perry Farrell’s Lollapalooza festival, which premiered in 1991. The 1995 version of the festival saw the black crowes headline the festival with Blues traveler . Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, Wilco, and Morphine being on the bill. The Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson would tell the LA Times in 1995 why he preferred the horde festival over lollapalooza saying “Lollapalooza just didn’t translate to me as a musical thing as much as an MTV thing. It just seemed more fabricated, more manufactured. It’s like McDonald’s counterculture. You’re not going to get much culture hanging around the mall, and Lollapalooza seems like a big mall — but with more piercing stands.” John Popper and Chris Robinson would even join each other on stage on that year’s festival. The festival was even notable for promoting bootlegging with the morning call newspaper interviewing the Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman who told the paper “Every night you come out, and whenever I can look out, it seems like the first thing I see is a big tree out there with a couple of mikes hanging off it. People are bringing pretty sophisticated equipment, actually.”
It would turn out that between 1995 and 2001 there was a beef brewing between both bands with it coming out in the open In 2001. In may of that year chris robinson and his bandmate drummer steve gorman were booked for the howard stern show. The same morning John Popper was booked as well. They were booked independently so they wouldn’t appear on the air at the same time, but typically whenever stern would have guests on the same morning it would be common for them to meet in the green room or chat it up in the hallway hallway, That didn’t happen that morning as Popper would appear first on Stern’s show. A lot of the interview dealt with Popper’s recent weight loss after undergoing a stomach stapling operation. And towards the end of Popper’s appearance Stern mentioned that the Black Crowes were coming on next and asked Popper about the reported feud between the two parties. Popper for his part would claim he didn’t know why Chris Robinson hated him and brought up an incident where they were both sitting in with warren haynes at the fillmore and haynes would take popper to the side and tell him Chris Robinson was in and i quote “a real mood” and told Popper he won’t come on stage until he leaves. Popper would go on to say that Chris Robinson was and i quote “the only real meanie he’s ever met in rock n ‘roll.” . Stern’s vinyl loving producer Baba Booey would shuffle back and forth between the green room where the Black Crowes were waiting and the studio where Popper was talking to Stern, Robinson would tell Howard’s producer baba booey that Blues Traveler were and i quote “a novelty act.” which made it’s way back to the studio. Popper would tell Stern he thought The Black Crowes were a great band and that he liked guitarist Rich Robinson, but did start to throw some insults Chris Robinson’s way as you can see here. We just came from Memphis where we’ve been playing so I’ve been trying to not have him see me because he won’t come out unless if i am there. Really? He’s just got a poll up his butt and i watched him yell at a fan just because. Uh oh, ummm they just wanted to make sure John was going to be gone before they came in. I don’t know what i did, but cool. Somebody did mention that you should have had your mouth sewed shut instead of your stomach. Right. Wow. What did you say. See you. We had them on our Horde tour a couple of years ago and they were cool they put up a lot of tapestries and stuff and the only thing he wanted to talk me about how melted the candle should be when you’re doing that really great performance. That take, look the guys into it. You know, turn the lights on you wanna work, you wanna sing. You know why do you need a melted candle. Chris and I are opposites, i was fat and he was thin. He married Kate Hudson i’d make her happy in bed. Oh oh! Hey now! I watched almost famous man and the only sad thing about that movie is that she lives that almost everyday because he is like a 70’s rockstar. Oh boy, now wonder he doesn’t like you. Now, now i’ve got repitoire. So what was with john popper. Alright. Once Popper finally left the studio Robinson and Gorman came in, here’s what htey had to say about the feud. So what was with John Popper, i had no idea you i don’t care that much, i just don’t care to be around him, i don’t like his band i don’t like what they do, i don’t like him.We did the horde tour, in 1995, which was their thing, but that year it was the most successful concert tour we were on it. We basically took the tour over, put a bunch of acts that we wanted, we put the ticket prices the way we wanted so more people come and afterwards he ran his mouth about our band, it’s like hey hos play the harmonica, enjoy yourself. you know what i mena? i don’t need to hear that, it was one thing for us to play with a sub part group like that anyways. you know what i mean? But we got paid so handsomely i could put up with listening to that from my luxury dressing room every night. Popper popped his mouth off too much. What did he say. He had a problem with the fact, well i don’t know what his problem was what he said was that they compromised their integrity by having us and that we were only there because we were a strong ticket seller in the southern markets
I did manage to find 2 reviews from the HORDE Festival’s in 1995. One was from a newspaper in Hartford that gave a pretty scathing review to the black crowes and a glowing review to Blues Traveler. The headline would read H.O.R.D.E. TOUR GIVES WRONG BAND TOP BILLING. The article would state that blues traveler should have headlined. A separate review from the LA Times echoed the same sentiments saying
Playing to a capacity crowd at the Olympic Velodrome, the four bands on H.O.R.D.E.’s main stage offered lessons on the use and abuse of rock history, with Wilco the ablest user, the headlining Black Crowes the worst abuser, and Blues Traveler and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers somewhere in between.
It would turn out the beef between both bands would be quashed sometime in the 2010’s as Popper would appear on sirius xm on the show Sit Down with Alfred and Chris when he was promoting his book when he revealed he had ran into robinson at an airport a few years ago and they had a cordial discussion. He would claim Robinson seems to have settled down in recent years and drugs were likely to blame for the feud without providing much detail. Here’s a clip of the interview. It sounds like you patched things up a little bit with Chris. Yeah well you know i ran into him at an airport a little while ago and he seemed like he had gotten older. Yeah maybe it was the divorce. Yeah, i feel like i’ve gotten older too, but maybe he’s not holding onto that stuff. i think part of the issue with us and the Crowes was that when they were hanging out with us they were really doing, it was kind of dark you know they were getting into some drugs. Are we talking about drugs? I can’t say because i wasn’t there. The thing is the one they liked hanging around with was Bobby our bass player he was realy getting, he was really serious about that stuff too. It seemed to me that it was just this time they were going through a lot of stuff and you guys bore the brunt of some of that. Maybe. Maybe it was some of the anger of that time, okay because i emailed steve gorman of the crowes i don’t even know him but he responded and i was like hey we’re talking to john popper. I wanna get do you have any incites. Yeah does he? And he goes no man he wrote me a really cool email to say no i don’t know and he’s going through his own drama with them.
In 2015 Robinson would look back at the Horde festival and had this to say “I had an incredible amount of fun at H.O.R.D.E.,” “It was all done for the right reasons.” That does it for today’s video guys thanks for watching. Be sure to hit the like button and subscribe. And as always if you have suggestions for future topics use the google form in the description box below. Take care.