John Popper

John Popper is one of the leading virtuosos on harmonica on the contemporary music scene. As the singer, harmonica player, songwriter, and founding member of Blues Traveler, Popper has been thrilling audiences for years with his dazzling and hyperactive harp style, a style born more from listening to great jazz improvisers than to the classic blues harmonica masters. His musicianship has pushed the harmonica to the forefront of soloing instruments in the modern rock setting.

As a high school student, John Popper ran in a student election. When his turn came to make a speech he pulled out a harmonica and started to wail. The crowd responded with wild applause and dancing — it was absolutely the winning performance. But instead of winning the election, Popper got suspended from school.

Popper has also been a leading proponent of the use of effects to create his harmonica sound, using devices including wah-wahs, fuzz tones, synthesizers, digital delays, and octave generators to stretch the limits of what is possible on the instrument.

Popper was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1967. He is still a driving force on harmonica today. His latest album is The John Popper Project featuring DJ Logic, released in 2006.

  1. Home
  2. Harmonica
  3. Rockers Who Popularized the Harmonica
  4. John Popper
Visit other About.com sites: