H.O.R.D.E. Stories: John Popper’s Name Suggestion and H.O.R.D.E. 2013
The H.O.R.D.E. Tour debuted in July 1992 following a meeting between members of Blues Traveler, Phish, Widespread Panic, Spin Doctors, and Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit. After the bands all agreed to play some dates together they still needed a name for the tour. Over the past few weeks we’ve posted the H.O.R.D.E name suggestions offered by Widespread Panic and Phish. Ultimately, everyone signed off on the name created by John Popper. Here’s his account of how he fashioned it along with some of the feedback he received. We follow this with Popper’s announcement regarding the return of H.O.R.D.E. in 2013.
To check out all of our special H.O.R.D.E. content that we have been posting, visit www.relix.com/HORDE.
John Popper: I was into Attila The Hun, so here’s my fantasy. For some reason it’s got to be a town in the Midwest because that’s how big our armies would be. A storm comes rumbling from the East and here comes Blues Traveler’s fans…and from the West come Phish fans…and from the South it’s Widespread fans…and from the North it’s Spin Doctors fans. So the town is converged upon by a hippie gang. All the food in the area gets eaten up by these people. I wanted it to sound like some sort of Mongol horde. It was originally going to be Horizons of Rock Developing East Coast because that seemed to be an identification of a scene but Eric Schenkman wisely said it should be Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere. And sure enough the next year we started using band like the Samples from Colorado and that would have sucked if we had to make an alteration letter. Decorum is everything.
Not everyone was sold on it, however.
Page McConnell: In a lot of ways Popper was driving the boat in terms of arranging the meeting, putting it together and even the name H.O.R.D.E. Mike [Gordon] came up with a slew of hilarious names and he read out some of them at the meeting. He’s got a knack for funny names and I can remember a couple off the top of my head from 20 years ago: Rock Donkey Dunkle and East Coast Rock-a-Sooey.
After Gordon returned home he drew up an extended list that he sent via fax. One last minute addition was The Clifford Ball. The name appears with an asterisk and a note on top that explains, “Clifford Ball’s name was on a plaque in the airport. We saw the plaque while finding a phone to call John Popper. ‘A Beacon of light in the world of flight.’ We can get more info on this guy and recreate his world.”
Still, recreating the world of Clifford Ball was not exactly what Popper had in mind.
John Popper: They were at some airport and they just read these facts about this pilot and they wanted it to be the entire theme of the tour. You gotta give it to them for abstract. I suppose there’s something special about the Clifford Ball that put the hook in them.
Widespread Panic circulated its own list. Still, there was something so special about the Clifford Ball that manager John Paluska, sent one final fax making a case for the name, with an accompanying piece of artwork created by Jim Pollock.
Page McConnell: I don’t think we wanted to take it so seriously and Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere…But it was fine. We weren’t up for a fight. We were happy to be part of it and we enjoyed hanging with all those guys.
The hang may well return in the summer of 2013 for at least some of the bands who participated on that initial H.O.R.D.E. tour. Here is what John Popper has to say about H.O.R.D.E. 2013…
John Popper: We’ve been busting our balls to have a 20th anniversary of the first H.O.R.D.E. and it looks like we’re going to have to wait a year because the only venue that we can get would be a shed and it doesn’t belong in a shed, it belongs in a site like Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo. We want to get a site like Lolla, I think something near a city would probably be better. We have about 2 or 3 amazing sites that we’re thinking about and if we wait a year we can really get into that and do it properly. That’s the thing in our minds, if we do it wrong it’s not worth relaunching. And if we wait one year, 2013 will be the 15 year anniversary of the last time we did H.O.R.D.E. which was 98, so that’ll be a round enough number.
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