H.O.R.D.E. Stories: Chris Barron
The current issue of Relix looks back 20 years to the inaugural H.O.R.D.E. tour in 1992 which featured Blues Traveler, Phish, Widespread Panic, Spin Doctors, Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit and Bela Fleck & The Flecktones. Here are Spin Doctors’ vocalist Chris Barron’s memories of the 1992 tour. To view all of our special H.O.R.D.E. content, which we will post over the coming weeks, visit www.relix.com/HORDE .
It was cool that there was this resurgence of music that was centered around improvisation and blues-based rock and roll. So it was neat to have bands like Phish and Aquarium Rescue Unit, all those guys jumbled together and meeting up at catering and talking about music. It was particularly inspiring.
People who don’t tend to think about it too much tend to think that the whole jamband thing was invented when the term jamband appeared. But there were bands like the Grateful Dead and the Allman Bothers long before that that were centered around improvisation. I just don’t want to take credit for anything that we didn’t invent but I did wanted to be part of presenting something that was something of a musical landmark. We felt like in our own small way we were definitely carrying the torch of a certain kind of inspiration one yard down the road. And I thought that the H.O.R.D.E. certainly was our “one small step for man.”
For all those bands it was a moment to look around and say, “Hey, we’re not just standing on a cliff somewhere screaming out into any empty canyon. There are people out there who want to hear this kind of music. There are other bands that want to play this kind of music and we’re not just these Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman disciples banging our heads against the wall in the dark somewhere. This is actually something that has a place and an opportunity for us to take the music down the road a little further in our own way.
I was particularly interested in the Phish guys because we had done a lot of leapfrogging in the early days with them. We were intrigued by them because we did a few shows together here and there but in the early days we’d be going to some club in like Trumansburg, New York and they’d be like, “Oh Phish was here last night.” We’d ask what they were like and we’d be told, “Oh they’re really awesome.” Then we’d go somewhere else and it would be, “Phish is going to be here tomorrow…” So I was intrigued by them and I thought they were really funny guys.
Col. Bruce is such a trip, he’s just so cosmic and such a multifaceted individual without even picking up a guitar. He was always somewhere prognosticating and prophesying and I really liked him a lot. He was such an interesting guy.
[Blues Traveler bassist] Bobby Sheehan was such a ubiquitous presence. He was everywhere at once and a magnanimous host. I also remember Phish had a dog on their bus and I thought that was really neat. The different band cultures were really interesting. Like we never would have had a dog on our bus but those guys did and it was cool. There was also just really cool music everywhere. On stage and back stage people comparing notes and playing guitars. It was neat. I wish I had the gumption to try to write with a lot of those people. I wanted to ask everybody, “Hey, let’s try and write a tune” but I was too shy.
Performing on an amphitheater stage for the first time
It was big. We tried to set up close to each other. Our crew set us up in proportion to the stage and we were like, “No, put us back close together.” It’s weird being that far apart. And our drummer pointed out that Led Zeppelin did that. No matter how big the places they were playing, they always set up the way they would in a club. I definitely remember feeling a little agoraphobic and naked and exposed on this great big stage but getting used to it and enjoying the freedom, enjoying having a little bit of room.
On full band segues from Spin Doctors into Blues Traveler
It was really neat to be on stage and then out comes John Popper. “Oh, that’s really cool,” and then out comes Chan. “Holy shit, what the hell?” Then you have two bass players, two drummers… “Wait a minute, both of these bands are on stage playing!” It was a really cool thing to be part of and to do it at Jones Beach at the H.O.R.D.E. was pretty classic.
Observing The Flecktones
I got a huge kick out of Futureman because every night before they would go on he’d be taking that thing [the drumitar] apart. They’d be just about to introduce them and he’d have the thing in pieces. He’d have it on him but he’d have a screwdriver and the cover would be off it. Bela was like, ‘He does this every night. He always seems to get it together by the time to go on but every night he has the thing apart…”
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
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