H.O.R.D.E. Stories: John Popper
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 festival founder and driving force John Popper recalls 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 .
Photos by Steve Eichner
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 H.O.R.D.E.. 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.
Reality and Imagination
Your imagination and your reality are constantly pulling at you. You keep having this great idea and some of it comes true and you also have these incredible obstacles and some of them stop you. And that’s really what the H.O.R.D.E. to me was about.
It’s kind of like you get stuck between reality and your imagination. In your imagination it’s world conquest. You’re thinking we’re gonna fill up Shea Stadium and then you’re disappointed when it’s anything less. Then there’s reality: you’re amazed that you got more than one band to agree to show up anywhere at the same time. It was already starting to fracture and to get that kind of allegiance from so many bands that were already going in their own directions, that to me was that the best part about it. These bands came together and there was a like-minded audience and I think there still is. What was great about H.O.R.D.E. were that there were just enough bands to do it and now there’s no shortage.
We’re talking about some of the most gifted people on earth and every state of the mindset that keeps that going. Some of the sweetest, shiest, brashest, loudest, funniest, just ingenious people.
Not every show that first year was a sell out
My memory of the concourse in year one was that it was kind of like an emaciated Third World ghetto. It was like Guatemala when the crops went bad. There’d be a coyote eating out of a tin can and one really thin hippie on the ground, trying to shield his face from the tumbleweeds blowing by. But the thing I remember being cool was that everyone from our scene in New York was there.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
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.
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