Blues Traveler’s John Popper undergoes emergency spine surgery

Frontman was apparently months away from "facing total&permanent paralysis"


Blues Traveler frontman John Popper recently underwent emergency spinal surgery to avoid paralysis after discovering three collapsed vertebra in his neck.

The issue apparently came to light following a separate medical trauma. Earlier this year, the singer and famed harmonica player was left in a wheelchair for two months and on crutches for another two after he “busted” his leg. Once that was healed, he took notice of a troubling debility in his right arm. According to a posting on Facebook, Popper felt a “profound weakness in my right arm&if U’ve watched our shows this year U’d notice my inability to hold the mic right handed w/out some help from the left…or even holding onto the vox stand or even holding drink.”

Once he was able to get the proper MRI scan, doctors discovered the three collapsed and deformed vertebrae. Realizing that the damage could lead to “total and permanent paralysis” if not treated immediately, Popper was rushed into surgery. Though the injury was severe and the threat of it becoming worse very real, Popper wrote expects to be back on his feet just two weeks after the operation.

As a result of the surgery, however, the band has been forced to reschedule or cancel a number of their upcoming tour dates, including some with The Wallflowers and G Love and the Special Sauce. Popper commented on the postponements in his statement:

“I’m only sorry we couldn’t identify the problem sooner and forgo being forced to postpone, reschedule or in some cases cancel upcoming appearances. We take any such actions very seriously and can only assure you that a very tight second to my physical health and that of my family, is the quality of our shows and a sense of reliability to you that we all take pride in. I’m afraid now I’m going to have to rely on you for your patience and positive thoughts. I want to thank you all for being with us through all this as well as for your thoughts and prayers. Will keep you posted on my progress.”

As of now, the band plans to return to the road on August 24th with a performance in Glen Allen, Virginia. Three of the canceled dates — those in Minnesota, Iowa, and Mississippi — have already been rescheduled for the fall. Find Blues Traveler’s updated itinerary below, followed by Popper’s complete Facebook statement.

Blues Traveler 2016 Tour Dates:
08/06 – Makato, MN @ Ribfest
08/07 – Chicago, IL @ Taste of Lincoln Ave
08/09 – Moorhead, MN @ Bluestem Amphitheater
08/10 – Des Moine, IA @ Brenton Skating Plaza
08/12 – Southhaven, MS @ BankPlus Amphitheatre
08/13 – Hot Springs, AR @ Timberwood Amphitheater
08/15 – Indianapolis, IN @ Indiana State Fair
08/16 – Rochester Hills, MI @ Meadow Brook Amphitheatre *
08/18 – Oshkosh, WI @ Oshkosh Waterfest Concert Series *
08/19 – Huber Heights, OH @ The Rose Music Center at The Heights *
08/20 – Pittsburg, PA @ Stage AE *
08/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Mann Center for The Performing Arts *
08/23 – Binghamton, NY @ Magic City Music Hall
08/24 – Glen Allen, VA @ Innsbrook Pavilion
08/26 – Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony
08/27 – Wallingford, CT @ Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre
08/28 – Portland, ME @ Maine State Pier
08/31 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
09/04 – Denver, CO @ Taste of Colorado
09/16-09/18 – Del Mar, CA @ KAABOO Festival
09/22 – Las Vegas, NV @ TopGolf
09/23 – Reno, NV @ Cargo at Whitney Peak Hotel
09/27 – Moorhead, MN @ Bluestem Amphitheater
09/28 – Des Moine, IA @ Brenton Skating Plaza
10/01 – Mayetta, KS @ Prairie Band Casino & Resort
10/02 – Columbia, MO @ Roots n Blues n BBQ Festival
10/05 – Orlando, FL @ Walt Disney World Resort
10/06 – Orlando, FL @ Walt Disney World Resort
10/11 – Perry, GA @ Georgia National Fairgrounds
10/21 – Southhaven, MS @ BankPlus Amphitheatre

* = w/ The Wallflowers