“Holy shit! You’re the Gina from the song?”—Blues Traveler w/Michael Franti and Spearhead“

Well, this one is a long time coming. I had to go hunting to figure out what date this happened. I’m sitting at WORT in November 1998 at the front desk answering phones and playing receptionist for the afternoon when the music director walked upstairs and put two tickets on the free bulletin board that said Blues Traveler. I had never seen them.

I sat and thought for a couple more minutes, picked up the phone, and called my buddy Tom, who was into Blues Traveler, and said, “Do you want to go see the mighty Blues Traveler?” The answer was, of course, “Why the hell not? We don’t have to pay for it.”

I grabbed the tickets off the bulletin board, stuck them in my wallet, and thought, “Well, this will be fun.”

A couple of days later, we went to Milwaukee to The Rave again. It seems like the late ’90s was the time to just go to Milwaukee to see a show. So the day of the show, we jumped in Tom’s car, going the right way this time (being new to the region, Tom had previously driven us to Janesville before realizing that wasn’t the way to Milwaukee, as discussed in a previous blog post [here](https://rwsradio.com/biker-chicks-and-rock-n-roll/)).

We got to the show really early, if I remember correctly. We weren’t right on time but earlier than the last few times we had been to The Rave. As we were walking in, I remember remarking that these guys are funky.

I’m kind of just rocking out, and I look up on stage, and the entire band is wearing WORT T-shirts. I looked at Tom and said, “That’s weird.” There were probably like 30 people in The Rave to see this opening band that we still didn’t know who the hell they were, wearing WORT gear, and it was the craziest shit we had heard to that point.

They finished their set and said, “We’re Michael Franti and Spearhead,” and I said to Tom that I needed to find out how they came to be wearing our station’s T-shirt. I rolled over to the side of the stage, and as they were walking off, I said, “Hey, you’re wearing my radio station’s T-shirt.” One of them stopped, looked at me, and said, “You’re the Prince of Darkness.” I sat there for a second and said, “Um-yeah…?”

Now I don’t know who this is. The only thing I know is they are a funky band that just kicked ass and they’re wearing WORT gear. The entire band came off stage, moved the barricade, and said, “Get back here.”

So now we’re backstage hanging out with Spearhead, partying a little bit. They gave me one of their CDs.

It turns out that they were at WORT for an interview, and one of them remarked about the name of the radio show, which was Tuesday Morning Aneurysm at the time, and it does say Lucas, the Prince of Darkness, on the schedule as well.

The news director at the time told them about me and the show. Back then, there was no social media, so the program schedule was on a giant bulletin board in the lobby. In the front, kind of big, so all the show names kind of jumped off the bulletin board. So I imagine one of them was like, “What the hell is that?”

So we’re all hanging out watching the Blues Traveler roadies set up, kind of just front-right of the stage against the barrier, so we can see the stage and now I don’t have to deal with the crowd.

Michael Franti and Spearhead packed up and said, “We’ll see you later.”

John Popper walked in front of me, grabbed the guitar, and went up on stage. I rolled forward, kind of up by the guitar tech, so I could see better. Up behind me walked a woman with a radio. I’m thinking, “Hey, buddy, you gotta move, right?” She’s just kind of sitting there rocking out. John walked off stage, changed guitars again, and went back. It was a pretty good show so far. At some point, the woman leaned over and asked, “What do you think?” I was like, “He’s good.” I said, “I’m Lucas.” She said, “Hi, I’m Gina,” and Tom said, “Like the song?” She said, “Yeah, I’m John’s wife.” So we are rocking out to Blues Traveler with John’s wife. OK!!! This is nuts. Oh, and did I mention she is hot!

At some point, I believe that there was a bass solo. John came over, sat down, shook my hand, and said, “You like the show?” I was like, “Hell yeah.” He goes out, plays a little bit of harmonica, comes back, and says, “Come with me,” and pushes me out on stage. This is a packed show. He is now pushing my chair around the stage playing harmonica. People have got to be going, “What the fuck.” It was pretty cool. He finishes the song, pushes me back to where I was, picks up a guitar, and goes out and plays more.

At some point, I believe it was right around “Hook” when he came back and got me and pushed me out on stage and played harmonica again. Pretty damn cool. They get done. I do remember they closed with “Johnny B. Goode.” They walk off stage, and everybody is starting to leave, so I’m like, “Let’s just hang out and let everybody get out of here instead of trying to push my chair through a crowd of sweaty, nasty people right at ass level. Trust me, it sucks.”

Gina is still just hanging out. She said, “Did you enjoy that?” I said, “Yes, I did.” I said, “Is there any chance I can talk to John for a minute?” She said, “Hold on a minute. I’ll be back.”

She took off, and a few minutes later, she came back with two backstage passes and said, “John actually wants to talk to you.” Well, shit, here we go. We go over to where all the other people are standing for the meet and greet, and she pushes me to the front of the line and says, “I will  not let them come over here until you’re done talking to John.” OK, cool. He came out, talked to Tom and me for a while, and asked if being in a wheelchair sucked. He was in one for a while after his gastric surgery. I told him the bathrooms at the venue sucked balls, but otherwise, I was all good. I don’t know anything else.

He was a cool dude. All in all, a great night, and I have the harmonica to prove it.


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