Blues Traveler’s Chan Kinchla Talks the ’90s and What’s Next

Courtesy of the Pound Ridge Harvest Festival

We caught up with Blues Traveler’s Chan Kinchla in advance of a free, headliner performance at the Pound Ridge Harvest Festival.

Celebrate autumn in style at the Pound Ridge Harvest Festival in Pound Ridge Town Park on October 1, bringing with it Oktoberfest-style food, a kids’ pavilion with painting and games, local merchants, and more. The fest will also feature a free show by Grammy-winning rockers Blues Traveler, who will be stopping by on their 35th-anniversary tour. We asked Blues Traveler’s founding guitarist, Chan Kinchla, what audiences can expect from the show and why the ’90s are back in style.

harvest festival
Courtesy of the Pound Ridge Harvest Festival

Tell us about your upcoming Pound Ridge show.

The thing about Blues Traveler is that we’ve matured a lot as a band — as players and in our tightness. We’ve accumulated more and more songs. But it’s still the same basic thing, man. When we get up there, we have a great time, and we want the audience to come along and have a great time with us. We were lucky enough to have some hits, so the cool thing about Blues Traveler, from where I’m sitting, is that we can have a toe in the jam-band world — where we noodle around and play our instruments — and then emerge into a big hit that everyone knows all the words to. It’s just a really fun dichotomy that’s been with the band since “Runaround” hit the charts.

Pound Ridge Harvest Festival Stage
By John Morgan/ Courtesy of The Pound Ridge Harvest Festival stage

I know Blues Traveler was recently featured in the collection NOW That’s What I Call 90s Alternative Rock! Why do you think the ’90s are so popular again?

I think the cool part of the neo-hippie thing of the ’90s is that all these bands grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and The [Grateful] Dead on classic-rock radio. With all those trails having been blazed, bands started putting a lot of those different styles together, and I think that synthesis happened in the ’90s with alt-rock bands and jam bands in a pop setting. As far as some of that stuff coming back, it just seems to be kind of a natural thing. A lot of the people who are making decisions and setting trends now [grew up in the ’90s], and what do they like? They like the ’90s. We benefited from that kind of nostalgia recently because we were just on tour with Train and Jewel, and it was a ton of fun.

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What’s next for Blues Traveler?

I can’t do Blues Traveler and not tour. It’s hard for me, since that’s just what we do. But it’s cool to have these other projects that come in on the side, and we are actually in the process now of getting a song list together for a record that instead of Travelers’ Blues is Traveler’s Soul. We’re going to do a soul/R&B record of old B-sides from the ’50s, ’60s, maybe ’70s, and see how we can ruin those songs for posterity [laughs]. We will probably do that next winter or spring and hopefully have it out by the fall.

Related: Lisa Loeb Brings ’90s Nostalgia and Music to Mamaroneck

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