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 Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory 
 
     Brooklyn Bobby Sheehan 
     Bobby Sheehan 
      August 20, 1999 
      Age 31    
    
Accidental Drug Overdose * 
 
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OBITUARY 
        
       
 
 
 Blues Traveler Bassist Bobby Sheehan Found Dead
Bandleader John Popper says he was 'the best friend I've had in the world.'
 
Sonicnet.com Staff Writer:
Christopher O'Connor reports
     
Bobby Sheehan, bassist for the rock band Blues Traveler, was found dead in his New Orleans house Friday morning (Aug. 20), the band's label said. He was 31. 

Bandleader John Popper called Sheehan "the best friend I've had in the world." 

"Despite the fact that Bob Sheehan was respected, loved and revered by all who knew him, or knew of his music, he was easily the most underestimated member of the band," Popper said in a statement released by the band's label, A&M Records. "The best friend I've had in the world has just died and I don't want to talk about it." 

No cause of death was given, and Ann Black, a spokesperson for the New Orleans coroner's 
office, said an autopsy would likely be conducted Saturday. New Orleans police said there was no evidence of foul play or trauma. 

Sheehan was working on a solo album, according to A&M publicist Steve Karas, and Blues Traveler were preparing to reconvene to record the follow-up to Straight On Till Morning (1997). 

The band's surviving members; Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla and drummer Bobby Hill; were notified of Sheehan's death midday Friday, and Karas said the three would not make a collective statement for several weeks. 

Sheehan pleaded guilty in January 1998 to possession of less than a gram of cocaine. He had been arrested  at an airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in September 1997, where Blues Traveler were opening for the Rolling Stones. He was placed on two years' unsupervised probation. 

Blues Traveler formed in 1988 in Princeton, N.J. They're known for organizing H.O.R.D.E. 
festival tour, which they usually headlined, and for such songs as "Run-Around" and "Canadian Rose". 

"Since the band's early days in Princeton ... Sheehan had always been one of the four 
cornerstones of the highly successful and loved quartet," A&M said in its statement. "He was there for every tour date, and had performed on all six of the band's albums. He will be missed by the artistic community to which he gave so much." 

"All I can say is that Bobby was somebody who was adored by many people," Karas said. 


 Blues Traveler Bassist Found Dead

                  Bobby Sheehan, the 31-year-old bassist for Blues Traveler, was 
                  found dead in his New Orleans home on Friday (Aug. 20).  

                  "Despite the fact that Bob Sheehan was respected, loved, and 
                  revered by all who knew him, or knew of his music, he was easily 
                  the most underestimated member of the band," Blues Traveler 
                  frontman John Popper said in a statement. "The best friend I've had 
                  in the world just died, and I don't want to talk about it."  

                  Sheehan reportedly went to bed at 4:30 a.m. and was unresponsive 
                  when friends tried to wake him around 11 a.m. Authorities have said 
                  that there were no signs of foul play at the scene.  

                  The cause of death has not been released, though an autopsy was 
                  conducted on Saturday. Sheehan had been known to use drugs in 
                  the past — in 1997, he was arrested at the Winnipeg Airport in 
                  possession of two grams of cocaine. But friends told the New 
                  Orleans Times-Picayune that Sheehan suffered from sleep apnea, a 
                  disorder that causes the victim to stop breathing while sleeping, and 
                  they suspected that it contributed to his death.  

                  Copyright ©1999 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS
 
Blues Traveler bassist dies at 31  Bobby Sheehan’s cause of death unknown
 

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 20 — Bobby Sheehan, the bassist for the Grammy Award-winning band Blues Traveler, has died in New Orleans. He was 31. The cause of death is not known, but an autopsy is scheduled for Saturday.  POLICE SAY SHEEHAN had gone to sleep around 4:30 Friday morning and was unresponsive when friends  tried to wake him up around 11. Authorities say there were no signs of foul play or obvious trauma.  Other members of the band would not discuss Sheehan’s death and only released a statement saying Sheehan was “respected, loved and revered by all who knew him.”  Sheehan was an original member of the Blues Traveler, which was formed in 1987. The band won a Grammy in 1995 for their song “Runaround.”

From Blues Traveler Fan Page 

It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that we announce the passing of one of the most genuine people to 
ever grace the music industry with his presence. Ironically, it was his presence that made us all feel like 
the party would never end. Brooklyn Bobby Sheehan's original sound was the backbone of what is known 
as Blues Traveler. The only way to describe his music is the groove. When he got into that groove, there 
was nobody better. His amazing solos in Mother Funker and Alone proved that he can provide any sort of 
emotion with his music. 

The fans who stood in front of Bobby at concerts were like a family. Outside of the music which he 
played, his interaction with these fans has left a smile on many faces at concerts and many memories in 
our hearts. A smile, a wink or the slightest little smirk to say hi to a friend in the audience would make 
someone's night. We will miss the nights when he stood in place and laid down that groove with seemingly 
no effort...all while trying to knock the two inches of ash off his cigarette. We will remember the nights he 
ran towards the front of the stage as if to dive into the audience and the nights he fell to his knees in that 
classic "rock 'n roll" pose during an encore. 

Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Bobby Sheehan, the band, management and crew. He 
was loved by all who knew him and will be missed by all. The mountains truly win again. 

Please express your feelings to the Message Board or via E-Mail to be included in a card of thoughts 
which we hope to send to his family, the band, and the band's management. Lets get together and let them 
know how much we love the man who will always be remembered as Brooklyn Bobby Sheehan.

  

                    Blues Traveler Bassist Found Dead In Home  

                    Blues Traveler bassist Bobby Sheehan was  
                    found dead in his New Orleans home this 
                    morning. He was 31 years old. The cause of his death was 
                    unknown at press time, according to a representative at 
                    Interscope Records. New Orleans police claim that it's an 
                    unclassified death pending autopsy. 

                    Sheehan, a cornerstone of the band who performed on all six of Blues Traveler's 
                    records, had most recently begun work on a solo record and planned to enter 
                    the studio this fall with the surviving members of Blues Traveler to begin 
                    pre-production on the band's seventh record. 

                    LAUNCH.com

  
        Coroner says drugs killed Blues Traveler bassist 
  

                              NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Blues Traveler bassist Bobby Sheehan, 
                              found dead in his New Orleans home two months ago, died of a 
                              drug overdose, Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard told 
                              Reuters Thursday. 

                              The coroner said toxicology tests showed Sheehan had taken a 
                              lethal combination of heroin, cocaine and Valium, and he ruled the 
                              death an accidental overdose. 

                              When Sheehan, 31, was found dead, friends said he suffered from 
                              sleep apnea, a sometimes fatal breathing disorder, and suggested 
                              that might have caused his death. 

                              ``It is a tragedy -- a terrible waste. So many of our young 
                              entertainers, not just musicians, get into drugs. Once again, a 
                              very productive future was cut short,'' said Minyard, himself a jazz 
                              trumpeter. 

                              ``I would hope that soon they'll realize that fooling around with 
                              illegal drugs is a deadly business.'' 

                              Sheehan and three high school friends formed the rock band Blues 
                              Traveler in the mid-1980s and built up a national following, touring 
                              heavily and giving improvisational performances. The group often 
                              appeared on ``Late Night with David Letterman.'' 

                              Sheehan moved to New Orleans in 1996 and befriended a number 
                              of local musicians. 

                              Blues Traveler frontman John Popper recently said he and the 
                              other two surviving band members plan to keep the group going. 

                              Reuters/Variety ^REUTERS@ 
  


Blues Traveler's Bobby Sheehan Died Of Accidental Drug Overdose 
      New Orleans Coroner's office announced Thursday (Oct. 21) that an accidental  
      overdose of cocaine, valium, and heroin was the cause of death of Blues Traveler 
      bassist Bobby Sheehan.  

      Sheehan was found dead by friends in his home in New Orleans on Aug. 20.  
      He was 31. At the time, people speculated that it was a drug overdose. He was  
      arrested for cocaine on Sept. 27, 1997 and given two years probation in January 1998.  

      The bassist was a member of the successful Blues Traveler, who announced  
      recently that they are remaining as a band and carrying on, since its inception.  

                                                    -- Carrie Borzillo, CD Now Allstar News

 
 
 
NEWS ITEMS
        
 9.7.99   
        
  
 John Popper Discusses Coping With Death Of Blues Traveler Bassist  
 

                            With the solo debut from Blues Traveler 
                            frontman John Popper hitting stores this week, 
                            these should be happy times for the singer. 

                            However, as Popper continues to cope with the 
                            recent death of Blues Traveler bassist and good 
                            friend Bobby Sheehan, happiness is hard to 
                            come by. 

                            It has been less than three weeks since Sheehan 
                            was found dead in New Orleans, and Popper 
                            (who has already fought through an arterial 
                            blockage this year) sat down with MTV News' 
                            Kurt Loder recently to talk about how he has 
                            been dealing with the loss. 

                            "I think the way that I mourn or deal with 
                            really bad news is I try to figure out what 
                            to do about it, finding stuff to do to make 
                            sure these people know, talk to these 
                            people about what happened," Popper 
                            explained. "I mean, we're a very tight-knit 
                            group. It destroyed all of us, you know? 
                            I'm still not over it, but I just kind of feel 
                            dried out."  ~MTV

  John Popper Postpones Tour Launch 

                            Postponements surface as imminent toxicology 
                            results from bandmate Bobby Sheehan's death are 
                            expected to shed light on mysterious death.  

                            By Rob Evans  

 The John Popper Band, a side project assembled by Blues Traveler's 
 frontman, has postponed the first two dates of its club tour in support 
 of the forthcoming album ''Zygote.'' The tour was originally set to begin 
 Sept. 1 and 2 with concerts in Delaware and Connecticut, but will  
 instead open Sept. 6 in Syracuse, N.Y.  

  No reason for the postponement was immediately given, and Popper's 
  management wasn't available for comment on Monday afternoon (8/30). It's 
  expected that the canceled shows at the Bottle and Cork in Dewey Beach, 
  Del., and at Toad's Place in New Haven, Conn., will be rescheduled. 

  Meanwhile, the cause of death of Popper's Blues Traveler bandmate Bobby 
  Sheehan, who was found dead in his New Orleans apartment on Aug. 20, 
  still has not been reported by the New Orleans Parish coroner's office. 
  According to an office spokesperson, the results of toxicology tests from 
  Sheehan's autopsy have been delayed indefinitely due to a departmental 
  backlog.  

  Outside of a benefit performance at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco 
  on June 28th, Blues Traveler took a break from touring in 1999. The band 
  was to follow that show with performances July 3rd and 4th at the 
  Denver-area Red Rocks Amphitheatre, but the shows were cancelled after 
  Popper was admitted to a California hospital complaining of chest pains. 
  Popper then underwent angioplasty surgery to clear a blocked artery.  
    ~livedaily.com

 
It's Official: Blues Traveler Soldiers On 
 
      As frontman John Popper recently told 
      Wall of Sound, Blues Traveler will 
      continue on, following the recent 
      death of bassist Bobby Sheehan. 
      The band's record label, A&M, has  
      issued a statement, making it official. 
                   Sheehan, 31, was found dead in his New 
                   Orleans, La., Home on Aug. 20. Shortly 
                   afterward, Popper released his first solo album, 
                   Zygote, and embarked on a tour, sparking 
                   speculation that the band might dissolve. Not so. 

                   "We thought it would be useless to compound 
                   the tragedy by letting something we all, including 
                   Bobby, worked so hard for to fall apart," guitarist 
                   Chan Kinchla said, commenting on behalf of the 
                   band.  

                   "If we stopped now, that would mean the whole 
                   purpose of Blues Traveler was to make our bass 
                   player money," Popper recently told Wall of 
                   Sound, prior to the cancellation of his solo dates. 
                   "Bob would have wanted us to keep going. That's 
                   really along the lines of his spirit — and ours. 
                   We've built something we're very proud of and we 
                   couldn't possibly give up on it. I felt very 
                   reassured to know that.  

                   "It doesn't make it any more fun. People always 
                   paint that picture like it will feel good to go on. I 
                   think we're still in the time where it doesn't feel 
                   good. But what the hell else are you going to 
                   do?" Poppers said.  

                   Though the label hasn't made any 
                   announcements regarding a replacement for 
                   Sheehan, Popper says that he, Kinchla, and 
                   drummer Brendan Hill met and decided to press 
                   on. They will hold auditions for bass players, and 
                   then test the three finalists at private gigs in 
                   November. In January, they will probably add a 
                   keyboardist.  

                   In other news, Popper has rescheduled two of the 
                   dates he recently canceled. Popper will play the 
                   Drink in Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 17, and on 
                   Nov. 10, Popper will play a rescheduled show in 
                   Denver, Colo., though the venue has been 
                   changed from the Fillmore to the Fox. According 
                   to a statement on the official Blues Traveler Web 
                   site (www.bluestraveler.com), "After missing the 
                   Red Rocks gigs in July due to his well 
                   documented health concerns, Popper felt 
                   strongly that his fans in Colorado were already let 
                   down once this calendar year."  

                   Additionally, the two New Year's Eve Blues 
                   Traveler shows at the Reno Hilton will now be 
                   solo John Popper shows. The group will begin 
                   work on its sixth studio album next year.  

Copyright ©1999 ABC News Internet Ventures.

 
 
 
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
 
 
All-Music Guide
 
Bobby Sheehan
June 12, 1968--August 20, 1999
 
Blues Traveler 
A New York-based blues-rock quartet formed in 1988 by singer/harmonica player John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, bassist Bobby Sheehan, and drummer Brendan Hill, Blues Traveler was part of a revival of the extended jamming style of '60s and '70s groups like the Grateful Dead and Led  Zeppelin. Signed to A&M, they released their first album, Blues Traveler, in May 1990 and  followed it with Travelers & Thieves in September 1991. Popper was in a serious car accident in  1992, leaving him unable to perform for a number of months. Fortunately, he recovered, yet he still  had to perform in a wheelchair for a period of time. In April 1993, Blues Traveler released its third  album, Save His Soul, which became its first to make the Top 100. Blues Traveler's aptly named  fourth album, Four, released in September 1994, at first looked like a sales disappointment, but it  rebounded in 1995 when "Run-Around," a single taken from it, became the group's first chart hit.   "Run-Around" became one of the biggest singles of 1995, spending nearly a full year on the charts  and sending Four into quintuple platinum status. As the group prepared the followup to Four, Blues Traveler released the live double-album Live from the Fall in the summer of 1996.  Blues Traveler returned in the summer of 1997 with its fifth studio album, Straight on Till Morning.  -- William Ruhlmann, All-Music Guide 



                         After attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Sheehan helped 
                         found Blues Traveler back in 1987 in Princeton, New Jersey along with 
                         vocalist John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, and drummer Brendan Hill.  

                         Sheehan played on all six of Blues Traveler's albums, including the 
                         group's most recent effort, 1997's "Straight on Till Morning." 

                         The bassist had recently been touring with guitarist John Mooney and was 
                         working on his first solo album. Sheehan planned to reunite with the other 
                         members of Blues Traveler in the fall to start pre-production work on the 
                         band's new album. ~MTV 


Blues Traveler 

                  THERE were undoubtedly plenty of people who 
                  decided they wanted to become musicians after 
                  seeing the film The Blues Brothers, but probably 
                  very few took that resolve quite as seriously as 
                  John Popper. The Blues Traveler frontman was a 
                  bit of a musical prodigy to begin with: his parents 
                  noted his precocious ability to sing harmonies at 
                  the age of three, so they soon enrolled him in cello 
                  lessons (at age five) and piano lessons (at age 
                  eight). Unfortunately, the young musician quickly 
                  abandoned both instruments because he hated to 
                  practice. When he tried guitar at age eleven, he 
                  found his attention span for practicing wasn't any 
                  longer, and he was dropped by his teacher after he 
                  revealed that he was playing by ear instead of 
                  learning to read music.  

                  Popper first picked up the harmonica when he was 
                  a teenager--he took to it immediately, especially 
                  because he didn't have to take lessons (his 
                  parents couldn't find a harmonica instructor). He 
                  figured out the basics on his own and set about 
                  learning how to play all the Blues Brothers' tunes 
                  note for note. After showing off his harmonica 
                  virtuosity during band practice one day while the 
                  second-stringers were working on a rendition of 
                  Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science" 
                  (and while he was supposed to be playing his 
                  meager fourth-trumpet solo, incidentally), Popper 
                  became the first official harmonica player in the 
                  history of the school band. From then on, he was 
                  known throughout the hallways as that "harmonica 
                  guy."  

                  The hallways of that same Princeton, New Jersey, 
                  high school served as the meeting place for all of 
                  the future members of Blues Traveler. Popper and 
                  drummer Brendan Hill first hooked up in 1983; they 
                  were joined by guitarist Chan Kinchla in 1986, and 
                  bassist Bobby Sheehan in 1987. Out of their 
                  shared fascination with the Blues Brothers was 
                  born a worthy name by which to call themselves-- 
                  the Blues Band. Following graduation, all of the 
                  bandmates, (except Kinchla, who attended N.Y.U.) 
                  enrolled in the jazz program at New York's New 
                  School for Social Research. The New School was 
                  just what Popper et al. needed to get their act 
                  together: not only did they have the use of free 
                  rehearsal space, but the curriculum taught them 
                  how to get gigs. They learned a little too 
                  well--before long, they had lined up so many gigs 
                  that there wasn't any time left for school, so they 
                  all dropped out of the program.  

                  Newly baptized as Blues Traveler, the band signed 
                  a record deal with A&M in 1989, and released their 
                  self-titled debut album later that same year. 
                  Travelers & Thieves followed in 1991. Their next 
                  album, Save His Soul (1993), was marred by a 
                  near-tragedy. Twelve days into recording sessions 
                  on the album, Popper was riding his motorcycle in 
                  the remote area of Louisiana where the studio was 
                  located when a turning car plowed into him. He 
                  sustained a broken arm, leg, and hip and had to 
                  endure months of rehabilitation in a wheelchair. 
                  Injuries aside, the band resumed recording after 
                  only a single month's break; and not even the fact 
                  that he was confined to a wheelchair could keep 
                  Popper off the road after Save His Soul was 
                  released.  

                  Throughout their early years, Blues Traveler built 
                  its reputation and its fan base by touring 
                  constantly, averaging more than 250 shows a year. 
                  Despite a lack of any radio or MTV coverage, the 
                  band secured a devoted following by word of mouth 
                  alone. The grapevine method worked well: the band 
                  managed to sell hundreds of thousands of copies 
                  of each of its first three releases, although none of 
                  the albums quite achieved gold status (sales of 
                  500,000). That all changed with the release of 
                  1994's four; the album spawned two Top 10 
                  singles, "Run-around" and "Hook," and went on to 
                  sell over six million copies. Apart from the healthy 
                  boost in record sales, the band's profile was also 
                  rising due to the ever-growing popularity of the 
                  HORDE (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) 
                  Tour, which Popper had organized in 1992 after the 
                  band failed to get a support slot on a major tour. 
                  HORDE has become a summertime staple for 
                  concertgoers--it was the fourth-biggest grossing 
                  tour of summer of 1996--and as it grows, so does 
                  its ability to attract some of the biggest names in 
                  rock; over the years, Phish, Spin Doctors, the 
                  Black Crowes, Neil Young, Beck, Sheryl Crow, 
                  and Dave Matthews Band have all played the 
                  traveling summer fest.  

                  On their rise to the lofty ranks of the multi- 
                  platinum, the members of Blues Traveler have 
                  achieved some significant career milestones: they 
                  reached their goal of having played in all fifty states 
                  in December 1995; they guest-starred on an 
                  episode of Roseanne in 1995; they have appeared 
                  on Late Night With David Letterman more than any 
                  other band in the history of the show; and they 
                  sold out Madison Square Garden for their annual 
                  New Year's Eve show in December 1996. 
                  Somehow, during all that excitement, they 
                  managed to compile tracks for a two-CD live set 
                  called Live From the Fall, which was released in 
                  1996.  

                  The year 1997 promises to bring the New Jersey 
                  four back to their boyhood roots. Earlier this year, 
                  Blues Traveler released its fifth album, Straight on 
                  Till Morning. In September, Popper and company 
                  open the first stadium dates for their boyhood 
                  idols, the Rolling Stones, on the Stones' Bridges to 
                  Babylon tour. And to bring things back full circle to 
                  their Blues Band days, they will appear in the 
                  upcoming sequel to The Blues Brothers.  

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