John Popper & Jon Fishman Share Tributes To Col. Bruce Hampton


As time continues to pass following the death of Col. Bruce Hampton on Monday night after he collapsed at a concert in his honor, tributes to the man born Gustav Valentine Berglund III continued to be shared. Two of the latest come from musicians who were on stage Monday during the fateful “Turn On Your Lovelight” finale. John Popper of Blues Traveler and Jon Fishman of Phish have each penned notes about Col. Bruce Hampton.

A long remembrance about Col. Bruce Hampton and the events of Monday night was posted by Fishman on Jon Fishman discussed the intent Hampton brought to everything he did, “Bruce’s intent was love. Period. I never heard him put that word to it, but he was all about intent. His mantra was ‘Intent, Release and Recovery’, but everything always started with intent.”

The drummer’s view on what took place on the Fox is that it was, “certainly the greatest act of showmanship I expect to ever witness in my lifetime short of spontaneous combustion” noting, “Being that as it is, I find it virtually impossible to view the manner in which he departed as anything other than the ultimate theatrical accomplishment / practical joke / paradoxical, expressionistic heeeyyeeaarrrr whaaaaahhho ah! haa ha ha hhhaaaaaa….intended to elicit the entire range of human emotion and response in one fell swoop; to seamlessly transition from shine-ee to shine-er in one love intent filled moment leaving us all laughing, crying and astonished at the same time.”

There have been many views shared about Hampton’s departure and the Phish drummer knows his take isn’t the same as everyone’s, “I realize that not everyone will view the moment of his departure through the same celebratory and even humorous lens as I, but it is my intent that my words ring true in regards to who Bruce was/is, and that the love and appreciation I have tried to express for him and what he has brought to my life speaks to some degree to anyone else who knew him in whatever capacity, be it for a minute or a lifetime, and that it brings some measure of assistance to the healing process.” Head to to read Fish’s entire letter of love to the Col.

John Popper was right next to Hampton when he collapsed. In his essay, Popper discussed the bond he’ll now always have with guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer from being where they were when they were on Monday. “I leaned over & whispered in Taz’s ear in reference to his solo as the Col kept it up staying down, ‘I think U actually killed him’…For none of us knew…except as perhaps as Otiel (sic) suggested to me, the Col himself bc as much as I along w/any up there may have been traumatized in our moment of hard realization that this was infact no joke,(& that realization would grow starker still) ,I have to admit that if it were in his power to choose a time then the time was eerily perfect in execution…be it procognitively (sic) percieved (sic) or improvised…”

Popper wrote about trying to make sense of it all, “Through the raw pain of my grieving at having been so shockingly in attendance to celebrate the man who would play his own memorial, it had occurred to me that every legendary statement about this legendary soul was in fact true…This man more than any I have come to know…sublimely and inadvertently led a movement of creative thought based on possibility…It was a possibility he tended so naturally to see in each one of us…somehow each of us in his narrative had our best truest self closer at hand then we would believe w/out his belief in us…each of us were showing him our magic power in some way&he hohned (sic) instantly on the most positive sense of that.” Read John Popper’s entire post about Col. Bruce Hampton: