Earlier this year John Popper released his memoir, Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed to Tell. Written with Relix editor Dean Budnick, the book traces Popper’s story from Princeton, NJ through his fame with Blues Traveler, struggles with obesity and other health issues.

Popper also talks about his many musical friends, including the members of Phish. Blues Traveler crossed paths with Phish early on and the two bands struck up a close friendship. While recounting his early days with The Vermont Quartet, Popper mentions that he actually tried to learn the vacuum cleaner after seeing Jon Fishman play the instrument.

He also talks about how “Divided Sky” inspired his own Christmas original.

“We were approached to contribute a song to the _Very Special Christmas 3 _compilation album benefiting the Special Olympics,” Popper says.. “I wrote a melody to the ‘Divided Sky’ chords, but it was nothing as elaborate. Then at the end I put the ‘Divided Sky’ reference. Because it was a charity, I called Trey and told him, ‘I want to use this melody. I want to write this song and give you credit for writing it with me.’ He said sure and made a few jokes like, ‘I’ll see you in court, buddy,’ but it was for charity so he didn’t mind, and that gave me the license to ‘Divided Sky’ the shit out of it.

“There was a part when I put my melody with his,” Popper goes on to say. “And there were eight harmonies singing each verse. It’s one of my favorite songs because you have all these harmonies working at the same time, and it was one of those times when I really hit it out of the park with the lyrics. It was what I’ve felt about Christmas, it was what I wanted to say, it was full of all sorts of musical stuff I wanted to do, and it was on a nice vehicle, a Christmas record. And I called it ‘Christmas’ so we could copyright Christmas. I have not as yet received any checks, I have not sued anybody, but if I could somehow sue Santa Claus, it would make one hell of a movie.”

Click here to read more on the song’s origin, Popper’s friendship with Phish and his vacuum challenge for Jon Fishman.