The official, verified Blues Traveler Twitter account tweeted about 170 times between Wednesday and Saturday of last week. Most of these dispatches were not about the ’90s roots-rock hitmakers’ summer 2017 tour, or their latest record, 2015’s Blow Up the Moon. The vast majority were directed at Forrest Rutherford, an unassuming Kentucky social services worker who got under John Popper‘s skin back in 2014 and has been locked in an insane online battle with the bandleader and harmonica player since then. On Wednesday, Popper posted an aerial view of Rutherford’s house with the caption “this is the Rutherford home in Versailles KY…I can only assume his parents are tied up in the basement2afford him rent.” A few minutes later, he tweeted directly at Rutherford: “Welcome to the light cockroach!!” Another few minutes after that: “that’s it take pride in who U are…take responsibility Pube Forrest…”
The Daily Beast has a thorough recounting of Popper’s bizarre fixation on Rutherford, which you can read in full here. The gist is this: in 2014, Katie Notopoulous, a writer at BuzzFeed, tweeted about an anecdote from Blues Traveler’s Behind the Music episode, which held that Popper was at one point so obese that he became exhausted while masturbating. Popper responded to Notopoulos with a bunch of grade-school level insults via the Blues Traveler account. Then, according to the Beast, Rutherford “jumped into the conversation with some barbs of his own” for the singer. Rutherford’s original account has since been suspended, and the specific nature of these “barbs” has been lost to time.
In any case, he has a new account now, and Popper hasn’t forgotten about their old beef. Below is a small sampling of the many, many tweets Popper sent over the last several days about Rutherford, who uses the handle @nasboatOG. Popper escalated his campaign when he posted Rutherford’s address and the aerial image of his house about a week and a half ago, and he did so again, twice, on Wednesday. We won’t embed those here in the interest of privacy, but they’re easy to find on the Blues Traveler Twitter feed.
poor Forrest…U shouldn't mess w/people…U know this☺️
— Blues Traveler (@blues_traveler) July 28, 2017
yeah…but I've seen his mug…he's pretty old…certainly for this… pic.twitter.com/JIQhqhK9u0
— Blues Traveler (@blues_traveler) July 26, 2017
And here are tweets about Rutherford from 2015, evidence that Popper has been carrying on like this for multiple years.
“It’s one of these things where it’s like, I kind of wish it hadn’t happened, but I understand how funny it sounds,” Rutherford told the Daily Beast. For his part, he seems to enjoy antagonizing Popper as well.
Rutherford told The Daily Beast that he’s contacted Twitter about Popper’s doxxing of his personal information, and that the company hasn’t given him any recourse yet. This isn’t the first time the musician has carried out a vendetta against a comparatively minor figure–after the 2014 spat with Notopoulos, he included a misleading passage about her in his memoir Suck & Blow, released last year. If Twitter doesn’t get involved, Rutherford can probably look forward to a lifetime of doxing and juvenile jokes. Something about getting mad on the internet just brings Popper back and back–on that you can rely.