The Spin Doctors’
story starts in 1987, with a band called the Trucking Company
that included John Popper and guitarist Eric
Schenkman. When Popper bowed out (to devote full-time to Blues Traveler
), he recommended a high school friend from
Princeton, New Jersey, as his replacement, Chris Barron.
The Spin Doctors were born when Barron and
Schenkman recruited jazz drummer Aaron Comess (from the Jazz department at the
Mannes School of Music at New York’s New School for Social Research), who in
turn brought along his friend Mark White on bass, from the band Spade. Their first gigs were on
fraternity row at Columbia University in 1988-89.
In 1991, their debut
album, Pocket Full of Kryptonite, brought
a string of back-to-back hit singles: “Little
Miss Can’t Be Wrong” (Number 17 on the Billboard
Hot 100 and Number Two for four weeks on the Album Rock chart, 1992), “Two Princes” (Number Seven on Billboard Hot 100; Number Two for seven
weeks on the Album Rock chart, 1993
and was the number-one most-played song on American radio for the entire year),
punctuated by “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues” (Top Ten on the Album Rock chart) and “What Time is It?” To date Pocket Full of
Kryptonite has gone on to sell eight million records worldwide.
Turn It Upside Down, the
Spin Doctors’ 1994 follow-up to Kryptonite, was considered a commercial
disappointment although it sold over two million records around the world. The
final weeks of a 1994 world tour found the Spin
Doctors at the end of five solid years of touring and releasing three
albums without a real break. After much soul-searching and inner band tensions,
founding guitarist Eric Schenkman decided to leave the band.
For the next few
years the band continued touring and recording. The Spin Doctors released You’ve Got
to Believe in Something on Epic records in 1996 and Here Comes The Bride on Universal Records in 1999. Towards the end
of the session for Here Comes The Bride,
bassist Mark White, unhappy with the musical direction of the band decided to
leave. Just days prior to the release date, lead singer Chris Barron completely
lost his voice due to vocal chord paralysis. He was unable to speak for over
six months. All promotion and touring set up to promote the record had to be
canceled. HERE COMES THE BRIDE never saw the light of day.
much rehabilitation, Chris eventually made a full and complete recovery. In
2000, the remaining members, Chris Barron and Aaron Comess decided to call it
quits until last September when the Wetlands Preserve came calling.
According to Barron, “We’re glad that the original members
of the Spin Doctors have the chance
to make music together again. The four of us have a sound that speaks for
itself. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of and we’re looking forward to
these shows this summer.”
If the River Was
Whiskey (2013) is described as the blues album the band was always meant to
make. Lead singer Chris Barron elaborates, calling the collection of ten
original tunes “a ramshackle, broken carriage running down a cobblestone hill,
with pots and pans, and a screaming baby.”