Spin Doctors

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Spin Doctors
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Genres Alternative rock, funk rock, power pop, jam rock, blues rock
Years active 1988–1999, 2001–present
Labels Sony, Uptown
Website www.spindoctors.com
Members Chris Barron
Aaron Comess
Eric Schenkman
Mark White
Past members Anthony Krizan
Ivan Neville
Eran Tabib
Carl Carter

Spin Doctors is an American alternative rock band formed in New York City, best known for their early 1990s hits, "Two Princes", and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong", which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 7 and No. 17 respectively.

The current members are Chris Barron (vocals), Eric Schenkman (guitar and vocals), Aaron Comess (drums and percussion), and Mark White (bass guitar).

History[edit]

Lead singer Chris Barron in 2012.

The history of the Spin Doctors can be traced back to the late 1980s in New York City, originally as a band called Trucking Company, which included Canadian guitarist Eric Schenkman,[1] John Popper, and later Chris Barron, who was John Popper's Princeton, New Jersey high school friend. Popper left this side project to focus on his main gig with Blues Traveler full-time. With a name change to Spin Doctors, as well as the addition of Aaron Comess and Mark White, the classic lineup was in place by the spring of 1989.[2]

The Spin Doctors were signed to Epic Records/Sony Music by A&R executive Frankie LaRocka in 1991.[3] The band's Epic debut EP Up for Grabs...Live was recorded live at The Wetlands Preserve in lower Manhattan, and released in January 1991. (In November 1992, these EP tracks were remixed and supplemented by additional live recordings to form the album Homebelly Groove...Live.) The Spin Doctors were known for their somewhat lengthy live shows, sometimes jamming even more than is evident on their live releases. They also often performed double-bill gigs opening for their friends Blues Traveler, with members of both bands all jamming together as the transition from the Spin Doctors set into the Blues Traveler set. The Spin Doctors have many songs from their early club days that were never officially released, but remain circulated via concert recordings.

The Spin Doctors' debut studio album, Pocket Full of Kryptonite was released in August 1991. The band continued to play extensive live shows, gaining grassroots fans, as the album was mostly ignored commercially. In summer 1992, the band toured with the first lineup of the H.O.R.D.E. festival, sharing the stage with fellow jam bands Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, and Phish. That summer, commercial popularity heated up, as radio and MTV began playing "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and "Two Princes" directed by filmmaker Rich Murray (who directed many of the band's videos). The album went Gold in September 1992, and then received another boost in sales after the band's appearance on Saturday Night Live in October 1992. Additional videos and singles followed for "What Time Is It," "How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me?)," and "Jimmy Olsen's Blues." By June 1993, the album went Triple Platinum.[3] Ultimately it sold over five million copies in the U.S.[4] and another five million overseas, and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

"[Their] popularity is based on universal rock & roll virtues," said Rolling Stone, which put the band on the cover of its January 7, 1993 issue. "The Doctors aren't trying to blaze new trails. They know we've been down this way with the Stones, Curtis Mayfield, and a few of their other touchstones. But the proof—plenty of it—is in the party." The Spin Doctors made an appearance on Sesame Street, singing a modified version of "Two Princes" that emphasized the importance of sharing.[5] In 1993, they recorded covers of "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?", originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival, for the film Philadelphia[6] and "Spanish Castle Magic" for Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.

The Spin Doctors' second studio album, Turn It Upside Down, released in June 1994,[7] was not quite as commercially successful as Pocket Full of Kryptonite, although it did sell a million copies in the U.S.[4] and a million overseas. The second single, "You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast", was a modest hit (#42 on the pop chart). This album also featured "Cleopatra's Cat", "Mary Jane", "Hungry Hamed's", and "Bags of Dirt". The band set out on a three-month headlining tour, and played to immense crowds at Woodstock '94 and the Glastonbury Festival. Shortly after the release of Turn It Upside Down, original guitarist Eric Schenkman left the band in September 1994 by walking offstage during a concert in Berkeley, California[3] citing musical and personal differences, and being weary of the road. Schenkman was replaced by Anthony Krizan.

Featuring new guitarist Krizan, the Spin Doctors released You've Got to Believe in Something (May 1996). It produced the single and video "She Used to Be Mine". They performed on the Late Show with David Letterman and did some touring, with Ivan Neville joining the band on keyboards. During this period, the Spin Doctors contributed the theme song to Seasons 2 and 3 of the television show Spin City. After touring wrapped up in the fall of 1996, guitarist Anthony Krizan eventually left the band, for reasons that remain relatively unknown. He was replaced by Israeli musician Eran Tabib after auditioning nearly 200 candidates.[8] You've Got to Believe in Something did not live up to previous album sales, selling only 75,000 copies.[8] Epic dropped the band in 1996.[4]

In 1998, the Spin Doctors signed to Uptown/Universal and released Here Comes the Bride in June 1999. During the recording of Here Comes The Bride, Mark White left the band. The bass tracks on the album were finished by original band member Aaron Comess. During the tour supporting Here Comes the Bride, Chris Barron lost his voice due to a rare acute form of vocal cord paralysis that severely affected his ability to talk, let alone sing. He was told he had a 50-50 chance of ever talking or singing normally again.[3] Keyboardist Ivan Neville also took over vocal duties for a few dates, but the band eventually cancelled the remainder of its tour.[9] Barron's voice came back in early 2000 (first comeback [solo] shows in March 2000), at which point he began performing with his band Chris Barron and the Give Daddy Five. Barron undertook what he calls "a journeyman songwriting experience," composing tunes with Blues Traveler's John Popper and with former BMI executive Jeff Cohen.

The Spin Doctors remained inactive as a band until September 2001, when news about the closing of legendary NYC venue Wetlands sparked the original four members to reunite. On September 7, 2001, the original line-up took the stage for the first time since 1994 to play at Wetlands. It was the final closing week of the club. The landmark show was a great success for the fans and the band.[3]

Odd shows followed in 2002 through 2005, which eventually led to a brand new studio album, Nice Talking to Me, released on September 13, 2005.[3] The single "Can't Kick the Habit" was included on the soundtrack to the movie Grandma's Boy. It received moderate radio airplay, along with the songs "Margarita" and the title track "Nice Talking to Me". While the record received good reviews, follow-up proved difficult when the record company that released it went out of business.[10]

In 2008, the band continued to play one-off live shows in the USA and Europe. Drummer Aaron Comess released an instrumental record of all his own compositions entitled Catskills Cry featuring bassist Tony Levin and guitarist Bill Dillon. In 2009, Chris Barron released the solo record Pancho and the Kid on Valley Entertainment.[11] During the summer of 2010, Barron released Songs from the Summer of Sangria. This five-song EP was his first official release with his band The Time Bandits.

In 2011, the band celebrated the 20-year anniversary of Pocket Full of Kryptonite with a UK and US tour. Sony Legacy released a 20th anniversary edition with bonus material on August 29, 2011.

In 2012, Barron took part in the Norwegian selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, with The Canoes.

In April 2013, the band released "If the River Was Whiskey", their sixth studio album.[12][13]

Personal[edit]

Chris Barron met Tony Award winning performer Laura Benanti in the early 2000s. They married on July 25, 2005 but by the end of the year were divorced.[14]

Members[edit]

Current
  • Chris Barron – lead vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar (1988–1999, 2001–present)
  • Aaron Comess – drums, percussion, conga, hammond organ, piano, organ, bass guitar, stick, clavinet, backing vocals (1988–1999, 2001–present)
  • Eric Schenkman – lead guitar, piano, backing and lead vocals (1988–1994, 2001–present)
  • Mark White – bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, accordion, snare drum, backing vocals (1988–1998, 2001–present)
Former
  • Anthony Krizan – lead guitar (1994–1996)[15]
  • Ivan Neville – keyboards (1996–1999)[16]
  • Eran Tabib – lead guitar (1996–1999)[15]
  • Carl Carter – bass guitar (1998–1999)[15]
Touring

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Chart Peak Positions Sales Certifications
US UK[18] NOR
1991 Pocket Full of Kryptonite 3 2 2 US: 5,000,000 US: 5x Platinum
1994 Turn It Upside Down 28 3 16 US: 1,000,000 US: Platinum[19]
1996 You've Got to Believe in Something US: 75,000
1999 Here Comes the Bride
2005 Nice Talking to Me
2013 If the River Was Whiskey

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album
2000 Just Go Ahead Now: A Retrospective
2001 Can't Be Wrong
2003 Two Princes - The Best Of
2007 Collection

Live albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions
U.S.
1991 Up for Grabs...Live
1992 Homebelly Groove...Live 145

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Also contains
U.S. UK[18] Ireland Norway
1992 "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" 17 23 27 - UK: "Big Fat Funky Booty" and "At This Hour"
1993 "Two Princes" 7 3 5 2 UK: "Intro - Yo Mama's a Pajama" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong", Euro: "Off My Line" and "Rosetta Stone"
"Jimmy Olsen's Blues" 78 40 - 2 UK: "Off My Line" and "Rosetta Stone"
"What Time Is It" - 56 - - -
1994 "Cleopatra's Cat" 84 29 - - UK: "Uranium Century" and "Stop Breaking Down"
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" - - - - Euro: "What Time Is It?", "Jimmy Olsen Blues" and "Two Princes"
"Mary Jane" - 55 - - UK: "Woodstock" and "Hungry Hamed's"
"You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast" 42 66 - - -
1996 "She Used to Be Mine" - 55 - - -
1999 "The Bigger I Laugh the Harder I Cry" - - - - -
2005 "Can't Kick the Habit" - - - - -
2006 "Nice Talking to Me" - - - - -

Other appearances[edit]

The band's best known track, "Two Princes", also appears on a wide variety of 1990s music and alternative rock compilations.

Awards nominations[edit]

American Music Awards of 1994

36th Grammy Awards

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Eric Schenkman Interview". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. December 18, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ Jeff Giles (1993-01-07). "Miracle Cure". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-07-20. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f Warren St. John (2005-09-25). "'That 90s Band' Tries Again". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  4. ^ a b c Donna Freydkin (1999-06-23). "The Spin Doctors: Songs in the key of free". CNN. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  5. ^ "Soundtracks for "Sesame Street"". IMDB. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  6. ^ "Soundtracks for "Philadelphia"". IMDB. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  7. ^ Neil Strauss (1994-06-09). "The Pop Life". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  8. ^ a b Anni Layne (1998-07-10). "Spin Doctors Threaten A Sequel". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-07-20. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Spin Doctors' Chris Barron Silenced By Paralyzed Vocal Cord". MTV News. 1999-08-19. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  10. ^ Wayne Bledsoe (2007-11-30). "Spin Doctor's frontman says nearly losing voice good for him". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  11. ^ "Valley Entertainment Pancho And The Kid". Valley-entertainment.com. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  12. ^ "iTunes - Music - If the River Was Whiskey by Spin Doctors". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  13. ^ "If The River Was Whiskey: Spin Doctors: Music". Amazon.com. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  14. ^ "Everything's Coming Up Laura - Theater News - Jun 26, 2007". Theatermania.com. 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  15. ^ a b c "spindoctors archive". spindoctors archive. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ Filled-in for Aaron Comess on September 1, 2012.
  18. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 520. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  19. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 

External links[edit]