Barron performing in 2017
|Born||February 5, 1968|
Chris Barron (born Christopher Gross; born February 5, 1968) is an American singer and songwriter, best known as the lead singer of Spin Doctors.
Christopher Gross was born February 5, 1968, in Honolulu, while his father, a Vietnam veteran, was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the war. Barron spent his childhood in the Bronx and Rye, New York, and later moving to Australia for over three years when he was 8 years old when he went to primary school in Sydney.
When his family returned to the United States, Barron attended the same high school in Princeton, New Jersey as John Popper and the two became close friends. Barron and Popper would jam together after school.
He attended Bennington College in Vermont for one year. There, he was a member of two local bands: Dead Alcoholics With Boners and the Funbunnies. After leaving Bennington, Barron returned to Princeton, got a job at a restaurant, and immersed himself in music. During this time, he wrote "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" and "Two Princes".
One night, John Popper's band Blues Traveler was in town. After hanging out for a night and hearing Barron's songs, Popper invited Barron to move in with them in New York City, and so Barron, at the age of 20, moved to New York City in 1988, with $100 and an acoustic guitar. He joined the band Trucking Company with Popper and Canadian guitarist Eric Schenkman. 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.
On May 17, 1999, just two weeks before the release of the band's album Here Comes the Bride, Barron woke up unable to talk. He 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. Band keyboardist Ivan Neville took over vocal duties for a few dates, but the band eventually cancelled the remainder of its tour.
Barron's voice came back in early 2000 (first comeback [solo] shows in March 2000), at which point he began performing with his band 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. A solo album called Shag was released in 2001, featuring diverse influences, including rock, jazz, country, and funk.
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.
Barron met Laura Benanti in the early 2000s. They married on July 25, 2005 but by the end of the year were going through what Benanti has called a "terrible divorce." They were divorced in 2006. He then married actress Lindsay Nicole Chambers, the lead in the Broadway tour of Kinky Boots.
In 2009, he put out a solo album called Pancho and the Kid, and a year later he released an EP called Songs from the Summer of Sangria.
In 2017, Barron released Angels and One Armed Jugglers to positive reviews.
- Shag – 2001
- "We're All New Yorkers Now" – 2001 (9/11 memorial CD single)
- Pancho and the Kid – 2006
- Songs from the Summer Sangria – 2010 (Chris Barron and the Time Bandits)
- Angels and One Armed Jugglers – 2017
- Griffith, JT. "Overview: Chris Barron". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
- Wiser, Carl (April 4, 2017). "Chris Barron of Spin Doctors : Songwriter Interviews". Songfacts. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
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- St. John, Warren (September 25, 2005). "'That 90s Band' Tries Again". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "Spin Doctors' Chris Barron Silenced By Paralyzed Vocal Cord". MTV News. August 19, 1999. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- Lipton, Brian Scott (June 26, 2007). "Everything's Coming Up Laura". TheaterMania. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
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- Dzięgielewski, Artur (November 19, 2011). "Norway - The Canoes: the next MGP 2012 act". Eurovision Song Contest. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.