Spin Doctors

  • Alternative rock band formed in 1988 from New York New York. The classic lineup of the band was Chris Barron (lead vocals), Eric Schenkman (guitars, backing vocals), Mark White (bass guitar) and Aaron Comess (drums, keyboards). All members contributed to songwriting.
  • Barron and harmonica player John Popper (from the band Blues Traveler) were close friends in high school in Princeton New Jersey, frequently jamming together. After high school, Barron lived in Vermont, performing in two bands – Dead Alcoholics With Boners and the Funbunnies. He moved back to Princeton and worked at a restaurant, still into music. In 1988, at twenty years old, Barron performed some of the songs that he had written for Popper, and Popper invited Barron to move to New York to join Popper’s side project band, Trucking Company, which included Schenkman on guitars. Popper soon left to focus on his role in Blues Traveler. Barron and Schenkman recruited White and Comess, who had been playing in a band called Spade, and by early 1989, the quartet was in place, renaming themselves Spin Doctors.
  • They performed songs with a blues-influenced funk sound that reflected the unique styles that each member brought to the group. The band was signed to a record label in 1990, and a recording of a live concert became their first EP release in 1991, titled Up For Grabs…Live.  Several of the songs would later become part of studio albums. Their debut studio album was released later that year – Pocket Full of Kryptonite. The album was ignored for a year, but as the band toured extensively, it slowly gained momentum in sales. MTV began to air two music videos from the album – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong (one of the tracks on the Up For Grabs EP) and Two Princes. In October 1992, the band appeared on Saturday Night Live, boosting sales. Two years after its release, it was certified 3x platinum, and two years later, it was certified 5x platinum. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Two Princes topped the Mainstream Top 40 chart and peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 chart, while Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong reached #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #17 on the Hot 100.
  • Spin Doctors released their second album, Turn It Upside Down, in 1994. The single You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast was a modest hit, reaching #6 on the Album Rock Tracks chart and #42 on the Hot 100. Two months after release of the album, Schenkman left the group in the middle of a show, complaining of musical and personal differences. He was replaced by Anthony Krizan, and in 1996, they released an album titled You’ve Got to Believe In Something. Sales were well below expectations, and they were dropped by their label. Soon after, Krizan left and was replaced by Eran Tabib after over 200 guitarists were auditioned. Keyboardist/vocalist Ivan Neville (son of Aaron Neville) also was added.
  • In 1998, they were signed to a new label, and in 1999 this lineup released an album titled Here Comes the Bride. During the recording of the album, White left the group, and drummer Comess handled the bass parts. During the tour to support the album, Barron lost his voice due to a rare paralysis of his vocal chords, and Neville handled vocals for several performances. Ultimately, they scrapped the tour and the group went on hiatus.
  • Eventually, Barron’s voice returned and he performed some solo shows. The original Spin Doctors lineup returned to the stage in September 2001 for a show at a New York nightclub that was closing. The show was a success, and Barron, Schenkman, White and Comess played occasional shows for several years. In 2005, they recorded a new album, Nice Talking To Me, but sales were weak, especially after their record company went out of business.
  • Spin Doctors continued to perform one-off shows while members of the group worked on side projects. In 2011, they did a mini-tour in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Pocket Full of Kryptonite. In 2013, their sixth studio album was released – If the River Was Whiskey, with the band going back to their blues rock bar band sound. Bassist White was fired from the band in January 2022 because of his refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Spin Doctors has a place in the evolution of 90s music – that period from 92 to 95 where rock was evolving thorough a kind of post-grunge and pre-emo/pop-punk period. They were a hard working band that just couldn’t come up with the hits to maintain their momentum. Well…you can still enjoy their two blockbusters. Here’s the video for Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong – songwriter Chris Barron claims that the “Little Miss” is not an ex-girlfriend, but rather, his stepmother, screaming at him as he moved to NYC. Enjoy.

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