Spin Doctors Biography

This four-piece band came together in 1989 when Christopher Barron (5 February 1968, Hawaii; vocals) and Eric Schenkman (b. 12 December 1963, Massachusetts, USA; guitar) met Aaron Comess (b. 24 April 1968, Arizona, USA; drums) at the New School of Jazz in New York. With the line-up completed by Mark White (b. 7 July 1962, New York, USA; bass), the band signed a recording contract the following year. 1991’s Pocket Full Of Kryptonite was a varied collection of well-crafted, tuneful rock songs flavoured with funk rhythms and witty, intelligent lyrics. It also displayed the band’s considerable musical ability, playing in a wide range of styles from the light, jazzy feel of the softer numbers to hard funk reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with almost nonchalant ease, while retaining a recognizable sound of their own. Undeterred by the album’s lack of initial success, the Spin Doctors took to the road in the USA, touring to the point of physical and financial exhaustion. When a Vermont radio station began to plug the album heavily, others soon followed, and the band’s popularity spiralled upwards. Pocket Full Of Kryptonite became a major hit, producing a US Top 10 single in ‘Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong’, despite the small storm caused by the track’s opening line, ‘Been a whole lot easier since the bitch left town’ (the lyric was in fact aimed satirically at Barron’s former stepmother rather than an exercise in rock misogyny).

A live set, Homebelly Groove, was released to satisfy the new demand. By this time, comparisons were being drawn between the rise of the Spin Doctors and that of Nirvana, both being the people’s choice, but the band simply stayed on the road, maintaining their impressive live reputation, while another single, ‘Two Princes’, led to worldwide success. However, late 1994 saw their first major setback, when news filtered through that guitarist Eric Shenkman had been ousted in favour of Anthony Krizan (b. New Jersey, USA). Turn It Upside Down was but a pale shadow of the multi-million-selling Pocket Full Of Kryptonite. There were a few highlights (‘Cleopatra’s Cat, ‘Mary Jane’ and ‘You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast’) and perhaps the band had been pressured to follow-up quickly. After such a superb debut, it was a bitter disappointment and would-be purchasers stayed away in their millions. Such success seems to have counted for nothing, and the failure of both You’ve Got To Believe In Something and Here Comes The Bride confirmed that the Spin Doctors had ceased to be a commercial proposition. Label problems, line-up changes and the news that Barron was suffering from serious vocal problems did not help their cause, and they eventually split up at the end of the decade.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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