The Spin Doctors landed on the cover of Rolling Stone in early '93. "[Their] popularity is based on universal Rock & Roll virtues," wrote the magazine.
Riding high on their multi-platinum debut studio album, "Pocket Full Of Kryptonite," was as good as it got for the Spin Doctors, a group that started in New York City as a side project of John Popper, frontman for Blues Traveler. The Trucking Company had Popper, guitarist Eric Schenkman and Popper's high school friend, vocalist Chris Barron. But Popper decided to focus solely on Blues Traveler so Schenkman and Barron brought in bassist Mark White and drummer Aaron Comess for the Spin Doctors.
The band's debut EP "Up For Grabs...Live" was recorded at The Wetlands Preserve in Lower Manhattan (a venue that would have significance later). Remixed versions of those tracks along with additional material comprised '92's "Homebelly Groove…Live."
The Spin Doctors' lengthy live shows, often opening for Blues Traveler, built some grassroots support but not enough to seriously propel the sales of "Pocket Full Of Kryptonite." What made a difference was radio and MTV play of "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and "Two Princes" (with videos directed by filmmaker Rich Murray). "Two Princes went to #7 on the Billboard survey while "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" peaked at #17. The album landed at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart with North American sales topping five million copies. An appearance on Saturday Night Live was icing on the cake.
The Spin Doctors also appeared on Sesame Street and recorded a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" for the Philadelphia soundtrack.
While sophomore album, "Turn It Upside Down," released in '94, eventually went platinum, it had nowhere near the impact of its predecessor. There were no Top 20 hits but there were some major festival appearances including Woodstock '94.
Citing personal differences, a weary Schenkman left the band later that year and was replaced by Anthony Krizan who worked on '96 release "You've Got To Believe In Something." The band also added multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Ivan Neville, the son of R&B singer Aaron Neville and nephew to members of the Neville Brothers.
Krizan didn't hang around long which necessitated the addition of Eran Tabib. But "You've Got To Believe In Something" only moved 75,000 copies. The disappointing sales ended the Spin Doctors' run on Epic Records.
Two years later, the group landed on Uptown/Universal. But White left during the sessions for what would become "Here Comes The Bride." And while the band was touring in support of the album, Barron lost his voice. Barron's kid brother and Neville handled vocals for a few dates before the tour was cancelled. Barron eventually got his voice back and was performing again in '00.
News that the Wetlands was closing prompted Barron, Schenkman, White and Comess to reunite in '01. The show, the first with the original line-up since '94, was deemed a success and led to '05 release "Nice Talking To Me." The set garnered some attention but any hopes of the Spin Doctors building momentum tanked when their label went out of business. It was eight years before another Spin Doctors album.
In a clever promotional ploy, Barron offered to buy fans a pint if they were not impressed with the group's U.K. shows to promote their '13 Blues oriented album, "If The River Was Whiskey." "If you come to one of our shows you can expect us to play our guts out - and if you honestly don't think we played our hearts out, I'll buy you a pint," stated Baron.
1991 Pocket Full Of Kryptonite
1994 Turn It Upside Down
1996 You've Got To Believe In Something
1999 Here Comes The Bride
2000 Just Go Ahead Now: A Retrospective (a compilation)
2005 Nice Talking To Me
2013 If The River Was Whiskey