The Spin Doctors, the iconic ’90s rock band whose smash hit album Pocket Full of Kryptonite defined a decade, will take over the stage at Guild Hall on Saturday, September 5.
“People can expect us to play all of the good ol’, Spin Doctors favorites,” says Chris Barron, who has sung lead vocals for the band since its inception in the late-’80s. Pocket Full of Kryptonite, which included such hits as “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” was the second album the band released.
Barron attributes Pocket Full of Kryptonite’s success to the chemistry of the band. “There’s something about the way we played together that I think had a lot to do with it,” he says. “That, and I think there are some really strong songs on that record.”
“Two Princes” was the most-played rock song in the world in 1993, but it wasn’t necessarily Barron’s favorite. Instead, he lists “Forty of Fifty” from that album. “When you write songs, I sort of feel like they’re children. One song will get mad at you if you decide you like another one better. [But] I like the red-headed step children…some of the songs that maybe didn’t get much attention.”
Over the years, the band had become known for bringing a party to their live performance. “I saw some videos of Elvis Presley when I was pretty young. And there was a thing about him where there was this formidable presence that he had, but at the same time he didn’t take himself too seriously,” says Barron regarding his staging inspiration. “As a band, we try to mix humor and musicianship so that it’s a great musical experience, but it’s also fun and funny at the same time.”
In April 2013, the Spin Doctors came out with If the River Was Whiskey, their sixth studio album and one that moved away from ’90s-rock and into the blues. “We’ll be playing some stuff off our blues album. I think a lot of people have found when we share that stuff, it gives them a lot of insight into a lot of the other songs that they already know and love, because we started off as a blues band,” continues Barron. “So it’s been a fun phase of our career to get back to our roots a little bit.”
The band was formed in the late 1980s in New York City, with member Eric Schenkman coining the name Spin Doctors after taking a poetry class. “[The instructor] was talking about the political phenomenon of spin doctors, which are the guys who help politicians tailor their words to fit the message that they want to get across. It’s funny because it was a relatively new term then…I didn’t like it at first. I was like, what is it, a DJ? I said I think it’s too slick,” says Barron. But Schenkman challenged him to come up with a better name, and the Spin Doctors stuck.
The band, however, almost didn’t enjoy the longevity it has had, as Barron began to lose his voice in late 2000. “It was terrible. It was a year of just uncertainty, because I’ve always wanted to be a performer of some kind…I was 6 years old and I saw an old Shirley Temple movie, and I was like ‘ok cool, I’m going to marry Shirley Temple and then we’re going to do that. We’re going to sing and dance and it’s going to be the family business.’” After a year of trying everything from acupuncture to yoga, Barron’s voice returned. The experience made him much more deliberate in his singing and rehearsals, and very appreciative of his fan base.
A Manhattan resident, Barron comes Out East often, and particularly enjoys that “the fire house has that chicken night and that’s a lot of fun,” he says.
Hamptonites can find Barron and the rest of the band at Guild Hall over Labor Day weekend. “If anyone comes out and they don’t think that we played our guts out, they can come and talk to me and I’ll give them their money back.”
The Spin Doctors take the stage at Guild Hall Saturday, September 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets $40. For more info, visit guildhall.org or call 631-324-0806.