FRIDAY * 8:30 – 10:00 p.m.
Garner Main Stage
On the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the Spin Doctors’ landmark debut album Pocket Full of Kryptonite, the band’s four original members-frontman Chris Barron, guitarist Eric Schenkman, bassist Mark White and drummer Aaron Comess-can still appreciate the uncanny, enduring musical rapport that’s allowed them to maintain the upbeat energy and restless creativity that first endeared them to their fiercely devoted fan base.
“When you get the four of us in one room, things just start to happen,” Schenkman asserts. “It instantly feels like the old days. The identity of the group asserts itself. That’s a great feeling, and it reminds us that the four of us belong together.”
In 1991, Pocket Full of Kryptonite became both a musical and cultural phenomenon. In the years since, the album has remained a crucial touchstone, both for the band and for its fans. One of the 100 best-selling albums of the 1990s, it’s sold more than five million copies in the U.S. and an additional five million overseas. Two decades after its creation, the album remains a compelling distillation of the Spin Doctors’ diverse musical interests, and a prime example of a group of musicians seizing a historic moment to make timeless music.
Pocket Full of Kryptonite elevated the Spin Doctors from a grass-roots local phenomenon to a world-class recording act. Such enduring signature tunes as “Two Princes,” “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues,” “What Time Is It?” and “Forty or Fifty” embody the band’s trademark mix of hit songwriting, a funky sensibility and wildly adventurous instrumental acrobatics.
The Spin Doctors honed their performing and songwriting skills during the same vibrant downtown Manhattan music scene that nurtured such homegrown acts as Blues Traveler, Joan Osborne and Chris Whitley. “It was such an amazing scene at the time,” Comess recalls. “There was so much great music happening downtown in New York. It was a real family environment, amongst the bands and the fans. And Kryptonite and everything that followed came directly from us developing a following by playing live.”
Pocket Full of Kryptonite had been out for nearly a year when the infectious “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” began receiving substantial play on MTV and radio. That exposure, combined with the quartet’s tireless roadwork, launched the Spin Doctors to mainstream success, and before long the album was a massive hit around the world, with “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and its follow-up single “Two Princes” peaking on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #17 and #7, respectively, and the band receiving a Grammy nomination.
In the summer of 1992, the Spin Doctors were part of the first H.O.R.D.E. festival tour, alongside such contemporaries as Blues Traveler, Phish and Widespread Panic. The band was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, performed on Saturday Night Live, made appearances at Woodstock ’94 and England’s Glastonbury festival, and opened for the Rolling Stones on a series of North American stadium shows. But the group was forced to disband after Barron suffered a rare form of vocal-cord paralysis that left him temporarily unable to sing.
Barron fully recovered his voice, and the Spin Doctors’ classic lineup regrouped on September 7, 2001 to perform a warmly received show at Wetlands, in honor of the club’s closing. That onstage reunion led the reenergized foursome to return to live performance. The current tour affords Spin Doctors fans the opportunity to reexperience the body of material that first brought them together. “It’s been so much fun,” Barron adds, “because we haven’t played some of these songs in a long time. They’re sounding so great and so fresh and strange and new, but at the same time, it feels like we never stopped playing them. We’re really enjoying each other’s company, having a lot of laughs, and remembering how lucky we are to be in a band that plays so well together. A lot of great musicians go their whole careers without ever experiencing that, so I’m thankful that I get to do this.”