Chris Barron on bringing the band back togetherBy Devdoot Majumdar
It’s kind of hard to picture that guy on MTV who preached the famous “just go ahead now” telling his daughter to go watch “Blues Clues” because Daddy’s on the phone. But then again, that was ten years ago, and this is the Chris Barron of today. The lead singer of the Spin Doctors took a few minutes to sit down and talk to The Tech from his home in New York.
The Tech: Spin Doctors pretty much ceased to exist a few years back when you were unable to sing because of a paralyzed vocal chord. How was the rehabilitation?
Chris Barron: Well I did acupunture, acupressure, chinese herbs, steroids -- you know traditional Western medicine, psychotherapy, anything you can probably name. I have no idea what worked. Basically, I had a fifty-fifty chance of making it back.
TT: Did you just wake up one morning with a better voice?
CB: It was a gradual process. I lost my voice about this time of year in ’99 and it started coming back around October, and over the course of the next three or four months. At first, I started sounding like the Godfather. And it just got better and better -- I recovered slowly. It’s not a chronic condition. A paralyzed vocal chord has a one in eight million chance of happening, so it was rare.
TT: And the band? Is Spin Doctors back together for good or is this a temporary reunion?
CB: Well, we’re just doing these eight shows to see what comes of it.
TT: How have things been going since your concert last year at Wetlands?
CB: Well you know we did the show at Wetlands, and everyone had a ball. And we’re really looking forward to doing more shows.
TT: Are you guys doing any new songwriting?
CB: No ... yeah, yeah we’re sort of talking about writing and goofing around with that, but there’re no formal plans for making a record at this moment, but some of us are sort of goofing around with writing.
TT: What can audiences expect to hear from Spin Doctors?
CB: We are going to focus on the material from our live record, Pocket Full of Kryptonite, and Turn It Upside Down, our second record. And basically we’re going to be getting around to how we used to play.
TT: How do you feel the band has developed over the last 10 years?
CB: At this point in time, it’s more of a matter of getting back into where we came from rather than developing. We started out as this bar band -- this nightclub kind of band with this meteoric rise. I think right now we’re sort of getting back to rocking audiences as hard as possible.
TT: Do still enjoy singing “Two Princes?”
CB: I love singing it. Oh I love it. I really enjoy singing it. I really like the melody of it. It’s a fun song, it’s a little bit challenging.
Chris Barron’s Daughter: Who are you talking to?
CB: I’m talking to a guy named Dev. He lives In Boston. He’s interviewing me for a newspaper.
CB: Um, I don’t know, I guess they must be interested in what I have to say in Boston. Anyhow, Dev, you were saying?
TT: “Two Princes” ...
CB: Oh man, I never get tired of singing that tune. I know it probably sounds really corny. It’d probably be more cool to be really jaded and say I wish I never had written that song and I’m so bored of singing it. I’ve sung it a thousand million times. But you know I really love that tune. I like the melody, it’s got a real upbeat tune.
TT: If you had to do anything over, what would you do differently?
CB: When we started making our second record, we did a session in Memphis with a producer named Jim Dickinson. We basically made our second record and Epic kind of held it back. We were totally burned out from the road and we were in this really heavily burned out, dark headpace. And so Epic heard that record and they were like “whoa.” They saw this really dark side of the band that they were really unprepared to hear. If I could change anything, I’d probably have put that version of the second record out. It was dark, and dirty and nasty and ... harsh. It was this side of the band that’s very real.
I think people kind of think of us as the “Two Princes,” “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” kind of band, but I think that our fans that followed the band a little more closely that really got into our show know that we also have this dark side. I think if we put that record out second, we might have shown people what Spin Doctors is really about.
Devdoot Majumdar ’03 is a co-chair of the Spring Weekend concert committee.