Spin Doctors at Rams Head On Stage Tonight

Local music writer, Matt Ellis was able to catch up with the Spin Doctors front-man Chris Baron last weekend. Here is what they chatted about:

The Spin Doctors, auteurs of such 90s hits as “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes,” recently released a new album, entitled “If the River Was Whiskey,” their first in nearly eight years and also, their first true blues record.  Lead singer Chris Barron described the album’s sound as a “ramshackle, broken carriage running down a cobblestone hill, with pots and pans, and a screaming baby.”

The band will be riding that runaway “carriage” (sans baby) down the brick and cobblestone streets of Annapolis this Wednesday, May 8th for a live show at the Rams Head On Stage located at 33 West Street.  In preparation, I asked Barron a few questions this weekend to get his perspective on the upcoming show, the overall success of the Spin Doctors, and how it feels to be touring after more than two decades together as a band.

“I guess we’re pretty proud to still be making a living playing music all this time,” Barron said of the band’s longevity. “We couldn’t have done anything else and we still can’t!

I don’t think our philosophy has changed much at all.  We seem to have stumbled on some enduring qualities.  We use real instruments.  We don’t put a lot of cheesy effects on our recordings and we work hard on our songs.  Chemistry is something you either have or you don’t.  We have it luckily.”

Their hard work and straightforward songwriting style paid off, and today the Spin Doctors are arguably one of the most recognizable bands of the 90s.  But they’re not finished by a long shot.  Despite a brief hiatus in the early 2000s and only two albums released in the last 15 years, Barron said the band is “going to keep playing [their] guts out and hope for the best.”

Whereas some bands try (and often fail) to adapt to the changing musical trends and genres, the Spin Doctors have always stuck to their roots – The Rolling Stones (who they opened for in 1994), James Brown, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Muddy Waters, Parliament, and Funkadelic.

“You look to your heroes, live your life, think like a writer, and put it in your music,” Barron explained.

It’s great to see a band like this grow and continue to succeed, all while maintaining their identity and sense of unity.  Off stage, these guys lead very normal lives.  “Super-duper normal,” Barron said. “We’re all buds.  We mostly hang for band stuff, but we like to have a good meal and some drinks together.  I like to cook and play golf, and play my acoustic in my modest apartment with my wife, my daughter and my cats.  I drive an old cop car and crack a lot of jokes.”

This isn’t the Spin Doctors first trip to Annapolis, and something tells me it won’t be their last.  They’re still making great music, and “having a ball and rocking out.”  Barron said you can expect some old favorites, some new stuff off the “If the River Was Whiskey” album, and a lot of fun.  “Nobody plays like us,” he added.

Come out this tonight and see for yourself.  The show starts at 8pm, and doors open at 7pm.

Matt Ellis graduated from the University of Maryland last year, where he majored in journalism with a minor in Geographic Information Systems.  He grew up in Western Howard County, Maryland and currently works in Edgewater, Md.  His father indoctrinated him on classic rock vinyl and old 80s cassette tapes, leading to a lifelong obsession with the music of that bygone era.  He has written for a number of different publications including National Geographic, Spinner.com, the Montgomery County Sentinel, and other local papers and websites.

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