Our Season 9 finale finds us in deep conversation with Spin Doctors frontman Chris Barron, as part of our loving coverage of 1991's firecracker album "Pocket Full of Kryptonite," an album we both dearly love. And the hits, oh the hits! From "Two Princes," "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," and our favorite jukebox jam "Shinbone Alley/Hard to Exist," we'll squeeze the juice out of every delicious track. We'll get into our usual shenanigans and excited musings, and we'll talk with Chris about everything from his surprising vocal background to his feelings about playing second fiddle to Pearl Jam. Also:
- Pachelbel's Canon and John Popper's cannon
- The Jerky Boys and Australian culture
- Art beyond perfection
- Fake languages!
- Chris's Eddie Vedder hot take
- “Snickers are for b****es”
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[This transcript is automated.]
Turn up the radio and sing along. It's time for another great song. This is the Great Song Podcast season finale's greetings. Ah, yes. And welcome once again to the Great Song Podcast. I'm Rob Alley and I am J.P motor and we are here to celebrate one of the greatest albums of all time. Yes. We're gonna tell you what makes it great.
Why we think it's awesome and why you should too. J.P how you doing today, man, man, I am doing fantastic. We're wrapping up season nine. Closers for me are always a little 50 50 as I'm kind of saddened a little bit that we won't be bringing you the weekly programming. You are so accustomed to and thus a little less interaction, but.
Always so stoked as we save bangers top tier for our closers. Yes. We try to go epic. Yes. Freebird with David McKee Barnes. Yes. One of my favorites Styx with Lawrence Gowan. Yes. Season seven. We actually did two closers with the final countdown with Nick of Europe and whoop. There it is with with tag team.
Yeah. But today we're covering probably this is a big statement. My favorite album of 91. Okay. Which is huge to say, because. Reem at a time Metallica black album. Yeah. Pearl Jam 10. But Rob, well, first of all, we're gonna talk to the lead singer of this album at the end. So stick around R Rob, tell them what album we're covering by which band, the name of the lead singer, whatever you wanna say to close out season nine, we are covering Pocket Full of Kryptonite, the debut album by the Spin Doctors.
And we're gonna talk to Chris Barron lead singer, the Spin Doctors. So let's kick it off with track. One side, one, take it full of kryptonite. This is Jimmy Olsen's blues.
go. Oh, yes. Dad is the opening track to Pocket Full of Kryptonite, the debut breakout album from 1991 by the Spin Doctors, it went to number one on the billboard heat seekers, albums chart. Number one in Austria, Canada, New Zealand. Top five in UK, Norway, Austria, Europe, overall Sweden and Germany. It went to number three on the billboard 200 where it really hung in there in the top five around some iconic albums, the top five that week.
Number one, the bodyguard, which was number one for literal months. Yeah, absolutely. Number two, you'll laugh, but it was huge breathless by Kenny G . Okay, dude, I get it, man. I get it. Do you remember they used to play Kenny G on the radio? Yeah, I know like a lot. I know. Yeah. I lived it. I remember he really had a moment.
Number three was pocket full of cryp tonight. Yeah, for real. It's over right. Number four was Eric Clapton's unplugged album. Okay. And number five was the peak week for 12 inches of snow by snow, snow. When former just blew up outta nowhere. That's great. In and out of the top five during the Spin Doctors run in the top five, like they stayed in that top five and peaked at number three because of because of the bodyguard wasn't moving and breathless.
My kitty G was just having a day. But in other albums that were in and outta that top five while spin doctor stayed in were the chronic. Dr. Dre, get a grip by Aerosmith, their huge like man. Yeah. Reinvention almost album. And Janet by Janet Jackson, dude. I goodness. Those were all trading spots in the top five during that, during that point, man, get a grip.
Oh gosh. Yeah. I mean that was, that had crazy, crazy, amazing, amazing know. And the one we covered living on the edge. Yeah. Like, you know, massive albums let's see. Pocket Full of Kryptonite was the number seven album for all of 1993 in the us. And number three in Europe and number four in Canada, it was the number 95 album of the entire decade of the 1990s.
It is certified platinum in Europe and Australia. And certified five times platinum here in the United States. It was recorded at the power station in New York city and at acne recording studios in maek New York, which leads me to the only thing that I know about maek New York. This is the only thing I know about maek New York.
Okay. And this is the only reason that I even know how to pronounce that, cuz that it's it's M a M a R O N E C K. Okay. So to me it looks like mama Ronk. Like I, would've not known how to pronounce it, except for this. I listened to a, a radio show podcast version of a radio show called the Michael K show.
Michael K is the play by play voice of the New York Yankees on television. And he hosts an radio show on ESPN in New York. And I listen to their podcast. Okay. They take phone calls from listeners, et cetera, etcetera cetera. And they do this thing every year called drop madness. And it's where they take, like the funniest, just, you know, they'll radio shows will have one thing.
Somebody says something funny or they flub something and they'll just keep playing it as a bit, you know, and they'll drop it in occasionally. So they, they have this thing that they do called drop madness every March where they take the best drops from the year, put 'em in four regions and do a March madness thing with an eventual winner and all people vote on Twitter.
Okay. So this was a number four seat in, in one of the regions and they, what happens is they're getting a call. And they, the producer answers the phone first and gets the information from the person. And then they put him on, right. They say, okay, here you go. You're going on? So this was the, this is what happens.
I think I'm saying this right. Peterik stench in maek you're on ESPN, New York. How are you, sir? Oh, Hey. No, it's Bennett.
So, okay. So the producer somehow got the impression that this guy's name was stench stench, and he was calling from maek. Right. And so, and he said, no, actually it's Bennett. Listen, one more time. I think I'm saying this right. Peterik stench in maek you're on ESPN, New York. How are you, sir? Oh, Hey. No, it's Bennett.
I don't know why, but anyway, that's Don Loreta, he's one of the co-host of that show. And that's the only thing I know about maek New York. That's what you pronounced it. Right. When am I gonna get another opportunity to tell that story on here? Okay. Pocket Full of Kryptonite blew up with a couple of huge singles and then there's just a ton of like beloved album tracks on here.
Do we wanna go chronological and just touch on 'em? Yeah, like up and down the album. Let's do it. Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So let's start. We, we played a little Jimmy Olsen's blues. Yeah. I wrote just little bullet point notes. Perfect. That I like about it. So Jimmy Olsen's blues, which you heard earlier, favorite of mine to cover?
One of my favorite opening tracks. I referenced this on the regular you'll hear, but maybe one of my favorite Spin Doctors track, but you're gonna hear me say that a lot. Yeah. Like easy progression except for that awesome bridge. Yeah. It's basically sweet home Alabama progression, but true. But with an awesome bridge.
Yeah, that's true. And so yes, and that is a great song, you know, the way to my heart is superhero talk anyway. Yeah. So like Jimmy Olsen's blues, Jimi, like the story is Jimmy Olsen is secretly in love with Lois lane. Yeah. He's trying to get with Lois lane, but how are you gonna top Superman? You know what I mean?
Exactly. But he's like, but it's, it's not from a it's, it's more from a swaggy place though, right? Yeah. It's come on downtown. Stay with me tonight. I got a Pocket Full of Kryptonite, right? Like I got, I got this handled, if you just, if you'll just see me give yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I love it. I think's great.
You wanna jump ahead to number two? What time is here we go?
This song, I think was the, the literal result of somebody asking this question while they were playing on stage and Chris just started jamming on it and then they end up with a song out of it. This is what time is it? How many times throughout the day? Any, anytime anybody asks me what time it is this oh gosh, every time, right?
This cord is so funky. What
it's now, now, now it's early, early, early. What time is it? I mean, come on. Good. It's gracious. What is. What's is bread and butter. I don't know. I don't know.
It's just listen to this such a good
butter. He's got other Aaron Comess is killing on the drum. It's
on TV. What a great. Stylistic fusion, Spin Doctors are, this is where we hear that he's the king of the, this is like his first. This is our first introduction. That's true to like some scat of Chris Barron. Yeah. To him to the, to that. Yeah. His verse two to doctor the spin. Yeah, there we go. He's a little English to doctor the spin and there we go.
And we've got our Spin Doctors introductions. That's right. Spin Doctors, by the way, if you don't know if you've never heard that term outside of the span, that's like what they call people who you think of like election night, right. Or, or after presidential debate, let's say you've got the, you know, they go to like the newsrooms and they say, how do you think, how do you think the, you know, the incumbent did tonight?
And they have somebody that basically takes whatever happened and tries to, and put it on their side, put a positive, put it in a positive light. Yep. They call those people, Spin Doctors. So anyway, in this case we wanna been spinning records. I don't know. Oh, that's true. Spin Doctors, right. That's true.
But anyway, such a good mix of groove fun. And rock. Yeah. And just jam, you know what I mean? And blues originally, like straight up blues, we're gonna talk to Chris Barronabout this much more of a blues band. Yeah. And, and wound up here with this beautiful, you know, it's amazing fusion kind of thing. Next up we've got there the first big single this one's the one that this is the lead signal off.
This is little miss. Can't be wrong. The drum sounds on this album are just incredible, dude.
Not about his ex-girlfriend, but actually about his stepmom. How about that? This song is about his stepmom little language on this one for you guys. Left can be a lot of belief in this episode. Yeah. Upstairs
hold don't she wants what
a great line dude. She wants one man made of Hercules and SNO sing.
The base playing on this record. So superb without getting in the way it's never in the way.
And there is the way to my heart right there. Also the first three notes of that guitar solo tell you, we are in Dorian mode. These are the notes that you need. This is all the Sonic information that you need. We're hitting the six flat three, one, right? That's like we're in Dorian mode. Boom. If you, if you were curious how we were gonna play this it's Dorian.
Okay. Yeah. His stepmom told him he'd be nothing more than a janitor living in a basement. He says there's nothing wrong with being a janitor. Yeah. But yeah, he said he made a little bit more of himself. Huh? So that's awesome. So good job for Chris. Yes, absolutely. Alright. Moving on from that here's 40 or 50.
Oh yes. Change of pace. I know I could have said this on one through three, but here's maybe my favorite spin doctor song. Okay. I love the weirdness in this, Eric. Schenkman on piano on here. Some too.
That right there. It's like if it's in a, so an E flat D surprise C, right. I had to figure this out. F sharp minor F major seven E minor sevens, one eight. Right. I've never sat down and figured out the song. I was trying to play along with it
think this is about having to test products and food stuff on animals. Feel like that's what this song is about. Maybe we're having to test like medicines and stuff like that on animals and having to like essentially sacrifice, you know, them to make us for our benefit. I love this song.
Yeah, dude. Great. Great job. Let's just keep it moving. Refrigerator, car, love this intro.
So we're really a nine, eight time, but not a nine eight. Feel all the synchronized riffs and hit.
That's all snare and kick drum, right? Yeah.
Love listen to the right hand on the symbol. It's moving around the time signature it's staying steady while the time signature moves around it,
which is one of my favorite things that drummers do.
And then it opens up into this beautifully like melodic verse. Come on, suck it. Pearl Jam, dude, you can hear. Any of the, this is you can hear this base and be like, what band is that? Yeah. It's like, it's been dark. Come on. Yes.
There's what a melody over the verse. That's just up. Yes, Chris. Thank you. And then you get a new feel.
You never like your frozen phrase made just goodness gracious. They're like, oh, you don't like that. We'll just take a left turn and do something else. You're gonna like this song one way or another. Yeah, this is a good place to pause. Cuz it's the midway point on the album. Let's meet the band. Hey, let's meet the band.
It's time to meet the Hey mama. Let's meet the, all the.
So that's one of the times that you come out of the jingle, like, man, get me more Spin Doctors. most of the time people are happy for the jingle. Ready to hear it, jump to meet the band, but you're like, man, put me back on the Spin Doctors guys, all let's talk about the guys that play on it quickly and briefly so we can jump back in Eric Schenkman on guitars and backing vocals, done stuff with Carly Simon and Natalie merchant has got a third solo project out called who shot John on base lefthanded bass player, Mark White jazz influenced and he's trained very vocal on his atheist realm.
Like he talks about that a lot wonderful bass player. I like to watch him play. Yeah. Lefthanded is really expressive, really tasty. Really good. Rob's already spoke on Aaron, Aaron on drums 2080, put out a project called sculptures, also played with Joan Osborne. So he's her drummer and on lead vocals. Chris Barron, man.
Can't wait till you guys hang out with him a couple of additional. That I wanted to touch base on John Popper. I got some harmonica on more than she knows and off my line and backing vocals on two princes. Yep. So we, we talk with, with Chris a little bit about John. I don't know what we'll keep in the interview, but we ask him about some things.
Yeah. John, we verified something about John Popp that we talked about in our blue travel travel. Absolutely. John Bush on tambourine on, off my line and congas on how could you want him parentheses when you can have me, Rob will be excited to talk on parenthesis. So good band, those, your guys at the midway point, anything you wanna touch on or jump track six.
I just, the way that they, we talk a little bit with, with Chris about this too, the, but the way that these guys, all this is one of the definitions to me of like the, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. You know what I mean? Like these guys are all. Really good on their own, but then they come together to form something that's just magic.
You know, it's like, there's no other band that sounds like this. You know, there's not each, it's one of those things that you can pick them out uniquely. Yes, exactly. Right. If one of them is missing, you know, if somebody's different was playing. Yeah. That's great. You know, or singing like absolutely. You know?
Absolutely. That's yeah. They're also for they're for so identifiable, like that's good. And that's so rare in a band, you know what I mean? It's like you said, you can, you know, you can, how, how rare is it that you can listen to a bass player and know who that is? I know who the band is. That's Mark White, you know, whatever Lee maybe.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. That's what I'm saying. There's just a handful of times that that happens. But then for every member of this band to be that way. Exactly. You can listen to Aaron and go that's Aaron. Yeah, exactly. That's Eric Schenkman you know, like. And obviously Chris's voice is duh, you know, the first moment you hear it's, it's another instrument.
It really is. Yeah. So it's like so identifiable and that never happens. That's good. You know, nobody in this, nobody in this unit is, is replaceable. That's good. I love it. I love it. Alright. More than she knows more than she knows. Let's kick it.
Well, this is just two minute 12 song. Short little song. Yeah. It's like American bandstand dance. Yeah. Jangly pop, you know? Oh boy. John hide the swords Popper with a killer harmonica solo. John, hide the sword. She's got, I know she's got out, but I mean, what can you say? This is a catch, pop song. That's good, man.
You know, before that's go. All right. Now we may have to camp out here for a second. Absolutely. So we're going into track seven. This is two S you may have heard it. Yeah. First of all, let's talk about that. Drum fill, come on, Aaron. The way he, okay. I love the way he does this a lot. He does like drags in his snare fill.
I don't know if that's technically the right thing to call it, but he does a lot of like rolls up in the middle of a snare fill. So it's not, it's just, it's not just it's, you know what I mean? That kind of stuff, which I love his snare sounds incredible. And at the same time, Most drummers. If you give them this fill, they're going snared drum only.
He's also hitting the kick at the same time. He's going, boom, boom, boom, boom. Right. And so take a listen to it without in mind. But anyway, this two princess,
I mean, I never noticed the kick underneath. Oh yeah, no, I just always hear them.
I feel like he's trying to hit to the bottom of the snare. Like he's trying to get all the way through it. I think he plays traditional grip. Oh, really? Side. Really, I think he does. How do you hit it that hard? I've never been able to break your wrist. I I'll snap
here comes one of the most iconic vocals of the nineties. You
know, you sang lot's gracious, you know, you sang along goodness gracious. Well, and I love that. Like, Chris has a great sense of humor about it. He'll often if you follow him on Twitter, he'll often end a, a in a tweet with like hashtag Bedi dip. You know what I mean? And so I love that. He's like, I love for those of y'all that were waiting for the radio hit.
Like how do I know the Spin Doctors? I know that there, there it is. That's that's right. Yeah. If you didn't know, little miss can't be wrong because it was a little too languagey for your local station. Yeah. They definitely played the mess out of two princes. Yeah, for sure. This, okay. See, do we, do you have anything else you need to say on two princes?
Yeah. Second single biggest song that one of Grammy VH one ranked at the number 41 song of the nineties. Yeah. So I think, and, and justly. So yeah. It was, it went number one on the mainstream top 40, number two on the mainstream rock chart, number seven on the hot 100 brilliantly singable in all facets.
Even the guitar solo let's listen to the guitar. So. Let Eric do his thing.
You can sing every note of this.
Come on. That's so good,
dude. I just, that song is just, well, never gets old. Same, so, so happy making, you know? Okay. So there's the thing that happens whenever something becomes like so popular that it saturates a certain market. It becomes like cool to like, hate on it. You know what I mean? Sure. And the Yankees mm-hmm, , you know, McDonald's certain brands that just become like LeBron James, LeBron, LeBron, I you know, yeah.
It's like, Ooh. You know, just because either they're always good. Mm-hmm they always kick your team's butt. Tom Brady always went. Yeah. Tom Brady. Yeah, exactly. Come on Patriot. So let's just say Patriots. Yeah. Yeah. Patriots for sure. Yeah. So like tons of mu musical artists get this treatment. And in that regard, two princes got that treatment from a website called blender and was put on their list of 50 worst songs of all time.
And I'm gonna read you some of this list and we're gonna talk about how BS this list is. Okay. This list is so full of it. Let's see. Number 24, I'm just gonna hit some highlights and just point out the hypocrisy. okay. Number, number 24 is Superman by five for fighting. That's a great song. That's a great song.
We wouldn't have covered it. That's right. We wouldn't have talked to John. Yeah. Let's see. Corey Hart sunglasses at night Cub. I'm sorry. That's a great song. Absolutely. It has a stupid lyric. Okay. Don't switch the blade on a guy in shades. That's a stupid lyric, but musically it's very interesting. You mean sweet dreams are made of this, right?
Yes, exactly. Dancing on the ceiling. Are you serious? Broken wings, freaking Mr. Mr. Come on. No you're the inspiration Peterik said, come on. Hello everybody. Come on. Let's Chicago. What's up by foreign on blondes is number 16 on this list. Good. I'll be there for you by the Rembrandt freaking. And I don't even like this song and I know it doesn't deserve to be on this list.
Bet. Midler from a distance that's monster. Okay. Let's see, what else? Kokomo come on. Yeah, they just don't like these cuz they got a lot of airplay. Yeah. Ebony and ivory. Come on. You're gonna tell me Paul McCartney and Stevie wonder. No, come on. Let's see. All right. Eddie Murphy party all the time, maybe.
All right, I'll give you that one. I'll give you that one. You're serious. Number seven on this list is Bobby McFaren. Don't worry. Oh dude. You're hurting Rob right now. Rob, Rob serious. I love him from Bobby Huey Lewis to the news. Heart of rock and roll. No, no, no. Alright. Let's see. Rolling by limp biscuit.
Okay, fine. I'll give you a couple. Everybody have fun tonight. One Lang Chung is number three on this supposed list of the 50 worst songs of all time. And number one, we've talking about this song before having somehow gotten this reputation, the Mark Page, we built this city by Starship. Goodness.
Correct? That's I'm sorry. That song is awesome. That's a wonderful song. Never tell me otherwise. Absolutely. Same dude. Forget screw those guys. Blender. Get outta here. You're wrong away with you away. You're wrong track. Track eight. This is off my line. I love this riff me too.
And I believe this is Eric. Schenkman on vocals. Here it is. Yeah. This is our first introduction to the vocalist sounds a little different. Got the guitar player, singing it. When you were a kid, did it freak you out when you heard different vocalists? All of a sudden, yeah. Like a different lead what's happening.
How get you, my line don't seem all that easy, but it feels, and then you grew up and years should go, oh, that guy wrote the song. He could sing it, you know, whatever. And we don't
let's hear the riff between the course and the verse getting so fun. Yeah. All these mysteries
knocking my that's got a great bridge to progression changes. Love it. Moving on. How could you want him parentheses when you know you could have me, here's your emotional and he's emotionally sensitive doctors here. That's right. I'm quite content. Does it sound like a counting Crow song to you? Wow. So soothing.
Yeah. It could like it would fit. Like if you had, if you had Adam DS on these vocals, it would make perfect sense as accounting Crow song. Sure. It's a matter of even like the Gilden stern and Rosen, Cranz reference, it's called Kane and Abel reference there for you church kids. And that the table, the song says everything in the hook and the chorus title.
Like it's like by,
he only wants a face by him. How could you,
I mean, that's everything right there. Love the way that resolved I do too, man. Just beautiful all. And then. All right, Rob, get your money's worth at the jute box song. Buckle up. Here we go. Buckle up. Let's play a little, we're gonna have to break down a couple things on this song. Do it. This is to close the album, a double song.
This is shinbone Alley slash hard to exist.
Yeah, killing. If you would've ended it any other way on this album, it would've been sad. Yes. Like you gotta end it this way. Yes. This song is what? 13 minutes long. Oh man, it's an adventure. Yeah. 13 minutes through the chicken water.
We'll hit the chorus and then we're gonna find the transition into hard to exist. And we're gonna talk about it for a second.
Rustage such great imagery in this. Song the chorus is killer. The chords are awesome. The groove is incredible. Aaron's giving it the ans the upbeats on the ride symbol on the verse, all the ghost notes on the snare. He's like king ghost note. That's.
Dope. And then we're gonna get into literally just another song. This is called hard to exist. We're gonna find it.
So we're kind of here. That's pretty close, but what's gonna happen here. I'll try and foretell this a little bit. We're gonna switch from a four, four groove, 3 4 1 2, 3, 4 to a six, eight groove seamlessly. And the ride symbol is going to be kind of your cue as to where we are, sort of, it's gonna be on the beat and off.
Listen to the ride symbol. We're about to change to six eight,
and now we're in that full shuffle. 10 is great. So it's really like a 12, 8 1 2 do 12. 7 8, 9, 10, 11, but because of,
and listen to Chris' entrance on vocals here, it's just a whole other vibe and they just did that totally seamlessly.
When I like that he comes in before the first big snare hit
man on that rules, dude,
just so much jam ability. I mean, it just goes on. I can't, obviously we can't play the whole thing as much as we would love to. , but yes, that is the way to get your money's worth on the jukebox of pizza hut. Put that, put that quarter in hit Shinbo Alley slash hard to exist and just be happy like, and with, with that being said, I have to transition into stump the genius.
All right. With that pizza hut theme in mind. Okay. We're gonna go. Most popular songs, played on a pizza hut, jute box. Wow. Stop the genius Stu the genius. Stop the genius. It's time to Stu the genius and take it apart. I take your part. Okay. This isn't a real list. It's just a list. I found online from some lady named Eleanor.
I can't use her last name because I didn't ask permission. She just posted it, but there were a couple of duplications of artists. So I picked my top 10 from her list. She compiled 20 top 10 songs, played at the jukebox at a pizza hut. You're gonna name the band. I'm gonna give you 10, 10 songs. You get one minute.
So that's six seconds of song to try and name. The artist I'm gonna play him. Oh, you're gonna play him. Okay. Okay. Me to court. We're gonna play 'em and we're gonna see you get six seconds per song. Basically. You got one minute to get 10. Okay. These are the top 10 songs played at a pizza hut jute box, right?
I think I can do this. Rob loves jute boxes and pizza hut. Yeah, I do. Let's set a minute on the clock here. You guys play along, yell out the artist as quickly as you can. If you're faster than Rob, we'll give you a few seconds at the end. There we go. You wanna count it down? 3, 2, 1. Here we go. That's welcome to the jungle, guns and roses, guns and roses.
Me cam Melan cab. That's Aerosmith, Aerosmith. Oh, oh oh, oh, I'm sorry. It's Bengal Bengal.
Share turn back time. Cindy LAER Cindy LAER I'm at 30 seconds here. That's Doobie brothers, Doobie brothers. So Steve Miller, Steve Miller, Eagles, Eagles. Love that riff. PATAR pat beitar that Ising 13 seconds go. 15 seconds left. Rob killed it. Top 10 at the Jude box. Thank you. EOR your last name. That's a good list.
That was a good one. Yeah. Nice job. Guys, hope you've had fun and we're just getting started. That's right. I have one. I have one little note here. We need to talk for a second about kryptonite. Let's do it. Okay. We got a Pocket Full of Kryptonite. That's the name of the album, but here's a little bit about the origin of kryptonite.
And we're gonna talk to Chris Barron. Kryptonite is the native crystal from Superman's home planet of Krypton shards of which arrived on earth as a result of the explosion of Krypton. The same one that sent KL, AKA Superman hurdling to our planet. Its radio activity is dangerous and ultimately fatal to Superman.
It's also potentially fatal to humans, but it takes much more prolonged exposure as in the kryptonite ring that Lex Luther war in the comics, which eventually gave him kryptonite poisoning and killed him originally spoiler alert originally appeared in the adventures of Superman radio show, as opposed to the comic books.
It appeared in the comics first in Superman, 61 in 1949, where it was red, not green in action comics. Number 1 61, it became green. There are various colors and types of kryptonite introduced and used over the years, including red, blue, turquoise, and platinum, all of which have different effects on Superman and others.
And it is synthetic kryptonite, which is used in J.P P's favorite Superman movie, Superman three. There we go to turn Superman evil. When his suit gets a little darker and he gets a little stubble and then he gets in a fight with himself and it's Aw. And he's flicking peanuts at the bar window and breaking bottles and stuff.
evil, Superman that's hold Superman's synthetic kryptonite. They were trying to manufacture it to be able to use it against him, but something they didn't quite get. Right. And so it was close, but no cigar couldn't couldn't finish the deed with Superman. that's my, that's my spiel on cryp tonight. That being said before we go, well, I'll give it to Rob off air.
I got Rob a Superman, something upstairs I need to give to him, so, okay. That'll be a gift for him. God, celebrate season nine. That's right, hang around. And enjoy our time with Chris. That's right. He's gonna love this. Go check us out on socials. Where, if you're, if you're a new listener, here's where you can find us go to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook at Great Song Podcast, and you'll find us there.
We also have a really fun group on Facebook called great songs and the great people who love them greatly. Or you can just go to facebook.com/groups/great song pod. And if you just decide, you really love the show and you want to be a part of supporting it, helping to produce it, then you can go to Patreon and help us do that.
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So if you're interested in that, go check us out at patreon.com/ Great Song Podcast. We are gonna go talk to Chris Barron of the Spin Doctors to close out season nine on the Great Song Podcast. We'll be back on the other side to tuck you in. This is the Great Song Podcast. Ladies and gentlemen, as promise, we are here with Chris Barron lead singer of Spin Doctors, your favorite voice in rock music.
I just know it is just like it is mine. So Chris, thank you so much for joining us here today on the Great Song Podcast. Oh my God. Favorite voice in rock music. Thank you. Come on. That's that was really nice, man. You're my, at the very least, I think I'm gonna say you're my favorite living voice. While, while Chris Cornell was alive, there may have been a competition here, but however, Chris, yeah, Chris Cornell, like what an amazing singer.
Oh yeah. It's good company. That was a monster to, to be in then. Yeah. I I have no problem playing second fiddle to, to Chris man. Really, really lovely guy too. Such a shame, man. I like so sad about him. I, I got, I got a good Chris Cornell story. Y did dude. There we go. My cousin, Pete Came out with the Spin Doctors for like a weekend and stuff and just decided, okay, this is the life for me.
And then he helped me. He tour managed me on on the hoard tour in 92. Okay. And then he was like, and I'm gonna become tour manager. And now he, now he goes out with like radio head and he's like a big time tour manager. Okay. And so he was managing Chris Cornell's solo tour. This is a, this is a while ago.
This might have been like the late 20th century and they were like, they'd been on the road a long time and you could tell, and they were like finding ways to amuse themselves on stage and their thing was like flicking. Guitar picks. Okay. And they'd all gotten like really good at it. And they were there's this dude named Yogi who's like guitar player.
And he's just like an amazing guitar player. And he was like, he had this thing going with his guitar tech, where he was like, like, you know, you go and see like Keith Richards and stuff like that. And like, at the end of a song, he'll like flick a pick out, you know? Yeah, sure. And then like, grab another pick off the mic stand.
And it's like, I was like, I remember why, you know, opening up with stones, just being like, oh, that is so cool. Just like at the end of every song, just like flick a pick. That's really cool. You need like, instead of flicking, like one pick at the end of the show, you're like flicking like 10 picks throughout the course of the show.
Right. And I'm like, cool. I gotta get a lot of picks and With my name on him. And then like, so I'm watching them and this dude, Yogi he's, he's like playing a chord and then flicking his pick mid song. And then yeah, like right in the middle of a tune and then he's playing with his finger instead of the pick.
And he would turn and look over his shoulder at his guitar tech. And I was standing on the side of the stage next to the guitar tech and the guitar tech. He had like a big, like thing of picks there. Like instead of Yogi having like guitar picks on his mic stand, he was like turning to his guitar tech, his guitar tech was like flicking a pick like perfectly no.
And Yogi was like, you know, doing this thing where he he'd turn around, like backhand with his elbow high up in the air, catch the pick, like backhand, holy catch, catch it, and then start playing again. And then like, this is the beacon theater, right? So it's a. It's AUM theater, one of these beautiful New York theaters, like, you know, like you have in most towns too.
Yeah. But a little bigger, like I think the capacity is like 1800 people and there's a big, like a big like balcony and, and like, Yogi is like, Just zipping these things all the way up to the balcony. That's not what he's, he's not doing it. It's not like, you know, he's not putting any effort into it.
It's all like this whippy action, you know, with, with the ends of his fingers, you know? So it's like, it's just a flick and it's just flying forever. And it's like kind of perfect spiral pattern. And meanwhile, everybody else in the band is picked up on this. So they're all just like flicking. Oh my gosh.
Each other, like the drummers, like flicking picks around like what's, you know, like that's awesome. And he was never like missing, he never missed a beat. Like he never missed a chord. He was like, it was like playing was like this sort of secondary thing. right. It was about the pick at that point. It was about the show, the pick show.
Yeah. I mean, you don't see a lot of people who are that natural at, at playing, like, you know, Ivan Neville played with the Spin Doctors for a couple of years. Yeah. And while we were sort of you, we had like a, a period where we were you know, our original guitar player left the band for a while.
Right. And we went through like two other guitar players and at one point we had Ivan and another guitar player and Ivan Neville, you know, son of Aaron Neville. Yeah. Played on comes bride with you guys. Yeah, that's right. Exactly. Oh man. You know the discography dude, I love that. She's like, he's like that guy, you know, like when, when a person is doing something right.
You get the person and then the task. Right. And then you're like, there's stuff that, you know, you walk down the street and you know, the, the person in the task are like very close cuz everybody can walk, you know? Sure. I mean hopefully most, yes. Yeah. Most, you know, most people can, can like, you know, get, get on down the street.
It's just like sort of this thing you could do, you know, you can sleep walk. Right. be right. So, but then like, you know, when, when a task gets a little bit more elaborate, you know, there's like a separation between the task and the. But, but like this dude, Yogi, it was like, there's no separation. You know, he was just like able to do, you know, like concentrate on the music and play the music and yet be like trying to catch these picks and now like throwing them, you know, and Ivan, Ivan was like, it was like a whole other level because, you know, keyboards, like he had a collab, Annette, he had an electric piano and he had a B3 organ.
Yeah. And Ivan would be, and he'd be singing backing vocals. So he'd just be like, Ivan would be like, he'd be playing the CLA Annette. And like the organ at the same time. And he'd be like smoking a cigarette and adjusting a picture of his daughter and grabbing a sip of his beer and then like singing, backing vocals, and then like making a joke.
And like, it, it was like, there was no separation between him and the music and he was he's really like the Funt individual I've ever like been on stage with too. Like he, he he's, he's doing all this stuff and playing the Funt. You ever heard him, like, you know, , that's great. That's great. Well, on here comes the brides, since you touched about it, you wrote wow.
For this album. I really like that song. So raw even jokes about the production in the lyric. So love, love that track. Just since you hit on that we we wrote that, that was like me and Ivan. We wrote that together. We wrote that lyric together. That was, I think that's the only song that he and I, the only lyric he and I wrote together.
Mm-hmm that's that came out well, as we record this, it's the 30th anniversary of Pocket Full of Kryptonite, because can you, does it feel 30 years ago?
Yes and no, we don't, but mostly yes. You know, actually it was Eric Schenkman's birthday yesterday or the day before. Oh, okay. And we said happy. Tell him happy birthday from the Great Song Podcast. I will, we have like a group text. And like, you know, I, I, I wake up at like, you know, 10 30 or 1130 or something like that.
And those guys all wake up before me. And you know, I woke up and Eric was like 31 years ago today. I played the solo on 40 or 50 that's. Wow. You know, and it, because it was his birthday, I remember like it was his birthday and we're in the studio. And he was like, you know, took us a while to get that solo together.
And then all of a sudden it was like, take 11. And we was like, me and Aaron were in the control room, just like looking at each other, going like, oh my God, this is like, Mato Dawn, giant spider suddenly like took over, you know, the studio. And so, you know, that's a long time ago, you know? I mean, I remember.
I remember there really was like a feeling of destiny while we were making that record. I mean, I don't know if that was like just self generated and we were just young and, and like, you know, full of confidence and just like had conquered New York and were like, you know, got, got a record deal. And we're like, yeah, it's all happening.
And here we are in the studio and we were very confident about the material. Cause we'd been playing everything for like a year or two and we were coming off of a, like Beatles in Hamburg kind of period of time too. You know, where we, we had just been, you know, in New York city we would play these clubs and you went on at like, you know, nine.
On a weekday and you played until two, or like you went on at 10 on a weekend and you played until 3, 3 30. So, you know, we were just really, we were hot, you know? Yeah. We just went into, we had like a week of pre-production and kind of like just kind of polished the material and went into the studio, just like ready to go.
And, and that was at RPM studios, which was on 12th street in New York and really, really cool. Legendary studio, the stones. I wanna say the stones made steel wheels there. So they had just, actually, they had just like recorded there a year or two before. There's a bunch of like rolling stones paraphernalia.
One of the other things I remember is that, you know, we're like three Jews in a black . So like our, me and me and Eric grew up pretty, you know, in a pretty, in pretty secular households. Like, you know, my, I, I never, like, I didn't, I was never like practicing. And I not bar mitzvah or anything, Eric, is it either.
But Aaron Aaron's bar mitzvah and, you know, he grew up going to temple and okay. And so. I bought a manure, cause it was, it was Hanukkah. Okay. And I bought a man Nora and like, you know, we missed like the first couple nights or something like that. But for the rest every night, you know, at sun Eric, Aaron would like do the prayers and like, we'd like to candle, we had like a manure going that's.
That's great. Yeah. It was pretty cool. it's like the only time I've ever celebrated Hanukkah really . So the phone booth cover, do you know where that phone booth is? Is it real, was it a prop? Is it a drawing? It's it's a it was in a God, what's that called? You know, like a public domain. It was a public domain book.
Oh, okay. Stock image. Okay. Stock image. Got it. There you go. Now back back then, you know, there wasn't internet yet. So it was like it, we had, I had like a, I, I kind of art directed. The cover along with a friend of ours Darren green, we had an art director who kind of didn't really get the personality of the parent.
Okay. And she came back with like a design and it was really kind of getting to be like the 11th hour. She came back with this design that was really kind of you know, lame and kind of flowery. And like, it was, you know, looked like, it looked like you know, fifth grade art project. Okay. You know, that, that he, that like a young woman might have done and it just wasn't, it just didn't, it didn't work at all.
And I was like, oh God, what are we gonna do? You know, it's one of those moments where you're just like, You got no time and the task, it just seems like impossible. And, and like, you know, its like this has to be ready tomorrow or this is it. I was like, she had, she had like put the lyrics together in this way.
That was like, didn't make sense for the lyrics. You know, the verses weren't like the weren't grouped together. She like put it together in a way that fit her design. But it wasn't like, it wasn't like accurate like punctuation wise and spacing wise didn't didn't tell the story the way you have it written out.
Yeah. It didn't, you know, it was like cutting off versus in the middle and putting them in another place and it's just it's, you know, it was like in terms of like the meaning of the lyrics. So Darren was like start writing out the lyrics now and I was like, oh, okay. And I just wrote that I, I have these like particular like felt tip pens that I use when I'm writing and That I've always used since like high school.
And I just like wrote it down and like lined paper. And I was like, oh, made a mistake. You know? And like do first thing. I'm like Jimi blue. And he was like, don't worry about it. Just like cross it out, just, you know, do it in your handwriting, write it, write it like as fast as you need to. It doesn't matter.
Like do that awesome. Like Chris Barron handwriting that, you know, I wrote up out all those lyrics and you could see in the, you check out the package, you could see that it's all really kind of like, you know, scribbled out and kind of messy. And people come up to me and they're like, can't read your handwriting.
type written . And then we just had photographs by our road manager, Jason Richardson, his uncle Paul Ry You know, was like a really close friend and, and came out with us on like a lot of tours and just had, you know, that kind of access, you know, where we're all just like on a bus together.
And we're all hotels together. And we had like some really great photographs from, you know, we, again, there was, you know, you couldn't, there was no Photoshop or anything like that. We just mocked this whole thing up, you know, with like that, you know, with a glue stick , you know, and was like, okay, here it is.
I was like, I went into like Sony the next day. I was like, here's the design. And I forget what your question was. it was about the, the you're good. Yeah. The phone booth. Yeah. So that's how we got here. We got there, we landed. yeah. The one photo on there that's like a real photo is the inside cover where we're all kind of like dressed up.
Yeah. And that was like, I don't remember who took that photo, but that was, you know, a real photo shoot with a budget. And like a stylist showed up with all those wacky clothes and, you know, I, I still have that gold jacket, but I like never wore it again. nice. One of those things we'll end up in a hard rock cafe someday.
There you go. Yeah, that was the morning after my 21st birthday. Oh, there we go. Okay. So, okay. So I'm very hungover
I can't imagine why. You were very young, you know, you wrote if I, if I remember correctly, you wrote two princes when you were 19. That's correct. Is how long did you hold onto it before you brought it to the band or were or, or, or, or when you, when the first record or when RYP I got made. How, how old were you at that point?
Pocket. I was 91, so I was like 23 when we were making the record. Okay. Did you bring it to the band immediately? Like when you wrote it or did you hold onto it for a little bit? Well, I was playing it like around the city. Like I, you know, I moved to New York in like 19 88, 20 years old with an acoustic guitar.
And a hundred bucks. Okay. And I started just playing, you know, like acoustic gigs. I start, I was mostly like opening up for the Blues Traveler. Yeah. And playing in between their sets when they played like these, when they played this place, the night Eagle bar. So that was in my set and it was, you know, everybody loved that too.
You know, it was like, that was, I, I, I played it differently than it ended up being on the record. I, it was in another key and it was way higher in my range and, and oh, it's higher. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. It was like, winy, it was too high, but you know, it like, I'm, I'm a pretty accomplished guitar player now, but when I was 20, you know, I was like, Like the idea changing the key of the song was like this monumental musical, you know?
I don't remember exactly like how far we didn't, we didn't play it at the first gig, played Jimi S's, but like, I'm not sure how soon those guys latched onto two princes, but I was playing it around, you know? And so it was like, you know, on their radar so that I like Aaron and I was over at Aaron, Aaron and, and, and Eric are, are.
Drummer and guitar player, respectively lived together. They were like roommates. So I was over at their house and they were like, Hey, let's put, let's put two S together. And really high
sounds, really high and, you know, he switched it from, so I was doing, like, I had this rift that was like so to me that was like the whole tune, you know, I was
like, you know, my voice was, I still, I still got like my higher range, but you know, that, that was still really high for me back then. So Eric was like, how about how's? How does, how does, like, how does D try here?
That's what I said now. So are I was playing like switch it to.
P a G right. Eric was like, what if we changed the second chord to a minor chord? So then he, so then we're playing D B minor ag. Yeah. So you, instead of it being like, sort of going back and forth, it becomes this descending thing, right? That's like, that's the tune right there. Yeah. I mean, that's like, princess me fine.
That's one. So when you go into that, that mine record, instead of just repeating the G you know, now you got like, now you got some B kinda shit, got some bell, bell, can you, and you know, it didn't have to change the didn't have to the You know, the melody at all, you know, the melody still worked over it.
Yeah. He mentioned there that you were playing with blue traveler. I know you're big buddies with John Popper. I mean, y'all are in the, the trucking company and everything. Give us a give us a, a John Popper story or better yet. Can you confirm, we heard that he collects swords. Can you confirm that he collects swords and guns and like yeah, the, yeah, he has a cannon.
Yeah. Has a cannon. That's great. But he had a cannon when he lived in, when he lived in Pennsylvania, he. Can I'm working cannon. That's awesome. That's awesome. Isn't maybe, is it awesome? I dunno, dunno. I dunno if that's awesome. It's noteworthy at the very noteworthy. There you go. That's the thing about John and I was like, I had been at John's house and I was talking to a mutual friend of our, my best friend Ben's friend of John's as well.
And I was like, dude, John's crazy, man. He's got like 500 guns. that's a lot time we wanna stay on John's good side. So we're fan not, not, not like a oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean John's beautiful, beautiful guy. Really like a beautiful guy. And so I'm like, I mean, he doesn't have 500, but he has like 150, you know, he has a lot of he, a healthy collection and they're, and, and like, some of them are like, some of them are like, wow, that's cool.
Like, he's got, he's got like Like a world war two, like M one carbine rifle, you know, like that's cool. That's collectible. That's like, yeah. Right. But a lot of what he has is like, he just will go out and buy the latest, like Glock or the latest, like Smith in Western, which is, you know, I mean, that's all good, but it's like, that's not a collector.
I mean, unless he waits like a hundred years, it's not like, you know what I mean? He buys his gun. It's like 1800 bucks or something. And like the second he buys it it's worth like 500 bucks, you know? Sure. It's not you're nots for the resale value in that. Yeah. It's not like a it's, I don't know where he is at now, you know, but at the time it wasn't like a, a collection in the sense of like rare and beautiful guns.
you know, he had, he had. It was like, kind of cool and, and rare, but a lot of it was just like, this is, and this is like, and Wilson, you know?
So I was like, sorry, just to, to get to the end of that, that story. Like I'm like talking to, to Ben, I'm like, dude, he's got so many guns and And he's like, yeah, but the thing about John, you know, is like, it's one thing to have a lot of guns, but John doesn't have any bullets okay. Okay. You know, so I was like, Hey, let's shoot some guns.
You know, you wanna shoot some guns? Yeah. He's like, okay, cool. What do you wanna shoot? And I'm like, I don't know this and this and this. And he's like, cool. Let's go to the, to the store and get some ammo. you know what I mean? So like, it's like, you know, there's like, it's one thing to have a lot of guns.
That's cool. If you, if you have like, I'd rather have a guy like John. We've got a hundred guns in like three bullets, right? Yeah. Then a dude with like three guns and 8,000 rounds. true. Exactly. You know what I mean? That's right. That's like, it's the bullets that are the problem. That's right. That's good.
That's what I think it was. Was it Chris rock that said that's what we should do for like gun control or whatever. Just forget. Get all the control you want, but make bullets freaking expensive. Just yeah. Make bullet. Yeah. Make a bullet $5,000. Yes. You know, like, boom, like, okay. Wow. Nobody's killing anybody.
right. I would kill you if I could afford it. That's that's right. Can't I can't afford to like, oh my God. You just, you know, this guy I'm so. Like never been so mad in all my life. And I'm a psychopath before I can't afford a bullying that makes those old school guns with the things on the end. You could stab people with that.
John is still in control. Got bayonet there. Totally. We'd be so much better off like just legalized dueling there we go. That's right. Let's fall and only have, and only, and, but only like have like flintlock rifles pretty like legal. Yeah, there you go. That's it like, you've solved it, Chris. You, you get it.
You did it. You solved it. Cool. You guys you're. Go kill each other. you know, and if you wanna kill somebody else, it's gonna take you a half an hour to get another bullet in the gun. So there you go. You know? Oh man, you all, so you lived in Australia at age eight for three years. If I read that. Correct. Do you remember those that's right.
Years. And is there, so yeah. Misconception that Americans have about Australia and about all, is there some misconception that we're just way off of? Well, there aren't like, there aren't like kangaroos, like, you know, bouncing around in the streets of Sydney. Sure. Like that's a good one. That's a good good clarification.
Australians are great. I'm trying to think you. It's hard to know what the misconceptions are because, you know, I don't have them cuz I live there. That's true. Cuz you live there. Okay, good. But I can describe Australia, go for it. Australia is Australia is like, gosh country. Okay. It's sunny, beautiful people wearing bath suits all the time.
So everybody's like in really good shape. they're just beautiful people, you know, like they have amazing sense of humor. I have a really great sense of humor about themselves. So there's like this whole kind of concept of humor that they call send up. Okay. Humor, which is, you know, making fun of people.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And if you're friends with an Australian, you can say anything to them. Like I I'm I'm pals with these guys, the screaming jets who are a really big band over there and I've like went on tour with them. And we toured like Victoria and we're just driving around and on these long van runs, they're just saying everything to each other, like that Americans would never say to each other.
They're just like, you know, busting on each other's like musical limitations or someone's a little bit of weight or, you know, the weight, you know, the personal appearance and like insecurities and stuff like that. And everybody's just like laughing up RLY at themselves, you know? Right. And that's kind of the thing, Australians, like you can say anything.
But then when it's your turn to get made fun of you better laugh , you know, or you're a blanker, you know, that's like the Cardinal sin is like kind of taking yourself seriously. And like one of the one really great illustration is when, when I met, when I met Dave Gleason from the screaming jets, like.
He was like, do you remember the jerky boys? Yes yeah. Yeah. Sure. Just for your listeners that don't remember the jerky boys, they were, they did these like crank phone calls and they were very extensive and sometimes they would call the same person over and over again and antagonized them. And they had these like, crazy like premises that they would pretend to be like a, you know, a trades person or somebody who was like, wanted, wanted to like use a business.
And they were like really kind of dirty and weird and, and you know, but there were these really like taking crank phone calls to this like other level, very extensive kind of level. And at the time that record was like taking Australia by storm and everybody just thought it was amazing. And talking to Dave and his wife, Katie about it, what made it so popular in Australia?
They were like, no Australian would ever fall for this because we don't take ourselves seriously. Like they would immediately know this was a joke and what made it so funny was like, Americans are like, they take themselves so seriously. And the fact that like, you know, there's a whole other level of humor to it because there were like, Americans are like so serious and they don't, they didn't even get that.
This was like a joke. Wow. So there you go. I'm gonna, everybody hates me now. and unpatriotic, like sure. Disloyal. But that even that is like, even that is like indicative of like the difference in attitude, you know? Like I like, if, if you said, if you came up with like a pithy criticism of like an, an Australian like lack of perspective, they'd be like, yeah, might.
We really we're really myopic in that, in that okay. I gotta go back. I gotta go all the way back to the very beginning of what we were talking about, because I, I have, I have, I want to know where you came from as a vocalist your vocal style and your vocal delivery is so unique that, you know, like a lot of times you, you listen to a singer and you can kind of hear the soil that they grew out of in their voice.
You, I have no bearing for whatsoever. Where did you come from as a vocalist? That's such a perceptive question. Like I, I just like to start answering that question by saying. I am not a serious person. I gathered, I'm an intense conversation. I'm an earnest, I'm an earnest person. Okay. I'm a sincere person and I'm an intense person.
Okay. But I'm not serious. I don't take myself seriously, but I take like what I do seriously. Okay. So that's good. I take, I take singing seriously. I don't take myself as a singer seriously, but I take singing itself. Seriously. I take guitar playing. Seriously. I take writing. Seriously. I don't, I don't write play guitar or sing seriously, but my approach to them is serious.
If that makes sense. Sure. Yeah. It's a fine distinction. I think it makes sense. Yeah. If you buy a ticket to come see the Spin Doctors, like I'm gonna be prepared. I'm not gonna be trashed. I'm gonna be like ready to go on stage and I'm gonna like. Give you, I'm gonna bring all of my training to bear, to like give you a great show.
And everybody in the band feels that way. You know, we're all like, we'll be up there goofing around, but, but you're still professional and polished, but we're yeah, we're polished and professional and we're like prepared and you can really hear it even on, I'll listen to the songs from the road album. I mean, you guys just crushed every song is just, you know, absolute just so it really comes through.
You can hear it. Yeah. There's, there's, you know, there's like a seriousness about, about what we do and our approach to it, but there isn't like a seriousness about ourselves. And and so I as a singer, I like. I've always sung. You know, one of my earliest memories is like singing along with the radio in a convertible with my mom in her old Morgan.
And I'm singing the backing vocals, which I don't even know is like a thing, you know, I'm just singing the harmony part and I must have been, you know, six or seven years old. And my mom was like, do you know this song? And I was like, no, she's like, but you're singing the harmony. I was like, what's the harmony?
And she's like, you have a beautiful voice. And that was it. You know, that's one of those moments where you're like little and somebody said something you're like, okay, I got a beautiful voice. That's cool. Bear that in mind. So like, I, I always sang, you know, just as, as a little kid. And then I I, in middle school, I was in like the choir and I got thrown out of the choir really, which was, yeah.
Which was, you know, kind of a blow. And I was like, oh, I guess I was wrong about. Singing that's a drag. Oh, well. And I got to got to high school and a funny thing happened. My science teacher somehow got the idea that I should be an AP bio. Okay. Which gave me an one extra elective on my, because I, you know, the, the, there was more credit for that class.
So I had one extra elective and looking at the electives and I'm like Latin, and I'd already taken a little bit of Latin in Australia by private school. I was like, I don't wanna do anymore. Latin Italian. You know, I'm already taking like French. I dunno. And it was like music theory. And I was like, music theory, music theory, the theory of music.
Oh, that must be like melodies, rhythm and harmony and stuff like that sounds interesting. And I'm just on a whim. I was like, I took that class. So. The teacher of that class ended up being Porsche Feld, who was like, you know, my music program in, at Princeton high ended up being like this incredible program with these great teachers, like Porsche Feld, who could have been like, you know, a conductor at like, you know, Phil harmonic in, in, you know, in a city like St.
Louis or, you know what I mean, Minneapolis or something like that. Like she could have been like a, a conductor of a Phil harmonic. Yes. And instead she was the conductor of our high school orchestra and taught music theory. So that class was like freaking mind blowing, you know in a lot of different ways.
So now I'm learning about core progressions and stuff like that. And I go through Freshmen year taking that class. And meanwhile, I'm friends with this guy, Ben Lewis, who I mentioned before, he's the guy, the bullet guy. And the guy was like, you know, lots of bullets, bad, lots of guns, maybe not so bad.
so Ben has perfect pitch, which means he can hear, you know, a note and know what note it is just out of the blue. So he and I were really into Simon and Garfunkel and he would sing the Paul Simon parts. And I would sing the art Garfunkel parts, which are really high. So he was like, dude, you have a really like amazing, rare male voice.
You're a tenor. I was like, what's the tenor? It's like, it's the high part of the male voice. And like, it's rare, you know? There's like, you know, 25. baritoneses in the choir and like six tenors in the choir. I was like, oh, okay, whatever. I, you know, I got kicked out of the middle school choir, so I, I, you know, like it's all well and good.
You're my friend. Thanks. but, you know, I, I suck at singing. It's official. And so I get into this choir and basically like, you know, that was, you know, I don't really, I can't, I don't really read sheet music, but if I know a piece of music, I can read it. If you know what I mean? Like, yeah. I, I can, I always say I can decipher sheet music.
That's well phrased. yeah, I can decipher sheet music. I, I know what everything means, but I can't like, you know, my wife can read flash at 50 feet, you know, just say, read I can't. But so then so basically like, you know, the choir goes to Europe and we spend like the whole year getting ready to go to this international competition called the Vienna youth and music festival.
And, you know, it's like my first time just like working my balls off on music, we had like, you know, rehearsals that went until like, you know, nine, 10 o'clock at night and, you know, we're honing in on all of this stuff. And you know, we get to Europe and I'm just like 15 at this point, maybe 16. And I'm just like, I'm, I'm in Vienna.
like singing in St. Steven's cathedral, right? Like, and I'm 16 years old and I'm here because I can sing. Like my singing got me here and I was like doing, and then then there was like, you know, there was this you know, moment where we're like going in to do like the final, like, you know, we did this whole tour and then it culminated and doing the competition we're down in this rehearsal room and Trigo is just like making this, do this, like part of this one piece, like over and over and over again.
I'm we're this
is we're like, oh, there's like music starts at like the perfect execution. Once you're like executing something perfectly. Then there's this whole, like ocean of musicality beyond that. It's all about like art and expression. Yeah. And like, you know, like I'm just about to go on stage and do this like, competition that I've been preparing for for a year and have like, you know, this incredible musical.
Musical insight. So, you know, I, I sang an choir for the rest of, of that time, but meanwhile, you know, like, like I said, I, I love like Simon and Garfunkel. I listened to a ton of Bob Marley and Bob Marley, like has this great phrasing. And we have like, exactly the same range and his voice kind of breaks up in a very similar way to mine.
So I sang along with tons of Bob Marley records. And I think that had a really big effect on me as a singer. And then, you know, I, I moved to New York. I end up in the Spin Doctors and it's an extraordinarily challenging gig vocally cause we're, you know, like jet engine loud and we're playing in these little clubs and the monitors are, are really the monitors for your listeners.
Dunno what, they're the speakers that point back at the band so you can hear yourself. Sure. So, you know, I can't really hear myself so hot and. You know, I'm just singing my, my neck out. And my girlfriend at the time, this is 1989. She's like, you should take VO voice lessons. I was like, oh, so like I take voice lessons.
I take guitar lessons. So like the, the, the answer to your question is like, I come from. You know, a, a classical singing background. I come from like a choir background and I learned how to sing, like in an ensemble. I learned how to like, sing like serious music that was like a tonal and weird, and to take like that classical approach, you know where like tone is all important.
And I also went to like jazz conservatory for, for, oh, I met the new, I met the Spin Doctors at jazz conservatory, really? So, yeah. So like we, I only, I like, I basically moved to New York and I just said to my dad like, okay, I just moved to New York and like John Popper and Brendan hill, the drummer of Blues Traveler and Bobby sheen are all like in this music program at at Parsons and like, I you know, I wanna go to this program, but like, I don't wanna get a degree in music.
Like, will you just like, I want to go there and, you know, meet other musicians, put a band together and like, learn everything, soak up everything I can while I'm there, but then I just wanna put a band together and I'll quit, you know? So will you just pay for like a semester or two of this conservatory?
And my dad was like, yeah, absolutely. So you know, I get there and that's where I met Aaron and I met Eric and I was also like, you know, exposed to this kind of whole jazz aesthetic too, where again, you know, in a different way than classical music, but like tone and expression, you know, are, were like emphasized and a certain kind of samurai musicianship.
Was emphasized too, because you know, we were coming out of everybody was still recording on tape back then. Yeah. You know, so you really needed a certain kind of discipline and skill to go into the studio. Yeah. It's not like today where, you know, I, I'm not trying to be like, eh, it's uphill both ways school now or anything like that.
I'm just, you know, I'm just remarking on the technical differences that, you know you know, when, when, when I was making records, it was easier than it was for the generation before me, you know? So I'm, I'm not like trying to say like that that's a continuum that, that like happens with the technology of any field, you know?
Sure. But like, you know, we're recording on tape and there wasn't like the kind of editing possibilities. Now you're just like looking at, you know, a digital file in your You know, in a computer and if you need to like undo and edit, you just hit, you know, command Z and it's, it's like, it never happened back then.
If you needed to edit something you had to do with a razor blade. Right. You know, who's gonna, who's gonna cut the tape, you know, of the tape that you'd worked so meticulously at and the tape, the role of tape costs 350, like 19 $90. You know what I mean? Right. Yeah. So it was like, it was a really different game.
So we were being trained. We were being trained to be able to execute a piece of music very quickly and in as few takes as possible, preferably in like one take, you know because we were being trained to be session musicians. So the ideal was you're gonna go into a session to record like a jingle.
And you know, you're gonna have like a, a chart in front of you or, you know, some people did it by ear, but you're gonna be, you're need to like, hear this piece of music, like once yeah. Or read it and just like, you know, 1, 2, 3, go and get it, you know? Right. And not be the guy who. And, you know, never get hired again.
Right. So that's kinda like where, where we're coming from, but, you know, singing wise, I think one of the reasons, maybe one of the reasons it's kinda hard to put your finger on where I'm coming from is that I I'm actually like a really highly trained singer. My, my, my voice teacher, Neil has like 80% opera students and 20% musical theater students.
And then I'm like his rock and roll guy, you know? Right. Okay. Obviously he's not, he's not trying to get me to sing like an opera singer. Yeah. You know, he's we just work purely on technique. Yeah. And he also kind of, he bust my chops about like interpretation. So he'll be like, yeah, Chris, you've got that cute, like kind of thing where that plaintiff like Jimmy Olsen's thing, like, you know, Hey, Love me instead of him kind of thing.
yeah. You know, and he'll be like, I wanna hear you sing this. Like, as if it's a foregone conclusion he's gonna, so he pushes me that way and, and it's all like, it's all technical. So in conclusion, like the, the, my approach to singing is really like, it's. Technical in that I don't want to have to have like much effort going on in my singing.
And I'm mostly using that technique to get like my physical crap out of the way. So I can just be really expressive. Yeah. I love that. You mentioned that you took some French in school and I have to tie that into a question that if I don't ask you, my kids are gonna disown me a family, a family favorite among probably the, the spin doctor's album that probably gets the most play by my family as a whole is turn it upside down.
Cleo's favorite cat
favorite cat. And oh, cool. And a FA a family favorite among all the kids is always biscuit head. It has just been part of my family since my kids were little. They can't get enough of it. They love
it. A and I know you're spouting some French in biscuit heads, so I'm gonna use that as an excuse to tie this in. But am I I've? I think so, right. There's a, there's a spot I feel like right before. There's kind of a little breakdown, interlude
thing. What? It sounds French to my ears. I don't know. Oh, no, no. That's, MABA J yeah. It's like a stupid, like, language. That doesn't mean anything that really, yeah. That I just used to speak onstage in the early days of. Of the of the band and we all like us and the Blues Traveler and our friends, we all used to, like, MABA out was like kind of one of those like Aloha type words.
That means like, it means like hello or goodbye, or like okay. Or like everything's cool. Or, you know, like it was a toast, you know, like cleaning glasses of MABA. And I would just like, be like MABA. OK. So it's just garble. Yeah. Wow. MABA okay. I learned now my kids are gonna love me again. Yay. Okay. No.
So just tell me the story and you can go through this as quickly as you want to, but what, what the crap is biscuit head about? It's it was like, sort of a, a, a, like a bit of a, like mockery of like this social, you know, an intellectual trends of the late 20th century, which is like, I'm all this shit about Eddie is like me basically like ragging on Eddie Vedder.
Okay. Okay. I wow. Speaking of like speaking, cause Eddie, Eddie, not Eddie. Well, Eddie, but the, those guys got all of the money. We were on the same label as them. Okay. Yeah. And like, we would, like, the label would be like, Hey we got this like promotional thing. Can you guys do it? Be like, yeah, sure. We show up and be like, you know, shake everybody's hand kiss all the babies and you know, like do everything.
And like, they were always just like, oh God, you guys are awesome. Like, like the Pearl Jam guys are like such a drag when we, they never wanna do any of this stuff. And they're like, you know, surly about it. Yeah. You guys are like a delight, but we would like go on tour and we would like pull into a town and we'd be like, Full page ad for, for Pearl Jam, you know, for their record full page ad for their gig, you know, an article about them.
And we'd be like, there'd be like nothing about us, you know? Like they're just getting all the money, all of the push. And meanwhile, like, everybody's like, oh God, you guys are so nice compared to that. We're like doing everything they're asking us to do. And just like getting, getting kind of passed over, you're getting the, the puppet show and spinal tap treatment.
exactly. I've always had kind a, what a chip on my shoulder about those guys. Not the guys themselves, except I, I don't think Eddie's a very good singer. But that's a, that's a whole other, that's a whole, that's a hot take yeah, that's my hot take. So yeah, and then it was like what is it like, Hey, now, Nellie, with a buckle in your belly.
Yeah. Shall I compare your peanut butter to your jelly? Like, it was like, everybody then was like starting to get tattoos and like piercings and stuff like that. And I was just like making fun of like, just basically making fun of everybody and everything. It's okay. It's sort of nonsense, you know, I mean, it's not like, do not ascribe any profundity to nothing smart or, you know, it's just, you, weren't going deepness there.
That wasn't your, yeah. I was like, mark came in Mark White. Our bass player came in with that, riff with that. And I was like, I always, when I'm writing a song with those guys or with anybody, you know, if, if somebody comes to me with an idea that I'm then finishing, you know, I wanna like write something that You know, adheres to like their idea of the piece of music, you know?
Cause lyric just trying to like co-op the song and just make it my own thing when it starts out as somebody else's idea. Sure. And also like it's helpful to just be like, what were you thinking of when you, right when you wrote this? So I'm like, what were you thinking of when you wrote this? You Mark's like.
I was like, okay. So yeah, that's what I had. That's what I had to work with. You know what I mean? So I just that's, that's all I had. Great. That's fantastic. So what do you want, what do you want from me, man? You know, it's so let me, let me piggyback off kind of where you just were then. Because we were talking about, you know, kind of each member of the band seems to really have their own voice on their instruments and as players, and obviously we've talked about you vocally and that, you know, seems to be a, a, a strength you know, when it comes to getting yourselves across as a band, right.
You hear you know, each, each member you go, oh, that's the guy from spend doctors. And if it was somebody else, I would know, you know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. And, and so I, I was wondering, has that been a strength in the writing process? Or is it, you know, something that's been difficult to manage at times when everybody has their own unique thing.
That's a great question. When, when when we first started out as young and I was you know, it takes a certain level of maturity to collaborate and I've always been like a pretty self-sufficient writer. Mm-hmm you know, I started writing songs when I was like, you know, 13, 14 years old. And and you know, I wrote two princes when I was 19.
Like, you know, if I may say I've been pretty good that writing songs for the get go. Yeah. My first songs were like pretty good songs and. So it took me a while to wrap my head around collaborating. Cause it's a skill, you know? Yeah, sure. It's skill and it's actually like a form of like security with your own idea, you know, and Eric was great back then.
Like Eric could be like, you know, I come in with a thing and like he'd have a much better idea about like how it would work on an electric guitar than I would be like bringing something in from like from my like acoustic mm-hmm and also like to do just like, you know, at that time I'm a pretty accomplished guitar player.
I'll never be as good as Eric. You know, and so, you know, Eric would just have a better idea and something that was gonna work better, but I would be like kind of resistant to it, you know, mm-hmm and he would be like, look what you're doing there. That's not gonna go anywhere. That's not gonna go away.
If we try this, let's just try this. And you're, you know, you can, you can do it that way. Or if this doesn't work, we can do something else. Right. You know, but it, it's not gonna hurt to like, just to, to work on it. And then later we made a record with Danny Kmart, we made you gotta believe in something with the producer, the great guitar player and producer Danny Kmart.
And I'm still, you know, I'm still kind of, I don't know, 25, 26 now, you know, I'm still kind of. Arrogant and, and, and I dunno if arrogance is the word, but you know, insecure about like, you know, who's gonna come in and just like, and then there's a lot of stories of producers and record labels, steamrolling bands, and sure.
Forcing them to make records that, you know, really weren't the band, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. In the name of making something more commercial or just the name of someone else taking control. So, you know there's, there's a, there's also like a, you know, a, a tactile, you know, practical reason why I was always very careful about this concept.
So I say to Danny, like, you know what, like, why should I trust you? Why, why sh why? You know, are you gonna come in and like, be able to like, make this record better than I could make it without you, then we could make it without you. And I'll never forget this. Danny goes, look, man. When it's right. We'll all know.
And that's like, you know, that's the thing about all of the, all of the records that like, you love all the art love. It's undeniable, you know, like you look at the Mona Lisa and you're like, what the is thought is going on this thing, you know what I mean? And like Pocket Full of Kryptonite, you know, we got lucky.
We, you know, we, we got like four guys who can really play and we've got like, you know, good material. And we really did a good job of choosing like the equipment that we were working with and like that record starts off. And you're just like, and you're like, okay. You know, it's like the first time I heard, first time I heard Nirvana, you know, first time I heard like, smells like teen spirit.
I was just like, what the is this? You know? And that is like you know, you gotta. You gotta work on what you're doing. Like, you know, people, people are like, you know, people bring stuff to you and it's like a thing that they did in their bedroom and they get it. And that's, there's nothing wrong with that.
Like there's, there's, there's always like wacky shit. That's not designed to be for a ton of people. Right. You know, it's not designed to be commercial. It's not, it is designed to fill a niche. But even within that kind of, you hear like John Coltran or like, or Coleman, you know, and you may not like it, but you're still like, what the fuck?
This. Yes, exactly. That's exactly how I feel about Orette Coleman. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I love Orette Cole. I gotta been in the right mood to listen to it, but like, you know what I mean? Like that that's cuz the there's there's a moment. Like when I was a kid, like a teenager and I was over at my friend, Chris Anderson's house and he had a poster it's Picasso it's like.
A Harlequin, this is like beautiful, soft, you know treatment of this like subject and you know, it's of, of like a representational execution of this beautiful, you know, painting yeah. Of a thing. And you can tell what it is. And I was like, that's Picasso. And my buddy was like, yeah, I was like, what about all that other that's, you know, like squares and stuff.
And he was like, yeah, that's Picasso too. And I was like, oh, he knew what he was doing. Like, he's painting all that. You know what I mean? It's not, he's not just like finger painting and like doing some stupid. Like he, he, then I found out, you know, like he was. All those guys were like, yeah, we know how to draw things.
Now we wanna draw ideas. Yeah. That's good. It's like what you were talking about in, in the choir, there's a, you get to the spot where you can do it perfectly, and then you learn how to express yourself with it, you know, and go beyond that level of like, okay, yeah, I can do it now. What am I gonna do with it?
Yeah. Like this is me. And so like, you know, actually, it's interesting, like you go back to this really funny Mo moment in that movie, Ted. Remember the movie about the the bear with mark Walberg yeah, the bear. Yeah. Mark Wal Walberg. And the bear is like getting trashed a party and he's karaoke and he's like, He's doing like any better and he's doing, you know, all these other singers and they were all like, he's like, everybody's from the nineties sings, like, and my brother leans over and he goes, you don't sing that way.
Right. That's good. And like, John Popp doesn't sing that way. Yeah. And, and like, to me, that kind of physical affectation is like, it's a physical manifestation of the insecurity of the singer. Mm wow. So, so like I spent a lot of time, you know, like working with my voice teacher and being like, oh, you know, like I get up on stage and I'm a rock and roll musician for like, I got a rock.
And then, so that, that like, feeling of like having to rock is like, you know, it manifests itself in your throat. I get a tightness in my throat. Yeah. You know, you get singers, like, you're like, that's, that's a physical manifestation of like, of like your like compensating for like an emotional, like.
Inadequacy in your, in your expression. And so, like, that's what I meant by like physically, like getting your, getting your, your body, your, your throat, like the whole singing apparatus, getting that out of the way so that, because what's, what's more rocking than anything is like, when you can hear the emotion just coming through without any interference from like the throat or the body, you know what I'm saying?
Yeah. So like, you know, you listen to, like, you listen to, he played me, like we were talking about this and he played me this like Caruso duet. From a fellow and it's like a fellow, like you knowgo is like tricking a fellow into thinking that Des like cheated on him and like, you hear cool. So you hear like, you know, just like the, the anguish in his voice and it's, and it's like pure anguish and there's no, like, he's not like closing up his throat or like, you know, doing something weird with his mouth or, you know, like shading his vows to like, show that he is really a cool guy and that everything is like, you know what I mean?
Yeah, sure. It's just like, he's just opening his body and like this anguish is coming out from his heart and there's nothing more, that's the same as rock and roll that's where, like, that's where it all like breaks down. That's where like, you know, Picasso and cubism and, you know, John Coltrane and OREC Coleman and, you know Caruso and opera and rock and roll.
They all, like, they all fall into that same artistic, like bin of like life. And we're like, it's dilemma and you're gonna die born. You're all cold and wet and soggy, something like spanks, you like, what the fuck? And then like, you have to like deal with like this world that's patently unfair and dishonest.
And people are like you over at everything. Turn and like shooting black people for no reason and like gassing Jews. And you're like, what is going on? And all of the like leaders are like dishonest and like you over and like, and they're getting protected by like the courts and the, you know, the police are like, you know, I mean, there's plenty of great police.
I don't wanna like piss anybody off, but you know what I'm saying? Like, it's, it's all this, there's this massively corrupt thing going on. Whether, whether you are a part of it or you're not a part of it, and you have to like wake up in the morning and be like, why am I going to be an honest person? Why am I gonna be a good person?
Why am I not gonna take my frustration out on like everybody around me when everyone else is dishonest and taking their frustrations out on everybody. And and that's like, that's what good music and good art is all about, you know, is like, Getting out of your own way and stopping to stopping, like trying to like affect something that you think would be cool and really like making an utterance.
That's something like true and primal and, and, and real, even if it's like ornate and, you know, in the disguise of, you know, a prince, you know, who doesn't have any money, like trying to make a play for a princess, you know, you know, to not let go with the rich prince. Yeah. And so that's how you bring it on home.
Yeah. That's so wonderful. Chris. You've been so much fun. You're like the smartest guy in every room. Seriously. Not just in this room, like this is, we literally. We literally have a board, full questions, 19 questions. And I think we've asked four and that's been perfectly fine. This has been wonderful. We have loved this.
We normally do points to these things where we just embellish the things we love about the artist. I wanted to talk about angels in one arm jugglers with in a cold way. And we wanted to talk about, you've got something you gotta believe in something when you added Anthony on there. But man, you know what?
This has been so much better than anything that we had mapped out. So thank you. But we do have one question that we have to ask everybody. This is one that we ask every single person. So you're on tour either with Spin Doctors or solo project, you go into a gas station. What is your gas station? Snack, food of choice.
And while you're thinking of it, I'll tell you mine. I get a three muske tears bar. When I was growing up, my mom would say, you could have any candy bar you want, and that's the most ounces for the money. They're all the same price like, yeah. So I get a three Musketeers bar. Chris, what is your gas station?
Well, that was the three Musketeers guy. That was my favorite. That was my favorite. Candy bar growing up cuz it's it's it's the biggest one. And it's no bullshit chocolate. There we go there. That just happened. No nuts, no caramel. Right? Just gimme the goodness. Give me the fucking chocolate goodness. And like, let me, let me get to it.
Yeah. Yang. Me and Chris bringing it all together. That's good stuff, man. It's good stuff. Thank you. Snickers. Snickers for bitches, but now I like what? That's our next t-shirt that's the episode title for this? That's what it's called. That's great, man. That's fun. good. Call Chris. This has been so much fun.
Thank you so much for doing that. Oh my pleasure, man. Thank you guys. Give a call if you're over in New York we'll do you better believe? Absolutely do the same if you're around Nashville. All right, will do man. Thanks guys. Bye-bye bye. Now this is the Great Song Podcast. And that was Chris baring. Oh man. A delight.
He was a delight. He played a song. He, he did, man. Come on. That's the cool, like, that's the coolest thing that happens during interview. Whenever somebody reach guitar up the thing right here, let's just get, dig into this a little bit. You know, come on. That was so great. So cool. Tell 15 year old me that just happened.
I know. And he's gonna pee his pants. So when we actually did that interview, we went to eat Japanese food after and just gushed over how cool that was. Yeah. Like, and that we love that. That was a marker for us of like doing that was so fun. This thing that we do is awesome. The thing that we get to do is incredible.
So, and part of that involves, he even took a jab. Yeah, that's right. That's right. Part of us I mean, part of this thing we do by the way is you, when you listen, it makes us so happy. Mm-hmm like we did this to pop ourselves and cuz we thought it would be fun, but then people started listening. Yeah.
And then people started caring about the show and, and, and it became important to some people. And so to become part of your life over this last nine seasons is really humbling to us. Absolutely. And to have made so many friends literally across the world because of this show it just is so very meaningful to us.
So from the bottom of our hearts, For the past nine seasons. Thank you. Here's to the next nine dude. Let's do it. 90, 90,000 seasons in 200, plus we're gonna keep going. That's right. Let's do this, but we'll see y'all again on season 10 and we'll be doing stuff in the middle. Don't worry. We will. We'll we'll have another episode for you next week.
We're really not going anywhere. It's just, we're gonna do something different in between seasons and then we'll kick off season 10 in just a matter of a few weeks. You'll never miss us. Maybe you will a little bit. Maybe you will. We'll see you next time. We see you. How about that? That's good. All right.
Until then I'm Rob. I am, J.P go listen to some music.