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(YouTube)   In the early-'90s, the Spin Doctors were on top of the world. Then one album turned it upside down   (youtube.com) divider line
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1440 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 08 Jul 2021 at 10:53 AM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-07-08 10:30:33 AM  
I love Todd in the Shadows.  Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great series.
 
2021-07-08 11:04:09 AM  
I honestly never knew they had a second album. First one was pretty good and they were a fun show.
 
2021-07-08 11:07:52 AM  
I hate that big hit they had so bad I never listened to anything else. I'm sure it's me not them.
 
2021-07-08 11:10:20 AM  
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2021-07-08 11:12:50 AM  
I was interning at the alt rock station in Philly in 2001/2002 and one of our weekly events was to go to some proto-hipster faux-dive bar in Manayunk where local bands would play. Our job was to hand out t-shirts and annoy people who just wanted to drink and listen to music with our asinine games and trivia contests so they could win CDs they probably already owned.

Anyway, one night the lead singer dude from Spin Doctors was there performing solo. Again, check the date - 2001/2002ish, many many years after Spin Doctors had faded away. I wouldn't say there was a buzz in the building over it, but people were kind of like "Oh yea? That guy? The red haired dude with the beard? Yea, I remember them. He's playing tonight? Cool, I guess.".

He shambles in alone around 9 pm, wearing the dirtiest poncho I'd ever seen, barefoot, sunglasses, many scarves, big silly hat... sits down in the back room of the bar with his guitar case and starts hanging out. Cool dude, but he was 100% going for the disaffected hippie rock star look and persona in an environment where that was extremely out of place. It was just something else to see this guy dressed like Lenny Kravitz exist in the real world alongside a bunch of college kids and young 20 somethings wearing tshirts and jeans. I don't really remember him playing other than he opened with the song "Miss America" which we all knew from the Howard Stern book tour.
 
2021-07-08 11:14:31 AM  
They had a solid rhythm section -- the bass and drums were super-funky.   Chris Baron wasn't the ideal frontman and if you put a different voice out front, they probably could've gotten a lot bigger.
 
2021-07-08 11:15:29 AM  
"Cancer is a shiatshow, like Yakov Smirnoff opening for the Spin Doctors at the Iowa State Fair".

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2021-07-08 11:18:51 AM  
They're no Jesus Jones, that's for sure
 
2021-07-08 11:19:28 AM  

Uzzah: They had a solid rhythm section -- the bass and drums were super-funky.   Chris Baron wasn't the ideal frontman and if you put a different voice out front, they probably could've gotten a lot bigger.


Better lyrics might have saved a couple of those songs too.
 
2021-07-08 11:26:00 AM  

RodneyToady: I love Todd in the Shadows.  Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great series.


Yeah, when I saw the headline I was like "Holy hell, is Fark actually linking to Todd in the Shadows?"
 
2021-07-08 11:27:49 AM  
Still listen to Pocket Full of Kryptonite from time to time - love Aaron Comess on the drums.

Spin Doctors - Shinbone Alley | Aaron Comess
Youtube TkSgCFaqiE8
 
2021-07-08 11:31:54 AM  
I remember when the Spin Doctors were big, ands a co-worker offered to sell me his Spin Doctors cassette for a cheap price. Then about a week later, the co-worker said to me that he decided he wanted the cassette back. Didn't give it to him, even though I think I never listened to the whole tape anyways. I was just annoyed that he sold me something that he now decided was a mistake.
 
2021-07-08 11:36:36 AM  

RodneyToady: I love Todd in the Shadows.  Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great series.


He's my favorite youtube channel.  I love music and one hit wonders.  His stuff is super well researched and a lot of fun.
 
2021-07-08 11:37:19 AM  

Uzzah: They had a solid rhythm section -- the bass and drums were super-funky.   Chris Baron wasn't the ideal frontman and if you put a different voice out front, they probably could've gotten a lot bigger.


Wasn't that the story behind Limp Biskit too? Great band, awful leader, profoundly dumb lyrics.
 
2021-07-08 11:38:03 AM  
It's no secret that "Cleopatra's Cat" might have been the worst lead off single in music history. Even their bread and butter alternative stations wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole.
 
2021-07-08 11:52:24 AM  
What kind of man wants a girl to buy him flowers?
 
2021-07-08 11:59:29 AM  
I guess you have to start with expectations.  The first album was fun catchy pop stuff and their 2.5 popular songs were easily confused as the same song.
It's rare to get a 2nd hit album out of that.  Who do they think they are?  Matchbox 20?  No sir.

/the bar is low and the results are often lower.
 
2021-07-08 11:59:48 AM  

DesertCoyote: It's no secret that "Cleopatra's Cat" might have been the worst lead off single in music history. Even their bread and butter alternative stations wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole.


Many of the One-Hit, Trainwreckords and Behind the Music tales share the same theme: Band believes WAY too much of their own hype, releases something unlistenable, people who liked the pop song hits move on.
 
2021-07-08 12:06:18 PM  

csi_yellowknife: DesertCoyote: It's no secret that "Cleopatra's Cat" might have been the worst lead off single in music history. Even their bread and butter alternative stations wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole.

Many of the One-Hit, Trainwreckords and Behind the Music tales share the same theme: Band believes WAY too much of their own hype, releases something unlistenable, people who liked the pop song hits move on.


The Spin Doctors were the case of "hey, we're a jam band. Let's see if we can release a Grateful Dead-esque (not "Touch of Grey" era) single and see if it works." It didn't.

The other great disappointing album from a band that hit it big, but had an underwhelming follow-up was Soul Asylum. Even Butch Vig couldn't save "Let Your Dim Light Shine."
 
2021-07-08 12:08:50 PM  

little big man: Still listen to Pocket Full of Kryptonite from time to time - love Aaron Comess on the drums.


As do I. Everyone knows the singles that were overplayed, but the album really is an great little mental time capsule of 1991/92.

I mention it here every time the Spin Doctors come up, but I saw them play a college show back in 1992 - it was a first date with a beautiful blond Norwegian girl. They didn't play Two Princes until the encore and when they did, a mosh pit broke out in front of the stage, because it was 1992 and of course it did. They stopped playing and the bassist hit the microphone and said something like, "Fellas - if you want to dance, find a lady and have some fun." and then they just jumped right back into it. I wish it was on video.

It was awesome.

/ csb
// I still think about that blond Norwegian girl from time to time
/// her name was Liv
 
2021-07-08 12:08:52 PM  

Uzzah: They had a solid rhythm section -- the bass and drums were super-funky.   Chris Baron wasn't the ideal frontman and if you put a different voice out front, they probably could've gotten a lot bigger.


Guitarist Eric Schenkman is no slouch.
 
2021-07-08 12:09:08 PM  
CSB: Saw them before they were signed, on Bleecker street, early show.  You know how people say "I saw X-band play and only 200 like people where there?"

When I saw the Spin Doctors there were 5 people there, including me. 5.

Imagine my surprise a short time later to hear them all over the radio.
 
2021-07-08 12:13:57 PM  

DesertCoyote: The other great disappointing album from a band that hit it big, but had an underwhelming follow-up was Soul Asylum


Soul Asylum's followup was called "Bad Hair Day" and was performed by Weird Al.

/multiple songs on that album were Soul Asylum parodies
 
2021-07-08 12:14:19 PM  
Syndicated Incorporated was good
 
2021-07-08 12:14:57 PM  

Nana's Vibrator: I guess you have to start with expectations.  The first album was fun catchy pop stuff and their 2.5 popular songs were easily confused as the same song.
It's rare to get a 2nd hit album out of that.  Who do they think they are?  Matchbox 20?  No sir.

/the bar is low and the results are often lower.


The struggle is to keep it together and get better. Lots of bands never reach the point where they can really make good music - they get dumped by the label or break up or they have a hit and then everyone is surprised they are still green.

U2 took several albums to hit their stride, even the Beatles early work was not anything comparable to what came from Revolver on. I'm sure their strip club performances in Hamburg were not anything like what came later.
 
2021-07-08 12:19:53 PM  

Biledriver: Uzzah: They had a solid rhythm section -- the bass and drums were super-funky.   Chris Baron wasn't the ideal frontman and if you put a different voice out front, they probably could've gotten a lot bigger.

Better lyrics might have saved a couple of those songs too.


If that's the case, how the hell do you explain Red Hot Chili Peppers?

/incoherent lyrics
//semi-coherent chorus
///awesome music
 
2021-07-08 12:20:17 PM  

adamatari: Nana's Vibrator: I guess you have to start with expectations.  The first album was fun catchy pop stuff and their 2.5 popular songs were easily confused as the same song.
It's rare to get a 2nd hit album out of that.  Who do they think they are?  Matchbox 20?  No sir.

/the bar is low and the results are often lower.

The struggle is to keep it together and get better. Lots of bands never reach the point where they can really make good music - they get dumped by the label or break up or they have a hit and then everyone is surprised they are still green.

U2 took several albums to hit their stride, even the Beatles early work was not anything comparable to what came from Revolver on. I'm sure their strip club performances in Hamburg were not anything like what came later.


Then there was Digital Underground. They were a fun raunchy hip hop group with P-funk influences that released three full length albums and an EP. Then they experimented when they released "Future Rhythm" in '96. It just wasn't the same.
 
2021-07-08 12:21:12 PM  
Is the writer sure it wasn't their performance on SNL that killed their career? It was god awful.
 
2021-07-08 12:22:12 PM  

JohnBigBootay: I hate that big hit they had so bad I never listened to anything else. I'm sure it's me not them.


It's not you
 
2021-07-08 12:30:06 PM  
One album, hell.  One music video ended Billy Squier's career.
 
2021-07-08 12:32:54 PM  

Lord Bear: RodneyToady: I love Todd in the Shadows.  Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great series.

He's my favorite youtube channel.  I love music and one hit wonders.  His stuff is super well researched and a lot of fun.


Yeah, Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great because I learn so much, one Hit Wonderland especially.  Yeah, that band that did that one song you kind of know?  Turns out they were massive everywhere except the U.S.  That one guy, what'd he do after his 2nd album tanked?  He had an enormously successful songwriting or producing career.  So many of these acts remembered for mostly one song have fascinating stories.  My favorite episode of One Hit Wonderland is probably Chumbawumba.  A band I thought got big on one fun but inconsequential song and then disappeared are actually punk legends with a 30 year career who once made a pop album on a lark.

ONE HIT WONDERLAND: "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba
Youtube WiZr87g6rNo
 
2021-07-08 12:39:16 PM  
They're one of my favorite bands. They were the first concert I ever attended, on my 14th birthday. I lost track of them as soon as I heard Cleopatra's Cat on MTV, but then about a year ago I happened to look them up.

I have since acquired all of their albums, and yes, that second one is not good. It's not as bad as their fourth album, recorded after guitarist Eric Schenkman had left the band and they got someone who wasn't nearly as good.

Anyway, Todd is right. Cleopatra's Cat and that whole album put the lid on their coffin. However, I would also argue people were already over them by the time that second album was released. The Spin Doctors were allowed to get big just as the alternative revolution was beginning. It didn't take long, though, for everyone to realize they totally didn't fit in with the rest of the alternative movement that was big at the time.
 
2021-07-08 12:39:18 PM  
Here's a neat little article on the 90s Bleecker street scene the Spin Doctors spawned/came out of

https://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/03/ar​t​s/critic-s-notebook-in-small-smoky-bar​s-music-with-grit.html

Saw most of these bands.  Mondo Perso was the club I saw the SD at with 4 other patrons.  Slapmeat Johnson and The Titans with Joe Taino were my favorite.

More Threadjack: Here is the great Joe Taino ripping up "Crosscut Saw" at Dan Lynch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?​v=ckKg78​mCNTQ&ab_channel=FuzzTone
 
2021-07-08 12:46:33 PM  

csi_yellowknife: Uzzah: They had a solid rhythm section -- the bass and drums were super-funky.   Chris Baron wasn't the ideal frontman and if you put a different voice out front, they probably could've gotten a lot bigger.

Wasn't that the story behind Limp Biskit too? Great band, awful leader, profoundly dumb lyrics.


" I wouldn't listen to this band if I wasn't IN this band."-Wes Borland
 
2021-07-08 12:51:17 PM  

The Crepes of Wrath: One album, hell.  One music video ended Billy Squier's career.


Yep. Career suicide. From redneck guitar god to "wait, he's a ______?!" Sad.
 
2021-07-08 12:55:49 PM  

Polish Hussar: Lord Bear: RodneyToady: I love Todd in the Shadows.  Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great series.

He's my favorite youtube channel.  I love music and one hit wonders.  His stuff is super well researched and a lot of fun.

Yeah, Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great because I learn so much, one Hit Wonderland especially.  Yeah, that band that did that one song you kind of know?  Turns out they were massive everywhere except the U.S.  That one guy, what'd he do after his 2nd album tanked?  He had an enormously successful songwriting or producing career.  So many of these acts remembered for mostly one song have fascinating stories.  My favorite episode of One Hit Wonderland is probably Chumbawumba.  A band I thought got big on one fun but inconsequential song and then disappeared are actually punk legends with a 30 year career who once made a pop album on a lark.

[YouTube video: ONE HIT WONDERLAND: "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba]


My favorite is the one about "Timothy." Holy shiat, that's a weird song to be a hit in any capacity!
 
2021-07-08 1:00:22 PM  
What? No Presidents of the United States?
 
2021-07-08 1:09:12 PM  
Why am I am watching dancing fetuses?- Todd In The Shadows

The Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 1991 (Part One)
Youtube 51H4bIw3geo


Always, laugh at this everytime I watch this
 
2021-07-08 1:17:43 PM  

puffy999: DesertCoyote: The other great disappointing album from a band that hit it big, but had an underwhelming follow-up was Soul Asylum

Soul Asylum's followup was called "Bad Hair Day" and was performed by Weird Al.

/multiple songs on that album were Soul Asylum parodies


Syndicated Inc. was the only Soul Asylum parody on that album.
 
2021-07-08 1:18:53 PM  

solokumba: No Presidents of the United States?


While their second album wasn't a huge hit, I think "Mach Five" and "Tiki God" still are reasonably OK songs.  I'm kind of surprised they were touring and putting out albums for so long.
 
2021-07-08 1:29:18 PM  

danceswithcrows: solokumba: No Presidents of the United States?

While their second album wasn't a huge hit, I think "Mach Five" and "Tiki God" still are reasonably OK songs.  I'm kind of surprised they were touring and putting out albums for so long.


I liked the video for "Volcano." I watched this "paid program" local music video show on the Boston Superstation WSBK called "RAGE" in the early days of Dish Network and they played that a couple times.
 
2021-07-08 1:30:39 PM  
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In between songs, they stopped to announce that Bill Clinton had been elected president.
 
2021-07-08 1:35:44 PM  
Polish Hussar:

Yeah, Trainwrecords and One Hit Wonderland are great because I learn so much, one Hit Wonderland especially.  Yeah, that band that did that one song you kind of know?  Turns out they were massive everywhere except the U.S.  That one guy, what'd he do after his 2nd album tanked?  He had an enormously successful songwriting or producing career.  So many of these acts remembered for mostly one song have fascinating stories.  My favorite episode of One Hit Wonderland is probably Chumbawumba.  A band I thought got big on one fun but inconsequential song and then disappeared are actually punk legends with a 30 year career who once made a pop album on a lark.

My favorite is on Thomas Dolby.  An artist known for a werido novelty song that had a huge and influential career.

.
ONE HIT WONDERLAND: "She Blinded Me with Science" by Thomas Dolby
Youtube lL4kmF_8RFw
 
2021-07-08 1:45:08 PM  
It was a hard to determine who sucked harder around that time...The Spin Doctors or Hootie and the Blowfish. But by God, they did both suck.
 
2021-07-08 1:46:50 PM  

DesertCoyote: I liked the video for "Volcano."


I had forgotten that song existed until you mentioned it, now it's stuck in my head.  ObOnTopic:  When we were playing Rock Band at a friend's house, everybody saw that he had both of the Spin Doctors songs that were famous.  So we naturally had to play them.  They were kind of fun.
 
2021-07-08 1:54:42 PM  

The Dynamite Monkey: CSB: Saw them before they were signed, on Bleecker street, early show.  You know how people say "I saw X-band play and only 200 like people where there?"

When I saw the Spin Doctors there were 5 people there, including me. 5.

Imagine my surprise a short time later to hear them all over the radio.


I had almost the same experience. I was in college and they were hired to play a big seasonal event for the school....before their first hit single broke through. So we had an actual hit band come and play at the same time their songs were on every radio and it only cost the school's social budget $15k because we hired them about a month before they got huge.

/they were pretty good
//saw them a couple years later in 1993 with Gin Blossoms
 
2021-07-08 1:56:04 PM  

MizzouGuy: It was a hard to determine who sucked harder around that time...The Spin Doctors or Hootie and the Blowfish. But by God, they did both suck.


Hootie wasn't 'that' bad. They were Fine Young Cannibals, but a bit more whiney.
 
2021-07-08 1:57:28 PM  
csi_yellowknife:

The shiat thing is First was A&R, he found everyone but put himself as the lead.

fark A&R guys/Gals/vampires
 
2021-07-08 2:16:59 PM  

Polish Hussar: My favorite episode of One Hit Wonderland is probably Chumbawumba. A band I thought got big on one fun but inconsequential song and then disappeared are actually punk legends with a 30 year career who once made a pop album on a lark.


Chumabawumba are also anarchists who got their hit album pulled from shelves in the UK when they told people who liked their song to steal the CD

Anyway, Chris Barron is a good follow on Twitter if you like a guy who can laugh at himself, and also cats
 
2021-07-08 3:17:04 PM  

MizzouGuy: It was a hard to determine who sucked harder around that time...The Spin Doctors or Hootie and the Blowfish. But by God, they did both suck.


Neither of those bands sucked as much as Dave Matthews' band. I remember "Crash" being played over and over on the radio, and that is one of the worst farking songs of all time. Dave Matthews should be hated more than Nickelback in my opinion. YMMV.
 
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