With lead singer Chris Barron having fully regained the use of his voice after nearly losing it in 1999 to a rare paralysis of the vocal cords, one of the jam-band scene's early mainstream successes has reunited for a special concert at New York City's famed Wetlands Preserve.
When word leaked that Wetlands was closing its doors for the last time--falling victim to gentrification--the Spin Doctors quickly signed on to say goodbye to the veritable New York institution, which in its 13-year history helped break such bands as Phish, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Rancid and Sublime.
Having gone from overnight sensations in the early '90s with hits like "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," to rock oddity left in the "whatever happened to" bin of VH1, the Doctors are reuniting with the original lineup of Chris Barron, Eric Comess, Eric Shenkman and Mark White.
"The band rehearsed for the first time together yesterday. Everybody's pretty focused on this gig," says Spin Doctors manager Jason Richardson.
What makes the Spin Doctors' reemergence more notable than, say, the reunion of 4 Non-Blondes, is the remarkable return of its lead singer. (Cue Behind the Music narration here.) When frontman Barron was diagnosed with a rare paralysis of the vocal cords, the ailment silenced him to barely a whisper and threatened to end his singing career forever.
It also derailed the band's big comeback in 1999, when it released its last album, Here Comes the Bride.
But according to his manager, Barron is back at full strength and ready to hit the stage again.
"He's doing great and completely recovered," Richardson says. "Two years ago, the best he could do was a whisper, but little by little it came back."
As Barron's voice miraculously healed, so, it seems, did the band's chemistry. Bad blood had developed between the members, which resulted in original guitarist Shenkman's departure in 1994 and bassist White's exit a few years later. But now that the band's back together, Richardson says there could be a potential comeback in the making.
"It's premature," noted Richardson. "[But] my hope is something like that could happen. The potential is there."
Meanwhile, other big acts that have returned to give a fond farewell to the club in its final week include Hootie and the Blowfish which played there Thursday, trance jammers The Disco Biscuits, Fishbone and "Because I Got High" guy Afroman.
Music fans can still get a few more twirls in, as former Grateful Dead member Bob Weir's band, Ratdog, is scheduled to close out the club on its last two nights, September 14 and 15.