The Bowery Presents
Blues Traveler / Spin Doctors

Blues Traveler / Spin Doctors

Leroy Justice

Sat, October 13, 2012

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Capitol Theatre

Port Chester, NY

$30 advance / $35 day of show

Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 18 and over

This event will have a general admission standing room only floor and a reserved seated Loge and Balcony. Reserved Loge and Balcony tickets will NOT have access to the general admission floor. Tickets are non-transferable, and only the ticket purchaser may use the tickets

Blues Traveler
Blues Traveler
A quarter-century ago, the four original members of Blues Traveler, who had known each other since their early teens—John Popper, Chandler Kinchla, the late Bobby Sheehan and Brendan Hill—gathered in the basement of their drummer’s parents’ Princeton, NJ, home and the seeds were born for a band who have released a total of nine studio albums, four of which have gone gold, three platinum and one six-times platinum. Over the course of their illustrious career, Blues Traveler have sold more than 10 million combined units worldwide, played over 2,000 live shows in front of more than 30 million people, and, in “Run-Around,” had the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history, which earned them a Grammy® for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Their movie credits include Blues Brothers 2000, Kingpin, Wildflowers and others. A television favorite, they have been featured on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, VH1’s Behind the Music and they hold the record for the most appearances of any artist on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Their brand-new, two-CD retrospective, 25 (Hip-O Select/UMe), offers an impressive overview of that career, with one disc featuring “greatest hits” like “Run-Around,” “Hook,” “But Anyway” and “Carolina Blues” (representing every one of their nine studio albums) and a brand-new cover of Sublime’s “What I Got,” as well as a second disc which includes b-sides, unreleased demos and rarities— among them a remix of “Run-Around” by acclaimed electronic producers Gunslinger and excerpts from the band’s online concept album, Decision of the Skies: A Traveler Tale of Sun and Storm.

“We started this whole adventure as a team,” says Brendan Hill. “We’ve taken every step of this as a group together, from the basement to moving to New York, getting signed, hiring a manager, to achieving all our goals.”

“I’m a firm believer that rock and roll keeps you young,” adds co-founding member Chan Kinchla. “Because I don’t feel any different than I did when we started, even though I’ve got a wife, two kids and all kind of life in between. We still go back to that mentality we had as kids, smoking pot and learning to jam. We had our first epiphanies about music together. This is a real family affair.”

“The way the songs have held up moves me,” admits legendary front man Popper, who has gotten down to a svelte 280 from a high of 436 after a gastric bypass 10 years ago, which he admits saved his life. “We’ve really got nothing but love from our audience. If something has quality, it’s constantly reconsidered through the ages. And that’s what we’re doing this for… posterity. We’ve never been 25 before, so having this kind of retrospective, as songwriters, it’s an opportunity for long forgotten songs get their day in court.”

From the suburbs of New Jersey, Blues Traveler moved to New York in the late ’80s, where they became part of a jam-band scene that packed clubs like Nightingale’s, McGoverns and Kenny’s Castaways, where they would share the bill with Spin Doctors and Phish. Represented early on by Bill Graham and son David, Blues Traveler’s live reputation led to a deal with A&M Records, for whom they released their self-titled debut, which produced songs like the hit “But Anyway,” “Gina” and “100 Years,” eventually going gold simultaneously with the album Four. The following year came Travelers & Thieves, also now gold, with songs like “What’s For Breakfast.” The subsequent gold release Save His Soul followed in 1993, with songs like “N.Y. Prophesie,” whose lyrics were actually co-written by John’s Hungarian father, Robert. The recording, and resulting tour, was marked by Popper having to sing from a wheelchair, the result of a motorcycle accident that almost took his life and destroyed the band, which led to a deeper investment from A&M to help support the band during a mettle-testing period in their career.

The band’s Four, released in 1994, was a watershed moment for the group, eventually selling more than six million albums on the strength of the singles “Run-Around” and “Hook.”

“The fact we had that success in the middle of our career, rather than early on, was beneficial because it opened doors to a whole new audience that we continue to court today,” says Hill.

The band’s next album, the now-platinum Straight on till Morning, released in 1997, produced the memorable “Carolina Blues,” a longtime staple of Blues Traveler’s live show. After that, tragedy struck when bassist Bobby Sheehan was found dead in New Orleans on August 20, 1999, at the age of 31. It was a wake-up call for Popper, who vowed to lose his extra weight after help from friends like Howard Stern and Roseanne Barr. Deciding to soldier on, the group brought in Chan’s brother Tad to replace Sheehan on bass and, at the same time, enlisted keyboardist Ben Wilson.

“I kind of vicariously grew up around the band,” says Tad, four years younger than his older brother. “I saw all the trials and tribulations moving forward, and then lightning striking.”

“They wanted to bring in someone who could be part of the band,” recalls Wilson. “They wanted keyboard to play a little bit more of a part of the sound. Apparently, Bobby had always wanted to have a keyboard player in the band. So adding me was a bit of a nod to him.”

The transition took place in 2001 on the aptly named studio album Bridge, the band’s last for major label group Interscope Geffen A&M, on songs like “Back in the Day” and “Girl Inside My Head.”

“That was us looking back,” admits Popper. “It was the end of an era. We wanted to call it ‘Bridge Out of Brooklyn’ as an homage to Bobby, but we decided to talk about where the bridge was going rather than where it was coming from.”

Truth Be Told, recorded in Ojai and Santa Barbara, CA, followed in 2003 on the Sanctuary label and proved a fun experience for the band as they explored their more pop side on songs like Tad’s “Let Her and Let Go” and “Unable to Get Free,” both represented on this compilation.

Bastardos, produced by former Wilco member Jay Bennett for the Vanguard label, featured “Amber Awaits,” Popper’s ode to one of several New England Patriots cheerleaders with whom he fell in love while on a USO Tour of Iraq and Afghanistan. North Hollywood Shootout, recorded in 2008 and released on Verve Forecast, produces a pair of tracks for the collection, Chan Kinchla’s Led Zeppelin-esque “Remember It” and Wilson’s “You, Me and Everything.”

Currently putting the finishing touches on their tenth studio album—the first to feature outside songwriters in addition to the band members’ contributions—the group is taking the opportunity of their milestone to not just look behind, but ahead.

“We intend to keep going as long as they pay us,” laughs Popper, resplendent in bathrobe, Simpsons pajamas and Samurai sword dangling from a belt loop. “We’re going to be in everybody’s face this year. I feel like I’m in my prime. I was convinced I’d be dead at 37.”

“We’re brothers,” concludes Chan. “We’re not done. We’ve got a few more swings left, some more damage to do. I’m sure we bug the shit out of one another at times, but it’s an honor to play onstage with these guys. They are awesome musicians. You have to keep touch with that. And never forget it.”

Still alive and kicking, Blues Traveler prepares for the next 25 years, with a comprehensive overview of the first, in one deluxe package.
Spin Doctors
Spin Doctors
"There was always something special, from the very first time we played together." Chris Barron says of the Spin Doctors' longstanding musical chemistry. “ Even if we don't see each other or play together for a while. It’s like riding a bicycle!"


On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Spin Doctors' landmark debut album Pocket Full of Kryptonite, the band's four original members—frontman Barron, guitarist Eric Schenkman, bassist Mark White and drummer Aaron Comess—still appreciate the uncanny, enduring musical rapport that's allowed them to maintain the upbeat energy and restless creativity that first endeared them to their fiercely devoted fan base.


"When you get the four of us in one room, things just start to happen," Schenkman asserts. "It instantly feels like the old days. The identity of the group asserts itself. That's a great feeling, and it reminds us that the four of us belong together."


In 1991, Pocket Full of Kryptonite became both a musical and cultural phenomenon. In the years since, the album has remained a crucial touchstone, both for the band and for its fans. One of the 100 best-selling albums of the 1990s, it's sold more than five million copies in the U.S. and an additional five million overseas. Two decades after its creation, the album remains a compelling distillation of the Spin Doctors' diverse musical interests, and a prime example of a group of musicians seizing a historic moment to make timeless music.


The Spin Doctors are celebrating the anniversary with Sony Legacy's digital release of a special expanded edition of Pocket Full of Kryptonite, combining the original album with a treasure trove of previously unreleased demos, studio outtakes and live tracks. The band is also honoring Pocket Full of Kryptonite with an extended run of shows—their first full tour since the 90’s—in which they'll perform the entire album, something they've never done before.


Pocket Full of Kryptonite elevated the Spin Doctors from a grass-roots local phenomenon to a world-class recording act. Such enduring signature tunes as "Two Princes," "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," "Jimmy Olsen's Blues," "What Time Is It?" and "Forty or Fifty" embody the band's trademark mix of hit songwriting, a funky sensibility and wildly adventurous instrumental acrobatics.



The Spin Doctors honed their performing and songwriting skills during the same vibrant downtown Manhattan music scene that nurtured such homegrown acts as Blues Traveler, Joan Osborne and Chris Whitley. "It was such an amazing scene at the time," Comess recalls. "There was so much great music happening downtown in new york. It was a real family environment, amongst the bands and the fans. And Kryptonite and everything that followed came directly from us developing a following by playing live."


"What I loved about being in the Spin Doctors is that we played shows constantly," White adds. "I had been in a lot bands that rehearsed more than they gigged. I hated that. But the Spin Doctors was a whole other level, from confidence and attitude to musicianship. These cats really knew their instruments and had enough confidence to improvise and take chances."


Their incendiary live performances won the Spin Doctors a large and passionate following that routinely packed local clubs, winning the band a deal with Epic Records. In January 1991, Epic released the live EP Up for Grabs... Live (recorded at the now-legendary Tribeca club Wetlands), which set the stage for the August release of Pocket Full of Kryptonite.


The Spin Doctors recorded Pocket Full of Kryptonite at New York's Power Station, RPM and ACME studios with co-producers Peter Denenberg, Frank Aversa and Frankie LaRocka (the A&R man who signed the group to Epic). "I think we were really able to capture the essence of the band," Comess says of the album. "We'd been playing clubs for three years before we made Kryptonite, and we'd probably played every one of those songs 500 times on stage. By the time we made the record, we were able to just go in there and do it. But some of the coolest moments on the record were developed right in the studio, like the whole drum/guitar intro to 'Refrigerator Car.'"


Pocket Full of Kryptonite had been out for nearly a year when the infectious "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" began receiving substantial play on MTV and radio. That exposure, combined with the quartet's tireless roadwork, launched the Spin Doctors to mainstream success, and before long the album was a massive hit around the world, with "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and its follow-up single "Two Princes" peaking on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #17 and #7, respectively, and the band receiving a Grammy nomination.


In the summer of 1992, the Spin Doctors were part of the first H.O.R.D.E. festival tour, alongside such contemporaries as Blues Traveler, Phish and Widespread Panic. The band was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, performed on Saturday Night Live, made appearances at Woodstock '94 and England's Glastonbury festival, and opened for the Rolling Stones on a series of North American stadium shows.


1992 saw the release of Homebelly Groove... Live, an expanded version of the Up for Grabs EP, followed in 1994 by the Spin Doctors' second studio effort Turn It Upside Down, which produced the hit "You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast." A road-weary Schenkman bowed out soon after, but the band persevered, releasing You've Got to Believe in Something in 1996, before moving to Uptown/Universal for 1999's Here Comes the Bride. But the group was forced to disband after Barron suffered a rare form of vocal-cord paralysis that left him temporarily unable to sing.


Barron fully recovered his voice, and the Spin Doctors' classic lineup regrouped on September 7, 2001 to perform a warmly received show at Wetlands, in honor of the club's closing. That onstage reunion led the reenergized foursome to return to live performance, and to record a new studio album, Nice Talking to Me, released by Ruff Nation/Universal in 2005.


The current 20th-anniversary tour affords Spin Doctor fans the opportunity to reexperience the body of material that first brought them together. "Going out and playing this record feels amazing” Comess says. "Records that stand the test of time are the ones that come from an honest place, and this one certainly does just that. It still feels great playing these songs."


"It's been so much fun," Barron adds, "because we haven't played some of these songs in a long time. They're sounding so great and so fresh and strange and new, but at the same time, it feels like we never stopped playing them. We're really enjoying each other's company, having a lot of laughs, and remembering how lucky we are to be in a band that plays so well together. A lot of great musicians go their whole careers without ever experiencing that, so I'm thankful that I get to do this."


"These are the tunes that we started with and the tunes that took us round the world, so to come back and revisit them has been really great," Schenkman states, adding, "It's a thrill when you're riding the horse for the first time, when it's not broken in and you don't know how it's going to go. But it's even more enjoyable getting back on the horse when you know what you're dealing with, and knowing that you're in control."

Leroy Justice
Leroy Justice
LEROY JUSTICE has "soul, style and chops to match any up-and-coming band in America," says Hittin' the Note, official magazine of The Allman Brothers. Having shared stages with members of the Black Crowes, North Mississippi Allstars, the Derek Trucks Band, and many others, the RELIX Magazine 2010 Readers Poll Winners have brought their "ferocious live show" to Warren Haynes' 2011 Christmas Jam and 2011 Mountain Jam, moe.'s 2011 Summer Camp and 2010 Snoe.down, and the 2010 Gathering of the Vibes. The year ahead kicks off with a Saturday night headline at Brooklyn Bowl featuring special guests (2/4), a Colorado Winter Tour, and a return to Austin's SXSW. Tracks from both of the band's albums have appeared in prime time network television programming.
Venue Information:
The Capitol Theatre
149 Westchester Avenue
Port Chester, NY, 10573
http://thecapitoltheatre.com/