The early 1990s couldn’t have come at a better time for The Spin Doctors.

The band’s members had met a few years earlier in New York, and had combined their loves of jazz, classic rock and R&B into an upbeat, improvisation-heavy style of music.

At the same time, radio stations were playing Nirvana, Pearl Jam and other rock bands that were bending the boundaries of pop music.

“When we came into it, rock was on the radio with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but just before that, it had been bubblegum dancey stuff on the top 40 charts, just like today,” said Aaron Comess, The Spin Doctors’ drummer and an original member. “Top 40 is changing all the time. We just wanted to do rock ‘n’ roll, using all our influences, and it fit.”

The Spin Doctors’ 1991 debut studio album “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” was one of the best-selling pop-rock albums of its time, selling more than 10 million copies. The cuts “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” both became hit singles. The band played dozens of TV shows and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

The band never had that kind of success again, but “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” remains extremely popular. So much so that the band has decided to mark the 20th anniversary of its release with a special tour featuring the album played live in its entirety. The tour comes to Portland’s Port City Music Hall on Tuesday.

Since the album was a huge part of the band’s success and features its most popular songs, playing it in full on stage is not really that much of a stretch, Comess said.

“We play about half that record at every gig anyway, because people want to hear those songs,” said Comess. “It works well as a live show. It has the kind of pop-ier songs people know and some jammy rock stuff. To see the show gives you a good perspective of what made the band. And it still seems fresh to us.”

In conjunction with the U.S. and European tour, Sony has re-issued the album along with various demos and other material not previously released.

During its heyday, The Spin Doctors were often lumped into the “jam band” category that seemed to be taking over the live music industry. They played with other jam bands like Phish and Blues Traveler many times.

But it’s not the 1990s anymore. So when Comess isn’t touring with Spin Doctors, he makes his own records and has played on other artists’ albums, including those by Joan Osborne and Edie Brickell. He also has a 5-year-old daughter, who keeps him pretty busy.

The time that has passed since “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” exploded onto the charts makes him think about how fortunate he was to meet his bandmates where and when he did.

“Thinking about it makes me appreciate The Spin Doctors that much more and realize what amazing chemistry we had — and have,” he said.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]


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