At a fraternity party in New York about six years ago, the Spin Doctors took the stage for the first time and have since consistently pumped out a Billboard rotation of catchy pop tunes. Six and a half million record sales and a new guitarist later, Spin Doctors are on the road once more, touring alone.

Having been on the road for the last three or four years, it seems amazing that the group would have time to record another album, but they keep plugging away. It helps that five of the tracks on the latest album made the final mix on the first take at the studio. According to drummer Aaron Comess, the best thing about Turn it Upside Down "is that it's not perfect. It sounds like human beings playing their instruments together."

Perfect or not, the album's already gone gold and sales aren't expected to end anytime soon. Spouting a style which drives a lot more funk into the mainstream music world, Turn it Upside Down proves that the Spin Doctors' sound is constantly evolving, and that they still can play exactly what their fans want to hear. We caught up with Aaron Comess at his hotel room in Fort Lauderdale.

You came out of the New York Club circuit. Do you feel any nostalgia for those days?

AC:Absolutely. That's when we first starting out so we were just trying to build a steady following; playing as often as five or six times a week and always doing the best we could. We were always talking to people about us and inviting them to see our shows. But it was in New York that we built our first steady group of fans. We had the same people coming to see us every time we played.

Were you guys ever street musicians?

No, we actually just talked to people on the street. We'd go out to Washington and Central Park and pass out flyers, made up passes to get people to see our shows.

What was your most embarassing moment?

You mean as a group?


That would be the time we played after a wet T-shirt and wet willy contest at Harpo's, a bar in Detroit. Most of the crowd left after the wet T-shirt contest so we ended up playing to a pretty much empty bar. It didn't matter much to us though. We still did the best we could.

Where did the name Spin Doctors come from?

Comes from politics. A spin doctor is a public relations person who puts a spin on candidates for an election.

Pocket Full of Kryptonite surprised just about everyone, did it surprise you?

Yeah, it was our first album. We would have been happy if it had sold 30,000 or 50,000 copies. But then it sold 6 million (laughs). It was kind of a shock. But we always believed in it, thought it was a great record.
In the beginning we pretty much did most of the promotion work ourselves, when it started to do really good that's when the label stepped in and helped us out. I think we saw ourselves as a band that would develop over three or four albums. So we didn't really expect the first album to do so well.

I notice that your new release has a lot more funk influences than Pocket Full of Kryptonite. Where did that come from?

It didn't come from anyone really. It's just part of the evolution of the band. We just get together to play music. However, Mark comes from a really strong funk background.

Yes, I noticed that with the basslines.

Mark's a really funky guy.

Your music is a definite departure from other heavier artists such as Hole, Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins, how did you come up with the Spin Doctors sound?

Just by playing, just by doing it. We all have our own individual style and then collectively we have a style together. I think by playing live, really. We've done a lot of live gigs, and especially early on. Instead of rehearsing five days a week we used to play gigs five days a week. I think we really developed our sound right on the stage, in front of people.

Do you think that helped you as far as knowing what your audience tastes' were?

Yeah, we used to play so many gigs we could get a reaction to songs right away. So by the time we made our first album it was really obvious what songs went over really well.

How did you hit on the hippy image?

Actually, the hippy image hit on us. We were just at a scene where we slipped into the image perfectly.

Is it still something different everytime you're on stage?

We juggle the playlist each time, and we've developed a sort of stage impromptu. We try to keep it different and do the best we can do.

I've noticed that a lot of bands have a definite split between recording really well and performing really well. Which describes you guys, or is it more of an even mix?

We just give our best in whatever environment we perform in.

More of the interview...