Upclose: Chris Barron
Lead singer of the Spin Doctors and solo performer Chris Barron talks 90s parties with Dan Creffield ahead of his gig at the Finance Live charity event.
HK Magazine: The Spin Doctors was one of the biggest bands on the planet in the early 1990s. What was it like?
Chris Barron: It was really something of a whirlwind. There were flights, parties, buses, vans, passports, friends—and a million gigs!
HK: When you made it big, did you get to meet any of your musical heroes?
CB: I’ve been lucky to meet many. When we opened for the Rolling Stones I got to hang out with them on a number of occasions: I was at Keith Richards’ birthday party, a Super Bowl party in Brazil with Mick Jagger, and at the end of the tour, Charlie Watts gave me a hug.
HK: How about your songs—what informs them?
CB: I’ve spent a long time working on writing skills, but I’ve always had something of an intuitive feel when it comes to songs. I try not to analyze my stuff thematically. If I do, I get self-conscious—instead I just work ideas that I find interesting.
HK: You had a 50-50 chance of ever talking or singing normally again after being diagnosed with vocal cord paralysis. What would you have done instead?
CB: Perhaps flower arranging? Or knitting? The truth is, I had nothing to fall back on and I was terrified.
HK: What’s a perk of performing solo?
CB: In a band you have a group of people who often disagree, which can make decisions difficult and cumbersome. However, it means you don’t have to make every single decision. When you’re solo, you have to decide on everything: the music, the packaging, the promotional materials. But you can do it all exactly the way you always wanted to, without any opposition. After years of being in a band, though, you may miss a little bit of that opposition…
HK: You took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in Norway in 2012—how did that come about?
CB: I have a side project with three Norwegian rock stars from the 90s called The Canoes. We were drinking a bunch of beers and canoeing on a lake near the cabin of one of the guys and we thought, wouldn’t it be stupid to have a band called The Canoes? About a year later we were on television on the Eurovision Song Contest and also making a record…
HK: What’s the Finance Live event about?
CB: Finance Live is a music and networking event for the Hong Kong finance industry. They donate any profits to a local underfunded charity, which is very cool. The producer, Steve Be rnstein, is a friend and invited me to participate, which I am excited to do.
Don your best “rock concert casual” and see Chris Barron perform at Finance Live. June 18, 6pm-midnight. Grappa’s Cellar, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central. $300 at the door, including buffet.