Editor’s Note: It was such a fun time conversing with Eric Schenkman, who is the guitarist for 90’s alternative rock group Spin Doctors about his release “Who Shot John”. It was really neat getting to listen to him divulge about how he writes music and how he approached a few of Spin Doctors’ famous songs of the 1990’s. Those that know me know that the 1990’s is my favorite decade in music because all across the gamut, the songs were damn good! Fans can find Spin Doctors at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Eric, it’s an honor and pleasure to be speaking with you this morning. You recently released your solo album entitled “Who Shot John”. What can fans expect from the release?
Eric: Pretty much where I am at right now, it’s a culmination of me now. It’s the same powerhouse guitar, emotive stuff, and for me it’s a bunch of songs to rock out to. My piece from the Spin Doctors is firmly entrenched in the music. I think anybody that liked Spin Doctors would be happy with it, you’ll probably dig it too!
Madness To Creation: The other day you performed “Agent Orange Blues” off of the Relix Sessions. Take us into those songs and will they be singles off of the album?
Eric: It’s funny you say that because nowadays all the songs can be singles. The “Who Shot John” song is the title track, it’s really an exotic song, and the story derives from the song, which I thought was just a saying, I was able to finish the lyric and it was a great journey. I put that lyric away for a long time, and I took it out again. It’s quite surprising really, “Who Shot John” says just give me the straight shit don’t lead me on. Any song on there you can boogie to it, it’s a feelgood song, it’s a story about feeling good, it’s about forgetting the past and walking with your head up high. The other song “Agent Orange Blues” is really a reaction to having to deal with what’s going on with the politics in this country and so forth over the last year and a half. It’s such a shellshocking thing to have the way things have unfolded and the confusion that surrounds politics and policy on certain things that we should really be organized on. In my punk/blues kind of mentality, that’s my reaction to the entire situation.
Madness To Creation: We are talking about the 90’s and tell us about “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues”.
Eric: “Two Princes” was actually our biggest song. All three were in the top 20, and I think “Two Princes” was in the top ten or top five even. Those jams were just what I said, there’s really no difference, those tunes were really contemporary to a time, and they’re all fantastic Chris Barron stories, they’re reactions to the time, and you can dance to them! And people have on many levels, Spin Doctors is a funny band like that. We were very popular because you can really move to the music, the rhythm section just cooks, there’s a pop and a rock mentality between the guitar, and you put a story on top of that with the melody. You can say what you want about fashion, but a good song is a good song.
Madness To Creation: What is one thing you want to accomplish as a musician in general?
Eric: Just to learn something every day. It’s as simple as that. My grandma would always ask me every day if I learned something today, and often you can learn from different places, music is just a reaction to the times, and where you can take your art. Keep an open mind and be willing to learn something new about the music and the craft and your skill set. Just one little thing every day is all I ask of myself.
Madness To Creation: What’s your plans for 2019?
Eric: I plan on playing with Spin Doctors for about 30 to 40 gigs, and the rest of the time, I’ll be touring with my stuff with “Who Shot John”. I do gigs in Toronto every Wednesday night, I do a mix of hardcore blues and rock. What I want to do is pick a few markets with the record, play and then go back, in order to give this record a longer burn. Playing music is my passion and I just want to play. It’s a hard climb, and I’m getting older and it’s harder to pull people into a house, and the best way to do it is hit some place good, make some friends and come back, and that’s what I’m in the middle of doing. If you come out, say hi and it’s always a fun show.
And there you have it! “Who Shot John” is available on Spotify, add it to your playlist below!
On Friday, March 8th, Spin Doctors will be sharing the stage with 10,000 Maniacs at the Reilly Arts Center in Ocala, Florida. For tickets and further information on the show, click here.