SpinAround (originally Spiritual Animal until 1998) was a diverse, evolving band of Christians that began in 1996 and lasted until the end of 2001. We began our journey as a somewhat progressive band mixing rock, funk, and jazz, but in a way that came out different from what you'd immediately think. Later, we began to move in a more pop-friendly funk direction, finally landing on a dance-rock pop sound before finally disbanding after 5 years of playing, recording, constant touring, and serving God as a music ministry.
SpinAround recorded 3 full-length albums and a couple of EP/demo length recordings. Our two independent albums include 1996's Fishing for Soul and 1999's Groove Revolution. We put out one album on Pamplin records called Face the Crowd, released in April 2001. We played around 300 concerts at least during those 5 years, covering the midwest, south, and a fair bit of Oklahoma and Texas.
SpinAround was for many years affiliated with Youthinc Ministries of Southern Indiana, and frankly we'd have never gotten far without the support of Andy Fuller, director of Youthinc. SpinAround was managed from 1999-2000 by Greg Menza and Associates, and from 2000-2001 by Warm and Filled artist management.
With only a few exceptions, the band toured as a five-piece: vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums.Discography
Fishing For Soul, 1996
Fishing For Soul was recorded in '96, if memory serves it was around spring break. There really wasn't a band at this point, it was mostly a Jason solo project that he brought friends in to play on. Some of those members later became the first incarnation of Spiritual Animal. This was kind of a weird album, though you have to keep in mind that Jason was fresh out of Vincennes University school of Music and ready to do something impressive. And none of the rest of us were inclined to disagree. We recorded it with Todd Adkins in a studio inside an old Chicken Coop behind an old Monastery.
These songs didn't survive long in our live reperatoire, I think Jason was quickly developing a more pop-oriented sense and these songs just weren't pop.
Groove Revolution, 1999
This next effort, recorded in 1998 (though I don't think we released until 1999?), comes quite a bit closer to the "SpinAround sound". We put tons of work into it, even recording "preproduction" versions of all the songs on my analog 8-track with MIDI drums. Unfortunately, you can't hear all that work in the final recording; sure, the arrangements are pretty tight and the songwriting is quite a bit more mature and polished than Groove Revolution, but the production quality on this album is dreadful. We tried to do it on a computer DAW (Todd Adkin's Mac running cubase, I think) about 3 or 4 years before the technology really arrived. To make matters worse, we recorded the drums on ADAT and they didn't sync up right in the computer, so we had to spend HOURS upon HOURS sitting in that little room while Todd edited drum parts one hit at a time. Ugh, painful memories. So by the time it was done, we were ready to be really done with it, and I think production values went out the door by the end of the project. Nobody wanted to be working on it, but it needed to get done.
The album also included two tracks we did as a demo with Sal Salvador in the plush 441 studio in Antioch, TN (now long gone, I think). You can tell the difference, to say the least!
Despite all this, I think these songs remain what I think of when I think of SpinAround. They were funky and poppy, yet deep and mature in subject. Seth and I had a nice musical repoir that you don't always get between guitarist and keyboardist, which I never had with any of our later guitarists. I wish we had this one to do over, I think we'd have gone a different route and had an amazing album to call ours.
Face The Crowd, 2001
Our one label release, this was released on Pamplin records in 2001. I think the budget was somewhere around $40k ~ $50k, and we got a pretty decent sounding disc out of it. It was recorded fall and winter 2000, at a time when Jason and I were the only members of SpinAround (which is why we alone appear on the cover art, which is why so many people took us for a "boy band"). We were, naturally, pretty thrilled to finally do a "real record", though I think our expectations were let down more than once. The fact is, most of this record was tracked at Jim Cooper's house, apart from bass and drums. Even vocals were done in his bonus room under a hanging blanket. I had visions of renting a b3 and rhodes and all kinds of funky old analog synths; instead, most of my parts were done in my apartment on my pc with my tired old touring gear. We hit several snags in the recording process, and things dragged on into December; Pamplin had to push back the release date at least twice, and things got a bit tense. Well, you can read more about that on the "demise" page.
This album got pretty mixed reviews, some were painfully harsh, but none that I remember were exactly raving. My feeling is that FTC was just not rock enough for the times. We wanted to push it in a raw direction, if memory serves Jason was really into Everclear at the time, but it ended up with more of a glossy, polished sound that didn't drive the album like it should've. It wasn't rock enough for the rock radio stations, and not "safe" enough for the CHR stations (As I understand it, WayFM objected to "Boy Meets Girl" because it was "rap").
Well as much as I might have wanted more clav and synths and funky stuff, it's pretty clear Jason was moving more towards guitar-rock and this album reflects that. If you take it as a middle point between Groove Revolution and his subsequent work with Lost Anthem, it makes a lot more sense.Other recordings
The Todd Olsen demo
This was a 3 song demo we did between Fishing and GR, I'm thinking maybe in early '97. Jason had known Todd (guitarist for the band "The Waiting") for a while, and when Jason wanted to get some new material recorded, Todd agreed to produce it. While I can't remember which studio we recorded in, the engineer was Skye McCaskey, who went on to do bigger and better things I think. We thought at the time that this demo was the most awesome thing ever, though listening to it now I can't imagine why. The songs weren't much of an improvement over Fishing, though they were a bit funkier in some ways. Working with Todd was something of a turning point with us, though; I think we took a new direction after this recording that led to Groove Revolution.
The Greg Strange demo
My memory is a little hazy on this demo, and if I'm not mistaken only one song was actually finished, "Judge and Jury", or something like that. I don't know why we didn't put that track on GR, I think Jason hated it for some reason (hey, his song, his call). I think we actually set out to do another three song, but for some reason the other two songs didn't get finished. I think one of them was reworked and became "Mystery" (from GR), don't know about the third. The most memorable thing about this session was that it took place during the short period of time when Brett Clark was our drummer.
The Sal Salvador Recordings
Sal Salvador had to have done some of the best productions of SpinAround songs ever. We recorded with him twice, once prior to GR(Spring '98?), and once after (Dec 99). Sal is a man who knows groove like nobody else, and on top of that he's a great guy to work with and hang with. I did a good bit of work with him post-SA and try to keep in touch when I can.
The two songs recorded at the first session ended up on GR, "Smilin'" and "Secret Love". The second session resulted in 3 songs: "Boy Meets Girl", "Find the Love", and a cover of "Papa was a rolling stone". I don't think we ever pressed or sold any copies of this stuff, it was just fodder for the labels really. Of course "Boy meets girl" managed to survive pretty well intact (though rerecorded) for FTC, but "Find the love" vanished and, though we discussed doing a "Papa" cover on FTC, it never materialized because of time and budget constraints.