The Gin Doctors, Denver’s favorite cover band plays final tribute

The 1990s generate a great deal of nostalgia for people spanning all the way from their 20s to their 50s and even older. The ‘90s had many bands that shaped the time and the lives around it.

Gin Doctors

Portraits of the Gin Doctors’ Despres displayed on stage during their farewell show in Denver on March 3. Despres tragically passed away due to a aortic aneurysm at the age of 34 in November 2016. Photo by Kenny Martinez •

For the Gin Doctors, the main goal was to bring joy and love from the ’90s back to those who wanted to appreciate it. Tyler Marchant Despres was one of the founders and most enthusiastic mover, of the idea.

“We have fun getting to play all the songs that we grew up listening to and reliving that. And then, the side of it we didn’t expect when we first started was the community that would be built around it,” said Andrew Aranow, the drummer of the Gin Doctors.

Despres not only graced the Denver music scene with his two bands, but he also was about to finish a behavioral science degree at MSU Denver to become a teacher. Early in the day on Nov. 1, 2016, Despres visited the doctor’s office complaining of chest pains. Later that day, while on campus, he died unexpectedly from from an aortic aneurysm at age 34.

Despres would have graduated in Dec. 2016, and would have earned a teaching degree shortly after in spring of 2017. His mother, Leigh Ann Marchant, talked about his dream of being able to teach history and social studies to students in middle and high school.

“This town is very grateful for Tyler Despres. He is a huge part of this music scene and him being an educator would have been the most incredible thing because he’s taught us all a lot. Denver loves Tyler. We miss him,” said James Morrison, the bass player of the Gin Doctors.

The Gin Doctors held their final concert on March 4 to commemorate Despres and say their goodbyes. Hearts were sore during the bittersweet final night for the Gin Doctors. The liveliness of the band was clear through the ’90s music they were covering. As the floors got stickier, the baseboards began bouncing and the crowd lost control.

“This is all for him,” said Morrison. For the concert, the main members included: James Morrison (Cousin Melvin) on bass, Tyler Briskie (Skeeter Cruz) on the axe, Andrew Aranow (Rip Holiday)
on drums and special guest lead singer Jen Korte of Jen Korte and the Loss.

“It’s bittersweet to be here and celebrate Tyler,” Korte said.

Korte has shared the stage with her own band alongside Despres and the rest of the Gin Doctors in the past. Each of the band members knew it was a necessity to add Jen.

“She saved our asses completely and helped us do this show that we never knew if we would ever do. We wanted to do something, so, we are honored to have her,” Morrison said.

Throughout the show, special guests joined the band. Many were in other bands like Despres’ second band, Science Partner including Jess DeNicola, Maria Kohler and Carl Sorensen.

“Pretty much all the guest musicians that are coming in tonight were really close with Tyler Despres and so in addition to those harmonies and those extra guitars and stuff,” Aranow said. “It’s really more about his friends playing tribute to him.”

Everyone who was there and knew Despres had nothing but good things to say. Despres had a large community of people who cared for him.

Gin Doctors

Fans wait in line for the Gin Doctors farewell show at Stoney’s Bar & Grill in Denver on March 5. The Gin Doctors are a well known ’90s cover band. Photo by Kenny Martinez •

“So much of everything is Tyler,” said Jessica DeNicola, vocalist in Science Partner. “He resonates in all of this music.”

Despres had this presence about him, one that seemed to light up the people around him. Whether it was friends, people who attended his shows or people he collaborated with, he really impacted the people around him.

“Just the presence on stage and the way he interacted with people was something no one else could do,” Briskie said. After a four hour set and 28 songs, the band ended with their tradition of playing “Dreams” by the Cranberries, which was perfect since it was Depres’ favorite song.

“Tyler Despres’ favorite song to play, and it has honestly become probably our collective favorite, is the Cranberries ‘Dreams’ and we end every show with it,” Aranow said.

He explained that one time during a show Despres, “declared it was his favorite song in the decade of the ’90s, ‘and no f’ing body’s going to tell me that I’m wrong.’”

Both the Denver music scene and MSU Denver have lost an inspiring and lovable person. For the members of the Gin Doctors, they lost a family member.

“At the end of the day, the four of us still got to play these songs together and I always had fun just playing in those songs with these guys. No matter where we were,” Morrison said.

Tyler Marchant Despres Scholarship Fund

In memory of Tyler, family members have been working with Metro State University of Denver to create a scholarship fund. The scholarship will be offered to students who want to pursue a degree in education. It was always Tyler’s dream to become a teacher and he always supported affordable college for all students. The staff of The Metropolitan extend their condolences to the Despres family.

To learn more and contribute, visit their website


Author: Cassie Ballard

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