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Gin Blossoms: Where are they now?

March 30, 2016

A collaborative post effort!

Check out these fine ‘where are they now’ posts by these fine writers:
Aaron, Brian, Deke, James, Mike

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As for Gin Blossoms?

They’re very much a going concern.

A tour is ongoing (no Canadian dates yet alas), there’s an active band twitter account & frequently updated facebook page.

gin blossoms

Although they appear to be a 4-piece in promotional photos, since 2012 the lineup has been:

Robin Wilson (vocals)
Jesse Valenzuela (guitar)
Scott Johnson (guitar)
Bill Leen (bass)
Scott Hessel (drums)

Hessel is new as of 2012; the other guys have been there since at least 1992.

Where are they now? Hopefully coming to a town near you & me!

Instead of asking where, a more interesting question is, how did Gin Blossoms get to where they are now.

Their story is much like their songs: full of contrast. A juxtaposition of major chords & sad lyrics. A band that has enjoyed success (including a Billboard #1 Modern Rock Track) & experienced tragedy (founding member Doug Hopkins completed suicide in 1993).

I am not an appropriate Gin Blossoms biographer.

Over the next few days however, I would like to share a few stories of how the band has played a recurring role in my life over the last couple of decades.

So perhaps instead of where are they now, how did they help me get here?

The story begins, or rather ends, with a photo.

Picture of a photograph
Me in 2016 (yesterday at sunset) holding a picture of me in 1995.

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If every picture tells a story, this picture (of a picture) only raises questions:

Why is 2016-me asking my daughter, right before bedtime no less, to take a photograph of 2016-me holding a photograph of 1995-me?

Why is 1995-me dressed in a not-so-form-fitting shirt?

What does any of this have to do with Gin Blossoms?

Hopefully, all will be answered over the next few posts, with a little help from (speaking of juxtapositions) two unlikely inspiration sources:

1) This Naked Gun clip, where Leslie Nielsen is walking at night, asking himself a series of questions, concluding with, “and where the hell was I?”

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220px-Memento_poster

2) The 2000 film Memento, where the story is told in reverse, the lead character relying on a photograph to make sense of his path to his present moment.

My stories won’t be as funny as The Naked Gun, or nearly as dark/well written as Memento. Nor will they have anywhere near the typical catchiness of a Gin Blossoms track, but then again, what does?

I can however promise a short series full of Gin Blossoms-related memories, packed with song lyrics & samples of the impact they’ve had on at least one fan.

So I hope you’ll join me for this week’s 4-part series:

Found out about Me: My (not so) New, (not so) Miserable Gin Blossoms Experience

 

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43 Comments
  1. Neat spin Geoff! Kudos to your daughter on the pic of her dad! Great shot! Cool these guys are still out there …they did a smash up version of Christine 16 on the Kiss My Ass tribute (1994) one of the better tracks on there!

    • Haha, thanks Deke, She’s already a better photographer than her dad!
      Just listening to Christine 16, new to me, sounds like Gin Blossoms yet Kiss, sounds about right to me!

  2. Ooohhhhhhh I do love me some Gin Blossoms. In fact, if you’d chosen something else, I would have done my post on these guys!

    I am REALLY looking forward to the “My (not so) New, (not so) Miserable Gin Blossoms Experience” series!!!!!!!!

  3. Also, if you go back through the KMA (last summer?) James saw these guys in concert!

  4. Interesting spin, Geoff – looking forward to the series.

    As for the Gin Blossoms, I’m only aware of bits and bobs. Some I like and some I’m more lukewarm about. Can’t say there’s anything I’ve straight up disliked, though. Maybe I need to explore a bit further …

    • That had been my reaction to their more recent releases, not offended, but didn’t really get too fired up about them either.
      New Miserable Experience (1992) is a fine starting point!

      • Cheers, Geoff. I’ll check that one out!

  5. I’m guessing the new guy is the dude not in the photo. I call it the “Bon Jovi” — hire a new member…but he’s not really a member!

    • That’s correct – though not sure if he’s an employee, like with the Bon Jovi band members!

      • Sadly a common practice in rock. I read that Ronnie Wood only became an “official” Stone with all the rights and benefits in the 1990s! And they still haven’t hired on their bass player Daryl Jones!

      • I hadn’t realized that with Wood – I guess after 2 decades, that was finally enough service to call him a Stone!

  6. A four part series on the Gin Blossoms? I’ve died and gone back to the 90s!

    I love New Miserable Experience. I listened to it a lot when I was a teenager and I still find myself listening to it. I tried to play a few songs on my guitar when I was younger, too. It was melancholy and it fit so well in its time. And I’m glad you mentioned Doug Hopkins, his presence is heavily felt on that record, and in the songs they wrote about him on the next one.

    I’m very much looking forward to your series and I will check out those links! And nice big shirt, man!

    • Thanks sourgirl!
      The feeling is mutual about New Miserable Experience – I think Doug’s songwriting had a contrast that I really appreciate, the jangling guitars set against such sadness in the words.
      I’m pleased to hear you dabbled in the Gin Blossoms guitar – Allison Road is a good one to start with!

  7. Hackskeptic permalink

    Oh the blossoming flush of youth! Big shirts, big hair and carefree life. I look forward to your posts.

  8. Looking forward to your extended overview of Gin Blossoms. They were never one of my essential bands but I liked them a lot and bought (and loved) their first few albums. I managed to see them once, as the opening act for one of my all-time favorite bands, Del Amitri, in 1992. New Miserable Experience had only recently been released and they didn’t have any hits at the time. I was underwhelmed by their performance but maybe that’s because I was so primed to see the headliner (the first of about 8-10 Del Amitri shows I saw). Imagine my surprise when they started having hits and their album went multi-platinum. I need to check out their post-reunion albums soon. Thanks for the reminder.

    • And I’m afraid I only know the one Del Amitri hit – so far that is!
      Thanks Rich

      • I hope that changes soon, Geoff. I realize not everyone will have the same reaction to Del Amitri that I had, but there is so much to love in their discography and that hit (“Roll To Me”) only scratches the surface.

      • I’m surprised they weren’t bigger in Canada based on the strength of that single – if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the 1001, bands that are often perceived as one-hit-wonders (Dexys, A-ha, etc.) often have much more to offer!

      • Of course, many one-hit wonders are huge stars in certain parts of the world. My beloved Big Country is known for pretty much one song in the US but they had numerous hit singles and several Top 10 albums (including a number one). Just goes to show how random a hit can be.

  9. I’d never even heard of these guys.

    • If you’ve seen ‘Empire Records’ they had a big hit song in that, also in the ball hockey scene in Wayne’s World 2!

      • I’m guessing I didn’t make it that far into Wayne’s World 2!

  10. I am intrigued by your pic, Geoff. I look forward to your stories!
    And, oh man, now I want to watch some Frank Drebin!

  11. Great post! Oh wow – I totally forgot about the Gin Blossoms. And I even saw them live while I was in college! Thanks for the memories – I swear I have a CD. Somewhere. I should go dig it out & refresh my memory on their music. 😊

    • Thanks table9mutant – they’re a band that I hadn’t listened to a great deal in the last 10 years, and was thrilled to re-immerse in this year!

  12. I really liked the way this was written.

  13. Fascinating. Gin Blossoms always struck me as “one of those bands.” You know the type, bigger but not really “big.” People have heard at least one of their songs, but probably didn’t know it was them. I saw them, oddly enough, open for The Pretenders, Stray Cats, and ZZ Top sometime in the late-2000’s. It was weird seeing them against the backdrop of such legendary artists. Anyway, I’m interested to see where this series is going.

    Also, big shout-out to Ovidiu Boar for pointing me towards this post via is 5 Sunday post.

    • Thanks Jason (and Ovidiu!) – everyone from Gin Blossoms to ZZ Top in a show, what a unique lineup!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Where Are They Now – TPOH (The Pursuit Of Happiness) | Boppin's Blog
  2. Where Are They Now: The Refreshments | keepsmealive
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  4. Found out about Me [Part 1/4] | 1001albumsin10years
  5. Sunday Roundup: 5 Great Posts, Part 4 | Tangled Up In Music
  6. Found out about Me (Part 2/4) | 1001albumsin10years
  7. Found out about Me [part 3/4] | 1001albumsin10years
  8. Found out about Me [Part 4/4] | 1001albumsin10years

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