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Found out about Me [part 3/4]

April 11, 2016

Picture of a photograph

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

Where Are They Now/Prologue (2016)
Learning the Hard Way (2006)
Congratulations, I’m Sorry (1996)
New Miserable Experience (new-to-me in 1994)

 

[Part 3/4]

Summer of 1994. Somewhere in France.

Pre-voice change, I was a part of a Children’s Choir, partway through a 2-week tour of France.

We wore choir gowns for performances; apparently off-stage, some/at least one chorister(s) dressed like this!

1994

At some point on this tour, I found myself in a Gin Blossoms conversation.

I haven’t the foggiest idea about any of the conversation details beyond the following sequence:

a) I was raving about a Gin Blossoms song named Found Out About You

b) A fellow chorister said she had the album New Miserable Experience.

c) My eyes lit up, I (hopefully politely) asked her to make me a copy

And I am forever grateful that at some point after returning to Canada, she kindly did just that.

.

tape plus pencil*spoiler alert*

I recognize with music listening statistics, I can be guilty of hyperbole (That song? I’ve heard it millions of times!).

But with that taped copy of New Miserable Experience, saying I listened to it dozens of times might actually be an understatement.

It was so heavily featured in the rotation that, in a situation completely un-relatable to 12-year-olds in 2016, my ghetto-blaster started to eat the tape.

One spot on the cassette, the second bridge from Until I Fall Away, never quite recovered its audio quality after a pencil-aided re-spooling.

Until this year, I hadn’t realized how fitting my broken & repaired tape’s inaudible lyric was:

“If it’s all rusted and faded in the spot where we fell
Where I thought I’d left behind, it’s loose now but we could try”

For maximum enjoyment, imagine the lyric at 1:45 is muffled

.

In those dozens of New Miserable Experience listens, I thought the album ended after Pieces of the Night.

It was a 90-minute cassette (45 minutes per side), only the first 11 tracks fit on the first side.

I’m not sure how I heard Cheatin’ for the first time (perhaps I inadvertently put on side B instead of side A?) but I can picture my reaction. And it wasn’t pretty.

As I mentioned in part deux of this series, in my youth, I did not have a healthy attitude towards country music. Ending the album with this (with this!) was nothing short of ludicrous.

It was such an amazing album, why Gin Blossoms, why?

Slide1

.

Surely, much like with my Memphis Time change of heart, I’ve matured and I now feel it’s an album highlight?

Alas.

I don’t dislike the song, it’s undoubtedly well-performed and well-crafted.

Unfortunately, it still disrupts an otherwise perfectly crafted running order.

Cheatin’ is not a blemish on the catalogue. It’s a decent tune. It’s just misplaced.

As a result, I still simulate my taped copy experience, I still stop my purchased CD after track 11.

Slide2.

Although I recognize the Gin Blossoms are a 90s band (they even won a recent March Madness-esque bracket declaring them the “Most ’90s Band of All Time“), it would be unfair to dismiss them as a nostalgia act.

The music is still magnificent and the lyrics are equally excellent.

Top 5

.

Admittedly, before starting this series, I did know just how it was going to end.

And it comes back to that photo, what’s the deal with the knee-length shirt?

I have Robin Wilson, lead singer of the Gin Blossoms, to thank for that one.

(to be concluded)

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19 Comments
  1. So, quite like this one then?
    I do so enjoy the stories of total immersion in an album. I think this was my first Gin Blossoms, btw, having heard ‘Alison Road’ on a Mojo magazine CD (or similar) and liking it a LOT. In fact I might just play it in the car tomorrow. Thanks for that!

    • I think it’s safe to say I was a fan here!
      My pleasure for the Allison Road reminder Bruce, that was my 2nd favourite GB tune back in the day!

  2. The real cool thing is how you talk about being on Tour! Hahaha….load up the van kids were pillaging into the next city! Ooops this is a choir! Nice cover up Geoff! Hahaha..
    It was always a bummer when you would hear a album for the first time and your digging It and than a turd track appears! Meh!
    Disrupts the flow…but at least the Boys tucked on the end right?
    Great series….

    • Haha, we weren’t exactly the Motley Crue of Children’s Choirs!
      It’s true about the one misfit track, at the end, it’s avoidable, a mid-set miss would have been even more disruptive.
      Thanks Deke!

  3. Really enjoying this series! Getting to “know” more about you and about a band I hadn’t heard of before (probably my fault) and also enjoying how you’re trying to reconcile your teenage opinions with your current ones. Love the cassette + pencil picture and how coincidental is that muffled line!

    • Thanks Amrita – I hadn’t realized what that line actually said until I looked it up this year, it’s almost too fitting!

  4. Epic. Just epic.

    And boy I hated those moments when a ghetto blaster ate a tape. Sigh. Haha, I just had a memory. I dropped my tape of Kiss Dynasty in a bucket of wallpaper glue when they were renovating my bedroom when I was a kid! Hahah. My dad bought me a new one.

    I really love the effort put into this, the visuals, and the autobiography. In High Fidelity they mentioned “filing your albums autobiographically”.

    Well done!

    • Thanks so much Mike – I believe your RST inspired sharing some of my personal connections to these records!

  5. And if you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down..

    LOVE this album! And I enjoyed the backstory on how you discovered it. So much more interesting than me sneaking into my brother’s room and stealing his copy. They are pretty damned 90s, but I find this album endures, at least for me (and you!). And there really wasn’t anything worse back in the day than a misbehaving cassette tape.

    Much love for Until I Fall Away. And Mrs. Rita. And the whole rest of it, though I rarely listened to that country track. Thanks for another very personalized review!

    • I can picture running to press stop on the ghettoblaster when the cassette tapes would misbehave, try to stop the unspooling before it ate too much!
      Much appreciated sourgirl, Until I Fall Away is quickly climbing my favourite GB tracks list with this revisiting, such a fine tune.
      And Mrs. Rita – turns out he says “read my palm” I always thought he said “read my poem!”

      • Did you ever do that thing, where you figured out exactly how many seconds you had to rewind from a certain point on side A to get to exactly where you wanted to be on side B? Maybe that was just me. I loved the versatility of tapes. I miss the snippets of radio announcer that would linger at the beginning of a song. And I miss loving a song so much I would tape half of it if that’s all I could get and just listen to that half over and over and over again….

        Ah, tape nostalgia 😉

      • Tape Nostalgia is among my favourite nostalgias!
        I can totally relate to that side A/B though for me it was more fast forward on A to get to the spot you wanted on B. When my walkman rewind button stopped working, that was the secret to ‘rewinding B!’
        And the half the song on tape, I was like that with my VHS version of the Movie Speed, I didn’t have the whole movie, but I watched the part I had so many times!
        So I suppose, videotape nostalgia 😉

  6. I remember those C-90 tapes I got from friends and the missing tracks I discovered when I got the CDs years later. None bothered me as much as that country tune irks you, though! Ha!

    This is a great series, Geoff. Been enjoying learning that little bit more about you and the connection to the music of a band that I’ve heard of but haven’t really heard. Excellent.

    • Much appreciated J – it’s funny the treasures you find on unlabelled tapes, sometimes forgotten gems, this one was less gem-like I suppose!

  7. Hackskeptic permalink

    Great writing Geoff. There’s passion in every line and I fully realize how important this band are to you. Copied C90 tapes were vital to my listening education. I remember somebody giving me a badly recorded copy of The Stranglers “Rattus Norvegicus” and due to some awful spelling mishap on the case, thought that the lead single was titled “Get A Gap On Yourself” when in fact the “Gap” should have been “Grip”. Imagine my embarrassment when I went to the store and requested the 7″ single of said song. All cool and musical integrity was gone in a flash.

    • Haha, it happens to the best of them!
      Thanks so much Geoff, it’s been so nice listening to an old favourite again. With the 1001 (I’m sure you can relate), it’s neat exploring new-to-me albums, but there’s something special about those ones you grew up with, revisiting them is quite comforting

  8. Huh, I never had that experience (new miserable or not) and just accepted Cheatin’ as part of the whole thing. I don’t dislike the song, but fair enough, can’t like ’em all!

    I am seriously enjoying this series. You nailed it right here:

    “The music is still magnificent and the lyrics are equally excellent.”

    • I bet it’s because I only heard it after several listens of the first 11 tracks (and it wasn’t Robin singing lead, so I was just baffled!) – and you likely had a much healthier attitude to different kinds of music than I did as a 12-year old!

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  1. Found out about Me [Part 4/4] | 1001albumsin10years

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