Found out about Me [Part 4/4]
Found out about Me:
My (not so) New, (not so) Miserable Gin Blossoms Experience
By Geoff Stephen
Without further adieu, the reason for the comically-oversized shirt.
Like the line in Competition Smile, “emulate the style,” I wanted to be like the lead singer Robin Wilson.
I should note, in the early 90s, I seemed to think dudes with long hair named Robin &/or Wilson were the bee’s knees. Like Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, or the Calgary Flames’ Carey Wilson. This singer has both Robin AND Wilson in his name? Bonus!
Given that, sometime pre-summer of 1994, I saw the Found out about You video and immediately thought, hey, that’s how I want to look!
Now with the strobe lights and quick edits, it’s difficult to replicate his wardrobe exactly beyond the earth-tone, turtleneck-ish, long-sleeve shirt. I can only assume he too was wearing short shorts, socks, and sneakers.
The question is (correct answer = him), who wore it better?
Beyond informing my choice of style, hearing this song was one of those defining moments in my musical education.
It’s probably also my closest answer to the question, “what sort of music do you like?”
Appropriately, my love of Found out about You says an awful lot about me. Out of respect for reader time, I’ll list only 5:
1) I always try/never succeed at lyric accuracy
I can picture rewinding the tape over and over again, trying to scribble down the lyrics. Upon reading the printed lyrics this week, turns out I wasn’t even close!
2) I struggle with tabs/sight-reading
I remember picking up a guitar magazine as a youngin’ because it had this tab. I tried the intricate picking, not happening! Or at least, nowhere close to the right speed when attempting to sight-read. And so I play by ear, aiming for close enough.
3) I listen/watch for the guitar chords
I remember being baffled that the verse pattern here wasn’t just C, D, Em, D. It was these new-to-me chords, Cadd9, Dadd2, Em7, Dadd2 (Another reason the Gin Blossoms are special: they take a few chords, and make them sound new). I’m sure if/when I finally see them live, I’ll be watching Jesse Valenzuela & Scott Johnson’s left hands, try to figure out the chords as I enjoy the show!
4) In music, I’ll take light with dark every day
The strobe lights maybe are a bit much, but the clean tones & unhappy lyrics mesh beautifully, as per usual.
5) I prefer unresolved endings
The Cadd9 closing chord is fitting for this song, leaving the listener unsure of what would happen next.
And with that, I’m back to where my love for the band began.
Perhaps fittingly, also with a somewhat unresolved ending.
Why did I keep losing track of the Gin Blossoms? Why did I not even realize there was a 2010 album? How did I not realize their significance in my life before this year? What became of that shirt?
Once again, I turn to the song, Until I Fall Away.
1) “When there are no good answers to those new questions.” Sounds about right.
2) The bad spot on my cassette copy of Until I Fall Away.
When fellow ‘Where are they Now?’ blogger Brian wrote his “Bad” Spots in Music post earlier in March, my muffled Until I Fall Away copy immediately jumped to mind. Then the ‘Where are they Now?’ collaborative post was floated, I signed up for one Gin Blossoms post, and ended up in a month-long catalogue immersion, resurfacing with this series!
If history is any indication, I may fall away from the Gin Blossoms again.
But until I do, I’ll continue to savour this reunion with an old friend.
I’ve relished this revisiting of my Gin Blossoms CDs (including the EP Up & Crumbling featuring the exceptional closing track Keli Richards) and reminiscing about their role in my life over the last 2+ decades.
Like the lyric in 29, I’ve gone through “good and bad and straight through indifference” in terms of how I’ve felt about their music.
I’m pleased that at age 34, I’m back to full-fledged appreciation & enjoyment. Next on my to-do list is to pick up their 2010 album No Chocolate Cake & hopefully see them in concert.
Thanks for coming along on this journey, I’ll leave the last word to the Gins:
“Only time will tell if wishing wells
Can bring us anything
Or fade like scenes from childhood dreams