A sure sign you’re getting old is when you’re excited about the band playing at the local 4th of July celebration. Most of the time I have no idea who the main act is or it’s a country artist that I have zero interest in, but this year the Gin Blossoms are performing. To be fair when New Miserable Experience came out when I was in junior high so I’m really not that old.
The Gin Blossoms were a departure from the gritty Seattle grunge sound at the time. They are more light alternative pop with dark themes often mixed in with the pop melodies written by their troubled guitarist, Doug Hopkins. While recording New Miserable Experience, Hopkins’ alcoholism got so bad the band was forced to replace him. Hopkins later committed suicide while the song he wrote, “Hey Jealousy,” was climbing the charts. “Found Out About You” was another hit single for the band written by Hopkins.
The band had more hit singles with “Til I hear It From You” on the Empire Records soundtrack and “Follow You Down” on the follow up album, Congratulations I’m Sorry, but they eventually broke up in 1997. Singer, Robin Wilson, and drummer, Phillip Rhodes, started another band, Gas Giants. By the time they released their album, From Beyond the Back Burner, in 1999, I was working in radio. We played the only single from the album, “Quitter,” and the band came to town for a concert. But because of confusion between the label, the venue, and the radio station it turned out to be quite the cluster. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit diplomatic about it. The station really had nothing to do with it. The band showed up unannounced thinking arrangements had been made such as, you know, hotel rooms and a venue to play. They hadn’t. Wilson wasn’t happy and let people know it, not that I could blame him. I was frustrated by it all and didn’t bother going to the show.
The Gin Blossoms reunited and released albums in 2006 and 2010 with another new album rumored to be released soon. Still, it’s those early songs that have become staples of the 90’s and remain relevant today. I’ll have to check out the newer albums, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them live on the 4th.