Gin Blossoms

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Gin Blossoms
Gin Blossoms in 2018
Background information
Origin Tempe, Arizona, USA
Genres Alternative rock, jangle pop
Years active
  • 1987–1997
  • 2001–present
Labels A&M, Hybrid, 429 [1]
Associated actsThe Chimeras, The Pistoleros, Gas Giants, The Refreshments, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Jesse Valenzuela, Robin Wilson, The Longshadows, Scott Johnson, The Smithereens, Scotty Johnson & Scott Hessel
Members Bill Leen
Jesse Valenzuela
Robin Wilson
Scott "Scotty" Johnson
Scott Hessel
Past members Doug Hopkins
Richard Taylor
Chris McCann
Steven Severson
Dan Henzerling
Phillip "Phil" Rhodes
Phil Leavitt
Gary Smith
Scott Kusmirek
John Richardson

Gin Blossoms are an American rock band formed in 1987 in Tempe, Arizona. The band rose to prominence following the 1992 release of its first major label album, New Miserable Experience , and the first single released from that album, "Hey Jealousy". "Hey Jealousy" became a Top 25 hit and went gold, and New Miserable Experience eventually went quadruple platinum; four other charting singles were released from the album. The band's follow-up album, Congratulations I'm Sorry (1996), went platinum, and the single "As Long as It Matters" was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Tempe, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Tempe, also known as Hayden's Ferry during the territorial times of Arizona, is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2017 population of 185,038. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale on the north, Chandler on the south, and Mesa on the east. Tempe is also the location of the main campus of Arizona State University.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.


Gin Blossoms broke up in 1997. After reuniting in 2001, the band released Major Lodge Victory in 2006, No Chocolate Cake in 2010, and Mixed Reality in 2018. The band is known as an alternative rock band, and its sound has also been described as jangle pop.

<i>Major Lodge Victory</i> 2006 studio album by Gin Blossoms

Major Lodge Victory is the fourth studio album by the power pop band Gin Blossoms. It was the first album released by the band since their 1997–2002 breakup. It was released on August 8, 2006, on Hybrid Recordings, making it the Gin Blossoms' first new album in over 10 years.

<i>No Chocolate Cake</i> 2010 studio album by Gin Blossoms

No Chocolate Cake is the fifth studio album by power pop band Gin Blossoms. It was released on September 28, 2010, worldwide, and the first single, "Miss Disarray", was released to radio stations on August 2, 2010. The album reached #1 on MP3 album charts on the release date. No Chocolate Cake entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number 73 after selling 7,000 copies in its first week of release. It was the album's peak position, after falling off the chart the following week.

<i>Mixed Reality</i> 2018 studio album by Gin Blossoms

Mixed Reality is the sixth studio album by American alternative rock band Gin Blossoms. It was released on June 15, 2018, on Cleopatra Records.


Gin Blossoms has been described as an alternative rock band [2] and as a jangle pop [3] [4] band. According to Rolling Stone , the band excels at "marrying world-weary lyrics with ebullient melodies". [5] In 2017, the Salina Journal described Gin Blossoms as a "Tempe, Ariz.-based indie band [acclaimed] by critics and fans alike for its chiming guitars, introspective lyrics and catchy pop-rock melodies", adding that "Gin Blossoms has maintained its longevity by being mostly a road band". [6] The group is known for the "Mill Avenue sound", [7] or "southwestern sound", similar to other bands from Arizona such as The Sidewinders, The Refreshments, The Meat Puppets, and Dead Hot Workshop.[ citation needed ]

Alternative rock is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock.

Jangle pop music genre

Jangle pop is a subgenre of pop rock or college rock that emphasizes trebly, ringing guitars and 1960s-style pop melodies. While the Everly Brothers and the Searchers laid the foundations for the style, the Beatles and the Byrds are commonly credited with launching the popularity of the "jangly" sound that defined the genre. Particularly, the Byrds' rendition of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965), which coined the genre name from the lyric "jingle-jangle morning" accompanied by the sounds of chiming guitars. Even though many subsequent bands drew hugely from the Byrds, they did not fit into the folk rock continuum as the Byrds did.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

Early years

During the band's early years, its members included lead guitarist and songwriter Doug Hopkins, bass guitarist Bill Leen, Jesse Valenzuela (lead vocalist at first, later rhythm guitarist and backing vocals), rhythm guitarist Richard Taylor, Taylor's replacement Steven Severson, drummer Chris McCann, McCann's replacement Dan Henzerling, and Severson's replacement Robin Wilson (rhythm guitarist at first, later lead vocalist). [8] The band's name comes from a photo of W.C. Fields in Kenneth Anger's infamously erroneous book, Hollywood Babylon , which bore the caption "W.C. Fields with gin blossoms", referring to the actor's telangiectasia-ravaged face and rhinophymic nose by the slang term for the skin condition known as rosacea. [9]

Douglas Owen "Doug" Hopkins was an American musician and songwriter. He co-founded the Gin Blossoms, a popular modern rock band of the early 1990s, with Richard Taylor. He was the band's lead guitarist and a principal songwriter.

Bill Leen American musician

Bill Leen is a bass player from Tempe, Arizona. He is a member of the band Gin Blossoms, which he co-founded in 1987 with his longtime friend Doug Hopkins.

Jesse Valenzuela American singer

Jesse Valenzuela is an American rock musician and singer who is perhaps best known as a member of the alternative rock band Gin Blossoms. Valenzuela was originally the vocalist in Gin Blossoms when the band first formed in 1987.

Gin Blossoms became well known around the band's hometown of Tempe, Arizona. The band's frequent touring resulted in an increase in popularity. They independently recorded their first full-length album, Dusted , which was released in 1989.[ citation needed ]

<i>Dusted</i> (Gin Blossoms album) 1989 studio album by Gin Blossoms

Dusted is the first studio album by the alternative rock band the Gin Blossoms. It was released through San Jacinto Records, a small independent label as a 12-song tape and record in 1989.

By the early 1990s, Wilson and Valenzuela had switched roles, with Wilson taking on lead vocal duties and Valenzuela concentrating on rhythm guitar and backing vocals. Along with Leen on bass and Hopkins on lead guitar, Phillip Rhodes became the new drummer. After being signed to A&M Records, the band began to work on their first major label album. Initial attempts faltered and the band released an EP, Up and Crumbling , instead.[ citation needed ]

Phillip Rhodes American rock drummer and percussionist

Phillip "Phil" Rhodes is an American rock drummer and percussionist, best known from his work in the Alternative rock band the Gin Blossoms.

A&M Records American historical record label

A&M Records was an American record label founded as an independent company by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss in 1962. Due to the success of the discography A&M released, the label garnered interest and was acquired by PolyGram in 1989 and began distributing releases from Polydor Ltd. from the UK. Throughout its operations, A&M housed well-known acts such as Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Captain & Tennille, Sting, Sergio Mendes, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Supertramp, Bryan Adams, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, The Carpenters, Paul Williams, Janet Jackson, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, Elkie Brooks, Carole King, Styx, Extreme, Amy Grant, Joan Baez, the Human League, The Police, CeCe Peniston, Blues Traveler, Soundgarden, Duffy and Sheryl Crow.

<i>Up and Crumbling</i> 1991 EP by Gin Blossoms

Up and Crumbling is an EP released by the Gin Blossoms on October 8, 1991. It was released after the Gin Blossoms signed with A&M Records and, while attempting to create a full-length album, ran into a creative drought during the recording sessions. According to the band's official website, the band recorded Up and Crumbling "on their own in hopes of rekindling the spark from Dusted that had been missing from the recent recordings." The songs from this EP were remastered and included on the 2002 deluxe edition of the band's breakthrough album, New Miserable Experience.

Mainstream success

Guitarist Scotty Johnson ScottyJohnson.jpg
Guitarist Scotty Johnson

Gin Blossoms named their second album New Miserable Experience . In February 1992, while still working to complete it, founding member and lead guitarist/songwriter Hopkins drank heavily and grew increasingly depressed. With the other members hesitant to fire Hopkins, A&M forcefully removed him from the band and withheld $15,000 owed to Hopkins until he agreed to sign over half of his publishing royalties and relinquish his mechanical royalties. Hopkins reluctantly agreed to these demands because of his dire financial situation. [10] Scott Johnson was chosen by the band in December 1992 as Hopkins' stand-in on tour, and became a permanent member in 1994.[ citation needed ]

New Miserable Experience became the band's breakthrough album. [11] The first single released from the album was "Hey Jealousy", which had been written by Hopkins. The song reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and later went gold, [12] largely fueling the success of New Miserable Experience. However, the achievement was overshadowed by Hopkins' suicide on December 4, 1993. [13] The following year, another song by Hopkins, "Found Out About You", also reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and climbed to No. 1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks. New Miserable Experience eventually reached quadruple platinum status. [14]

Between their first and second albums, Gin Blossoms contributed the single "Til I Hear It from You" for the Empire Records soundtrack. It reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their second major album, Congratulations I'm Sorry , was released in 1996. Yielding one top ten hit ("Follow You Down", which peaked at No. 9 Billboard Hot 100), the album went platinum. [15] A song from the album entitled As Long as It Matters was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. [16]

With chart success came opportunities to appear as musical guests on late night television. Between 1993 and 1996, Gin Blossoms appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1993), Late Show with David Letterman (1994), and as featured musical act on Saturday Night Live (1996). Gin Blossoms appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman in solo appearances, and once performed "Christine Sixteen" with the members of Kiss. Gin Blossoms became a favorite of Late Show musical director, Paul Shaffer, and their music was often featured as the show cut to and from commercials. The band was also a featured performer in the closing credits of the movie, Wayne's World 2 (1993), performing "Idiot Summer" on-screen as part of the fictional concert, "Waynestock". [17]

Without Doug and his songwriting, we never could have signed a record deal.

—Robin Wilson (People, 1994) [18]

Breakup and reunion

Gin Blossoms broke up in early 1997. Wilson and Rhodes launched the Gas Giants while Leen formed a band called Rai and then retired from music to operate a rare book store. Valenzuela fronted a short-lived outfit called the Low Watts, released a solo album, and kept busy writing and producing. Johnson joined another Tempe-based band, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Wilson ventured into producing as well, at his Mayberry Studios in Tempe, Arizona. (The studio is now called Uranus Studios.)[ citation needed ]

The Gas Giants announced an "indefinite hiatus" in June 2001. On December 4, 2001, it was announced that Scott was leaving Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers to rejoin Gin Blossoms. The band regrouped and began playing together again in earnest in 2002, having done a couple of one-off shows in the interim. In the words of the front man Robin Wilson at the time, "We always said our breakup wasn't forever and right now we're all feeling like we want to be Gin Blossoms again. We make a noise together that we can't make otherwise. We respect and appreciate that we need each other to create that sound. This time we hope to avoid being swallowed by the chaos." [19]

In preparation for the band's official reunion show, Rhodes suffered a breakdown due to his ongoing battle with alcohol.[ citation needed ] Shortly after entering rehab, he was formally dismissed from the band.[ citation needed ] Phil Leavitt of Dada originally took Rhodes' place in the line up, and then Gary Smith (of The Pistoleros, another Tempe band) stepped in. Scott Kusmirek took over drumming for the band from 2002 to 2004. In January 2005, it was announced that Rhodes, who had been sober for over two years, would rejoin the band. The re-entry of Rhodes was short-lived, however. Kusmirek returned to the band, taking Rhodes' place until September 30, 2008, when a press release issued by the band explained that he and the group had parted ways. John Richardson joined as the new drummer. [20]

Later years

Drummer Scott Hessel Drummer Scott Hessel of Gin Blossoms.jpg
Drummer Scott Hessel

The band's fourth album, Major Lodge Victory , was originally recorded at Wilson's Mayberry Studios in Tempe. However, the album was re-recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where the band had recorded all of their previous albums. Major Lodge Victory was released by Hybrid Recordings on August 8, 2006, and "Learning the Hard Way" was the first single. Major Lodge Victory entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number 159.[ citation needed ]

Gin Blossoms released a live album, Live In Concert , on May 15, 2009. This album contains live recordings of the band's hits such as "Hey Jealousy" and "Follow You Down", as well as more recent singles such as "Learning the Hard Way" and "Long Time Gone", and a live cover version of Elton John's "Rocket Man". The band's fifth studio album, No Chocolate Cake , was released on September 28, 2010. The first single, "Miss Disarray" was released to radio stations on August 2, 2010. Over the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday the band traveled to Iraq and played a series of shows for American troops stationed there.[ citation needed ]

The band announced on its website on March 4, 2012, that Richardson had left the band to pursue other recording and performing projects. [21] The band stated in its news release, "John is a great drummer and all of us support his passion for recording. We all wish him the very best and thank him for all his hard work and dedication." The band also announced that Scott Hessel would be its road drummer. Hessel has been a member of another Tempe band, Let Go. Gin Blossoms joined Everclear, Sugar Ray, Lit and Marcy Playground on the Summerland Tour 2012, a 31-date nationwide tour that began on June 28, 2012, in Saratoga, California, and ended on August 11, 2012, in Laughlin, Nevada.[ citation needed ]

From July 24, 2012 through October 13, 2012, Doug Swartz filled in for Scott Hessel during the Summerland Tour and other performances through the months into the middle of October. [22] .

In 2016, Johnson announced in an interview that the band was expected to begin recording its sixth studio album with producer Mitch Easter in the fall. [23] Two years later, Mixed Reality was released on Cleopatra Records on June 15, 2018.[ citation needed ]

Band members

* Douglas Swartz -- drummer (2012) Summerland Tour substitute for Scott Hessel


Gin Blossoms


Related Research Articles

<i>New Miserable Experience</i> 1992 studio album by Gin Blossoms

New Miserable Experience is the second studio album by rock band Gin Blossoms, released on August 4, 1992. The album was released to little fanfare and relatively lackluster reviews. However, nearly a year after its release the lead single, "Hey Jealousy", entered the top 40, with "Found Out About You" following a few months later. The album eventually reached multi-platinum status.

Robin Wilson (musician) American musician

Robin Wilson is an American musician, most notable for his work as the lead vocalist of the rock band, Gin Blossoms. He has stepped in as occasional lead singer for The Smithereens.

<i>Congratulations Im Sorry</i> album by Gin Blossoms

Congratulations I'm Sorry is the third studio album by the American power pop band Gin Blossoms, and the follow-up album to the successful 1992 release New Miserable Experience, released in 1996 by A&M records. The album was named in reference to the success of 1992's New Miserable Experience, followed closely by the suicide of the former band member Doug Hopkins in 1993.

Hey Jealousy single by Gin Blossoms

"Hey Jealousy" is a song by the American rock band the Gin Blossoms. The song was included in the group's debut album Dusted (1989), and then was re-recorded on their breakthrough 1992 album New Miserable Experience. It was written by lead guitarist Doug Hopkins, who was fired from the band shortly after the recording of the second album. It became their first Billboard Top-40 single in 1993, reaching number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 24 on the UK Singles Chart.

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers

Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers are a rock band from Tempe, Arizona, USA. The band is typically referred to by the fans as the abbreviation "RCPM". The music is known to cross genres with songs showing an Adult Alternative Rock/Pop/Americana/Reggae/Mariachi influence.

Gas Giants were a pop rock band from Tempe, Arizona, formed as a successor project to the Gin Blossoms. The group was known as The Pharaohs when they formed in 1997, but changed their name after their label, A&M Records, merged with Universal Records and the band changed hands, re-signing with Interscope Records. Eventually, the group released their album, From Beyond the Back Burner, in 1999 on indie Atomic Pop Records. Comic book artist Geof Darrow provided the artwork for the album. The band featured Gin Blossoms members Robin Wilson, Phillip Rhodes and Daniel Henzerling, as well as Mickey Ferrel, who was previously in the band Grievous Angels. Henzerling was the drummer for the Gin Blossoms before the current drummer, Phillip Rhodes. The band toured with Train in 2000 behind the band's only single, "Quitter".

Found Out About You 1993 single by Gin Blossoms

"Found Out About You" is the fourth single from the Gin Blossoms' second album New Miserable Experience, recorded in 1992. Written by lead guitarist Doug Hopkins, who was fired from the band after the album, the Gin Blossoms had previously recorded it on their 1989 debut album Dusted.

Til I Hear It from You single by Gin Blossoms

"Til I Hear It from You" is a song by the Gin Blossoms that was released as the lead single from the soundtrack to the film Empire Records in August 1995. It topped the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart for six weeks and reached number 39 in the United Kingdom. In January 1996, it was re-released as a double-A side with "Follow You Down" in the United States, peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard magazine described "Til I Hear It from You" as "the closest thing to a perfect pop song to hit radio in recent memory" lauding its "breezy and wonderfully infectious melody, the boy-needs-girl lyrics, and the earnest execution."

Follow You Down 1996 single by Gin Blossoms

"Follow You Down" is a song by American rock band Gin Blossoms, and the first single released from their album Congratulations I'm Sorry. It was released as a double A-side single with "Til I Hear It from You" in the United States. The song received a fair amount of radio play and has been featured in several films, including How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. It reached number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 in a 46-week stay on the chart. It also became the band's second number-one single in Canada, after "Til I Hear It from You", and reached number 30 in the United Kingdom and number 65 in Australia.

<i>Shut Up and Smoke</i> extended play

Shut Up And Smoke is an EP released by Gin Blossoms in 1994. It was released on A&M Records and contains four previously unreleased tracks. The EP was a promotional disc mostly to mainstream and college radio stations.

<i>Outside Looking In: The Best of the Gin Blossoms</i> 1999 album

Outside Looking In: The Best of the Gin Blossoms is a greatest hits album by pop rock band Gin Blossoms. It was released in 1999 on A&M Records. It includes eleven songs from their previous two A&M studio albums, New Miserable Experience and Congratulations… I'm Sorry. The remaining three songs are from different sources. "Just South of Nowhere" was originally included on the 1991 EP Up and Crumbling. The hit single "Til I Hear It from You" was originally found on the soundtrack of the 1995 movie Empire Records. "Whitewash" is a previously unreleased 1996 live recording of the song originally included on Congratulations… I'm Sorry.

One Lone Car

One Lone Car is an indie rock band from St. Louis, Missouri. Formed in 2004 by Dustin Plegge and Andy Herrin. They combined members from Satellite Affair and Behind the Stars, both bands originally from Alton, IL They self-released the Variety Half Hour EP in 2005. MTV licensed the album that same year.

Rarities is a compilation album by pop rock band Gin Blossoms. It was released in 2010 on A&M Records. It was originally the second disc in the New Miserable Experience Deluxe Edition, released in 2002. It includes nineteen tracks not found on prior albums. These encompass seven tracks from two EPs, Up and Crumbling and Shut Up and Smoke, six tracks from a 1993 live performance, two studio outtakes, two alternate versions of previously released songs, a soundtrack contribution and Big Star cover.

As Long as It Matters

"As Long as It Matters" is a song by the American power pop band Gin Blossoms. It was released in 1996 on A&M as the third single and as well as the fifth track from their third studio album, Congratulations I'm Sorry (1996). It is a power pop song that was written by Phillip Rhodes, Jesse Valenzuela and Robin Wilson, and produced by John Hampton and by its own band. In 1996, the song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.


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  23. "Gin Blossoms are cutting their new album with the R.E.M. production team of Don Dixon and Mitch Easter". The Arizona Republic. June 16, 2016.
  24. Scott "Scotty" Kusmirek performed drums on all tracks of the 2006 album Major Lodge Victory except "California Sun", and was credited as a session musician, while session musician Dorian Crozier performed drums on "California Sun". Scott "Scotty" Kusmirek also performed drums on the track "Go Crybaby" from the 2010 album No Chocolate Cake, credited as an additional musician.
  25. John Richardson performed drums on all tracks of the 2010 album No Chocolate Cake except "I'm Ready" and "Go Crybaby", and was credited as a session musician, while session musician Chase Duddy performed drums on "I'm Ready", and session musician Scott "Scotty" Kusmirek performed drums on "Go Crybaby".
  26. Sun Herald [ dead link ]