Gin Blossoms bloom again in Juneau

Group's reunion tour last summer went so well the band decided to keep on performing

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2003

Ask anyone who was cognizant of popular music during the early 1990s if they remember the Gin Blossoms, and you'll undoubtedly hear "Oh yeah, 'Hey Jealousy!' "

"Hey Jealousy," the Blossoms' first single from their double platinum album, "New Miserable Experience," hit No. 4 on Billboard's mainstream rock chart in 1993. Their follow-up album, "Congratulations I'm Sorry," hit No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart.

That was in 1996 and the Tempe, Ariz., band broke up the following year. In the past five years, however, its members dropped hints to fans that the Blossoms weren't totally dead. The group released a greatest hits album in 1999, and three members started getting together in the fall of 2001 to play and write.

Fans don't have to wait much longer, according to Blossoms guitarist Scott Johnson, because the band officially has reunited and is working on a new album.

"We did a tour in the summer, and that was basically considered, like, a reunion tour and, you know, things went so well, we decided to keep going," Johnson said this week, speaking from his Arizona home.

Juneau residents can hear the Gin Blossoms at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at Marlintini's Lounge.

Johnson said the band has been working on new material on and off for more than a year and hopes to have enough for an album this spring, with a possible summer release. The writing process has been held up as the band tours in promotion of a rerelease of a two-disc limited edition of "New Miserable Experience."

"The only way to pay for a record is to generate income," Johnson said. "It's not like the old days when you could just sit around and hang out in the studio for weeks at a time."

Johnson joined the band after the completion of "New Miserable Experience," replacing Doug Hopkins. Hopkins founded the group and penned "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You," which hit the top slot on Billboard's modern rock chart in 1995. Hopkins, who struggled with substance abuse and depression, was fired after the completion of "New Miserable Experience." He committed suicide in December 1993, the story goes, after "Hey Jealousy" rocketed the band to the national stage.

Though "Congratulations I'm Sorry" didn't do quite as well as "New Miserable Experience," it did sell more than 1.5 million albums. One of its singles, "Follow You Down," earned the group a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Duo or Group.

Gin Blossoms

Top hits

"Hey Jealousy" single - No. 4 on Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, 1993.

"Found Out About You" single - No. 1 on Modern Rock Tracks chart, 1994.

"Congratulations I'm Sorry" album - No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, 1996.

"Till I Hear It From You" single - No. 1 on Top 40 Adult Recurrents chart, 1996.

"Follow You Down" single - No. 1 on Top 40 Adult Recurrents, 1996; Grammy nomination.

In 1997, just before the band's breakup, it received two awards from the American Society of Composers and Publishers recognizing the popularity of "Follow You Down," and "Till I Hear It From You," from the soundtrack to "Empire Records."

The Blossoms followed the same recipe in most of their hits - guitar-based pop with a folky feel and catchy refrains that have managed to stick in fans' heads for nearly a decade. That recipe won't change, Johnson said.

"I don't think we're going off in any new directions," he said. "It's just guitar-driven rock with the sweet vocal thing that (singer) Robin (Wilson) does so well."

And now that the group is back together, will it stick?

"I don't know," Johnson said. "Hopefully we'll just realize that maybe people need a break. Hopefully in the future we'll just take periods of time off where people can do their own thing."

Tickets are $35 in advance at Marlintini's and Capital Records, and $40 at the door.

• Masha Herbst can be reached at masha.herbst@juneauempire.com.



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