Gin Blossoms

  • Rock band formed in 1987 from Tempe Arizona. Primary members in the 90s were Jesse Valenzuela (vocals, guitar), Robin Wilson (vocals), Doug Hopkins (guitar), Bill Leen (bass guitar), and Philip Rhodes (drums).
  • The name of the band comes from a caption for a photograph in the book Hollywood Babylon. The photo is of W.C. Fields, and the caption reads “W.C. Fields with gin blossoms,” referring to his rosacea skin condition.
  • In the early years, the band played at many venues in Arizona. Their alternative rock sound became known as the “southwestern sound.” By 1989, they released an independent album, called Dusted. 
  • In 1990, they signed with a record label, and started working on an album. They ran out of creative ideas, and ended up releasing an EP of 5 songs in 1991. Nothing from the EP charted.
  • They finally produced their first full length studio album in 1992. Titled New Miserable Experience, it was their biggest album, selling over 4 million copies. Singles that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart were Hey Jealousy and Found Out About You. The success of the album was overshadowed by the suicide of Doug Hopkins, who had been pushed out of the band by the record label due to his heavy drinking and depression.
  • Gin Blossoms followed up their album with a single Til I Hear It From You for the soundtrack to the film Empire Records in 1995. It peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 chart.  
  • Their next studio album was released in 1996. Named Congratulations…I’m Sorry, it reached #10 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Four singles were released, with Follow You Down hitting #9, and As Long As It Matters getting a Grammy nomination.
  • The band broke up in 1997, and the members went to other musical projects. In 2002, they reunited and toured. By 2006, a new album was released, but the singles did not chart. Their last album, released in 2010, also did not have any hits. A new album has been recorded, but there has not been an announcement as to when it will be released.
  • Their music has been called jangle pop – it emphasizes a ringing guitar sound that comes with 12-string electric guitars. Today, as I continue to get caught up on my “lost decade” – the 90s – I keep discovering songs by Gin Blossoms. Here’s my current favorite, Found Out About You. 

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