Posted by: kubiakl | January 13, 2010

I Still Love These Guys

The Gin Blossoms have been a consistent listen for me since I was a teenager.  I remember driving around to “Hey Jealousy”, dancing with my girlfriend to “Until I Fall Away”, and moping with “Mrs. Rita” when we were on the rocks.  They were my favorite alt.country band before I knew what alt.country was.

The road wasn’t easy for these guys.  They got together in 1987 but couldn’t put together their true debut album (“New Miserable Experience” until 1992.  (“Dusted” was released independently in 1989 and contained early versions of some of the NME songs.)  “New Miserable Experience” was named for how they felt trying to record under a major label.  Doug Hopkins was one of their songwriters and guitarists, but shortly after the album dropped he committed suicide.  (“Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You” were both written by Hopkins.)

Their next album, “Congratulations I’m Sorry” didn’t come out until four years later.

They celebrated by disbanding in 1997, with each member moving on to other projects.  Robin Wilson created The Gas Giants and the Poppin’ Wheelies, while Jesse Valenzuela formed the Low Watts and released a solo album.  I’ve listened to the side projects, and they’re really not bad… but they definitely aren’t the same caliber as the Gin Blossoms.

In the early 2000’s the Blossoms got back together, only to have another problem.  Phillip Rhodes, the drummer, had a breakdown thanks to his alcoholism.  He went to rehab, and they went through a succession of drummers.  (Rhodes did return at one point, but it was short lived.)

Ten years after “Congratulations I’m Sorry” came out they released their third studio album, “Major Lodge Victory”.  I remember being really excited when I first heard about it, then really worried.  Could it really be as good?  Or was it just going to tarnish a legacy?

Fortunately it turned out to be a really enjoyable listen.  The lead single “Learning The Hard Way” ranks up there with my old favorites, and the whole album was solid.

And there is supposed to be more on the way this year…

As long as nothing goes wrong.  This doesn’t seem likely, but we fans can cross our fingers and hope.

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