Who: Gin Blossoms & Better Than Ezra
What: Free Friday night concert
Where: Champions Square
When: Friday, December 16, 7:00pm
In the late 80’s Gin Blossoms started to grow a huge following as the #1 local music draw in Phoenix and certainly were the hometown hero’s of their favorite hang, Tempe, Arizona.
Gin Blossoms indelible jangle-pop sound was evolving during radio’s diverse mix of hair bands and grunge music superstars. They qualified to perform at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin Texas in 1989. That same year college music journal dubbed them “The best Unsigned Band In America” and added an invitation to perform on MTV’s New Music Awards in New York City. Their Breakout record New Miserable Experience was where their rise to fame began. This album kept the band on the chart for almost 3 years with singles “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs. Rita,” and “Found Out About You.” The crossover hits on New Miserable Experience played on 4 radio formats and to date has sold over 5 million records.
Those hits were followed up by “Til I Hear It From You” which rocketed to #1 and moved the Empire Records smash soundtrack to platinum status. The track also became Canada's longest-running #1 hit of 1995, its #1 tenure lasting six weeks. This song was co-written with the great Marshall Crenshaw and Billboard described it as “the closest thing to a perfect pop song to hit radio in recent memory.” Their next gem “Follow You Down” spent ten weeks in the top 10, and "As Long As It Matters" earned the band a Grammy nomination for "Best Performance by a Duo or Group” making their Congratulations I’m Sorry record another multi radio format favorite and multi-platinum success.
Having dominated radio and MTV playlists for most of the 90s, Gin Blossoms took a brief turn of the century hiatus, a provisional parting of the ways that Wilson chalks up to “personal dissatisfaction and the mistaken impression that we could perform at that same level with another group.” The brief break allowed Valenzuela and Wilson to reenergize via solo recordings, new combos, and production credits for an array of local Arizona acts. However, Gin Blossoms’ idiosyncratic magic proved impossible to ignore for long and on New Years Eve 2001 in their hometown of Tempe. The band reconvened and never looked back.
“There’s a certain civility among us now,” Valenzuela says. “None of us are as brusque as we once were. We’re too old to have shouting matches.”
The revivified band hit the road hard, earning a well-deserved reputation as one of the busiest touring acts in the world, playing close to 150 shows a year. Those chops were readily apparent on 2006’s Major Lodge Victory – Gin Blossoms’ long awaited fourth album and first new recording in almost a decade. Rave reviews followed, as did a top 10 Triple A smash in the album’s lead single, “Learning The Hard Way.” The albums second single “Long Time Gone” quickly became another favorite among both fans and the critics and Major Lodge Victory made Billboards top 10 independent albums.
Next, Gin Blossoms recorded “No Chocolate Cake” and released the single Miss Disarray which is now one of the most requested songs in the bands live set and the album reached #1 on Amazons sales chart.
These talented tunesmith’s promise the inevitable arrival of new material and as they approach their third decade, Gin Blossoms remain a rare breed – rock ‘n’ roll lifers, destined to continue creating, crafting, and performing for audiences ever rapt by their glorious catalog of material. “We’re entertaining and we have chops,” says Wilson, “but it really comes down to the songs. The reason we’re still here is that we have good songs. When young musicians ask me for advice, what’s the best thing to do to further my career, I always say, ‘Write good songs.’ It always comes down to that.”
The bands fusion of Pop, melodic rock, Folk and Country elements took the airwaves by siege, making the band an MTV playlist hostage for almost a decade and the group a natural 90’s mainstay. From their breakout album through today, Robin, Jesse, Bill and Scotty have sold over 10 million records and are one of the most in demand 90’s live artists who began at the end of the grunge era. This coming February 2017 the band is back in the studio recording their next album that will released this Summer. Don’t miss this rockin’ the house down performance!
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