Gin Blossoms Tickets for Sale

Some two million people have plunked down their hard-earned $15 for a copy of New Miserable Experience, the Gin Blossoms' major-label debut. Probably ninety percent of them had never heard of the band before the video for 'Hey Jealousy' became MTV buzz bin material in the summer of 1993. But these Blossoms are no one-hit wonders. They're slow bloomers, and their story actually starts more than a decade before the release of NME, in their hometown of Tempe, Arizona.

Founding members and longtime friends Bill Leen and Doug Hopkins first started playing in bands together a few years after graduating from Tempe's McClintock High School. Doug taught Bill to play the bass, and they formed their first band, Moral Majority, in 1981. The name came after a friend joined The Moral Majority (Jerry Falwell's conservative organization) under Doug's name as a joke. The band's t-shirts were the Moral Majority logo behind the international void symbol (y'know, like the no smoking signs).

A big slice of American cheese' was how the singer of this American country rock band once described their sound. Favored sons of MTV, they had earlier attracted a fierce local following after formation in Tempe, Arizona, USA, in 1987. Their original line-up comprised Doug Hopkins (d. 5 December 1993, Tempe, Arizona, USA; guitar), Bill Leen (b. 1 March 1962; bass), Jesse Valenzuela (b. 22 May 1962; guitar, vocals), Richard Taylor (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Chris McCann (drums). Robin Wilson (b. 12 July 1965) and Daniel Henzerling were brought in the following year to replace Taylor and McCann respectively. The classic Gin Blossoms finally fell into place when Wilson was promoted to lead singer, Valenzuela switched to rhythm guitar and vocals, and Phillip Rhodes (b. 26 May 1969) replaced Henzerling.
The band's debut, Dusted, was released in 1989 on vinyl and cassette only. The musical backdrop and Wilson's vocals brought critical comparisons to R.E.M. and the Byrds. Comparisons which found fruition on the major hit single, 'Hey Jealousy', and 1992's accompanying major label debut, New Miserable Experience. However, soon after tragedy struck the band. After struggling for years against depression and alcoholism, chief songwriter Hopkins' behavior had become so unstable that it was necessary to eject him from the band. His departure came in April 1992, soon after recording sessions for the album were completed. A bitter wrangle ensued, with the band reportedly forcing him to sign over half his publishing royalties in return for a one-off payment of $15,000 owed to him. As 'Hey Jealousy' and 'Found Out About You', two excellent songs he had written for the Gin Blossoms, became major hits, his personal problems increased.

On 3 December 1993 he left a detox unit in Phoenix, Arizona, and shot himself two days later. Hopkins had been replaced as lead guitarist by Scott Johnson (b. 11 October 1962), but of more concern was how the Gin Blossoms would replace him as a songwriter. Although both Wilson ('Allison Road') and Valenzuela ('Mrs Rita') had written songs on the band's debut, critics were in no doubt as to who the author of the more compelling tracks was. Marshall Crenshaw was recruited as co-writer on ''Til I Hear It From You', the hit single from the predictably weaker Congratulations I'm Sorry. The band eventually split-up in spring 1997, with Wilson and Rhodes going on to form the Gas Giants.
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