Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reunited Gin Blossoms at Freebird

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reunited Gin Blossoms at Freebird

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Faulkner, Shorelines correspondent

Ten years ago, angry, dejected grunge bands dominated the national music scene. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the pale imitators that followed sold millions of records by tapping into a generation's emotional confusion.

As the years passed and grunge waned, bands like the Gin Blossoms put guitar melodies and easily understandable lyrics ahead of growled phrases and distortion pedals, bringing rock back to its pop roots. The Gin Blossoms sold millions of records and earned awards in 1997 for having two of the most-played songs from the previous year.

Then the band broke up.

Now, the Gin Blossoms seem poised for the mother of all do-overs. Again, angry, emotional rock bands dominate the national music scene. And the reformed Gin Blossoms are back together, finding an audience for music that conveys emotional sincerity without hiding the melodies.

The Gin Blossoms perform Friday at the Freebird Cafe in Jacksonville Beach. Plenty of bands attempt "reunion tours" by bringing back one or two members and then filling the lineup with unknown players. From the Gin Blossoms' first reunion, a 1999 New Year's Eve gig in their hometown of Tempe, Ariz., the only condition was making sure everyone -- vocalist Robin Wilson, guitarists Jesse Valenzuela and Scott Johnson, bassist Bill Leen and drummer Phillip Rhodes -- was on stage.

With a little prodding, all five members agreed. The show went well, and another New Year's Eve reunion concert followed in 2001. At that point, the five members decided to restart the band.

Rumors of a new album followed the reunion and Wilson and Valenzuela have both alluded to new material in interviews. If the Gin Blossoms do put out new material, it would be another milestone in an unconventional career.

Since their late '80s birth, the Gin Blossoms' story hit high notes of success and sales as well as lows of near-failure and tragedy. …

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