With their catchy blend of power pop and post-grunge rock, the Gin Blossoms were the soundtrack to a generation. Now 25 years after New Miserable Experience became a mainstay on MTV, the multi-platinum album is being reissued on limited edition colour vinyl.
In addition to ‘Miserable’ their follow up album, Congratulations I’m Sorry, will also be reissued on black and limited edition coloured vinyl out 24 March and available for pre-order.
Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, the Gin Blossoms represented the lighter side of grunge and alternative rock coming out of the Pacific Northwest during the early 90s. Rather than the sonic screams of Nirvana, the Blossoms more closely resembled the jangle-pop guitar hooks of The Byrds and the rootsy rock of R.E.M.
Since their early days in 1987 with founding members bassist Bill Leen, guitarist Doug Hopkins, vocalist Jesse Valenzuela, guitarist Richard Taylor and drummer Chris McCann, the band experienced a rotating cast of members until they solidified their line-up.
Dan Henzerling replaced McCann and then Phillip Rhodes on drums, while Taylor was fired and was replaced by guitarist Robin Wilson. Wilson and Valenzuela then switched roles and the band recorded their self-released album, Dusted, in 1989 before signing with A&M the following year.
After making an impressive big label debut with 1991’s Up & Crumbling straight out of the gate, they made the jump from college radio to the mainstream with their massively popular hit ‘Hey Jealousy’, off New Miserable.
Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, the New Miserable album was plagued with personal setbacks as the band’s primary songwriter and co-founding member, Doug Hopkins struggled with alcoholism and was fired near the conclusion of the sessions. The album was met with uneven reviews and it wasn’t until ‘Hey Jealousy’ entered the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 the following year, that it finally found its audience, encouraging A&M to re-release the album with a brand new cover.
New Miserable spawned many of their early hits including ‘Found Out About You’, ‘Mrs. Rita’, ‘Until I Fall Away’, and ‘Allison Road’, all charting on Billboard and securing the band’s place on top of the alt-rock scene. The album is also notable as an early predecessor to alt-country movement, which is especially evident on more twangy tracks like ‘Cheatin’ and ‘Canjun Song’.
Just as the Blossoms success was blooming, the band experienced the passing of Doug Hopkins, who unexpectedly died on 5 December 1993, shortly after receiving his gold plaque for writing the hit single ‘Hey Jealousy’. This tragic turn of events spawned the title of their follow-up album, Congratulations I’m Sorry and Scotty Johnson, from The Feedbags assumed lead guitar duty following Hopkins’ departure. Rolling Stone described the album as a “kinetically charged follow-up for the Arizona quintet’, featuring the same ‘hook-laden, wall-of-guitar power pop”.
The album produced two more hits, including the band’s highest-charting single to date, ‘Follow You Down’, which spent 10 weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and ‘As Long As It Matters’ which earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Duo or Group. They eventually lost out to The Beatles’ ‘Free as a Bird’, but then again it’s The Beatles.
Thanks to a combination of regular radio airplay and touring the country, the album went on to sell more than 1.5 million in the US.
As the current 90s revival continues, the Gin Blossoms continue to tour to sold-out audiences, performing over 100 shows a year with original members Robin Wilson, Jesse Valenzuela, Bill Leen and Scotty Johnson.
Congratulations I’m Sorry and New Miserable Experience will be available for the first time on vinyl in black or limited edition marbled opaque orange LPs on 24 March 2017 and available for pre-order. Scroll down below to see the full tracklisting.
New Miserable Experience
‘Until I Fall Away’
‘Hold Me Down’
‘Hands Are Tied’
‘Found Out About You’
‘Pieces of the Night’
Congratulations, I’m Sorry
‘Follow You Down’
‘Not Only Numb’
‘As Long As It Matters’
‘7th Inning Stretch’
‘I Can’t Figure You Out’