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Gin Blossoms at Arts, Beats & Eats, 3 Things To Know
Gin Blossoms is pouring it all out again.
The Arizona group has actually worked consistently since regrouping in 2002 following a five-year hiatus. And it found the appetite for 90s hits such as "Jealousy," "Found Out About You" and "Follow You Down" hadn't diminished.
This year, however, the quartet is back with "Mixed Reality," its firs new album in eight years. It's also the first with a new producer (Don Dixon), after longtime producer John Hampton, who died during 2014. The old hits are still the selling point, of course, but Detroit-born frontman Robin Wilson and company are happy to have something new to play for those fans once again...
Wilson, 53, says the interim between albums surprised even he and his bandmates. "We were overdue and we wanted to write and record songs," he notes. An idea to release a single each month for a year and then compile those onto an album didn't pan out, but Wilson says that a couple of years ago his then 14-year-old son "started to play a lot of guitar and he asked me, 'How do you write songs?'" Wilson says. "I had to explain it to him in the simplest of terms. That was just before I started writing songs for this album, so I sort of reconnected with the elemental factors of who I am as a songwriter and I just jumped into it."
Working with a new production team of Dixon and engineer Mitch Easter -- who defined a particular kind of modern rock sound on the East Coast during the 80s that influenced Gin Blossoms greatly -- took the band "out of our comfort zone," according to Wilson. "And that was really important. If we had just gone back to Ardent Studios (in Memphis) and made another record, there wouldn't have been that same amount of tension and effort. It's really great it worked out this way. I've been saying that regardless of the commercial outcome of this record, just as an artist, I know that we did something really special here. I couldn't be more proud of it."
Wilson lived in Detroit for the first five and a half years of his life before his family moved to Arizona. "I didn't really go back to Michigan until the band was on tour," he says, but that first trip was memorable. "Our record company had loaned us some money to buy a van, the Dodge van that's on the cover of the 'New Miserable Experience' album. It kept breaking down. so when we get to Detroit we're playing at Saint Andrews Hall, and I tell the audience we bought this Dodge van for $30,000 and it's a piece of s*** and keeps breaking down and the next time we have $30,000 to buy a car we're gonna buy five Nissans. This cold chill ran through the room and the e audience -- and I'm not kidding -- literally threw s*** at me. My uncle was in the audience and after the show he came up and said, 'What in the hell are you thinking, saying something like that?' It just comes to me naturally -- and it was probably one of the funniest things I've ever said, even if they didn't think so."
If You Go:
5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.
Michigan Lottery National Stage at Arts, Beats & Eats in downtown Royal Oak.
Admission is $3-$7. VIP seating is available for an extra fee.
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