BAND ON THE RUN

WHAT'S IN A NAME? PLENTY, WHEN IT'S THE GIN BLOSSOMS.

Hopkins, meanwhile, says he's busy forming a new band and wr¨sé«M«MàG�VéàGÖ'C~Ç\‚ò0/VH-1 mercenary hits." As is common with "baby bands," which is labelspeak for new national acts, the Blossoms currently are on tour opening for a better-known band. For the first three weeks, the Blossoms opened for Sony Music's most notorious they're-going-to-be-a-success-or-else project, Toad the Wet Sprocket. On September 23, they switched over to opening for label mates del Amitri. In mid-October, after its show at Hayden Square, the group will rejoin the Toad tour in Salt Lake City and tour until early 1993.

To be fair, it's clear that there is still a lot of talent in the Blossoms' new lineup. Touring on a national level, playing in front of hostile crowds, will also force them to become a better band. If the tour goes poorly, their national future will be shaky.

Had they dealt with Hopkins differently, the Blossoms might have preserved a songwriting relationship with him. But that chance seems lost now. Replacing Hopkins' songs means creating a new identity, reinventing the band. Filling out sets with sloppy covers--a favorite Blossoms trick here at home--can't go on forever. The songwriting onus is on Robin Wilson and Jesse Valenzuela, and they say they've penned a few new tunes. They also say they'd like to go to L.A. to collaborate with singer-songwriter Tommy Keene once this tour is over. Wilson allows that "we're going to miss Doug in the songwriting department," but he insists that the band will fare better with songs that don't revolve around alcoholism. Wilson vows the band's songs will be more "honest."

It's surprising to hear Wilson use the word "honest." If anything, the honesty in Hopkins' work, particularly about booze, helped get him canned. On top of that, the rest of the band has not gone on the wagon since Hopkins' exit. It's clear from talking to Wilson, Valenzuela and the rest of the band that Hopkins continues to cast a long shadow. The band knows that everything rides on the next record. If it's a success, Hopkins' ghost will be put to rest and this lineup will be taken seriously. And perhaps then it will be obvious what those dark eyes in the photo mean.

BLOSSOMS BREAKTHROUGH... v9-30-92

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