Hey Anthology

The Gin Blossoms bloom again with a greatest-hits collection, a reunion show and talk of a new album

A greater stumbling block to a permanent Blossoms reunion are the potential personality conflicts. Few if any of the issues that ended the group in the first place have been completely resolved. And for Leen, ever the punk purist, any appearance that the band would be restarting simply to "cash in" is fairly abhorrent. Still, things that once seemed unthinkable for the Blossoms are now coming to pass and for good reason.

Why group members have warmed up to the prospect of resuming after what was a fairly rancorous -- albeit anticlimactic -- breakup is fairly simple: The strongest commercial leverage that Valenzuela and Wilson have for their solo careers/side projects is their membership in the Gin Blossoms. The unfortunate turn of events that followed the demise of A&M only served to highlight the fact that the real trump card both men hold is their status as members of a multimillion-selling group. Without it, and despite their considerable talent as artists, they're not unlike the hundreds of other musicians struggling to find their commercial niche and that much-needed label support.

If it now seems possible and even likely that the Blossoms will resume at some point, then the only lingering question that remains is the same one that dogged the band before it recorded the follow-up to New Miserable Experience: Will they ever record any of Doug Hopkins' songs? A trove of Hopkins material -- much of it earmarked for the Gin Blossoms (or, more specifically, Robin Wilson's voice) -- has gone unrecorded, shortchanging Hopkins' creative legacy and robbing Blossoms fans the opportunity to hear such stellar songcraft. Whether the group will remedy that situation still remains uncertain, but it seems more likely than ever that the question may ultimately be answered.

Just south of nowhere: The jeans and flannel Blossoms in their late '80s heyday. From left, Phillip Rhodes, Jesse Valenzuela, Robin Wilson, Bill Leen, Doug Hopkins.
courtesy of Sara Cina
Just south of nowhere: The jeans and flannel Blossoms in their late '80s heyday. From left, Phillip Rhodes, Jesse Valenzuela, Robin Wilson, Bill Leen, Doug Hopkins.

Contact Bob Mehr at his online address: bmehr@newtimes.com

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