True or false: Tough call. Several Tempe sources close to the band say consistently that the Gin Blossoms are together for now, but have decided that the next album will be their last. Those sources also said the band will play shows between now and the release of that record, but will not tour in support of it.
Blossoms front man Robin Wilson did not respond to requests for an interview, but Dead Hot Workshop drummer Curtis Grippe said last Friday afternoon that he had just spoken to Wilson, and that "Robin wants to put to rest the rumor that they've broken up. It's untrue. Right now, [the Gin Blossoms] are preparing to make another record." Grippe said he hadn't spoken with Wilson about the GBs' plans after that album.
Here's what the band's spokesperson at A&M Records had to say when initially contacted on September 27: "Last week, I asked the band pointblank if they were breaking up, and they said no, there will be a third record," said Steve Karas. "If they had broken up, I would know."
Karas said the likely source of the rumor was an onstage announcement Wilson made at a recent concert in L.A., where the Blossoms opened for Neil Young and Patti Smith at the Forum. According to Karas and Liz Morentin, an A&M publicist in Los Angeles, Wilson told the crowd, "This is our last show."
"What he meant was, that was their last show on the tour," says Morentin. "Not 'this is our last show ever.'"
Asked specifically if the band would break up after the release of a third record, Karas said he would check with the band's management and call back. He did. This is what he said: "Well, it wouldn't be safe to say at this point that definitively that's going to happen. I think it's a crazy idea. Right now, they're still a band and there will be a third record. But it's a long way off from this moment, and who's to say what's going to happen next year sometime. That's just playing prophecy."
Rumor: The Meat Puppets have broken up, and Curt Kirkwood is pursuing a solo career.
True or false: False, according to Kirkwood.
Reached just as he left for a weekend camping trip, Kirkwood said through a friend that the Meat Puppets have no intention of breaking up, ever. A source close to the band says Curt is working on solo material at his home in Los Angeles, ". . . but with those guys, it could just as easily wind up on the next Meat Puppets record." The source also said the Puppets haven't been playing shows or working full-time on a new record because of a serious illness in the Kirkwood family, not any form of internal band strife.
Rumor: Dead Hot Workshop just got dropped from Atlantic Records.
True or false: False, says drummer Curtis Grippe--Dead Hot quit the bastards. "We went in a little naive," says Grippe, ". . . and it turned into your typical record-company nightmare." About a year after Dead Hot inked a deal with the New York indie label Tag Records in early 1994, Atlantic snapped up the label and turned Tag--and all Tag bands--into a subsidiary.
"They basically set it up to grab a bunch of bands, throw 'em all against the wall and see if any stuck," says Grippe. "We were told we would be one of three bands on the label--we turned out to be one of 20. [Atlantic] went with the cheapest operation possible. The A&R guy who originally signed us left, and he was replaced with this guy just out of rehab. They had two guys working radio for 20 bands.
"The worst thing was, we'd be out on tour and we'd go into record stores and our record wouldn't even be there. That is the most frustrating thing for a band you can imagine."
Grippe says Dead Hot's debut album for Atlantic, 1001, sold well in Phoenix; Minneapolis; and Charleston, South Carolina; but barely made a dent elsewhere. Other promising Tag bands--including Rusty, the Bottle Rockets and Madder Rose--have fared no better. "It's a dead-end label," says Grippe. "It was like playing for the Arizona Cardinals. How good you are as an individual doesn't matter, because the organization as a whole is not going to win a championship."
The one good thing Grippe does have to say about Atlantic is that the president of the label honored a verbal agreement to release the band on request if it wasn't happy a year after Tag was sold.