Interviews no image

Published on February 20th, 1993 | by Gerry Galipault


Success blooms for Gin Blossoms

They’re calling it “the record that just won’t die.” It’s more like, “The little record that could.”

A full year since the release of their A&M debut album, “New Miserable Experience,” the Gin Blossoms are hotter than the scorching pavement on the streets of their native Tempe, Ariz.

The album, having sold more than 350,000 units, is poised (and climbing) at No. 71 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart. The jangly pop hit “Hey Jealousy” is at No. 77 with a bullet on the Hot 100; the video is on MTV’s Buzz Bin rotation, and better still, the rock quintet is getting tremendous exposure as the opening act for UB40’s North American tour.

“It’s been a really weird climb,” groggy-voiced bassist Bill Leen said over the phone from a Boston hotel room. “We haven’t had any big jumps. We’re just taking one step at a time up the ladder of success, or whatever you want to call it.”

“New Miserable Experience,” recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, was released on Aug. 4, 1992. It was greeted with favorable critical response, with some hailing the Gin Blossoms as “a cross between the Byrds and Husker Du” and “the sons of Petty and R.E.M.”

But it appeared they would remain only a regional fixture. “Hey Jealousy” died the first time around, and the followup single, “Mrs. Rita,” didn’t fare much better.

Leen, lead singer Robin Wilson, guitarist Jesse Valenzuela, drummer Phillip Rhodes and guitarist Doug Hopkins did what young struggling artists do to get attention: played nearly 200 shows in the last 12 months. Their diligence paid off with an appearance on TV’s “Late Night With David Letterman.” Dave was so impressed, he called them back a few months later for a flattering encore.

For Leen, it seems like ages ago when the Gin Blossoms formed in 1987 and made their mark on the Tempe club scene. Their self-produced independent album, “Dusted,” solidified a loyal following and later earned them a spot on MTV’s New Music Awards as “the best unsigned band.”

The “unsigned” tag didn’t last long. The big labels soon came courting, with A&M winning the bidding war in 1990.

Now, after months of touring in a cramped van and trying to recoup nearly $500,000 in expenses, the Gin Blossoms can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. They’re now tooling around in a “real bus,” Leen said, and no longer need tour support from A&M.

“We’re not exactly starving artists,” he said. “We still pay our rent, and in the old days, sometimes you couldn’t pay the rent. I don’t know, if you could look at my bank book right now, though, you’d be shocked.

“The money is just around the corner, or a little bit more. And that’s fine because we have a plan, and everything has worked out better than we’ve expected, so maybe there will be a little bit of a reward in the future.”

Now, if they could only get beyond “Hey Jealousy.” Leen said they’re anxious to work on a new album.

“We’re bored to death with ‘Hey Jealousy,’ ” he said. “We did it on Arsenio Hall last week, and we were thinking, ‘God, I wish we could do something different.’ … It can get pretty monotonous, because we would like to be able to take some time off and take vacations with our families, and then the five of us sit around and write a whole new batch of songs.”

Leen admits that might be wishful thinking.

Tags: ,

About the Author

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑


    Entertainment Weekly names Pause & Play one of “the 100 greatest Web sites”

  • Album Release Dates

    * Release dates are subject to change due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

    June 24, 2022 » Luke Combs, Jimmie Allen, Conan Gray, GIVĒON, Jack Johnson, Regina Spektor, Soccer Mommy, Lupe Fiasco, G. Love, Porcupine Tree, Trixie Mattel, MUNA, Empress Of, Janiva Magness, BoDeans, Alexisonfire, Zola Jesus, etc.

    July 1, 2022 » Imagine Dragons, Fleet Foxes, ITZY, Shinedown, Rusty, Burna Boy, Tedeschi Trucks Band, UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell & Astro, Paul Anka, Grey Daze, Paolo Nutini, Klaus Schulze, etc.

    July 8, 2022 » James Bay, Journey, Metric, Rae Morris, Laura Veirs, The Delondes, Tye Tribbett, Richie Furay, Blind Channel, Delicate Steve, etc.

    More New Releases » July 15 and Beyond: Lizzo, Interpol, beabadoobee, Alan Parsons, Jack White, ODESZA, Gilbert O’Sullivan, She & Him, Cuco, Dawes, Maggie Rogers, Hayley Kiyoko, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Amanda Shires, Arch Enemy, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Collective Soul, Del Amitri, Panic! At the Church, Eric Church, Five Finger Death Punch, Hot Chip, The Mountain Goats, Walter Trout, Muse, Marcus King, Alanis Morissette, Ingrid Andress, Ezra Furman, YUNGBLUD, Rina Sawayama, Ozzy Osbourne, Built to Spill, Flogging Molly, Robbie Williams, Death Cab for Cutie, LeAnn Rimes, The London Suede, 5 Seconds of Summer, Beth Orton, Dr. John, Nikki Lane, Denzel Curry, Pixies, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lamb of God, Ava Max, Lightning Seeds, Simple Minds, Daniel Avery, Larkin Poe, Meghan Trainor, Michael Jackson, and many more.

    More Upcoming Releases » Albums coming in 2022 and beyond but have yet to be scheduled

    Elton John loves Pauseandplay.comDeals of the DayBest SellersSennheiser MOMENTUM 2 Wireless Over-Ear HeadphonesIE 400 Pro In-Ear Monitors

  • New Merch at Hot TopicSave on Tablets at Walmart.comBand T-ShirtsTurntables & AccessoriesHome Audio SystemsAmazon Tap $40 OffSave up to 90% on Textbooks

    NOTE: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We also participate in other affiliate programs.

  • Love We do, too … Help us keep it going. (Every little bit helps.) We ♥ u.

    Via PayPal:

    – or –

  • Recent Posts

  • Connect on Facebook

  • On Twitter