Robin Wilson was at his New York home working on the set list for his show at the T-Bar Social Club when he took a call from a reporter inquiring about the performance.
On Thursday, Dec. 19, the lead singer of the Gin Blossoms will play a rare solo show at the T-Bar Social Club at June Lake. Wilson’s son Grey, an 18-year-old high school senior, will join him for a few songs.
“You are going to get a handful of Gin Blossoms hits,” Wilson said. “My influences are pretty diverse, so you’re going to hear everything from Tom Petty to Madonna, New Order, The Cars — and I will probably play a couple of country songs, George Jones.”
The Gin Blossoms had bouquet of radio/video hit songs in the 1990s, such as “Hey Jealousy,” “Follow You Down,” “Found Out About You,” “Allison Road,” “As Long as it Matters” and “Til I Hear it From You,” which reached No. 1 on the charts in both the United States and Canada. The band has sold 10 million records.
“It was very hectic,” Wilson said. “For like four years, we were on ‘Letterman’ or ‘Tonight Show’ or ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Something like that was happening every three or four months. When you’re in it and it’s happening, you don’t necessarily realize what a rarefied position you’re in and how hard it is to get that sort of media exposure.”
Critics called the Gin Blossom sound jangle pop, perhaps because they were from the Southwest. It was a seminal time for Arizona music. Other bands kicking up their spurs around that time were The Sidewinders, The Meat Puppets and The Refreshments, whose bandleader, Roger Clyne, attended the same Tempe high school as Wilson.
“When we formed the band, our touch tones were groups like The Replacements, The Smithereens, R.E.M. The Church had a big influence on the Gin Blossoms — that was a fantastic Australian band — Cheap Trick and certainly Tom Petty. When we started, we thought of ourselves and were treated as an alternative band but with the perspective of time, we were just a classic rock band.”
The Gin Blossoms broke up for almost five years. The members wisely reunited and are selling out concerts as often at they did in their heyday. The band played 115 shows in 2019 and in January will announce a major tour in which it will be co-featured. Wilson could not reveal the other band.
However, he did break some rock ‘n’ roll news. After performing several shows with The Smithereens, Wilson will join the band on a more permanent basis. He and Smithereens guitarist with Jim Babjak are writing songs and a new album is in the works.
— Tim Parsons
An Intimate Evening with Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19
Where: T-Bar Social Club, 2588 Highway 158, June Lake, California 93529