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Scoot: Q&A with Robin Wilson of Gin Blossoms

Gin Blossoms to headline Gretna Fest Saturday Night

September 25, 2018 - 6:16 pm

The Gin Blossoms will be performing at Gretna Fest this weekend, and Scoot spoke with lead singer Robin Wilson for a few minutes Tuesday.

You guys are a great success story. New Miserable Experience in 1992 was a part of the new whole alternative movement, and you were on the pop side of that movement. What was it like being part of that trend?

It was exciting. Something new was happening. It was cool to be a part of that. We're '80s kids. I worked in record stores all through the 1980s, and we came up in the wake of bands like REM and The Replacements. Most of our favorite bands never sold a lot of records, and we never expected to either.

Early on, the Gin Blossoms suffered a real tragedy in losing Doug Hopkins. There was a drinking problem, and he was kicked out of the band. Then he ended up taking his own life. How did you guys get past that point?

It was very tough. I don't know we ever did get totally past it. We kept going; we kept making records. That's how we got past it. We set out to keep the band together, and losing such a key member, a founding member. Doug's songs were how we started the band, and they were among our most memorable tunes that we've ever done. I really can't say exactly how difficult it was, but it was very, very difficult. Here we are in the future, and we're still together.

A lot of people may not know all of your hits, but they're going to sit there and watch you at Gretna Fest and go “Oh my God, I didn't know they did this song!”

WE get that a lot actually. People will be like, “I knew two songs, but I didn't realize I was going to know like 10 of your songs.” That's part of our value. That's why we still get hired to do rock shows because we have a catalogue of material that people connected with.

Tell me about the scene at concerts. You were on the mainstream of the alternative/grunge scene, but there was stage-diving and mosh-pits going on.

That's just part of live rock and roll. We were sort of fearless. We didn't really think we had anything to lose. I always approached the show like I was hosting a party at my house, and I just tried to present myself in that sort of life.

I'm sure the songs you perform mean different things at different points of your life. What song will you most personally relate to when you sing it this weekend?

We've got some great, new material that I'm really proud of. There's a new single that's called Break, and I'm really pleased with that. It's exciting to play something new that holds up to our classic material. That being said, one of our all-time favorite songs of ours is Hold Me Down; it's a song Doug Hopkins and I wrote's really special to me bceause it's the only song I'm credited as a co-writer with Doug on.

It must be satisfying to see not only people you grew up with you when they were coming of age, but it must also be great to see different people in the audience.

Our fans cover a lot of ground in age, and they bring their kids. The other night there was this real cute little girl, a redheaded girl wearing a Nirvana shirt, she was probably 10 or 12 years old or something. She was having such a blast, and I gave her a tambourine. It's a great connection you can make with the audience doing that. The parents were there, and the kids were there and a little bit of everything. I always get off when I see a 23 year old dude singing along because that's me singing at a Cheap Trick concert. When I see that 23 year old guy out there in our crowd and he knows the material, I always want to connec with that guy.

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