Gin Blossoms headline Bands in the Sand at Sideouts in Island Lake

The Gin Blossom are (from left) Scotty Johnson, Scott Hessel, Jesse Valenzuela, Robin Wilson
and Bill Leen.
The Gin Blossom are (from left) Scotty Johnson, Scott Hessel, Jesse Valenzuela, Robin Wilson and Bill Leen.

ISLAND LAKE – If you were a product of the ’90s, you remember dialing up your internet, slapping on your bracelets, getting “Saved by the Bell” and actually watching music videos on MTV.

Now, our internet is wireless, our bracelets can track our sleep patterns, Zack Morris now has his own children in high school and MTV has YouTube music videos during commercial breaks.

The music that was the soundtrack of that era, however, seems to have a shelf life that will stand the test of time.

The ’90s scene has been making its way back to the live stage for years, armed with its arsenal of hits by way of anniversary and nostalgia tours.

The Gin Blossoms’ 1992 release, “New Miserable Experience,” was a major staple of the ’90s, with hits like “Hey Jealousy,” “Found Out About You” and “Until I Fall Away.” The band will perform July 28 at Sideouts Bar & Eatery in Island Lake, a stop on their 2018 tour. The event is part of Sideouts’ Bands in the Sand also featuring bands Tonic and Vertical Horizon in the lineup. Tickets can be purchased at

Formed in Tempe, Arizona, in 1987, the Gin Blossoms have been playing music for more than 25 years and just dropped their sixth album, “Mixed Reality,” in June. Frontman Robin Wilson said the album is their best work yet.

“The response has been very, very positive. Our fans are like ‘wow, this is the record we’ve been waiting for you guys to make,’ ” Wilson said. “It seems to have an immediate emotional connection with anyone who’s ever been a fan of our music.”

The songs “Break” and “Face the Dark” kick off the album, the latter of which Wilson said was a song not only written for late band member Doug Hopkins, but a song Hopkins would have wanted to play.

Veterans Don Dixon and Mitch Easter, both known for their work on the R.E.M. sessions, produced “Mixed Reality.”

The sixth album for the Gin Blossoms, Wilson said making an album is always challenging but the band has grown in substance and process in time.

The addition of Dixon and Easter really took them outside of their box.

“I’m speaking directly to my experience in making a record. It was fraught with heartache and compromise and when you are in a real band and it’s more than just a sum of its parts, it involves a great deal of compromise and you don’t always agree with your band mates,” Wilson said. “But that’s how it works for us, and you know that compromise combined with that working with the production team with Don and Mitch and going to North Carolina and making a record, we were taken out of our element.”

Wilson said live performances of the new songs have been met with great fanfare. But never fear, the breakout Gin Blossoms songs are ones that he will never tire of playing. While the band already has seen several decades, this will not be the last you’ll hear from them.

“I think we’re gonna have a pretty fine third act,” Wilson said. “As we head into our final decade as a band, we’re in a position to really kick [expetive]. Our partnership is really strong and I think we’re gonna make a few more records and play a lot more shows and, hopefully, they’ll all be good and fun.”

Wilson also plans to raise awareness for Love Hope Strength on the tour, a rock ’n’ roll cancer foundation that raises funds and awareness for those with cancer through music.

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