It was one of those moments when I looked at the musical hipsterism of my twenties, and at the just-plain-fun of not being a hipster, and decided that fun was, well, more fun.
It was twenty years ago today that New Miserable Experience by the Gin Blossoms was released.
“Oh, gawd, the Gin Blossoms”, say my hipster friends. At least, that’s what they said back then – because the Gin Blossoms committed the one unpardonable sin if you were a hipster; after starting out as a scrappy little garage band playing to their drunk friends in the Phoenix/Tempe area, they made it big. Unlike their Phoenix hipster-band contemporaries the Meat Puppets and the Refreshments, they m ade it very, very big.
And there’s nothing hipsters hate more than “their” bands getting heard by millions of not-so-hip people.
And why not?
Lots of video, so I’m putting most of the article after the jump, so the rest of the page can actually load in a reasonable amount of time.
New Miserable Experience was released at the end of a legendarily awful time in the band’s history; Doug Hopkins, the lead guitar player who wrote much of the material on NME, was fired from the band when his drinking and depression threatened to get the band dropped from the label. His ouster saved the band’s record contract, and the album was released – selling millions in the fall of ’92 and into ’93, heavily on the strength of two Hopkins songs, “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You”. Both were omnipresent on the radio back then, and still pop up a lot.
Hopkins, unfortunately, killed himself in the winter of 1993.
I didn’t actually get a copy until the summer of 1995. My music budget, back when I was just breaking into IT tech writing, was a little tight – it and Ghost of Tom Joad were the only two CDs I owned for a while that summer, as I occasionally worked two jobs; New Miserable Experience, on endless loop, along with pot after pot of coffee, fueled not a few all-night writing sessions for me. Someone once told me “they sound a little like your old band”, which didn’t hurt; most of the stuff sounded like something that’d rattled around my head one way or another over the years.
“Hey, Jealousy” was inescapable at the time:
And “Found Out About You” hit a chord in me, then and, maybe more, since then:
And perhaps my favorite of the bunch, the clangy, Byrds-like “Allison Road”
…with one of the more ingenious one-shot videos ever.
I had to check the date twice. Wow. It has been twenty years.