Alice in Chains: lead singer dead, band in hibernation (though there are reports of a comeback).
Stone Temple Pilots: lead singer a druggie and an alleged wife beater, but the band is now back together and touring.
Soundgarden: Broken up, lead singer forming new bands, no reunion in sight.
Nirvana: Well … Nevermind.
The Gin Blossoms: The music of this Arizona-based band was not nearly as hardcore as some of its grunge-era peers, though there was some drama. Founding member and lead guitarist Doug Hopkins was fired for being an alcoholic during the recording of the band’s first commercially successful album, 1992’s “New Miserable Experience,” and committed suicide shortly thereafter. The band’s commercial success lasted just a few years during the mid-1990s but in 2002 the group officially reunited and has been touring ever since. This Friday, The Gin Blossoms will play one show at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.
The band’s soothing rock, highlighted by the guitar playing of Jesse Valenzuela and the voice of lead singer Robin Wilson, was a fluffy contrast to the heavy, angry rock that dominated the radio in 1992. Nonetheless, “New Miserable Experience” produced five hit singles (“Hey Jealousy,” “Mrs. Rita,” “Found Out About You,” “Allison Road” and “Until I Fall Away”) and ultimately sold nearly 3 million copies.
The movie “Empire Records,” released in 1995, featured the band’s first No. 1 song, “ ‘Til I Hear It From You.” The track was featured the following year on the album “Congratulations ... I’m Sorry,” which also featured the hits “Follow You Down” and “As Long As It Matters.” In 1997, the band split up as members went on to work on other projects.
After spending a few years on other ventures, the band did some reunion shows in 2001 and in 2002 officially reformed.
“We always said our breakup wasn’t forever and right now we’re all feeling like we want to be Gin Blossoms again,” Wilson said on the band’s Web site. “We make a noise together that we can’t make otherwise. We respect and appreciate that we need each other to create that sound. This time we hope to avoid being swallowed by the chaos.”
Though the band is producing new music, those who have listened to the Gin Blossoms from the beginning go to the shows to hear the familiar tunes and go to the bathroom during the others. If two of their post-2002 performances are any indication, the shows are entertaining and energetic and might make fans of people who might otherwise change the radio station if a Gin Blossoms song came on. Watching Wilson saunter onto the stage, you really do believe that he just pulled in from a long, gin-soaked trip down Allison Road and had his heart stomped on plenty during the ride. Even though he’s 15 years older, he still has the look of a skinny, frail, heartbroken friend who has been crashing on your couch for a week because his wicked girlfriend gave him the boot.
So, if you’re one of the people who doesn’t change the radio station when a Gin Blossoms hit comes on, buying tickets to see the band at least once is worth an evening out. The show is Friday night at 8 p.m. in the Nugget’s Celebrity Showroom. Tickets are $32. Go to www.janugget.com, or for Steppin’ Out Dinner & Show Packages call (800) 648-1177