In late 80’s Gin Blossoms started to grow a huge following as the #1 local music draw in Phoenix and certainly were the hometown hero’s of their favorite hang, Tempe, Arizona. Gin Blossoms indelible jangle-pop sound was evolving during radio’s diverse mix of hair bands and grunge music superstars like Nirvana. After the Phoenix New Times chose them the cities best rock band, they qualified to play at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin Texas in 1989. That same year, College Music Journal dubbed them the “Best Unsigned Band in America” and added an invitation to perform on MTV’s New Music Awards in New York City.
Taking their name from a caption on a W.C. Fields photo, Gin Blossoms signed a record deal with A&M and recorded their first EP “Up And Crumbling” in 1991. But, it was not until their breakout record “New Miserable Experience” in 1992 that their rise to fame began. “New Miserable Experience” kept the band on the charts for almost 3 years with singles “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” “Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs Rita,” and “Found Out About You.” The album took the airwaves by siege and held MTV hostage with multi cross-over hits in 4 different radio formats. It was this record that rocketed the band into the mainstream going on to sell over 4 million copies making the band a 90’s radio mainstay. In 1995, Robin Wilson, Jesse Valenzuela and veteran composer Marshall Crenshaw wrote the bands 4th of 9 sound track inclusions; “Til I Hear It From You.” The smash hit was released as a Gin Blossoms single and it appeared on the platinum sound track for the film Empire Records.
1996 saw the final record of the decade for Gin Blossoms “Congratulations I’m Sorry.” The album brought two more hits; "Follow You Down" which spent ten weeks in the Top Ten and "As Long As It Matters" which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Duo or Group. “It was pretty cool to lose a Grammy to the Beatles. Who else would you want to lose out to” say’s Jesse. The album rocketed into Billboard's Top Ten and a year of touring helped push the record past 1,500,000 in sales. In 5 years, the band released 2 EP’s, two LP’s and over 12 singles that fueled record sales to over 7 million. Their blend of Pop & Rock, now known as Jangle-Pop, became a musical force that helped define the sound of 90’s radio.
In 1997, while at peak success and after numerous appearances on late night TV such as Letterman, Leno, Arsenio Hall, Saturday Night Live, The Grammy’s, and endless touring, the group disbanded and began a four year hiatus. It was not until a 2001 New Years Eve performance in Tempe that the members reformed and began touring and recording again. “Since 2001, we have been performing over 120 shows a year. This is what we most enjoy doing” say’s Wilson. “It’s our job and I know all of us are really grateful that we can earn a living making records and entertaining people on the road. We’re doing something we really love! I don’t know many people that can say that when they go to work everyday.”
In 2005, former A&M president Al Cafaro resigned the band and partnered to record their 3rd full length album in over 10 years. “Major Lodge Victory” landed on Billboards 200 and was the # 10 Indie album of the year. Released on August 8th, 2006, it included hits “Learning The Hard Way” and the appropriately titled “Long Time Gone.” Billboard magazine called this gem “an effortless triumph of melodic perfection.” “This was a really fun record to make” say’s Scotty. “We assembled some of the old team together and recorded at Ardent Studios with John Hampton again. Ardent is a legendary studio, and were comfortable there – it was a lot of fun.” Back in chart bloom, Entertainment Weekly reviewed “Major Lodge Victory” by saying; “Hardly a half-hearted cash-in, this comeback LP marks a solid addendum to Gin Blossoms multi-platinum peak output.”
Their most recent album, 2010’s “No Chocolate Cake”, lands Gin’s back on the singles chart again with “Miss Disarray” and the album shot straight to # 1 on Amazon, hitting Billboard’s top 200 at # 73 and the Indie chart at #14. Because the band members no longer live in the same city—Wilson divides his time between Tempe and New York, Valenzuela is in Los Angeles. Putting the sonic pieces of No Chocolate Cake together presented an exciting new challenge for the band. While Wilson contributed a handful of songs, the bulk of the material chosen for the 11 track set was written by Valenzuela either solo or with different collaborators, including Danny Wilde of The Rembrandts (the Blossoms guitarist first worked with Wilde on The Rembrandts’ song “Long Walk Home”).
“In the old days, we used to joke that there was something for everybody in this band,” says Wilson. “There’s just something about the way we play and sound together, but in the end, it’s really about the quality of the songs. If you’re a band and want to sustain a career, no matter what you look like or how you play, you’ve got to have great songs. So it’s those songs and the sound we make…my voice, the guitars, tempos, that add up to something indefinable.”
Over the years, Gin Blossoms have toured over 25 different Countries including a five city tour of Iraq in 2010. “It was so much fun to entertain our troops. It’s really insightful to see first hand how our troops live in a combat zone. It really helped to broaden my understanding on the sacrifices they make to protect us at home and abroad. I hope all Americans understand how important it is for us to extend our thanks” says Robin.
Gin Blossoms are currently writing a brand new record and hope to finish in time for a 2013 release. “We never rush the writing of a new record” says Jesse. “There’s something to be said for having a level of experience where you instinctively know what works. The best ones are those that feel like they’ve already been there, as if they are just waiting to naturally emerge. I think it’s the quality of the songs we have and Robin’s voice. It’s also a matter of trust. I know when I bring in a song that Robin will know how to sing it, Scotty will know how to play it and Bill will know the groove. I wouldn’t work with guys I had to tell what to do. The key is to not try so hard.”
2013 will bring the band to over 100 cities, a 5 Artist rock cruise, international shows and perhaps a brand new album – stay tuned!
Philadelphia native Taalib Johnson a.k.a Musiq Soulchild, is a soul artist whose unique style blends R&B, Soul, Funk, Rock, Blues, Jazz, and Hip Hop, creating a sound unlike any other. “I consider myself a soul artist because it encompasses all genres of music!" Musiq states “I like to make music that means something to people, nowadays there are so many categories and labels, I just wanna make music that matters!”
Musiq is the eldest of nine children “I always saw myself as the black sheep of the family; I was always doing my own thing!” At a young age Musiq decided he would not continue his high school education, this proved to make his road to success much more difficult "I really wish I stayed, cause even though I didn't like it that much I still could've taken advantage of the many resources that being in school has to offer!” When Musiq was 17 he left home to live life on his own terms, finding himself having to depend on the kindness of friends, and sometimes strangers, as he struggled with everyday survival "Man, I did what I had to, I slept on couches, the bus, the train, the park, whatever, it didn't matter, I just knew things wasn't gonna be that way forever!” It was during that time Musiq started to build a reputation for being musically gifted, beat boxing for MC's, free styling on the open mic circuit, scatting at a jazz club, or just performing a cappella in the streets of Philadelphia, which is where he got the name " Musiq " and later he added " Soulchild " which is intended to respect and represent the legacy and traditions of past great soul stars.
Musiq was introduced to the world in 2000 with his platinum debut album, Aijuswanaseing (I Just Want to Sing), which included the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop single, “Just Friends”. Musiq’s second single, “Love”, spent 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and has been described by many as a classic.
Musiq’s 2002 album, Juslisen (Just Listen), debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Charts and quickly went platinum with hit singles, such as “Halfcrazy” and “Dontchange”. By the drop of his third album, Soulstar, in 2003, Musiq had established himself as one of the top R&B/Soul artists of his time. Soulstar included the hot singles “Forthenight” and “Whoknows”. A
fter a four year break and changes in Managementto: Solqi Management and record label to: Atlantic records, Musiq knew that, in order for his success to continue, his sound would have to reflect his personal growth and journey. In 2007 Luvanmusiq (Love and Music) was released and included the hit singles “B.U.D.D.Y.”, “Teach Me”, and “Make you Happy”.
Musiq Soulchild has had 2 platinum albums, 2 gold albums and 7 hit singles. He has received awards from Billboard, BET, ASCAP, BMI, and Soul Train. Musiq has also earned award nominations from MTV, American Music Awards, NAACP, and 9 Grammy nominations, including 3 for his 2007 album Luvanmusiq. Besides being a successful recording artist, Musiq is notable for his creative and unique way of titling his albums and songs. In addition to being a platinum selling artist, Musiq has garnered TV and print ads from Mc Donald’s, GAP, Coca Cola, Levi Strauss, and Nike. All of this talent, hard work, and determination have allowed Musiq to flourish into one of the few R&B soulful artists that still exist.