On The Edge
This is a transcript of part of the On The Edge radio program interview with Robin Wilson. (All of the stuff in quotes is where Robin is talking, the other stuff is the announcer.)

back to articles list

Later we'll have Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms, who's sort of a realistic idealist:

"There's really something about creating something out of nothing and then sharing it with people, that's really cool. I know that sounds really corny, but I'd just like to remind everybody I also like making money off of this."

That's Robin of the Gin Blossoms. We'll hear more form them a little later on, including a live performance of some brand new songs.

The Gin Blossoms have a new song on the soundtrack for Empire Records, and the movie, which starts next month, is about a bunch of teenagers working in a record store. I'm Tom Calderone back On the Edge with Robin Wilson, a veteran himself of several record stores.

"Before I was in the Gin Blossoms, I had hypothetical names for my bands and I would be putting away a record and I'd think 'Oh, that's where we're gonna be, right in there." And yeah, it's a silly thing to spend your time imagining. But I always knew that we were going to do okay because we were really close to Debbie Gibson."

"We did the Spin Doctors/Cracker tour last summer and that ended in October. So we haven't really been on tour since then. We've been at home, um, nesting, basically. Everybody in the band pretty much went out and got a house, and we built ourselves a recording studio to rehearse in, and we've been writing a lot of songs. And every once in a while we'll get together and do like a private party or something like that, or somebody would wave a bunch of money at us and the next thing you know we'd be in some amusement park in St. Louis singing Hey Jealousy next to the roller coaster."

"The very first tour date we did in support of New Miserable Experience was in August of '92. We had to drive from Phoenix to Philadelphia and on our way out there we stopped in Memphis. And our van wouldn't start again because Doug, who was in the band when we recorded New Miserable Experience and he had a lot of problems and we, um, kicked him out of the group at the end of the recording session and the rest is history. But what a lot of people don't know is that when we left for the Toad the Wet Sprocket tour he put sugar in the gas tank of our van. And it didn't make its way through the system until we were in Memphis. So we had been in Memphis for two days, we got in the van to leave, we're a hundred feet from the freeway and the van dies. And we could never understand what happened, and they told us sugar in the gas tank and we were like, 'Who would do that? Who would do that?!' and it wasn't until Doug's funeral that somebody came up and told me 'Um, Doug wanted me to tell you that it was him that put the sugar in the gas tank.'"

"One thing that never really seems change is the way the five of us are towards each other. You get us back in a van and it's the same old stupid inside jokes and it's the same old irritating bad habits. And at least, with all the changes that have happened to us in the last couple years, it's important that we still treat each other the same way. If there was one guy in the band that was trying to destroy himself or thought he was somehow better than everybody else, I mean that could be a really very negative influence. But we still look at each other like, 'God, we're just a bunch of yahoos from Palookaville, what are we doing here?'"

This is Tom Calderone back On The Edge with Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms, who's sometimes a little amazed at the age range of their fans:

"My neighbors next door, it's a couple in their mid-thirties, and they have kids who are like, 9 and 10 years old. Well, the whole family likes us. Go figure!"

Okay, as promised the Gin Blossoms are going to play a couple of new songs for us. The first one is called "Not Only Numb."

"As far as my songwriting goes I look back through my entire catalog of material that I've written in my entire life, and this is one of the songs that to me makes the most sense, that I can look at and see as a complete thought from beginning to end, that isn't just a bunch of mindless stoner poetry. That it actually is saying something. I'm not trying to save the whales, I'm never going to save the trees with my songwriting. I'm just trying to write about something that happened to me or whatever. But with "Not Only Numb," I kind of pulled it off, you know. The first couple times we played it in front of people, nobody had ever heard it before, but all of sudden you see all these teenagers with their lighters in the air, you know, like (in surfer-dude stoner voice) 'All right, it's a ballad! Get your lighter!'"

The Gin Blossoms will be heading for a studio in Memphis any day now to start working on the dreaded sophomore album. If the planets line up correctly, that is:

"The process of going into the studio is not intimidating to me. The idea of releasing our sophomore effort isn't really even all that intimidating to me. The part that's intimidating to me is facing the fact that I have two weeks to finish the songs! That is intimidating 'cause, you know, I've got some really great ideas that just need...All the planets just kind of have to kind of line up properly for me and I just need the right kind of time and I need to be in the right kind of mood and all of the sudden it'll just be done and I won't even realize it. And if I don't find those opportunities I'm gonna find myself in Memphis, y'know, sitting up late at night trying to think of a word that rhymes with orange. And, y'know, who needs that."

back to articles list