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Digressions: My Life in 500 Words or Less

November 14, 2019

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Digressions: My Life in 500 Words or Less

February 25, 2019




            So Saturday night I did a bit of time traveling. I was transported more than 25 years into the past thanks to a Christmas gift given to me by my sweetie, Rebecca.

            What music were you listening to in the early ‘90s?

            Me? I found myself enjoying the music of a band called Gin Blossoms and an album titled “New Miserable Experience.” It has become one of my all-time favorite albums.

            In the months that followed the album’s release in late 1992, “Hey, Jealousy,” “Found Out About You,” “Until I Fall Away” and “Allison Road” made it onto the radio airwaves, and those tunes prompted me to purchase the “New Miserable Experience” cassette. Yeah, that puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?

            But the catchy chart-topping releases were not what made the album a favorite for me. They were simply what pulled me in in the first place. It was the rest of the album that cinched it for me.

            As a writer, I am typically more interested in the lyrics of a song than any other aspect. That is not to say I don’t appreciate a catchy tune or a mood-setting composition. The best songs — at least for me — are a combination of great writing and great melodies. “New Miserable Experience” has it all.

            It is not usually the case that I listen to an album and like the unreleased material as well or better than the songs that got airplay. When this is the case I know I’m onto something special. This was the case with this Gin Blossoms album.

            The album resonated with me, lyrically and musically. It still does.

            Ultimately, I saw Gin Blossoms in concert three times between 1994 and 2003. I also got autographs from lead singer Robin Wilson (twice, actually) and guitarist Jesse Valenzuela on a concert T-shirt. I also got my photo taken with Robin after a concer. I also met Jesse as he mingled in the audience to watch The Time, the opening act for Gin Blossoms during one of their concerts at a Louisville nightclub and concert venue.

            I even have a photo of Rebecca and myself taken by Robin from onstage at a concert at Kentucky Kingdom. He had seen me taking photos with a disposable camera (don’t forget: this was before digital cameras and phone cameras were the norm), and he motioned for me to pass the camera to him while he was singing. At first I was afraid maybe Robin was confiscating the camera. Imagine my surprise when he turned it toward us and snapped a photo before passing it back to us.

            So, yeah, I kind of like the Gin Blossoms. And “New Miserable Experience” is still a favorite album.

            The only thing better than discovering “New Miserable Experience” is doing a little time-traveling to relive that experience.

            Thanks for the tickets, Rebecca. And thanks for the new musical experience, Gin Blossoms.

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