Gin and Tonic on the Horizon

O n June 13, The Rose Music Center is the place to be to get your 90s nostalgia fix as Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and Tonic are set to bring their hits to the stage. Rootsy 90s alternative rockers Gin Blossoms recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of their 1992 hit album New Miserable Experience. At […]

90s alt-rockers Gin Blossoms, Tonic & Vertical Horizon at Rose

Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon. Photo: Brett Missick.

By Justin Kreitzer

On June 13, The Rose Music Center is the place to be to get your 90s nostalgia fix as Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and Tonic are set to bring their hits to the stage.

Rootsy 90s alternative rockers Gin Blossoms recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of their 1992 hit album New Miserable Experience. At the peak of the grunge era, the Arizona-bred band’s jangly, folk and country-leaning rock sound was a nice change of pace. Their multi-platinum album hovered near the top of the charts for over three years. Since then, Gin Blossoms have continued to tour and release new music.

Also playing is Vertical Horizon, the 90s band led by vocalist/guitarist Matt Scannell. The band toiled independently under the radar for eight years before breaking big with their hit, “Everything You Want,” taken from the 1999 album of the same name. Scannell has since made a name for himself writing hits for other musicians such as Hey Monday, led by NBC’s The Voice Season 3 winner, Cassadee Pope.

Rounding out the bill is Tonic, best known for their hit, “If You Could Only See,” from their album Lemon Parade.

The Dayton City Paper spoke with Robin Wilson of Gin Blossoms about their longevity, their new album and more.

DCP: Tragedy marred the beginnings of the band but you celebrated the 25th anniversary of your breakout second album, New Miserable Experience. What does it mean to you to still be doing this for over 30 years and to what do you attribute that longevity?

Robin Wilson: I feel immeasurable pride that we made what some people consider a classic record. It continues to resonate because the songs are really good. 

DCP: Your upcoming new album, Mixed Reality is due to be released June 15. What was the inspiration behind the album?

RW: We do what comes naturally to us, without forcing things in any one direction. That being said, it feels to me like something we would have wanted to record in 1989. I personally was able to hack into a younger version of myself to write songs like “Face the Dark” and “The Devil’s Daughter.”

DCP: The fans love the hits but what song do you most love to play live?

RW: “Hold Me Down” has always been very special to me. [The late] Doug Hopkins and I had a conversation about what kind of song we wanted to write, and Doug came up with “Hold Me Down.” It shows the potential of what he and I could have done together as partners. It’s very bittersweet.

DCP: The 90s-heavy lineup for this show seems like a natural fit. How did it come about?

RW: Tonic and Vertical Horizon are at the top of a short list of our favorite bands to play with. We’re lucky to be spending our summer with these fine groups. It should be a blast!

The Dayton City Paper also spoke with Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon about fan engagement, writing for others and more.

DCP: Your breakout album is almost 20 years old and your new album, The Lost Mile was released earlier this year. In a live setting, do you find it hard to get the fans excited about your new songs as opposed to the well-known hits?

Matt Scannell: I think it’s mostly about familiarity. As songs become part of people’s lives, they have a closer relationship with them. So when we release new music, we know we have to give our fans a chance to take the music into their hearts. Sometimes that happens very quickly, other times it’s only after a few years that we notice people are asking for the deep cuts off of a certain album. Either way, I’m just grateful that people want to hear our music played live.

DCP: You have also found fame writing songs for others. Is it ever hard to give up your “babies”?

MS: It’s definitely an adjustment when you’re writing with or for someone else. I have to be less precious and single-minded, which can lead the song to some unexpected territory. The great news about that is I walk away a better songwriter. It was difficult for me at first, though.

DCP: Besides the fan-expected hits, what is your favorite song to perform live and why?

MS: Right now, I really enjoy playing the song “Lovestruck” from our last album, Echoes From The Underground. It has an extended guitar solo section at the end, and we get to indulge ourselves a bit. I’m also really excited at how well “I’m Gonna Save You” has come off live. It’s so satisfying to see a song through its creation to its eventual home in a live situation.

DCP: Though this lineup is ideal, what would your “dream” lineup be, if you could pick any bands past or present to play with Vertical Horizon?

MS: Great question! I’d pick Rush, Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. Go big or go home!

Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and Tonic will play June 13, 7:00 p.m. at the Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd. in Huber Heights. For tickets, phone 800.745.3000, or go to www.rosemusiccenter.com. For more information about the bands, visit ginblossoms.net, verticalhorizon.com, or toniconline.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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