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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Gin Blossoms ready to rock Riverside

Gin Blossoms ready to rock Riverside

Since 1991, the Down By the Riverside concert series has been entertaining Rochester residents along the banks of the Zumbro River. The same year, Arizona alt-rock startups Gin Blossoms released Up and Crumbling, a five-track EP that marked the band’s major label debut.

Twenty-seven years later, the stars will align again.

On Sunday, the Gin Blossoms will headline the first of six shows in this year’s Think Bank Down By the Riverside free outdoor concert series. Their new album Mixed Reality, released last month, is their first studio album in eight years.

Ahead of the show, we talked to one of the band's original members — lead singer Robin Wilson. Some highlights from our interview:

On the new album, Mixed Reality

“We worked with new producers for this album. Don Dixon and Mitch Easter (both producers, known best as the production team for R.E.M.) were our heroes, so we all knew we had to step up for this album. As far as our writing goes, we all write differently and have different processes. I write everything down in my notebook, and I go through the book when I feel like writing a song and other things just come spontaneously. Some of the other guys, they just get in the shop and produce."

“I was recording demos on a boat in Arizona, which was great because it was so peaceful — but these kids on jet skis, they come screaming by and they rock the boat. So whenever a jet ski came by, we’d have to wait to record the demo.”

“There’s a little bit on the album cover that says 'Heartache! Compromise! Hi-Fi rock and roll! and I think that really speaks to my writing process. That’s really what the album is written about. There’s also a warning on the side of the album cover (“loud drums, lots of guitars and some singing with curse words”) and I think that really speaks to the recording process. I kept asking Don [Dixon] to give me more drums in the mix, and he said ‘You want more drums than any non-drummer I’ve ever met!’”

Staying inspired

“I grew up listening to the golden age of classic rock records. Freddie Mercury and Queen, they inspired me so much as a kid. They were my heroes, and I’ve always wanted to make people feel how my heroes made me feel. That feeling, that’s what keeps me going. Rock and roll is inside me. It’s been the main force in my life.”

'No two shows are identical' 

“Rock and roll is in our blood. My favorite thing in the world to do is to perform. It’s really exciting to play the classic hits and connect with the audience in a special way. And you know, everything’s always a little different. No two shows are identical. Shows are like snowflakes … and so are monitor mixes.”

On visiting Rochester

“I’m really excited for the show. We’re gonna go all across the country after we play in Rochester, so there’s a lot on our plate right now. This is the first time we’ve played in Rochester, so we’re really excited to see what the city’s about.” 

What: Gin Blossoms with opener Fall Risk

When: Sunday, July 8 at 7 p.m.

Where: Mayo Park (behind the Mayo Civic Center)

Cost: Free

Isaac Jahns is a 2015 graduate of Mayo High School and a current journalism student at the University of Missouri. His main passions are writing music and telling people’s stories. Follow Isaac on Twitter.

Story produced with support from Riverside Concerts

Minnesota music luminaries The Suburbs take the stage Sunday at Riverside

Minnesota music luminaries The Suburbs take the stage Sunday at Riverside