In concert

Gin Blossoms to rock the Magic City Casino

Scott "Scotty" Johnson, Bill Leen, Robin Wilson and Jesse Valenzuela.
Scott "Scotty" Johnson, Bill Leen, Robin Wilson and Jesse Valenzuela.

Hey, Jealousy! Follow You Down. Found Out About You.

Admit it. Those catchy Gin Blossoms’ songs have been in your head for years. On Thursday night, you can hear the group live: The pop rockers from Tempe, Az. (who based their name jokingly on W.C. Fields’ rosy nose) are playing the Magic City Casino. We spoke to guitarist-vocalist Jesse Valenzuela.

Do some of the songs have a different meaning for you now than when they were written?

Sure, it’s like anything that ages. In the ’90s, sometimes we wrote about current life experiences or inspirations, so the songs bring back memories to me of that era. At the same time we don’t always write about what’s current. Love, hate, laughter, working at a job or having fun are all timeless themes.

What is the band’s writing process?

We get together, exchange ideas or sometimes we swap tracks of recording files. ... Often, one will help another with their melody or lyrics on a song that might be almost finished. Some songs on our records are solo-writes so others had little to do with their composing. Robin [Wilson] and I wrote a hit song on the telephone once.

Is the stage show still as energetic?

Yes, I think Robin has much to do with that – he’s a great entertainer and frontman. The key is that we enjoy it. As it is with all artists, you have your great shows and you have some that are less than great. We’re really inspired by fans.

How has touring changed?

The differences are in how you tour when you’re a new artist that’s breaking a new record or how you tour when you have a hit song. We started out in van with nothing. We broke with some big hits and began traveling in more comfortable circumstances. We hired a crew. We headlined big venues and supported some giant artists. We are fortunate to be able to still tour in reasonable comfort and make a good living. It can be very rigorous on the road. Just a few days ago we left Dallas at 3:45 a.m., went through three airports and went directly to the stage in Manila, with only an hour to spare!

Do you ever get tired of playing any songs live?

Not for me. I’m really happy and glad we have our hits. It’s what keeps us going.

What is next for you guys?

We’re speaking to other artists for a followup summer 2014 tour. We’re also writing for our new record. A new batch of songs should be finished up soon, and we’ll be hitting the studio.

Madeleine Marr

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