Gin Blossoms Robin Wilson On The Smithereens, Life On The Road, Tour Plans

In the first two parts of this interview series, Gin Blossoms front-man Robin Wilson discussed the suicide of the band’s former lead guitarist Doug Hopkins, how he learned to sing, special moments on the road, how audiences differ today versus in the 1990s and whether he ever gets sick of playing hits like “Found Out About You” and “Hey Jealously.” In Part 3 here, the singer talks about life on the road, the band’s latest effort “Mixed Reality,” his affiliation with The Smithereens and next year’s tour plans.

Jim Clash: How do you balance life on the road with life at home?

Robin Wilson: I try to make up for my absence when I’m home. I run errands for my son and his mom, take the dog to the vet, get groceries and just do what I can to support them while I’m around. Life on the road is really simple. I only have one or two things I need to know every day – what time do I have to be in the lobby for the show, what time are we leaving town. Life is really simple: just exercise, eat, sleep and sing rock and roll. But when you get home, there’s a f’ing stack of mail, you’ve got to catch up on all of your chores and errands, etc. I just got home yesterday. In fact, today is the first day of a month off, the first time we’ve had a whole month off in a couple of years. I’m staring down the barrel of domestic sh*t I have to deal with. I’m fixing to spend a good portion of this afternoon making a list of all the stuff I have to do: phone calls I need to make, stuff like that. But it’s going to be nice to be home for three straight weeks.

Clash: You’ve done stuff with The Smithereens. How did you get hooked up with them?

Wilson: Actually, it was my ex-wife who is close with one of the band’s girlfriends. When they were putting together the tribute concert to Pat DiNizio. my ex called her friend and told her that they really should have me on the bill. So the girlfriend pitched the band my participation, but they were like, “We don’t know this guy.” But the girlfriend said, “Trust me. This is really going to be great. He’s going to blow everybody away.” I had met Pat several times, but I didn’t really know the other guys. I showed up for the tribute show and was really well prepared, performed well and hit it off with the band. At the end of the day, I went to their dressing room to say goodbye, and I just said flat out, “I would love to sing with you guys some more. If you need somebody, let’s talk about doing some shows.” It worked out pretty great. I have a couple of shows with them coming up in January. We’re playing New York City. We had to reschedule the gig, so I don’t know the date yet, but it should be some time in late January or February at Sony Hall.

Clash: How is your latest effort,  “Mixed Reality,” doing?

Wilson: It’s very well received. I can see people singing along with the tunes. It gets a lot of play on Spotify and the other streaming services. But people don’t buy records anymore. It’s a success in that our fans love it, and it’s been well received critically. But most importantly, we can see the response. We can play a new song, and it holds up to our more classic material. You know, we can keep the audience’s attention.

Clash: What are the Gin Blossoms’ tour plans for next year?

Wilson: We’ll have scattered shows throughout the spring, and we’re working on a big tour this summer. We just scored it, so we’ll be out as a package across the country. It hasn’t been announced, so I can’t tell you who it is, but we’re going to have a great summer. I’ll also be doing two solo acoustic shows this month in California. I’m playing in Mammoth on Dec. 18, and Lake Tahoe on Dec. 21. My son and I are going skiing together, and it will be a blast.

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I write about extreme adventure and those who do it. I've bobsledded with the Olympic team; piloted a super-boat at 140 mph; flown to 84,000 feet at Mach 2.6 in a MiG;

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