Certain bands are just synonymous with a time and place.

If I mention The Bee Gees, you'd think disco, bell bottoms and John Travolta.

If I said Duran Duran, it would conjure up thoughts of the British Invasion and MTV's influence on music.

And if I said the Gin Blossoms, who come to the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury on Friday night, you would invariably think of the music industry's response to the grunge movement along with groups like Hootie and the Blowfish.

For what now seems like an all-too-brief time from 1993 to 1996, you could not turn on most pop and adult-contemporary stations (think KISS108 and what used to be Mix 98.5) without hearing songs like "Hey Jealousy" or "Found Out About You" on a seemingly endless loop.

The Gin Blossoms
The Gin Blossoms

But as quickly as the Gin Blossoms entered the pop-culture conversation, they disappeared. The band broke up in the spring of 1997 (which was a mistake, according to guitarist and songwriter Jesse Valenzuela) with lead singer Robin Wilson and drummer Phil Rhodes forming the short-lived Gas Giants and other members forming forgettable projects.

The band reunited in 2002 and has been together ever since. And while the band's two most recent studio albums -- 2006's Major Lodge Victory and 2010's No Chocolate Cake -- have not found the popular success of the band's '90s releases, both did chart on the Billboard album charts, which is an impressive accomplishment given the disposable, singles-based music industry these days.


Valenzuela told me in a recent phone interview from his California home that he's excited to hit the road in the winter for a three-week Northeast tour that sees the band playing 15 shows. "We tour most summers and every other year we like to get out and play some clubs in the winter. We kick it up a bit and play songs we haven't played in a while. It's a more intimate show. We get to talk to people more than on a big stage. It's a little more casual."

As for the show itself, "You're going to hear all the hits, first and foremost," Valenzuela told me. "I got a note from some of the guys to brush up on songs that we haven't played in a couple of years. That's the exciting part is you'll get to hear a few songs you haven't heard in a while."

The Gin Blossoms spent last summer on the Summerland Tour, a package bill with '90s acts Sugar Ray, Everclear, Lit and Marcy Playground, but it only offered each band about 45 minutes onstage. "You're playing with several other big bands. You get up there and you do your bit and then you get out," Valenzuela said. "This one, you get to stretch out a bit and play an hour and a half with encores."

As to whatever legacy the Gin Blossoms left on the '90s music scene, Valenzuela said, "If you can create a discernible sound with a group of musicians that people react to, even if they hear the track on the radio and say, 'That's the Gin Blossoms,' that magic should be respected and honored. That's what we've chosen to do."

The Gin Blossoms come to the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury on Friday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29 and $39 for VIP seating and can be purchased at www.blueoceanhall.com, by phone at 978-462-5888 or at the box office.

Ed Hannan can be reached at edhannan@gmail. com or through his For the Record blog at blogs.lowellsun.com/for therecord.