Tonight, I will be seeing the Gin Blossoms, and I’m hit with the kind of nostalgia that seems to roll over me more frequently as I approach the end of my 40’s. Evidently, they’ll play their breakout album New Miserable Experience in its entirety. This is the soundtrack to my senior year (of baseball) in college. It was a time, when every speed bump encountered seemed like the end of the world, but also the source of some of the fondest memories of my life. “New Miserable Experience” seemed a perfect title. The songs were filled with characters who drank a little too much, and probably brooded over every perceived slight a little too much. Okay, a lot too much on both counts.
The music was infectious, and the lyrics captured a specific time in my life like all great universally, identifiable art does. We listened to it in the athletic dorms, on the bus to road games, and on the way to the local ginmills (which only served beer due to blue laws) of the small college town where I spent a good portion of my early 20’s. They had names like – Muther’s, The Library Lounge, The Cue Stick, The Honky Tonk, Cooter Bay…and my personal favorite Fun-o-Mat, where you could do your laundry while downing fifty cent drafts of beer I couldn’t stomach today. And when we were there, it was a better than average chance that “Hey Jealousy” or “Found Out About You” or “Allison Road” would play on the jukebox. Even if it wasn’t me or one of my teammates feeding quarters into the machine.
Like most of us firmly in the middle of our lives, I’ve left that lifestyle behind. I quit drinking entirely this year (mainly a concession to the eye opening experience of losing my brother – truly New and Miserable). But that doesn’t mean I can’t look back on those days fondly and remember singing along with Mike Funk and KJ Rhoades…and many others.
Looking forward to tonight, and sharing the Experience with my son, Dylan.