A Walk Down Memory Lane

From Fabian to the Gin Blossoms

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Everyone likes to take a little walk down memory lane from time to time. And, depending on your memory and the length of it, you can take your stroll at either the Silver Reef Hotel, Casino & Spa or the Skagit Valley Casino during the coming days.

Back when my mother was a teenager, American Bandstand ruled the television airwaves and heartthrob singer Fabian ruled her heart. She still gets a certain gleam in her eye when she speaks of the crooner—and her brother, my uncle, has equally fond memories of flinging her Fabian albums like Frisbees from the roof of their Seattle house when she would subject him to one too many replay.

What he was so carelessly flinging away was hit songs like “Turn Me Lose” and “Tiger,” both of which will no doubt loom large on the set list when Fabian takes the stage Sat., June 15 at the Silver Reef’s brand-new Event Center as part of the American Bandstand tour. Joining Fabian will be Brian Hyland, who will sing to you of a “Gypsy Woman” and an ”Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” David Somerville, who will take you on “The Stroll” and call you a “Little Darlin,’” Merrilee Rush, who will journey from her home just outside Seattle to reprise her megahit “Angel of the Morning,” and Chris Montez, the man responsible for “Let’s Dance” and “Call Me.”

While Bandstand—sadly—is no longer an entertainment powerhouse and television staple, its influence still looms large for everyone (including myself) who was raised on its weekly dose of Top 40 hits and questionable dance moves. With the coming of the American Bandstand tour to the Silver Reef, it’s time to dust off those dance moves and relive your youth. Do it for Dick Clark. He would want this for you.

While my mother’s memory lane hearkens back to the glory days of American Bandstand, my path is a wee bit shorter. As such, it’s the Gin Blossoms—who will play two nights, June 14 and 15, at the Skagit Valley Casino Resort—that evoke a sense of nostalgia for me. Although I did my level best to be a flannel-clad, Doc Martens-wearing disaffected youth who lived my life to a soundtrack of grunge—you know, just like every other kid growing up near Seattle during the early ’90s—I was not immune to the hooky hits cranked out by the Gin Blossoms.

Probably the most successful band to come out of the musical wasteland that is Tempe, Ariz., the Gin Blossoms first garnered attention with the song “Hey Jealousy” from their 1992 album New Miserable Experience, which was followed in short order by “Found Out About You.” After their breakout success came a tragic chapter in the Gin Blossoms’ history, when primary songwriter and guitarist Doug Hopkins committed suicide after being fired from the band.

Those events led to the Gin Blossoms titling their follow-up album Congratulations…I’m Sorry, as it was a sentiment commonly espoused by people commenting on both the success of New Miserable Experience and Hopkins’ suicide. That album eventually went platinum, bolstered by the hit singles “Follow You Down” and “Til I Hear it From You.”

A few years later, following some internal struggles that manifested in some lineup changes, the Gin Blossoms broke up, presumably never to be seen again. However, band breakups are almost never the permanent kind, and just more than a decade ago, the Gin Blossoms reunited. They’ve since released a couple of albums and have resumed touring, which brings them to the present day and their two-show stint at the Skagit Valley Casino.

Whether your walk down memory lane takes you to Fabian and the American Bandstand tour or you detour at the Gin Blossoms, this is one wander that’s sure to have an entertaining outcome.

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