That time the Gin Blossoms came to New Braunfels TX

…And I wrote a preview of the show

This originally appeared in 2014 on the now obsolete website

Gin Blossoms make their New Braunfels debut Thursday, March 20th

It was headline you wish would grace the front page of your hometown’s newspaper any given day in the 1990s, but it was 21 years in the making. The year is now 2014 – and though we’ve been around long enough to watch headlines switch from paper to screens, The Brauntex Performing Arts Theater in New Braunfels is giving us one more night to reminisce of an analogous time in transition – back when Dallas Cowboy starter jackets were the ultimate Christmas gift, and a bum VCR meant “Must See TV” was a literal must-see. 

It was 1993 when “Hey Jealousy” hit the airwaves and found its way into our formative hearts. Back then you could still catch a movie at The Brauntex Theater in Downtown New Braunfels TX. 

Construction on the theater began in 1939, and the Brauntex opened in January 1942, shortly after the US entered World War II. It served as a movie theater until 1997, and went the way most film houses of its time did – abandoned. By the year 2000, The Brauntex Performing Arts Theater Association obtained corporate non-profit status and purchased the theater downtown.

“A lot of our clientele in the beginning were real donor based  – they really believed in the cause,” says Jason Irle, Executive Director of the Brauntex Performing Arts Association. “But, now, we’re getting people who have never been to The Brauntex before,” Irle adds. And, it would seem that change in clientele has sparked transition in the type of shows the theater has been bringing in. It all started when the Association conceived Brauntex Has Talent – a talent contest, laid out as a series, and completely produced in-house by the Association.

“Before Brauntex Has Talent, we’d never done a show of our own. We always hired a show to come in and we put the show on and sold tickets to it,” Irle stated. “We learned a lot about ourselves…  We have the capability of putting on a great show for a good ticket price… And then from there, Brauntex has Talent was a segway into what we’re doing now – which is our Greatest Hits Live concert series.”

Greatest Hits Live brings in a local act on one Thursday of each month and has them pay tribute to one of their favorite artists. Recently, the band Reckless Kelly paid homage to Tom Petty as part of the series. These shows have helped pave the way for the Association to nab acts like Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, and The Oakridge boys.

But, the Brauntex was still missing a key demographic in their audience – Millenials and late Gen X’ers. That’s where the Gin Blossoms come in. 

You almost couldn’t pick a better act to target this audience. Everyone has some nostalgia for the Gin Blossoms. Not too grunge; not too pop. It was what made the 90s great. Songs could transcend genre border lines between Alternative, to Top 40, to Adult Contemporary. Their sound had something for everyone and lyrical hooks so surrounded in shimmery pop instrumentation, that when you scream “Hey Jealousy” at the top of your lungs, you’re not thinking that the the lyrics – so carefully masked by jangly guitar chords, and 8th-note, bell of the cymbal-driven choruses – could possibly be correlated to the songwriter’s crippling addiction with alcohol. But, they are. 

Doug Hopkins, original guitarist of the Gin Blossoms, and penman to “Hey Jealousy,” wasn’t even in the band by the time you first heard the song on the radio. Hopkins suffered from chronic depression and battled with alcoholism. Hopkins was the reluctant member of the band when it came to signing to a major label deal, and during the recording of their debut, New Miserable Experience, it was said that Hopkins drank so much, he couldn’t even stand in the studio. Worried they’d be dropped by the label, the band saw Hopkins as a liability, and ultimately sent him packing. 

New Miserable Experience went on to become a gold record fueled on the success of its radio hits, “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You,” both penned by Hopkins. It’s said that he hung that record on his wall for two weeks before taking it down and destroying it. Shortly after, while checked in to rehab, he snuck out and bought a .38 caliber pistol. On December 5, 1993, Hopkins took his life. 

This isn’t what we take away when we think of the the Gin Blossoms, though. And, frankly, it’s not what’s taken away when we think of the 90s. Sure, there was a lot of bad during the 90s, but we wrap it underneath all the good times we had. Just like the Gin Blossoms nestled a cry for help around a feel-good summer hit. Which makes the Gin Blossoms a perfect act to usher in this new era of entertainment to The Brauntex. Here’s a band that’s going to bring nothing but happy nostalgic feelings to your otherwise stressful life – for one night. You’ll remember some junior high or high school dance, some adolescent crush, when MTV still played videos, or hearing “Til I Hear it from You” while watching Empire Records (damn the man!). New Braunfels, let’s celebrate the past for one night, look to the future, thank the Brauntex for bringing in a great show to New Braunfels, and pressure them to continue to bring in even bigger and better acts.

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s show at $25 and $45 each. Visit or call 830-620-0808. Doors at 6:30p. Phantom 46 opens at 7:30.

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