Back in the mid-’90s, modern rock ruled the radio. The arrival of grunge a few years earlier had led to an explosion in alt-flavored rock, and it seemed like new bands were breaking every day. Two of the groups that hit the airwaves hardest back then were Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms. Both acts come to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25, in a joint performance with Gin Blossoms.
We had a chance to speak to Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin ahead of the big show.
At The Shore: When the song “Shine” started getting radio play in the mid-’90s you guys quickly became a huge act. What was it like to go from being unknown to having massive success almost overnight?
Will Turpin: Our guitar player Dean (Roland) handed our CD to a college radio station in Atlanta who began playing it. And that was really the first little snowflake of the snowball that became “Shine.” Then as the momentum of the song grew, a station in Orlando played it on a Sunday night and it became the No. 1 most-requested song on the station. Next thing you know, we are playing Woodstock (‘94).
ATS: Did you ever expect it to still be going strong in 2019?
WT: You ask a 22-year-old kid if he is going to be doing this 25 years later and that is not even a thought that crosses him mind! (laughs) So we weren’t looking 25 years forward, we were just looking towards the next record. And we were chomping at the bit to get it done and get more music out there. If you look at our first four releases they happened in 4 or 5 years. That is unheard of now. But we wanted to show people what we had. We were always eager to do more. Nobody was looking 25 years down the road and thinking about families or anything like that.
ATS: So let’s talk a little bit about the new album “Blood”. What is it like and are the rumors about it being a double album true?
WT: I think we would like to package it as a double album one day, for like a collector thing because we did record all those songs with a double album in mind. I’m not sure how we are going to market it, but it might be like a part one and part two.
ATS: Sonically speaking, what is the new record like?
WT: Well, it’s rock ’n’ roll. Rock ‘n’ roll encompasses everything. If the Beatles can write a sappy song like “The Long and Winding Road” and still have “Helter Skelter” — that’s rock ‘n’ roll. Sonically our record is heavy.
ATS: What is the writing process like?
WT: Sometimes we write together and sometimes (lead vocalist) Ed (Roland) comes in with a complete song. But even when he does that, he plays it on acoustic for us and we (add the band to it and) turn it into a Collective Soul song.
Making up the other half of the two-headed monster of a show that comes to hard Rock this Saturday is Gin Blossoms. Named for a rosey-hued skin condition often incorrectly attributed to alcoholism, these ‘90s alt-rock darlings, blew up after the success of the single “Hey Jealousy” in late 1993. The group went on to have several more chart-topping singles including “Found Out About You” and “Till I Hear It From You.” The band broke up in 1997, but regrouped in 2002 and continued to release albums, the most recent of which is 2018’s “Mixed Reality.”