Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Aug 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Blast from the ’90s

GinBlossomsONLINE EXCLUSIVE
Gin Blossoms guitarist, Jesse Valenzuela, talks cake, rituals and ESP

Their chart-topping hits “Hey Jealousy” and “Follow You Down” were the soundtrack to the ’90s, and this week, Gin Blossoms is headlining a free concert at The Boardwalk on Friday, August 5. On the eve of their performance, GT spoke with Jesse Valenzuela, guitarist for the Arizona-based rock outfit, about the band’s latest album, gridlock on the 405 freeway, chocolate cake, pre-show rituals, psychic powers, and more …

GOOD TIMES: I love the new album title, No Chocolate Cake,  and the album cover (a woman holds a slice of cake behind her back)—can you explain the concept and its significance?

JESSE VALENZUELA: I think it might be too literal, although I think it’s kind of cute. The chocolate cake is sort of rock ’n’ roll gibberish; at some point, you can’t always get what you want—The Stones said it best.

Several of your lyrics on No Chocolate Cake and previous albums refer to dreaming, make-believing and longing—a sort of wistful tone. Do you guys consider yourselves “hopeless romantics”?

Jesse: “Sure, of course. J. D. Souther is one of my favorite songwriters—look up his new record—he used to write for The Eagles, and his lyrics say, “hopeless romantics, here we go again …” I love wistful stuff.”

Any pre-show rituals, or rituals on the road?

Jesse: We’re like Dominican ball players—lots of rituals. Right before the show, the band looks at each other and says, “let’s get this over with.” I also do a dance called “the crab” that the guys like, and we check each other’s flies before we go on stage.

Are you guys part-time psychics? “Dead Or Alive on the 405” seems to have foreshadowed the recent Carmageddon that happened in Los Angeles.

Jesse: It’s funny because I felt that way too! I was on the road when Carmageddon was happening, and many radio stations played it during the event. That’s a great song—I love the horns and the sentiment. It’s based on a true story about trying to make it from the valley to Redondo Beach.

Any album or artist constantly on repeat right now? What do you appreciate about this music in particular?

Jesse: An Irish guy, Dap Kennedy. I’m really loving his music—his songs are really beautiful with that wistful quality. He’s not afraid to be kind-hearted … I’ve had enough of anger.

Which band/musician would you love to tour with? It can be an artist who’s alive or long gone.

Jesse: Nat King Cole—I love him. When my son was a baby, we’d play Nat King Cole for him all the time. Also Nick Lowe, an Englishman touring with Wilco.

You guys do a great cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” which you perform frequently at shows. What other kind of music do you guys like to cover?

Jesse: Right now we’re working on an Eddie Money song. “Gimme my Eddie Money” are even lyrics on “Dead or Alive on the 405.”

What are your sources of inspiration when it comes to songwriting?

Jesse: I listen to the new Bob Dylan, starting with Time Out of Mind. I can listen to those, some soul records, and Nick Lowe records—anything slow or mournful that gets that wordplay in your head excited, and makes you pick up a guitar and take notes.

What can the audience expect to happen at this week’s Gin Blossoms show?

Jesse: At the Santa Cruz show? Probably a little nudity—tasteful, because it’s a family show. We’ll play the hits, no violence or anything, and we’ll drink sodas and eat hotdogs.


INFO: 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. Friday, August 5. Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. No Cover. 423-5590.

Jesse Valenzuela’s solo album single, “Blue Town”—which he describes as “a collective record of acoustic and blues, that’s both sad and eclectic”—hits iTunes next week.
Photo Credit: Angela Oneil

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual