Say It's Birthday: Gin Blossoms' Bill Leen

The Gin Blossoms were formed back in 1987 by the guitarist

Doug Hopkins and bassist Bill Leen, the latter being our birthday subject for

today. The story of Hopkins' descent into alcoholism and eventual suicide has

been splashed across every magazine on earth, which explains why Leen has been

unusually quiet (even for a bass player) on the subject. He and his fellow Gin

Blossoms have done their talking musically. And the confidence and authority of

their new album Congratulations I'm Sorry is really the only answer they

need for those who assume the band would be crippled by the loss of Hopkins'

songwriting. They pulled out their best instrumental performances ever and,

with all members contributing to the writing in various configurations, a

strong collection of songs. This makes it an especially sweet birthday for

Leen--though bittersweet may still be the best description. Other birthdays

today are Harry Belafonte, Mike D'Abo of Manfred Mann, Roger Daltrey of the

Who, Glenn Miller, country singer Sonny James, and Dave Marsh of the Rock

Bottom

Remainders.