You Say It's Your Birthday: Gin Blossoms' Jesse Valenzuela

Get happy Morrissey, it's your birthday.

Today is the birthday of Jesse Valenzuela, who plays

guitar for the Gin Blossoms. Born out of the small Tempe, Arizona music scene,

the Gin Blossoms have come to fame over the past few years with their

melancholy, easygoing pop songs laden with catchy guitar riffs and harmonized

vocals. Formed in the late 1980s and comprised of vocalist Robin Wilson,

guitarists Valenzuela and Scott Johnson, bassist Bill Leen and drummer Phillip

Rhodes, the Gin Blossoms gigged in the Phoenix area before recording their

indie debut, Dusted. After being picked up by A&M, the group recorded an

EP, Up and Crumbling, before setting to work on their major-label debut.

New Miserable Experience was out for nearly a year before it began

to sell on the strength of singles like "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About

You." The departure of main songwriter Doug Hopkins, as well as his unexpected

suicide, threatened to break the band apart. But they took their time and

finally got it together to record Congratulations I'm Sorry for

release in

1995. Since then the group has charted a few more singles, like "As Long as It

Matters" and "Till I Hear It From You."

Other birthdays: Johnny Gill,

model Naomi Campbell, Bernie Taupin, Jerry Dammers (Specials), Iva Davis

(Icehouse) and Morrissey. -- Beth Winegarner