California Sun

Album: Major Lodge Victory (2006)


  • An homage to the surf music the Beach Boys helped make so popular, this song is certainly one directly from the depths of Gin Blossom Jesse Valenzuela's heart. "You know what really it is," adds the songwriter, "it's sort of bittersweet, because I was living here in California, and my wife's mother got very ill back in Lawrence, Kansas, and she had to go stay with her. It was before my son was in school, so they left. It was wintertime, and they went to Kansas to stay for six months. And I always go back and forth, I was on the road, I had to work. And we were in the middle of remodeling our house, and so I was living in my garage, which is a studio, and it was the rainiest winter in 20 years. And I really missed them both, and so I wrote a song about that."
  • Jesse's original role with the Gin Blossoms was as lead singer. He switched to guitar with the introduction of vocalist Robin Wilson to the band. Yet he was - and is - one of the band's most prolific songwriters. While some artists may have a rough time of it allowing someone else to sing their words when they themselves are perfectly capable of doing it, Jesse says it doesn't bother him. Quoting his great long-time friend, JD Souther (songwriter for the Eagles and Jackson Browne, among others), Jesse says, "He's been asked that same question. And he says, 'No, man, that's cool. Whoever wants to sing them is fine with me.' And I'll tell you what, he sings them beautifully."
    On this song, however, it was a different situation, probably because the song is so special to him. "I turned in the demo with me singing it," recounts Jesse, "and the label says, 'Can we just leave it like this? Because we love the way you sound on it. You sound so earnest, like it really means something to you.' I'm just fine with that." (read the full interview with Jesse Valenzuela)


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Brenda RussellSongwriter Interviews

Brenda talks about the inspiration that drove her to write hit songs like "Get Here" and "Piano in the Dark," and why a lack of formal music training can be a songwriter's best asset.

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.

Chris Fehn of SlipknotSongwriter Interviews

A drummer for one of the most successful metal bands of the last decade, Chris talks about what it's like writing and performing with Slipknot. Metal-neck is a factor.

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

Colin HaySongwriter Interviews

Established as a redoubtable singer-songwriter, the Men At Work frontman explains how religion, sobriety and Jack Nicholson play into his songwriting.