Robin Wilson, the iconic voice of the multi-platinum selling Gin Blossoms — and current frontman for The Smithereens — will join the ranks of Long Island legends Billy Joel, Joan Jett, Carole King, Twisted Sister, Public Enemy and countless others when he is inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame on Friday.
“I’m very gratified and surprised and amused by the whole thing,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of funny to have ended up on Long Island and to receive this cool honor.”
As the principal songwriter and lead singer/guitarist of the Grammy- nominated Gin Blossoms, Wilson — who calls Valley Stream home — is responsible for such ‘90s-era radio hits as “Hey Jealousy,” “Follow You Down,” “Til I Hear it from You,” “Until I Fall Away,” “As Long As it Matters” and “Allison Road.”
Wilson grew up in Tempe, Arizona, and moved to Long Island in the ‘90s to be with his now ex-wife, Gena Rositano. He still lives here, raising his son, Grey Wilson, an aspiring musician and songwriter.
“It took me a long time to get used to being on Long Island,” he says. “It was a tough transition. I’m probably the only guy on Long Island who flies the Arizona state flag on his front porch.”
He met Rositano in 1993, who was working at MTV at the time, when Gin Blossoms were invited to appear as a musical guest on the first episode of “The Jon Stewart Show.” Three years later, they were married, and had Stewart — by then the host of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” — ordained as a minister in order to officiate the ceremony.
Apart from spending time with his family, music is still the most important thing in his life.
“It’s the only thing that makes it worth it,” he says. “It’s cool to make a living and earn money, but the thing that makes it worthwhile is performing original music.”
Wilson is excited to be going back on tour with Gin Blossoms, who will perform at The Paramount in Huntington on Sept. 12, with guests Fastball, Tonic and Sugar Ray.
In 2017, following the sudden death of The Smithereens’ frontman Pat DiNizio, Wilson was invited to join the New Jersey alt-rock group on tour.
“The Smithereens have always been an inspiration to me,” he says. “If I could go back in time and tell my 19-year-old self that I would be performing with one of your all-time favorite bands, I’d probably ask if that was even possible.”
When all concerts and live performances were canceled at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Wilson — like many of his counterparts — started to livestream performances from his home studio in order to give himself something to apply his energy and skills toward.
And when it finally was warm enough, he decided to bring his livestream outside, where he would perform music for his neighbors in Valley Stream.
“It was really cool to provide a much-needed distraction during that weird time in everybody’s lives,” he recalls. “It’s kind of cool to be the rock singer on my block in Valley Stream.”
During the upcoming Hall of Fame induction ceremony, he’ll hit the Exhibit Hall stage for a special performance featuring son Grey and special guests, including members of The Smithereens.