The Gin Blossoms were hardy enough to make it big with hits like "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You" after toiling in the Arizona desert for nearly a decade and surviving the ouster and eventual alcohol-induced suicide of founding member Doug Hopkins.

But Wednesday, lead singer Robin Wilson confirmed to the Associated Press exactly what fans were prepared to hear--the Blossoms are splitting up this spring.

Well-supported rumors of the band's five members fracturing to form two new acts had been rampant recently, especially in their hometown of Tempe, where the news had been common knowledge for a while.

In fact, during their Congratulations I'm Sorry tour a year ago, the Arizona Republic reported that their New Year's Eve '97 show might be their last live performance.

Now, Wilson and drummer Philip Rhodes have formed The Pharaohs, while guitarists Jess Valenzuela and Scott Johnson have melded into the Low Watts.

Both bands, according to the paper, are working on new albums, while bassist Bill Leen has quit the music biz to open a bookstore in Mesa.

The Gin Blossoms broke through in 1992 with New Miserable Experience. On the album was the Hopkins-penned megahit "Hey Jealousy," which slowly climbed to the top of the charts until exploding in the summer of '93 with ubiquitous radio and MTV play.

By that time, however, the band was put in peril when they kicked out alcoholic Hopkins, who wrote most of Experience's hits. He killed himself just a few months later.

The Blossoms were able to go onto a successful follow-up, with Congratulations I'm Sorry--which featured the hit "Follow You Down"--going platinum and reaching No. 10 on the Billboard Top 200.

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