Out in the Crowd: Tonic to perform in Suwanee on Saturday

Grammy-nominated group Tonic comes to Suwanee's Town Center on Saturday in support of its new album, set for release in late fall.

Emerson Hart, guitar and lead vocals, started Tonic in Los Angeles in the early 1990s with childhood friend Jeff Russo (guitar and backing vocals). The band released four albums, including the Platinum-certified 1996 album "Lemon Parade," before announcing a band hiatus to promote solo efforts.

"I think we were all tired," Hart said. "We'd been on the road non-stop for ten years. Everyone wanted to do something else. We all wanted to start families. We wanted to spend time with significant others. We didn't have anything else to say (with Tonic)."

"We were over each other for awhile," he added. "We didn't break up, just separated."

"There was no huge fight, no big blow-out. We just took a break."

After performing sporadic dates in 2003 and 2004, Tonic's members pursued their individual careers, including Hart's solo album, the successful "Cigarettes and Gasoline," released in 2007.

Russo informed Alternative Addiction that the band was planning a new album and a reunion tour, a rumor which Hart confirmed at a Sixthman Event in Atlanta.

Hart calls the decision to reunite a "labor of love." A dinner in Los Angeles brought the band back together.

"After that, I thought I probably had something to say with Tonic," Hart said.

The band released its best-of retrospective, "A Casual Affair: The Best of Tonic," in June, featuring its hits "You Wanted More," "If You Could Only See," "Mean to Me" and 12 other hit singles and tracks.

"It's a little odd looking at all of those songs," Hart said. "I'm kind of looking at it and being like, 'Oh, we had that.

"You get in the state of mind where you're performing and you're not thinking of your catalog," he added. "It was very fun to go through and pick the songs. It kind of made sense for what it was."

As for the yet-untitled new album, Hart says the record may be a "little heavier" than what fans expect.

"It will be an honest rock record," Hart said. "You're going to get a rock record with melodies you walk away with."

Tonic's performance in Suwanee is a welcome return for the band.

"(Atlanta) has always been a friend to this band. We always had a connection to this city. It's just that place."

Atlanta-based Sunset Love Affair will open the free concert, which starts at 7 p.m.

SideBar: If You Go

What: Concert in the Park featuring Tonic

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Town Center Park, 425 Main St. in Suwanee

Cost: Free

For more information: Visit www.suwanee.com/