Blind Melon life and biography

Blind Melon picture, image, poster

Blind Melon biography

Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-04-12
Credited as : Rock band, No Rain single, For My Friends album

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Blind Melon is an American rock band active from 1989 to 1999, and from 2006 onward. Best remembered for their 1993 single "No Rain", the group enjoyed critical and commercial success in the early 1990s with their neo-psychedelic take on alternative rock.

Blind Melon rocketed to stardom in the realm of alternative rock with their self-titled debut album in 1992, which sold more than 3 million copies and reached triple platinum status. Before the untimely death of the group's leader and singer/songwriter Shannon Hoon in October of 1995--and the ensuing demise of the band--Blind Melon consisted of Hoon, bassist Brad Smith, guitarist Rogers Stevens, drummer Glen Graham, and guitarist Christopher Thorn. Blind Melon was a promising, talented new band, appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, MTV, Canada's MuchMusic, and in Woodstock '94. The band also performed in concert across the globe with megastars such as The Rolling Stones, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Lenny Kravitz, and Neil Young. When Hood died from a tragic drug overdose in 1995, the band was clearly in the midst of perfecting and defining their unique sound, as well as claiming their fame in the realm of alternative rock .

Richard Shannon Hoon was born on September 26, 1967, in Lafayette, Indiana, the son of Richard, a construction worker, and Nel Hoon. Shannon was hyperactive as a child, but his parents did not want to "put him on drugs," so they enrolled him in karate classes at the age of six. By the time he was nine years old, Hoon had earned a black belt. In 1990, at the age of 23, Hoon met Stevens in Los Angeles after taking a bus from Lafayette to California. Stevens and bassist Smith had moved to L.A. in 1989 from West Point, Mississippi, where they worked on the kill floor of a slaughterhouse, beheading, deshouldering, and gutting as many as 6,000 hogs a day. Stevens met Hoon through a mutual friend; Hoon played a couple of tunes for him, and Stevens was impressed with his voice. They decided, on the spot, to form a band together.

The group's debut album was buoyed by the successful single "No Rain" and its accompanying video, which featured a girl in a bee costume and the band members frolicking in a field. The image that the single and video portrayed was that of upbeat, Grateful Dead- inspired alternative rock, yet the lyrics to "No Rain" revealed a deceptive morbidity with lines like "I don't understand why I sleep all day/and I start to complain that there's no rain." It was this sort of ironic twist that underscored the band's music and, in fact, the band's path to acclaim. In sharp reversal to Blind Melon's debut album, the band's second release in 1995, Soup, was not hailed as a commercial success at all, and Hoon himself was a classic study in contrasts. Chris Heath wrote in Details magazine, "He was crazy and rude, and yet also unbearably sweet ... There was an incredible spirit about him, wanton and careless, but also somehow innocent and invigorating."

After Soup was recorded in New Orleans and released in the summer of 1995, the band began touring to support the album. The night before October 20, Blind Melon played in Houston and according to Heath, they played poorly and Hoon was distraught over the general course of his career. Soup was not receiving much airplay, and reviewers were panning their live performance, although the band had been consistently filling stadiums while on tour. Soup was meant to be an eclectic mix of varied musical styles. Stevens told the Indianapolis Star's Marc Allan, "I was, frankly, stunned when the reviews came out and said it was the worst record ever. I knew it wasn't that bad."

Hoon was snorting large amounts of cocaine while on tour in Houston, fell asleep on a bunk in the tour bus, and died of an overdose by the time the band reached New Orleans. Dawn Marecki wrote in the William Patterson College Beacon, "Shannon's death placed the band in a difficult position, never fully reaching their potential. It ... leaves band members wondering, despite themselves, 'What if?'"

Band members dealt with Shannon's death by supporting each other, working through their initial anger and grief together, and deciding to release a tribute album in Hoon's memory, an album that would include most of the band's unreleased material, outtakes, rarities, interviews, and previously unreleased photos. Band members decided to call the final album Nico, after Hoon and Lisa Crouse's baby daughter, Nico Blue Hoon, who was only 13 weeks old when he died. The enhanced Nico CD also featured concert footage and several full-length videos. The band decided to donate a portion of the proceeds of Nico to MAP (Musician's Assistance Program), an organization which helps musicians and others in the music industry recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Along with Nico, the band released a documentary home video entitled Letters From A Porcupine, which offers an overview of the band's personal and musical progression, as well as footage from numerous club performances, recording sessions, and road trips.

Don Aquilante of the New York Post wrote, "What makes the last chapter in the songbook of Blind Melon so sad is that today's release, Nico, is so good that you want more, but there isn't any more there." Nico included the Steppenwolf cover "The Pusher," the ironically titled "Life Ain't So Shitty," and the eerily truncated "Letters from a Porcupine." The latter was a song that Hoon wrote and wanted to share, so he called Chris Thorn and played the song into his answering machine. Paralleling the end of Blind Melon, Hoon was cut off by the machine in mid-song as he sang his heart out; the song from the answering machine tape was included in Nico.

After Hoon's death, the band decided they still wanted to play together, as Stevens claimed that a bond had formed among the remaining four members. They intend to reform with a new singer and a new name and have received over 2,000 demo tapes from musicians hoping to fill the tremendous vacuum Hoon left behind.

On September 15, 2006, it was announced that Blind Melon had reunited, with the addition of new lead singer Travis Warren (formerly of Rain Fur Rent). On November 9, 2006 three new Blind Melon songs were released: "Make a Difference", "For My Friends" and "Harmful Belly". On October 7, 2007 Blind Melon performed their first show in twelve years in Providence, Rhode Island.

On April 22, 2008, the band released For My Friends on Adrenaline Records. The first single, "Wishing Well", was released on March 4, 2008. A U.S. tour in support of the album began February 28. Around this time, Billboard confirmed that a book about the Hoon era of the band is forthcoming. Then, on September 17, 2008, the book A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon by Greg Prato was published.

In September 2008, Blind Melon played a number of European tour dates, with Warren as lead vocalist. On November 6, 2008, the band announced the departure of Warren. The reasons behind his departure are disputed: Warren states that he was ejected from the band after having lost his voice due to extensive touring[citation needed], while the band cites unresponsiveness and lack of communication and that Warren chose to leave the band on his own. Initially, the band intended to honour their remaining dates, and announced Chris Shinn of Unified Theory as lead vocalist for the remainder of their tour. However, this was later retracted, and the tour cancelled, with the band stating that Shinn simply didn't have enough time to prepare.

On January 23, 2010, Graham posted a message on the band's MySpace profile stating that the group were still in the process of sourcing a frontman capable of filling 'some rather large shoes'. On November 2, 2010, Blind Melon announced 3 dates with Travis Warren singing. On November 27, Blind Melon played a free concert at the base of Aspen mountain in Aspen, Colorado. They continued sporadic performances over the coming months, opening for Candlebox at The Hard Rock Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 4 and headlining Fall Rest at Crumland Farms, Frederick, Maryland on 5 September 2011.

Current members:
-Rogers Stevens – lead guitar, piano/keyboards (1989–1999, 2006–present)
-Christopher Thorn – rhythm guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, harmonica (1989–1999, 2006–present)
-Brad Smith – bass, flute, backing vocals (1989–1999, 2006–present)
-Glen Graham – drums, percussion (1989–1999, 2006–present)
-Travis Warren – vocals, acoustic guitar (2006–2008, 2010–present)

Discography:
-Blind Melon (1992)
-Soup (1995)
-Nico (1996)
-For My Friends (2008)

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