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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blind Melon: The Rise and Fall of Shannon Hoon

Shannon Hoon is out of control, endlessly jumping on a car. He did this a lot more than the 1995 Blind Melon Galaxie video shows. This was the burning out of Shannon Hoon. Blind Melon guitarist Christopher Thorn says, "I get nauseous when I see that video, just watching Shannon just disintegrate in front of your eyes. . . "

Five years earlier, in 1990 Blind Melon formed. Guitarist Roger Stevens, Brad Smith bassist,
Shannon Hoon vocalist, Christopher Thorn guitarist, and Glen Graham drummer. I love bands with two guitarists. Often times a combination of lead and rhythm guitar produces great rock n roll. The Blind Melon name came from Brad Smith. Blind Melon's biggest hit is their first eponymous album Blind Melon.

Blind Melon: Blind Melon is produced so that you can hear the guitar playing of Christopher Thorn in your left ear, and the guitar playing of Roger Steven's in you right ear. Thorn plays rhythm guitar and occassionally mandolin. While Roger Stevens plays lead guitar.

The album has a mellow 70s retro rock vibe that makes you feel slight darkness. From the very first chord of Soak the Sin to Time. And there is a dark tone of Hoon being rejected; by religious people in Holyman and by an ex-girlfriend in Dear Ol' Dad. Hoon is expressing his feelings and thoughts for being a highly energetic, sometimes jocular man. He is often misunderstood.

Tones of Home has a great beat. Very simply you relate it to your home whether materially or spiritually in the sense of the people and thoughts you feel most comfortable. Much of the album can be related to one's own mixed up life. I always interpreted drive to be about the human trait rather than driving around.  

One of the biggest songs of 90s rock music is No Rain. Blog contributor and musician Bill Watt has no idea what it was about when it came out and still doesn't. Other than the song could be about the simple life. 
All I can say is my life is pretty plain
          I like watching the puddles gather rain . . .

         So stay with me and I'll have it made

 Others say the song is about having a lover sticking with you through the lowest points of addiction while you are getting your life together. Blind Melon No Rain is a good place to discuss the No Rain's meaning. The guitar rhythm is possibly the coolest I've ever heard. The wolf calls are also cool. The girl in the bumble bee suit ( Heather Deloach) is now an icon. 

Sleepyhouse is an awesome song. Sleepyhouse is a unique guitar song about being content staying at a residence called Sleepyhouse. Friends stayed in a yellow house in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

A look at the album's booklet simply gave me a strong impression that the lyrics are personally meaningful to Shannon Hoon. They are well thought out. To buy the album or shop on amazon click on Blind Melon.

Blind Melons eponymus debut album as a whole is trippy, but simply clean fun compared to their next album Soup.

A strong track from Soup is Car Seat God Presents. Listening to the song is creepy when you realize it is about a story in the news where this lady (Susan Smith) drowns her kids.

Skinned is about a serial killer Ed Gein who lived secluded in a dark farmhouse for many years. He would kill and skin people. He would use their skin to make lamps and furniture. He obsessed over his mother.

Blind Melon galaxie signals the end of Shannon Hoon. He must be suffering from cocaine use during this infamous concert. But seriously galaxie may be their best song. However the galaxie video creeps me out.

Something eerie about it. The kid playing with the chemicals. And him (Shannon hoon) dying shortly after that. The jumping on the car thing apparently went on for much longer. And the band mates were sad because he was clearly losing it when he was jumping on it. Guitarist Christopher Thorn was quoted saying, “ I get nauseous when I see that video, just watching Shannon just disintegrate in front of your eyes . . .”

That’s Timothy Leary as the old guy. I guess the theme is the decline of Shannon Hoon. The kids playing with potions, Denis Leary as a wizard, talks about past relationships. Shannon loved his 1963 Ford Galaxie and would drive it around town when he was aggravated during recording sessions, particularly during the video filming.

To Bill Watt the whole thing is as if Death is next to Shannon Hoon. The car gets thrown in the potion, I think the kids supposed to be Hoon. His first love and break up are explored. Shannon Hoon has been this way as a kid. All this energy; he is truly an adventurous man. He was on drugs filming this video. And it's all literally a crash course waiting to happen. I can't help watching it. It's an amazing song but it's one of the eeriest things I have seen.

The whole Soup album is beyond eerie buy you can't help but play it over and over. Definitely pick it up by clicking Soup.

Both Woodstock '94 and Intimate and Interactive are strongly preferred concerts to check out. While Woodstock '94 got Shannon Hoon good press for bringing his old magic, the Intimate and Interactive concert shows Hoon close to death. Check out the concert version of Galaxie above, Toes Across The Floor or the heart breaking version of Change during this concert. Shannon Hoon looks terrible during the concert. Even going back a year earlier he looked much healthier. He has fantastically maniacal energy into his unmatched songs. He was an incredible songwriter and performer.

8 short weeks after the release of Galaxie video Shannon Hoon died of an accidental cocaine overdose on a tour bus. He didn't intend to die despite career dissatisfaction. Photographer and good friend Danny Clinch said, "He wasn't at wit's end. He didn't want to die."
Shannon Hoon in interviews seems like a douche. But I believe his jocular personality was necessary to release his brilliant songs. It's a shame the demons get the best of him. But he was an adventurous guy and took risks with Cocaine. Bill says, 
Hard to say if he had the personality to stop he prob wouldn't have had all those good songs to begin with. Unfortunate but it is what it is. 

Blind melon is unique because every song on their debut album is intensely personal and doesn't sound like anything else you have heard. Blind Melon's second album Soup featured the song Galaxie that spawned eight weeks before Hoon's death. Post death releases include Nico. This is named after Shannon Hoon's daughter Nico Blue. She had just been born before Shannon's death. All proceeds of the album's sales went to Nico's college fund. This was the last album to feature Shannon Hoon as vocalist. For My Friends was released in 2008, their fourth album. The first album to be released in ten years with a new singer. The band sounds great but will never be the real original Blind Melon. Today Nico is in her early twenties and continues to sing Change at Blind Melon concerts. Bill has never bought Nico because it reminds him too much of Shannon's Hoon's awful demise. But I believe Nico is Hoon's legacy. And it's an album to explore by clicking

Shannon was a great storyteller. He told you all about his life through Blind Melon songs. You feel you know him. He is a tragic figure but he made his musical contribution. Shannon Hoon gave Blind Melon's music and his life an inimitable maniacal energy. His creativity burned very bright before fueling his demise. Hoon is appreciated by true musicians and music fans. He was a true musician's musician despite being a very underrated musician. Truly one of the most talented artists.