Blind Melon is an American rock band that originally existed from 1989 to 1995, and ceased with the death of lead vocalist Shannon Hoon shortly after the release of the band’s second album. The band reformed with a new lead vocalist, Travis Warren in 2006. However, Warren announced his departure from the band on November 6, 2008. The band continue to search for a new vocalist.
Blind Melon formed in California in 1989, with members from Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. The band signed to Capitol Records in 1991 and recorded an unreleased demo. The band’s initial popularity is partially attributed to vocalist Hoon’s association with Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, and Hoon’s backing vocals on several Guns N’ Roses tracks on 1991′s Use Your Illusion album.
The band’s self-titled debut album, produced by Rick Parashar (Pearl Jam), contained thirteen songs and sold poorly until the “No Rain” single was released in September of 1993. The single, promoted by a music video featuring the “Bee Girl” (played by Heather DeLoach), helped launch the commercial success of the band, eventually leading the album to quadruple-platinum status, debuting in the Billboard top 40 on 10/9/93 and peaking at #11 on the Hot 100.
In 1994, the band began recording their second album, Soup, in New Orleans with producer Andy Wallace. The album was released in 1995, and predominantly featured shorter songs with a less conventional alternative rock approach. The lyrics to “St. Andrew’s Fall” referenced a suicide jump, while “New Life” discussed the forthcoming birth of Hoon’s child. “Mouthful of Cavities” featured backing vocals from Jena Kraus, who subsequently recorded a solo record with Christopher Thorn and Brad Smith. Possibly because of the more experimental sound (the album begins and ends with New Orleans style jazz and has a hodgepodge of instrumentation throughout), the album failed to meet sales expectations.
In 1995, Blind Melon contributed a version of the song “Out on the Tiles” to the Encomium tribute album to Led Zeppelin, as well as a promotional CD with a cover of the Schoolhouse Rock! song “Three Is a Magic Number”. “Three Is a Magic Number” features in the film “Never Been Kissed”.
Against the advice of Hoon’s drug counselor, Blind Melon went on tour in support of Soup. Hoon was found dead on the band’s tour bus of a heart attack, due to a cocaine overdose on October 21, 1995 in New Orleans.
The remaining members released Nico (named for Hoon’s daughter, only thirteen weeks old when her father died) in 1996, with the profits going to a program that helps musicians with drug and alcohol addiction. Nicocontained unreleased songs from the Soup recording sessions, as well as other songs often recorded with only partial instrumentation. The closing track, “Letters from a Porcupine”, was recorded as a telephone message left by Hoon on Thorn’s answering machine. Nico included covers of Steppenwolf and John Lennon songs.
Blind Melon officially disbanded on March 4, 1999 and the various members went on to other projects.
Compilations and reunification
Blind Melon live in New York 2008 (L-R: Christopher Thorn, Brad Smith, Travis Warren, Rogers Stevens)
In 2002, Capitol Records released a Classic Masters CD showcasing twelve Blind Melon songs. Thanks to stronger-than-expected sales, the band released The Best of Blind Melon in 2005, a CD?DVD package that features Blind Melon performing live from a September 1995 concert in Chicago. On December 15, 2006, a tribute album to Blind Melon was released by Yakmusic in New Zealand featuring bands from all over the world. In April 2006, Capitol Records released the Live at the Palace CD that was re-released October 17, 2006 with a new package.
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, 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.
After clearing the air with the rest of the band, Warren returned to perform a previously scheduled gig with Blind Melon on , 2008 in Dearborn, Michigan, which the band later announced would be the last show with him.
Blind Melon have stated their intention to continue looking for a permanent vocalist and carry on regardless. Current rumor has it that Craig Owens – a native of Michigan and long time singer of the hardcore band Chiodos, will be filling in for vocals for Warren. There has been no confirmation of this as fact.
Capitol Records released a 4 track EP entitled “Deep Cuts” in April 2009 as a digital download. The band had no input into this ep, but it is an official release.
It was reported on May 23rd that Smith and Thorn were invited to play with Codename Mike. There has been no further announcement on the state of Blind Melon, so it is currently assumed that this development is in addition to searching for a replacement for Warren.
Christopher John Thorn ? guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, harmonica
Thomas Rogers Stevens ? guitar, piano
Eric Bradley Smith ? bass, flute, backing vocals
Glen Graham ? drum kit, percussion
Richard Shannon Hoon ? vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica (1991?1995, deceased)
Travis Warren ? vocals, acoustic guitar (2006-2008)