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2011/05/15

Blind Melon

By Jav Rivera

I can't count the amount of times I've asked people if they ever heard of the band Blind Melon.  And I can't count the amount of times people have responded with, "Nope".  But when I mention their 1990s hit "No Rain" they immediately smile and say, "Oh yeah, I love that song".  Sadly, Blind Melon came and went as quickly as the summer when that Bee Girl music video flooded the MTV airwaves.  Samuel Bayer, known for directing Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, directed a feel-good video for "No Rain" featuring a group of Bee People rejoicing in the hills.

("No Rain" Directed by Samuel Bayer)

Blind Melon consisted of Shannon Hoon (vocals, guitar), Brad Smith (bass), Christopher Thorn (guitar) Rogers Stevens (guitar, piano), and Glenn Graham (drums, percussion).  They were labeled as an alternative rock band, however, they could easily be placed within the likes of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

L-R: Hoon, Graham, Stevens, Thorn, Smith
Their debut album was cemented deep in blues rock and had the energy of a live album.  Several singles came from this album including "Tones of Home," "Change," and of course, "No Rain."  All of which had accompanying music videos.

(self-titled debut album)
Their second album "Soup" had more an experimental feel.  Not straying too far from the blues, "Soup" still found a way to include unique orchestrations and even kazoos in one of their more fun songs entitled "Skinned".  Fun indeed which is ironic considering the lyrics point to a murderer who makes furniture out of body parts.

In 1995, Shannon Hoon died from a drug overdose.  This halted the band's popularity and their music was overshadowed by another drug-related death.  With grunge rock taking over and Seattle's sound overwhelming radio stations, Blind Melon soon faded into the background.

(Shannon Hoon)
"Nico", their final album, contained tracks still in progress and released after Hoon's death.  Named after Hoon's daughter Nico Blue, proceeds arising from album sales were placed in a college trust for her.  Nico also contained an alternate version of "No Rain" which had more of a raw blues style.  That track alone is worth the purchase.  There are also two cover tracks, "John Sinclair" by John Lennon and "The Pusher" by Steppenwolf.

Blind Melon is definitely worth a second look.  And be sure to look beyond "No Rain".  The variety and creativity to their music can't be judged by one song.  There's a lot of heart to their music and just by listening to their first album you can see a band who had something to say without trying to prove anything.  They were as honest a band as a band could be.

For more information visit: www.blindmelonmusic.com.  And check out their music on iTunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/blind-melon/id533032

TRIVIA 1: Shannon Hoon provided backing vocals on Guns-N-Roses' "Use Your Illusion" albums including the track "Don't Cry" and is featured in its music video.  He also appears in the album's liner photos.

TRIVIA 2: The Bee Girl on their debut album cover is not the same girl as in the music video.  The album cover features Glenn Graham's little sister, Georgia.  The music video stars Heather DeLoach.

TRIVIA 3: Blind Melon's "Soup" album contained a hidden track sometimes referred to as "Hello, Goodbye" but technically untitled.  It's what's called a pregap hidden track which basically means it was hidden before the first track on the CD.  The only way to play back these tracks is to play the CD in a player and holding down the previous track button until it "rewinds" before the first track.  Below is a link to Blind Melon's hidden track.




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