Shannon Hoon

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Shannon Hoon
Birth name Richard Shannon Hoon
Born (1967-09-26)September 26, 1967
Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Died October 21, 1995(1995-10-21) (aged 28)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres Alternative rock, neo-psychedelia, folk rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, kazoo, tambourine, bongos, conga
Years active 1985–1995
Labels Capitol
Associated acts Blind Melon, Guns N' Roses, Styff Kitten
Website blindmelon.com

Richard Shannon Hoon (September 26, 1967 – October 21, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He was the frontman and lead singer of the band Blind Melon until his death from a cocaine overdose in 1995.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hoon was born in Lafayette, Indiana and raised in nearby Dayton, Indiana with his half-sister, Anna, and half-brother, Tim. He reportedly began using his middle name, Shannon, to avoid confusion with his father, who was also named Richard. In high school, he played football, wrestled, and was a pole vaulter. Shannon's musical influences included the Grateful Dead, The Beatles, John Lennon, Bob Dylan. After graduating from McCutcheon High School in 1985, Hoon joined a local band named Styff Kytten, which also featured guitarist Michael Kelsey. He took on the role of frontman and lead singer for the band. It was around this time that he wrote his first song, "Change." He was also a member of the Lafayette band Mank Rage, along with David Lank and Darren Mickler, during this time.

Blind Melon[edit]

Hoon left Indiana for Los Angeles where he met musicians Brad Smith and Rogers Stevens at a party. Smith and Stevens saw Hoon perform his song Change acoustically and invited Hoon to play with them. Christopher Thorn and Glen Graham were then brought into the fold, and soon the five musicians decided to form Blind Melon. The band was reportedly[who?] named after a term Smith's father used to describe the neighborhood stoners, or possibly after Blind Melon Chitlin, a character from a Cheech & Chong album. In 1991, the new band mates produced a four-song demo tape and subsequently signed a $500,000 recording contract with Capitol Records.

In Los Angeles, Hoon befriended his sister Anna's high school friend, Axl Rose. Rose invited Hoon to join him in the studio, where his band Guns N' Roses were recording their albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. Hoon sang backing vocals on several of the tracks, including "The Garden" and "Don't Cry." Rose also invited Hoon to appear in the video for "Don't Cry."

In 1992, Blind Melon released their self-titled debut album produced by Pearl Jam producer Rick Parashar. Blind Melon began touring to promote the album, supporting and opening for acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses, and Soundgarden over the course of 1992–1993. In the summer of 1993, the video for the album track "No Rain" was released as a single. The video for "No Rain" focused on a theme of the "normal" crowd versus the lonely outcast. It featured a young, pudgy girl, played by Heather DeLoach, in a bee costume, tap dancing to unappreciative audiences, who finally finds an entire crowd of people similarly dressed who welcome her. The video is often referred to as the 'Bee Girl'. Blind Melon went multi-platinum.

Hoon and Blind Melon spent the next two years touring. In 1993, Hoon was arrested for indecent exposure after he disrobed onstage and urinated on a fan at a show in Vancouver.[2] After taking a hiatus from touring, Blind Melon returned to the studio to record the album Soup in New Orleans. Soup was released in 1995.

Personal life and death[edit]

Gravesite of Shannon Hoon

In July 1995, Hoon and his girlfriend, Lisa Crouse, had a daughter named Nico Blue. Before the birth of his daughter, Hoon entered rehab again. In August, Blind Melon planned to tour to support their album Soup, so Hoon allowed a drug counselor to accompany him on the road.[citation needed] The counselor, unable to keep Hoon from relapsing, was dismissed days before Hoon's death.

After a disappointing performance in Houston, Hoon launched himself into an all-night drug binge.[citation needed] The next day, on October 21, 1995, Blind Melon was scheduled to play a show in New Orleans at Tipitina's. The band's sound engineer, Owen Orzack, went to the tour bus to wake up Hoon for a sound check but was unable to rouse him. An ambulance arrived, and Hoon was pronounced dead on the scene, at the age of 28.[3] The cause of death was attributed to a cocaine overdose.

Hoon was buried in Dayton, Indiana. His grave is inscribed with a line from Blind Melon's song "Change," the first song he wrote:

I know we can't all stay here forever

So I want to write my words on the face of today and they'll paint it

On December 12, 1996, Blind Melon released their final album featuring Hoon, Nico, as a tribute to him with all proceeds going to his daughter and to programs helping musicians deal with drug problems. The band also released a video called Letters From A Porcupine that was nominated for 'Best Long Form Music Video' at the Grammy Awards on February 25, 1998. 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.[4] In 2003, Pearl Jam released a song recorded in 1993 called "Bee Girl," written by vocalist Eddie Vedder about the girl in the No Rain video, although many have suspected that the lyrics actually refer to Hoon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Death of lead singer Shannon Hoon hasn't stopped Blind Melon's music JOHN WIRT. Advocate – Baton Rouge, La. Nov 8, 1996
  2. ^ Promoter Tears Strip Off Naked Rocker, Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun, 2 November 1993. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  3. ^ "Tippecanoe Public Library Local Newspaper Birth, Death, Engagement and Marriage Index Genealogy Resources". Retrieved 04-01-2008. 
  4. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615252397

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Prato, Greg (2008). A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon. Createspace. ISBN 0-6152523-9-7.
  • Weitz, Brad (2012). From Your Friends - Art, Photos and Stories Inspired by Blind Melon. Lulu.
  • Weitz, Brad/Mester, Csaba (2012). Sweet Meloncholy. Take On 1 or 2 / Garage Art. ISBN 9-7806157402-9-4.