Jonathan Melvoin

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Jonathan Melvoin
A closeup of Jonathan Melvoin—a middle-aged Caucasian male with short curly brunette hair.
Melvoin in the music video for The Smashing Pumpkins song "Zero"
Background information
Born (1961-12-06)December 6, 1961
Los Angeles
Died July 12, 1996(1996-07-12) (aged 34)
New York City
Genres Alternative rock, Pop
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Keyboards, piano, drums, percussion, vocals
Associated acts The Smashing Pumpkins, The Revolution, Wendy & Lisa

Jonathan Melvoin (December 6, 1961 – July 12, 1996) was an American musician active in the 1980s and 1990s.

Early life[edit]

He was the brother of twins Susannah and Wendy Melvoin of Prince and the Revolution, and son of Wrecking Crew musician Mike Melvoin. He first learned to play drums at the age of five[1] and was described by friends and relatives as a musician who could play anything.[citation needed]


Melvoin performed with many punk bands in the 1980s, such as The Dickies.

He was also a member of The Family, a Prince side project band which produced the original recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U"[2], "Screams of Passion & Mutiny" and made musical contributions to many Wendy & Lisa projects, as well as to Prince and the Revolution's 1985 album Around the World in a Day. He also played drums on "Do U Lie?" from the 1986 Prince & the Revolution album Parade. At the time of his death he was the touring keyboardist for The Smashing Pumpkins during their worldwide tour for the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.


Melvoin died in New York City at age 34 as the result of a heroin overdose. Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, present at the scene, tried but failed to revive him.[3] There is much mystery and speculation about what events actually took place. Chamberlin was allegedly advised by 9-1-1 operators to put Melvoin's head in the shower in an attempt to revive him until paramedics arrived. Melvoin was pronounced dead at the scene. Chamberlin was subsequently fired from the band. According to the band, there had been previous overdoses by both of them. Melvoin had already been fired, but was continuing to tour with The Smashing Pumpkins until the end of the tour leg. Melvoin's replacement was Dennis Flemion of The Frogs. His last gig with the Pumpkins was at the Capital Centre which was named USAir Arena at the time in Landover, Maryland.[citation needed]

The Smashing Pumpkins were not invited to Melvoin's funeral.[4] He is survived by his widow, child, and sisters.[5] Several songs were inspired by his death, including the Sarah McLachlan song "Angel", the Wendy & Lisa song "Jonathan" (as Girl Bros.), and Prince's "The Love We Make" from the album Emancipation.[6].


External links[edit]