Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon defines success as making it last

Blind.Melon-band-1992

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 23, 1992

By Steve Newton

When he was a headline-making member of the infamous Sex Pistols, John Lydon went to extremes to make sure people either loved or hated his grating, nihilistic Johnny Rotten persona. And, according to Blind Melon vocalist Shannon Hoon, Lydon hasn’t given up his Rotten ways.

“One week I would think that John Lydon was great, the next week I would just completely hate the guy,” says Hoon, whose group opened for Lydon’s Public Image Limited and two other acts on a 25-date North American tour earlier this year. “The egos tended to really swell when the soundcheck time-frame came around, and obviously with us being first on the bill, there were a lotta times when we didn’t get to check our stuff, which I thought was kind of…I would like to hope that I would never be so inconsiderate of the other bands on the bill that I wouldn’t let them at least make sure their equipment was workin’ before the show. Those were the weeks when I hated people.

“I mean we had fun playing,” he says, “regardless of who it was with. We were exposed to a lot of people on that tour, you know, we got a chance to meet a lotta really really cool people, ’cause the tour touched in a lotta rural areas. It didn’t necessarily stay in like the major cities, it wandered out of the boundaries of the downtown areas.”

Also on the tour—which played the PNE Forum this past March—were the groups Live and Big Audio Dynamite, which featured another British punk hero in former Clashman Mick Jones. But Hoon says Blind Melon had its moments of glory on the tour, and—depending on the attitude of the crowd—wasn’t lost in the shadows of the better-known bands.

“It came and went in a lotta places,” says Hoon, whose band brings its southern-tinged, multicoloured rock sound back to Vancouver for a show at the Town Pump on Tuesday (December 29). “You know, a lotta people, if you haven’t been shoved down their throat by radio or video, they’re not receptive to new music. But some places were, you know. Some places were just open to hear new music, which is a lot of the reason why I enjoyed the tour–was because people didn’t know what we sound like. You know, they didn’t have any clue what our band was like, and it was a chance for them to make up their own mind, prior to having a radio station shove a song down their throat or have a video played every third video, like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.

“To me, that’s how I enjoyed seeing bands. I enjoyed seeing bands before the project was rolling, you know.”

Speaking of heavily played videos, Guns N’ Roses “Don’t Cry” is right up there, but Hoon doesn’t mention that one—since he’s in it. He’s the bristly-chinned non-Gunner stomping around and sharing the microphone with Axl Rose on the song’s chorus. He also sang on four other tunes from Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion I album.

“It was interesting,” says Hoon about his Illusion stint. “It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing, and spur-of-the-moment things are good. I like when you just do something right off the top of your head.”

The 25-year-old Indiana native doesn’t care for some things that come right off the top of an interviewer’s head, though, especially if they’re questions concerning his cameo in the aforementioned video. It gets him a little riled up, actually, although not as ticked off as his buddy Rose gets when a fan takes his picture.

“Come on!” rails Hoon. “This was a year and a half ago! I hate talking about the past. It tends to be quite annoying. It’s starting to reach the annoying point now, by talking about it.”

Okay, okay—easy, fella. Perhaps it would be safer to talk about the future, and what Hoon would like it to hold for Blind Melon. (With management by the same team that handles hard-rock kings GN’R, it could be a bright one.)

“Longevity,” is Hoon’s easy answer. “I mean, I’d like to do this with these guys for a while, you know… We’re all friends during the working hour and when we’re not working together. We’re not an anti-company, attitude-oriented band, ya know.

“So my definition of success would have to be making it last. Monetary value is not a good way to define success to me. Fame…it’s not… those things are so simple to attain, there’s so many people who have it. You don’t have it one day and have it the next, but making what got you there last is what, I think, [counts].”

To hear the full audio of my interview with Shannon Hoon from 1992 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:

John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Doyle Bramhall II, 2001
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Randy Bachman of the Guess Who, 2001
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
J.J. Cale, 2009
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001

…with hundreds more to come

 

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