Interview: Shannon Hoon, Blind Melon


"I can't really pick what song I like the best or shit like that. It's not that simple to me, man. It's more like a collage of moods," answers Blind Melon frontman, Shannon Hoon, on the line from Seattle. He's right, as the band exude a refreshing, loose-structured, jazz-tinged, mellow music encompassing folk and late '60s acid rock.

Jazz is an essential element.

"The whole jazz thing comes from Glen [Graham]. He's not like a rock n' roll drummer. He's into people like Max Roach, this jazz drummer. He has shows of him that are the spotlight of what's really going on, as opposed to that rock show shit. So, when Glen joined he added a new ingredient to adopt and make into a musical whole."

At the heart of this 'musical whole,' integrity's equally important.

"Yeah, I find that just as I therapeutically release myself through our music, I also release myself by conversation."

At the time of this conversation, the band were coming down from their American tour. Still, the guy sounds very up and spilling over the brim with enthusiasm and sensitivity, albeit with the help of mind-expanding substances. And on he raves.

"Even when touring starts wearing me down, there's one thing that I always enjoy, and that's when I meet people from different walks. And we've met through the common bond of using music as a therapeutic tool to make it through the day, to get to what's really important, to get to the big picture."

It's somehow apt that their music goes off on tangents, as he starts talkin' drugs before I bring it up.

"I hear all this 'Just say no to drugs.' Fuck that! I've been able to remove myself from myself, to look at myself and realise a lot of places where I have a lot of problems, because of drugs. LSD gave me the power to just do that, deal with it and understand it. It's totally up to the individual on what you can be constructive or destructive with."

Some of you will be aware of Hoon's involvement with Guns N' Roses, singing back-up on Don't Cry with ole Indiana Red. And Hoon, like Axl, hails from Lafayette. How does he see the bad boy press portrayal of his buddy?

"You sell magazines when you make the guy look bad," he says acidly. "In my association with Axl, the only thing I can say about him is that he's a very giving human being. The mediator between what Axl's doing and the people he's trying to reach is a distorted human being who feeds off bullshit!"

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
July 1993
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  1. Very disturbing reading a past story about a guy who says drugs helped him. In only two years he would be placed in the ground because of them. How ironic and sad. Everything is not alright. You can be sympathetic and responsible for others feeling and the importance of life without the help of a mind numbing substance.

  2. Fair comment considering what happened to him, but there are also a lot of rock n' roll survivors who abuse their systems but continue to walk the Earth.

  3. also acid is quite a bit different than heroine.

  4. LSD is not a mind numbing substance. And it didn't kill Shannon, cocaine did.

  5. does it really matter what killed him. He was lyrical genius who moved everyone he performed in front of. Its easy to bash someone that is not alive, or in your presence.