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Blind Melon is much more than “No Rain”

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There is a lot more to Los Angeles ’90s rock band Blind Melon than their biggest hit “ No Rain,” which can be frustrating for the band, who come to Average Joes, June 22 with Eve 6.Blind Melon play Lethbridge this week. Photo submitted
“You’ve summarized it perfectly,” observed Pennsylvania born guitarist Chris Thorn, who formed  the band in 1990 with  guitarist Rogers Stevens, bassist Brad Smith and drummer Glen Graham, who grew up in the same area of Mississippi plus Indiana born lead singer Shannon Hoon, who sadly passed away in 1995 of a drug overdose while on tour.
“It is a little frustrating. (Being mainly recognized for No Rain) But I’d rather have a hit than not have one. That was the weirdest song on the album,” he said.

“Brad (Smith, bassist) was playing that song before Blind Melon was even a band. He was playing it while busking on Venice Beach. He didn’t know it was going to be a hit when he brought it to the band. Even the record company missed it. But the fans liked it, so it became a hit,” he recalled. Equally identifiable with Blind Melon is the video for “No Rain” featuring a girl dressed in a bee costume.

“When we were young and didn’t have any money, we used to hang out in each others basements.  We spent a lot of time in the south. So one time we were jamming in Glenn’s basement and there was an old  picture of his sister in the bee costume for Halloween. It reminded us of all the times our parents dressed us in stupid costumes. But we thought that’s a great album cover image,” he said.

“Of course that isn’t the same girl in the video, because the picture was taken in the ’70s. But we held auditions and found a girl (Heather DeLoach) who looked exactly like her. She’s an incredible actress. She almost became bigger than us, but we didn’t mind because she was helping us sell records,” he said.

“ I remember we were scheduled to play Jay Leno, and he interviewed her and we didn’t even get to play,” he chuckled.
The band members went on to other projects after Blind Melon split after Hoon’s death. Chris Thorn and Brad Smith started producing records for other artists, which is how they met future new lead singer Travis Warren.

“We hadn’t planned on reforming. It happened really organically when we produced this kid Travis Warren’s record. Brad said ‘he can sing Blind Melon songs in his sleep.’ He (Travis) said he was the biggest  fan of ours. He knew more about the band than we did,” Thorn said, adding when they asked him to play with him and he fit right in. They recorded a new album with him in 2007, called “ For My Friends,” which was released in 2008,  but they likely won’t be playing anything from it.

“We have a whole album of songs that we’ve never played before, called ‘Nico’ because it was released when Shannon died,” he said, adding they will probably play that plus the bands’s hits like “No Rain’ and ‘Galaxie.”
He noted it is difficult to choose one favourite memory of Shannon Hoon.
“That’s a great question. There are so many of them. I just remember writing the songs for “Soup” with him. He was such a wonderful free spirited guy. it is something I’ll never forget,” he said adding Travis Williams has been a good fit for the band.

“He‘s such a fan of the band and he’s so respectful and tells the audiences that,” he said, adding they were nervous about playing with Warren for the first time.
“We were nervous about what the fans would think. But he‘s so respectful, he had them within the first song,” he said.
“So I think people accept Travis,” he said.
The band has great musical depth as in addition to standard rock and roll instruments like guitar, bass and drums, Blind Melon also incorporated more rootsy instruments like mandolin and steel guitar.
“ Even in the ’90s, before I became a record producer I was thinking like one and always thinking about what the song needed, so I’d pick up any instrument I could like mandolin, steel guitar, banjo and made noises on it that worked. The only thing I can’t really play is violin, because that takes years of training,“ he said.

 There is even some southern rock influence, with most of the band being from Mississippi.

“ We spent a lot of time in the south, so we soaked it up. We also spent a lot of time in New Orleans and soaked that up too,” he said.
New Orleans punk band Dash Rip Rock mention Blind Melon in their Song “Let‘s Go Smoke Some Pot” with a lot of other ’90s “hippie” bands like the Black Crowes, Edie Brickell and others.
 While he hadn’t heard the song, he doesn’t mind being associated with hippie bands or pot smoking.

“ I think weed is a lot better for you than the artificial stuff doctors prescribe,” he said.
“And I don’t mind being associated with hippie jam bands because those guys can really play. I’m still a Grateful Dead fan from way back. They’re really chill and have great talent,” he said, adding he listens to everyone from Bob Dylan and David Bowie to Queens of the Stone Age.
“I’ll even listen to  the best of rap music,” he continued.
Tickets for the June 22 show are $45 in advance $50 on the day of the show. The show begins at 8:30 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 June 2018 09:35 )  
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