Blind Melon is an American rock band that originally existed from 1989 to 1995, and ceased with the death of lead vocalist Shannon Hoon shortly after the release of the band’s second album. The band reformed with the new lead vocalist Travis Warren in 2006. However, Travis Warren announced his departure from the band on November 6, 2008.
Blind Melon formed in California in 1989, with members from Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. The band signed to Capitol Records in 1991 and recorded an unreleased demo. The band gained buzz from vocalist Hoon’s association with Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, and Hoon’s backing vocals on several Guns N’ Roses tracks on 1991’s Use Your Illusion albums, most notably “Don’t Cry”.
The band’s self-titled debut album, produced by Rick Parashar (Pearl Jam), contained thirteen songs spanning a wide sonic palette. The aggressive dual lead guitars and shouted vocals of “Soak the Sin” and “Tones of Home” evoked heavy metal and classic rock; “Time”‘s spacious bridge and ambient, winding outro shared commonalities with Grateful Dead-style improvisational music, while acoustic songs “Change” and “No Rain” hinted at pop and folk influences. The album sold poorly until the “No Rain” single became a smash success in November of 1993, led by a popular music video featuring the “Bee Girl” (played by Heather DeLoach). Thematically, the video suggested a social outcast eventually finding a supportive community through trial and error. Subsequently, Blind Melon went platinum four times. After opening for Neil Young, Lenny Kravitz, Soundgarden and The Rolling Stones, Blind Melon’s own tour was cut short due to Hoon’s escalating drug abuse.
Against the advice of Hoon’s drug counselor, Blind Melon went on tour. Hoon was found dead on the band’s tour bus of a cocaine overdose on October 21, 1995 in New Orleans. The remaining members released Nico (named for Hoon’s daughter, only thirteen weeks old when her father died) in 1996, with the profits going to a program that helps musicians with drug and alcohol addiction. Nico contained unreleased songs from the Soup recording sessions, as well as other songs often recorded with only partial instrumentation. The closing track, “Letters from a Porcupine”, was recorded as a telephone message left by Hoon on Thorn’s answering machine. Nico included covers of Steppenwolf and John Lennon songs.