Advertisement

Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon Found Dead

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Shannon Hoon, whose high-pitched voice and good-vibes persona helped send the alternative rock group Blind Melon to the top of the charts, died Saturday. He was 28.

Hoon was found dead on his tour bus in a New Orleans parking lot about 1:30 p.m. by his sound manager, who tried in vain to revive him, authorities said. There was no sign of trauma, and a cause of death had not yet been determined, police said.

In Los Angeles, Blind Melon co-manager Doug Goldstein, a close friend of Hoon, said the singer had entered drug rehabilitation centers at least twice recently.

“I really loved the guy and I feel just horrible for his baby,” Goldstein said. Hoon had a 6-month-old daughter with his girlfriend. The couple lived in Lafayette, Ind., where Hoon was born and raised, Goldstein said.

Advertisement

Goldstein said he met Hoon through Guns N’ Roses vocalist Axl Rose, Hoon’s childhood friend from Indiana. Hoon came to Los Angeles to start his career with Blind Melon in early 1990, and the group’s self-titled first album came out in 1992 and went on to sell more than 2 million copies.

The song “No Rain” topped the alternative rock charts in 1993 for three weeks. The video, which featured a 10-year-old actress cavorting in a bee costume, became the group’s signature.

The group’s second album, “Soup,” which they recorded at a studio near the parking lot where Hoon died, debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard chart in September but dropped off the Top 200 in the most recent issue of the magazine.

The group’s appearance at Woodstock ’94 received mixed reviews, and Hoon was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct in New Orleans during the recording of “Soup.”

Advertisement

Goldstein said he thought Hoon, who was also the songwriter for the group, was a “really intelligent, creative” artist.

“During the time when a lot of the music that was coming out was depressing stuff, and self-deprecating stuff, a lot of their stuff just made you feel good,” Goldstein said.

Blind Melon was in New Orleans to play at the famed Tipitina’s music club. The tour bus was in a parking lot on St. Charles Avenue near where the group recorded “Soup” in the city’s Warehouse District.

The other band members are guitarists Christopher Thorn and Rogers Stevens and drummer Glen Graham.

Advertisement

Sales of the group’s first album remained stagnant until MTV began airing the video for “No Rain.”

Soon afterward, the album was selling more than 100,000 copies per week and hit No. 3 on the Billboard album chart.

In October, 1993, Hoon faced nudity and indecent exposure charges after he stripped and urinated onstage during a concert in Vancouver. He was also charged for attacking a security guard during the taping of the American Music Awards on Feb. 7, 1994.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, his mother, Nel, said that at one point she was carrying four bail bonds for Hoon.

Advertisement

“When he got into drugs, I just gave up hope,” she said. “He just turned 26, and there were times I didn’t think he’d live that long.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Advertisement