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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Infinite Sadness of Losing Shannon

It's been almost 18 years and still the sting of losing Shannon Hoon is sharp, and one can only shake their head at the tragic loss. 

His mom, family and friends have a yearly vigil the week before his birthday, September 22nd. I wanted to go this year, but decided to wait until this winter. I'm way overdue for a solo train trip, so this December I plan on braving the weather and traveling to Indiana to visit his family and see for myself where one of my favorite singers came from. I will be live streaming and filming my entire trip so check back this December to participate and ask questions through our Live Performance page. This does not mean I will be interviewing anyone in the family, my plan is to talk to the normal everyday fan and talk about what Blind Melon means to them.

Shannon and baby Nico Blue

Today he would have been 45 years old. His daughter is now a young adult. Whether the band would have been successful today matters little to loyal Hoon fans. The body of work speaks for itself, timeless and as comforting as it ever was. My Blind Melon Pandora station probably gets used more than any other.

Timeless Blind Melon

 I only got to meet Shannon one time. The band was recording in Seattle at London Bridge Studio. I knew the the owners, Rick and Raj Parashar, and my fiance Andrew Wood who also passed away from an overdose had recorded there. I remember one of the sound engineers saying "He reminds me of Andy" to which I responded, "Well I hope he doesn't die like him". I was pretty cynical in my thinking at that time for obvious reasons. There's a basketball court on the property of the studio, and inside there's a swing that hangs from the ceiling. It was surreal to watch Shannon running around the property, much like Andy did while recording there. Very playful and childlike.

 Rick and Raj were frequents in the Seattle scene and from what I remember really fun to party with. Great guys who loved what they did. They were probably not the best influence on the band, but it was the 90's so let's face it, probably half of our parents were not great influences, still I remember being worried. I always hated coke and it was everywhere at that time. Shannon knew who I was and when we talked spoke of how much he loved Andrew's lyrics. He asked me if I thought I'd ever see him again. I told him, "Yes, of course, we both will, right?" He smiled and said "Yeah, I guess so." 

Jena Kraus, Blind Melon's Christopher Thorn, and Raj Parasher 
The party was always on when Rick and Raj were around 

There's always going to be those people who just don't get addicts, the ones that walked away from the 90's fairly unscathed, maybe had a few bad nights at The Vogue. But for some of us it was different. I remember some of the other Seattle band members and their friends coming out to the studio the day I was there. I don't think who it was is important so I'm not going to say. Let's just say there was definitely some coke delivered to the band that day, Hence my statement to the sound engineer. I was not amused that they were partying while recording. And I had a definite sense of doom. Sadly I was right, and as most people know, Shannon died on a tour bus in New Orleans in 1995, less than 2 years later. 

Here is a great documentary made by the band 

Shannon was as embraced my the music scene as he could be as one can see from this Gun's and Roses video he was in singing with Axl Rose, still he suffered from depression and low self esteem. As I have said before, if you know someone in a band that is not supposed to be using or drinking, please don't be that screwed up fan that wants to "party with the band," these guys needed our protection and we failed them miserably. 

There are some wonderful stories written about Shannon including this book by Greg Prato 

A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other
by Greg Prato

Peace be with you that you could not find in this world Shannon
I dedicate this song to you and pray that you're among the angels of grunge where there are only good influences, and life is like soup, like nothing bad....

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