Looking back at the time period of the early nineties you could not turn on the radio without hearing the sounds of the incredibly influential grunge genre that dominated the airwaves. One of the pioneering bands from that time period of rock n’ roll history is without a doubt Blind Melon. While the band is best known for their massive hit single “No Rain”, their brand of neo-psychedelic meets alternative rock drew in fans all over the world and their tunes provided the soundtrack to our lives at the time.
After releasing two albums on Capitol Records and touring extensively, the band came to an abrupt halt in 1995 by the fatal overdose of lead vocalist Shannon Hoon on the band’s tour bus in New Orleans, going on hiatus until officially disbanding four years later. It would be a good number of years later before the band would eventually pick-up where they left off and have now reunited for several gigs throughout the country, including an upcoming performance at the KAABOO Del Mar Festival in California, as well as, Danny Clinch’s See. Hear. Now. Festival in Ashbury Park, NJ later this month.
Blind Melon has also been steadily working on new music with recent recording sessions in both Philadelphia, PA and Joshua Tree in California, with a new single due out just prior to their upcoming KAABOO Del Mar performance. Blind Melon is also supporting the Danny Clinch, Taryn Gould, and Colleen Hennessy documentary film “All I Can Say” featuring a collection of videos shot by former lead vocalist Shannon Hoon prior to his death which recently debuted at the Tribeca film festival.
Be sure to check out Blind Melon on the TRESTLES stage at KAABOO Del Mar on Saturday, September 14th at 3.35pm. If you don’t yet have tickets for KAABOO Del Mar, they are still available and can be purchased, HERE.
We caught up with Blind Melon guitarist Christopher Thorn to talk about their upcoming KAABOO Del Mar performance, the changing musical landscape, new Blind Melon tunes and more!
What can we expect from Blind Melons’ upcoming performance at KAABOO Del Mar? It’s such a huge festival with a variety of different artists!
A lot of them are like that these days, which is super cool. I don’t mind that one bit … I kind of dig it! What to expect that’s really a hard question, because honestly I don’t know what to expect from our show and that’s the thing about a Blind Melon show is I think you come and do expect a little of the unexpected I mean, I think some of the music these days is so programmed and locked into a clique and, and there’s not a whole lot of spontaneous moments that are happening but for us there’s a lot of that, that happens in our show because we’re a little looser when it comes to that and there’s a couple of moments of improvisation and things like that. But, I can tell you we are playing a song we haven’t played in like frickin 20 years so I’m pretty pumped about that but I’m not gonna tell you what song. We will also be playing a couple of brand new songs, so I’m really excited.
We see that you guys did some recording sessions in both Philadelphia and Joshua Tree for new music? Can you talk about that?
I have a studio in Joshua Tree, so we’ve been coming here a bit and Rogers lives in Philadelphia, so we will also go there and do some sessions as well.
Does the area in which you record have an impact or influence on the music?
I would say it always does, I mean, for me, it does, in a really big way. And even before the recording process, for me, writing songs, in certain locations, is it has a profound effect on what happens to me personally and recording as well. It all gets in there, you know, it all gets on the tape, as we used to say, Now, there’s no tape, but you know we still say it, seriously all that still makes its way onto the recording. So, it definitely does have an effect.
How has Blind Melon adapted to the ever-changing musical landscape, as we know you guys had stepped away for a bit?
You know, I gotta say, for me, because that was my time in the studio, it really hasn’t changed, you still have a few people in the room, trying to make some magic, trying to make something that gives people goosebumps. That’s really it. Right? That’s it. So, that part hasn’t changed. What’s changed is the second that records done, and how you interact with fans and all that stuff. And the way people are paying for records these days, and how you market it, how you put it out, all of that stuff has drastically changed, I would say, but for us as a band guys, we’re still just five dudes in a room trying to make some music and trying to make, you know, kind of make something cool. And that’s it. And that hasn’t changed at all.
Do you feel that there is more pressure now for bands to release things more immediately, sort of that instant gratification for fans?
I guess that’s happened, but I don’t know. I don’t really let that get to us. I don’t think about that so much. I mean, that’s the reason why people are putting out one song instead of putting out records. That’s changed! Because people don’t have the attention span. So instead of giving them ten songs at one time to try to listen to you give them one, and then you wait a month, you and the other one. So I guess the way you feed it to people is different as well. But you know, as I said, the process of making something from nothing. And trying to give somebody a goose bump. That’s, that’s identical. That hasn’t changed for me one bit, You know, when I compare my process of the studio in the 90s, to now that part’s still the same.
Can you talk about the generational appeal of Blind Melon and the overall staying power behind the band? Blind Melon is still a very recognizable name and you now have both parents and grandparents introducing the younger generation to your music?
It’s incredible. And I really had no idea that would happen to me, I guess that’s your wish when you’re twenty and you’re making your first record. You’re like, ‘I hope this record sticks around’. I mean, that is what you want, but I guess you don’t really ever think it will. So to have anybody care about our band, thirty years into the career is just f**king mind-blowing, honestly. And I just feel flattered and grateful that I get to do this.
What can you share with us about the “All I Can Say” documentary film which just showed at the Tribeca Film Festival?
Yeah, we went there and showed it there. And I’m really, really proud of it. First of all, it was a tough project. It was tough to get it to the point where it is now and it took a long time. It was a lot of work. Danny Clinch and Taryn Gould and Colleen Hennessy all worked super hard on for honestly, for like, I think it was over ten years or something. I did some of the film score work for it. But when I sit and watch that film, I just think it’s an incredible piece of art. It really is. It’s like nothing you’ve seen in the sense that it’s so so intimate. It’s like watching somebody’s’ selfie movie. I mean, this is before we had phones and he’s [Shannon Hoon] filming himself. But you know, he’s really the Selfie King. It’s a movie with that perspective, where he’s literally holding the camera and looking at it and talking to you as if you’re there as your as if you’re there with him hanging out for the night. And that’s how the movie feels. It feels like you just got to hang out with Shannon for an hour and a half, you know, and it’s just, it’s amazing. Honestly, I can’t say enough great things about it.
Was it hard for you guys to see and relive all of that?
For me, because I worked on the film score, there were days where it was just f**king excruciating. I remember certain days I had to wake up and get down there and get to work and I was I dreaded it. Then there are certain days or certain nights where I was like, oh, man, I’m just hanging out with my buddy tonight, you know, working on this film, because it’s Shannon’s film, you know? The directors’ film as well. But it’s Shannon’s film. Honestly, I never really knew how I feel. It’s just, you know, it’s just, you just don’t know, I just would get in there and certain moments, certain scenes were just f**king crush me, but I started to work on the film. So, you know, push through it, and work through it. It was tough, but as I said, there’s also the positive side on it, where sometimes I just would sit there and laugh at him.
We can’t wait to see it, when will the film be available in wider release?
I think we are still trying to figure that out. Movie making is a lot harder than music-making and it costs a lot more money. I think we’re getting close. I think we still were looking for a partner to help finish. I mean, it’s done, but there are still some business things we are working on like money for promotional aspects and such. So we’re trying to work it out now.
The trailer looks amazing! We are excited to check it out!
I can’t say enough good things about it! I also don’t think you have to be a Blind Melon fan to love the movie. I think the movie is fascinating on just sort of a time capsule sort of way because Shannon’s filming the TV’s you’re seeing all these details of that time period you’re seeing it played out for you in the news. It’s just an interesting movie period. I don’t think you have to love the band or even like the damn band and I think it’s just fascinating to watch a guy film himself and what he goes through and all that sort of stuff.
After your highly-anticipated performance at KAABOO Del Mar, do you have any additional touring plans coming up?
Yeah, the very next weekend we go to See.Hear.Now Festival which is a Denny Clinch festival in Asbury Park right on the beach It’s amazing. I was there last year just went to hang out and I had the best time ever, so that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to that!
How far along in the recording process are you for a new album and such?
The guys are coming back in November I think we’re going to do a whole session over Thanksgiving. I think that will either almost finish up our record or we might be a couple of songs shy but we will be really close. Right now we have three completely finished and mastered we’re going to release I think we’re releasing a song the week of KAABOO Del Mar, I think we’re gonna release a single! It will give folks something to listen to before they come see us! In the meantime, we’ll continue to work on the record and we’ll have a record done by the end of the year.
What has been one of your stand-out “moments of mayhem” throughout your extensive career?
So many, especially being in a band with Shannon Hoon! I have lists of mayhem stories! My favorite one really is the night he peed on an audience in Vancouver. I mean, that was next level crazy. I’m a fan of rock and roll obviously read every biography like anything I get my hands up I love rock and roll stories. I love all of it and the night Shannon went and you know, whipped it out and peed on an audience I thought this is f**king next level man. This is next level mayhem. I mean, it was a big deal and he got arrested had to go you know, he had to go do some stuff and had to go to rehab and it was a big deal. But at the moment I just thought well this is rock and roll, now isn’t it? This is fun. Nobody’s getting really hurt, you know? A lil pee-pee never hurt anybody. It was crazy. Not that I should defend it, but it was like two years of non-stop touring, the record finally broke. It finally happened for us and we’re all super tired. It was Halloween night, which is also Rogers birthday and it was literally the last show of like about it felt like two years of non-stop touring. So we let loose, Maybe we let loose a little too much. And it was Halloween. So we all dressed up in women’s clothes. Shannon’s girlfriend was there and we’re like, hey, let’s you know, bring out your suitcase. Let’s see what you got for us. We all dressed up in her clothes and then I think a little bit of drinking was getting done during the day, maybe a little too much before the show. I don’t even know we were I don’t think we’re even playing the same songs at the same time. It was probably a horrendous show to hear and probably was an incredible show to watch. Because it was mayhem at its best. I would say.
Do you have a different approach to playing larger festivals such as KAABOO Del Mar versus smaller club shows?
It’s tougher for sure and you’re also because the way the festivals are run these days, which I think is cool, you might have half the audience might be hip hop fans and they might be there to see Snoop Dogg and they have to sit through you wait to see Snoop. So you feel like you have to work a little harder, that’s for sure. Do you know what I mean? You’re trying to convince people when you’re playing your own club show or theater show, they’re all there to see you and notice every little detail. So it’s almost it’s easier, you know? I guess you do prepare it in a slightly different way and the stages are bigger, sometimes you can’t hear as well and there are all those little nuances.
Absolutely! I was reading through the line-up which features everyone from Wu-Tang and Snoop Dogg to Duran Duran which is some of the best variety we have ever seen!
It’s all over the place. But I think that’s cool because I think that’s how people are listening to music today. That’s how I do. I listen to Post Malone into The Black Keys, to possibly whoever, maybe Miley Cyrus, I don’t know, because I listen to everything.
If you are in the San Diego area we hope to see you @KaaBooDelMar on Saturday September 14th. Tickets go up on Tuesday August 27th, so get yours now at https://t.co/HlATiAMVGd. See you there! #BlindMelon #KAABOOdelmar pic.twitter.com/LXk6EPJQgB
— Blind Melon (@BlindMelonBand) August 24, 2019