Blind Melon began in the late 1980s with vocalist Shannon Hoon, guitarists Rogers Stevens and Chris Thorn, bassist Brad Smith and drummer Glen Graham. Their local popularity in California clubs led to a contract with Capitol Records, but it was Hoon’s friendship with fellow native Indianan Axl Rose, lead singer for Guns N’ Roses, that bought them wider exposure. (Hoon sang on the Top 10 hit “Don’t Cry”). And Blind Melon became opened for other members of the West Coast alt-rock scene, including the band Soundgarden; frontman Chris Cornell famously wore a necklace made of a bent fork given to him by Hoon in several music videos.
In 1992, the band worked with producer Rick Parashar (who’d just produced another alt-grunge classic, Pearl Jam’s Ten (1991)) on their self-titled debut. Despite local admiration and critical praise, it initially went nowhere – until the band shot a video for “No Rain.” The perky, neo-psych tune featured an unforgettable video starring Heather DeLoach, the young girl photographed on the cover of the album in her infamous bee costume. In the video, the “bee girl” sought refuge from those who mocked her appearance (heavyset, bespectacled and – let’s face it – wearing a bee suit while tap dancing) and ultimately found it, a serene narrative to go with the serene sounds.
While “No Rain” catapulted the band to success (ultimately moving four million copies of the record), the next few years were anything but rosy. Hoon was a rampant drug user during the making of sophomore album Soup (1995), and the consumption ultimately took his life while on tour that same year. The band quickly assembled a posthumous album of outtakes (named Nico after Hoon’s young daughter; proceeds from the album went to a trust fund for the girl) and slowly drifted apart through the ’90s. In 2008, the band returned with a new album, For My Friends, with new vocalist Travis Warren.
This new reissue does not include any of the bonus tracks we detailed in a very early Reissue Theory post, but the remastered album is paired with the band’s previously unreleased first recordings, cut at Sound City Studios in 1991 for shelved EP called Sippin’ Time Sessions. Chris Thorn and Brad Smith have newly remixed these tracks for this set.
Blind Melon will be available anew on April 16, days before a double-vinyl reissue of the same program will be released for Record Store Day.
Blind Melon: 20th Anniversary Edition (Originally released as Capitol CDP 7 96585 2 7, 1992 – reissued Capitol/UMe, 2013)
- Soak the Sin
- Tones of Home
- I Wonder
- Paper Scratcher
- Dear Ol’ Dad
- No Rain
- Seed to a Tree
- Dear Ol’ Dad (Sippin’ Time Session)
- Soul One (Sippin’ Time Session)
- Tones of Home (Sippin’ Time Session)
- Seed to a Tree (Sippin’ Time Session)
- Mother (Sippin’ Time Session)