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Richard Shannon Hoon (September 26, 1967 – October 21, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He rose to fame as frontman and lead singer of the band Blind Melon until his death from a drug overdose in 1995.

Early life

Hoon was born and raised in Lafayette, Indianamarker with his half-sister, Anna, and half-brother, Tim. Hoon reportedly began using his middle name, Shannon, to avoid confusion with his father, who was also named Richard. In high school, Hoon was a promising athlete in football, wrestling and pole vaulting. However, he also gained local notoriety with the Lafayette police, following several arrests for misbehavior. Hoon graduated from McCutcheon High School in 1985. After graduation, Hoon joined a local band named Styff Kitten, which also featured guitarist Michael Kelsey. Hoon took on the role of frontman and lead singer for the band. It was around this time that Hoon wrote his first song, "Change". Shannon was also a member of the Lafayette band Mank Rage, along with David Lank and Darren Mickler, during this time.

Blind Melon

Hoon left Indiana for Los Angelesmarker in hopes of making it in the music industry. After arriving there, Hoon met musicians Brad Smith and Rogers Stevens at a party. Smith and Stevens saw Hoon perform his song Change acoustically and invited Hoon to play with them. Christopher Thorn and Glen Graham were then brought into the fold and soon the five musicians decided to form Blind Melon, reportedly named after a term Hoon's father used to describe the neighberhood stoners. In 1991, the new band mates produced a four song demo tape and subsequently signed a $500,000 recording contract with Capitol Recordsmarker.

In Los Angeles, Hoon befriended his sister Anna's high school friend, Axl Rose. Rose invited Hoon to join him in the studio, where his band Guns N' Roses were recording their albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. Hoon sang backing vocals on several of the tracks, including "The Garden" and "Don't Cry". Rose also invited Hoon to appear in the video for "Don't Cry", giving Hoon his first real taste of stardom.

In 1992, Blind Melon released their self-titled debut album. The album, produced by Pearl Jam producer Rick Parashar, garnered some positive reviews, but initially failed to make much of an impact. Blind Melon began touring to promote the album, supporting and opening for acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Young, Guns N' Roses and Soundgarden over the course of 1992-1993. As their success increased, the members of Blind Melon became increasingly involved with drugs during the tour, with Hoon being the primary offender. In the summer of 1993, when the video for the album track "No Rain" was released as a single, Blind Melon suddenly became huge stars. The quirky video for "No Rain" focused on a theme of the "normal" crowd versus the lonely outcast. It featured a young, pudgy girl in a strange bee costume tap dancing to an audience that booed her off the stage, who finally finds an entire crowd of people similarly dressed who welcome her. The video, often referred to as the 'Bee Girl' was wildly popular and was the driving force behind Blind Melon going multi-platinum.

Hoon and Blind Melon spent the next two years touring. The tours were frequently interrupted as Hoon spent time in a rehab or jail as his already serious cocaine addiction and other drug use increased and his behavior became more bizarre. In 1993, Hoon was arrested for indecent exposure after he disrobed onstage and urinated on a fan at a show in Vancouver. In October 1993, while opening for Lenny Kravitz, Hoon came onstage in Orlando, Floridamarker openly smoking marijuana at an outdoor concert. In 1994, Blind Melon appeared at Woodstock '94. Hoon went onstage wearing his girlfriend's dress, while tripping on acid. Throughout the performance, Hoon baited the audience and ended the set by tossing a set of conga drums into the crowd. Also in 1994, Hoon went on a drug-induced rampage at the Billboard Music Awards when he attacked a security guard. After taking a hiatus from touring, Blind Melon returned to the studio to record the album Soup in New Orleansmarker. Although producer Andy Wallace claimed that drugs were not a problem during the recording of Soup, Hoon reportedly had no recollection of the album sessions. Soup was released in 1995, a darker album considerably different from their eponymous debut.

Personal life and death

In 1995, Hoon and his longtime girlfriend, Lisa Crouse, had a daughter, named Nico Blue. After the birth of his daughter, Hoon entered rehab again. In August, Blind Melon needed to tour to support their album Soup with heavy pressure from the record company, so Hoon negotiated an early release from his drug rehab program with the stipulation that his drug counselor would accompany him on the road. The counselor, however, was unable to keep Hoon from falling back into a pattern of drug use and was dismissed from the tour after less than a month. Without the counselor, Hoon's use of drugs escalated.

After a particularly disastrous performance in Houston, Hoon launched into an all-night cocaine binge. The next day, on October 21, 1995, Blind Melon was scheduled to play a show in New Orleans at Tipitina's. When one of the band's roadies went to the tour bus to wake Hoon up for a sound check, he was unable to wake him. An ambulance was summoned and Hoon was pronounced dead on the scene, at the age of 28, only thirteen weeks after the birth of his daughter Nico, and mere blocks from where he had recorded Soup. The cause of death was attributed to cocaine.

Gravesite of Shannon Hoon
Hoon was buried in Dayton, Indianamarker; his grave is inscribed with the words to the first song he wrote, Change:

On November 12, 1996, Blind Melon released their final album featuring Hoon, Nico, as a tribute to him with all proceeds going to his daughter and to programs helping musicians deal with drug problems. The band also released a video called Letters From A Porcupine that was nominated for 'Best Long Form Music Video' at the Grammy Awards on February 25, 1998. In December 2008, Hoon's mother Nel shared a collection of unreleased Shannon Hoon songs online with fans.

Tributes



  • Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro has the lyrics from 'Change' - "keep on dreaming boy, cause when you stop dreamin' it's time to die", tattooed on his hip.






  • Hoon had made a necklace for Soundgarden's frontman, Chris Cornell; a bent fork, as a gift in the early 1990s. Cornell can be seen wearing the necklace in the music videos for "Black Hole Sun", and "Spoonman", however he stopped wearing the necklace shortly after Hoon's death.


  • In The Avett Brothers song, "Smoke in our lights", a part of the chorus is "You're the words in a song, that Hoon sang to me."


  • On Seth Avett's song "For all the times..." featured on the album Killing the Headlamps, part of the words to the song are sung "This one has me lying beneath a lightbulb moon, asking God permission to talk to Shannon Hoon".




  • Pearl Jam released a B-Side entitled "Bee Girl" which can be found on their "Lost Dogs" album, which was supposedly Eddie Vedder's way of asking Shannon to reign in his drug abuse.


References

  1. Shannon Hoon Biography


External links




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