Rock band tributes deceased front man

Gracie Hays
A&E Editor

Having been pegged as a one-hit-wonder (“No Rain”) ever since the tragic, untimely death of origional front man shannon Hoon in ’95, few would believe that Blind Melon has sold out nearly every show of their tour in the past year.

It’s hard to tell if Blind Melon really was ahead of its time or if Hoon’s fatal cocaine overdose really did cutoff a musical career that would be renowned as defining the musical era alongside similar ’90s grunge/alternative bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana. With its biggest success “No Rain” sounding dissimilar to the rest of their songs, outsiders can only wonder if this mellow, loner anthem—partly famous for the heartfelt music video featuring a pudgy, glasses-wearing pre-adolescent girl in a bee costume — was just an out of character fluke for the band.

Still, Blind Melon and its fans don’t deny the disparity between the worldwide hit and its lesser-known songs, which have hardly ever come into contact with the airwaves. In fact, many argue that “No Rain” doesn’t even do the band justice.

Unlike the majority of Blind Melon songs, often written by a drug-fueled Hoon, “No Rain,” written by bassist Brad Smith, is lyrically simple and straightforward, yet maintains the poignancy with lyrics like “all I can do is read a book to stay awake/ and it rips my life away/ but it’s a great escape.” Despite the cohesiveness of the song, both lyrically and musically, die-hard fans are drawn to the seemingly spontaneous, wandering guitar riffs alongside Hoon’s zigzagging, poetic lyrics that take time for the listeners ears to absorb.

It is problematic calling Blind Melon a one hit wonder because their style is hard to label, alternating somewhere between an acoustic, hippie-dippy style — reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin — and a frantic, drum pounding, screeching grunge sound.

Although the band tried to capture the old sound in 2008 when it recorded For my Friends with short lived vocalist Travis Warren (kicked out from the band less than a year after the album’s release), the album lacked Hoon’s emotion. In all the technical senses, Warren sounds exactly like Hoon, hitting the notes perfectly, almost morphing his voice into Hoon’s. Still, Warren is unable capture the tweak of desperation and self-destruction in Hoon’s voice as he sings his own written words. Unlike Hoon who lit up on the stage, spurring the fans along, Warren seemed more stationary and somewhat stiff.

Despite Warren’s departure from the band, Blind Melon is already on the lookout for a new singer and is writing new material for an upcoming album. Alhough Hoon fanatics argue the deceased front man’s shoes are too big to fill, future tour dates continue to sell out.

While Blind Melon fans are getting split up between those who only remain loyal to the old, Hoon era and those who are open to change, the majority of music listeners aren’t even aware of who Blind Melon is.