Guitarist Chad Taylor of Live has recently revealed on his Facebook page the band were snowed in their studio during Winter Storm Jonus in York, Pennsylvania, which gave them an opportunity to write and record new music. However, currently there have been no plans revealed for a new release.
Live’s last album was 2014’s very underrated eighth studio album The Turn, which many fans considered their best effort since 1997’s Secret Samhadi. The Turn is also the band’s first album featuring Chris Shinn on vocals, replacing founding member Ed Kowalczyk who left the band in November 2009 in a seemingly bitter departure. Shinn was previously the lead vocalist of Unified Theory which also featured former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen and Blind Melon members Christopher Thorn and Brad Smith.
Richard Shannon Hoon, born September 26th, 1967, was the vocalist/lyricist of American alternative/neo-psychedelic band Blind Melon. The band achieved fame and success during the early 1990’s with their single “No Rain”, whose music video was subject to heavy rotation on MTV. Though widely respected and associated with the alternative rock community, their music’s strongest elements are rooted in neo-psychedelic. Every member of the band was also from a different part of the country: Hoon was from Lafayette, Indiana (same hometown as Axl Rose), Brad Smith (bassist), Glen Graham (drummer) and Roger Stevens (lead guitarist) from West Point, Mississippi, with Christopher Thorn (rhythm guitar, mandolin) and Glen Graham from Pennsylvania. They all separately had transplanted themselves to Los Angeles in order to pursue music. At a party, Smith and Stevens saw and heard Hoon play a song he wrote that would become Blind Melon’s first song, “Change”. The bassist and guitarist duo invited Hoon to come and jam with them. Seeking out a full band, they found Thorn and Graham and subsequently founded Blind Melon in March of 1990. We rehearsed together for several months and recorded a four track-demo, which caught the attention of Capitol Records who gave them a big record deal.
Hoon was known by friends as a gentle kind of party animal and accomplished artist. He was influenced largely by the American psychedelic bands of the ’60’s, as well blues, tinges of country and television shows of the ’70s. He and the band were known to cover songs from the Velvet Underground, Steppenwolf and John Lennon. As previously mentioned, he came from the same hometown as Guns n’ Roses frontman Axl Rose but didn’t grow to know him until he moved to Los Angeles where Rose had found success. Hoon was featured on the Use Your Illusions albums and the “Don’t Cry” music video. Blind Melon would become the opener for Guns N’ Roses during their co-headlining tour with Soundgarden in 1992. Hoon’s onstage antics including reckless dancing, light cross dressing, going on stage naked or even at Woodstock ’94, he performed on acid in a dress. During the last five years of his life, he always kept a video camera with him and documented himself and the band extensively. Some of these footage was incorporated into a VH1 documentary in 2001, featured below:
During his youth, he had engaged in a lot of substance abuse which would continue into his adulthood, with some stints in rehab or short periods of sobriety. Moving to Los Angeles seemed to subdue this a little bit, but the success of their self-titled album and especially the sophomore album Soup, his drug use and variety increased. Hoon and his long time girlfriend Lisa Crouse had a child in July of 1995, named Nico Blue Hoon. Her birth led to three months of sobriety. Unfortunately,later on tour for Soup Hoon would tragically overdose on cocaine from a co-morbid heart attack, 20 years ago today.
After Hoon’s death, Blind Melon stayed in a semi-hiatus state until 1999. During this time they released Nico, an album comprised of rarities and cover songs. Named after his daughter, the album’s proceeds would be put in a college fund for Nico Blue, as well as programs who help musicians with drug abuse. A video release from the band in 1996, Letters From a Porcupine, was nominated for “Best Long Form Music Video” at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
Blind Melon did end up reuniting with a new singer, Travis Warren, and recorded one album with him, For My Friends and tour sporadically. However, there was nothing about Hoon’s personality that could be replaced or superseded by anyone.
Photo credit: Rolling Stone Magazine, August 1995 Edited by Brett Buchanan
Next weekend the Reading festival will welcome Metallica, but 20 years ago a slice of Seattle and alternative rock came to Reading to raise the spirits of fans still grieving over the loss of Kurt Cobain
If Kurt Cobain’s death really did spell the end for Grunge, then the Reading Festival in England, 16 months after his 1994 suicide, was a reanimation of sorts.
The August bank holiday festival, which dates back to 1971, had already had its fair share of artists from Seattle and alternative music from across the pond. Nirvana had performed at Reading in 1991 and then infamously headlined the following year. The Sunday slots in 1992 were filled with a mostly Grunge alternative collective mass, with Screaming Trees, Mudhoney and the Melvins joining Nirvana.
Pennywise opened the main stage at Reading 1995 with a rousing version of “Territorial Pissings.” This led to a stage invasion rarely seen at a festival before or since.
The ever popular Blind Melon followed with a ten song set and a lively Shannon Hoon, on what was proving to be a particularly windy day. This show would be the band’s final with Hoon in England; with Hoon tragically dying 8 weeks later from a drug overdose in New Orleans.
White Zombie, Babes In Toyland, Buffalo Tom and Pavement also played, but the main acts that would make Reading 95 so memorable were yet to play.
Mudhoney were back at the festival promoting their new record My Brother the Cow, but it was the older material that got the greatest reactions. “Fuzzgun 91,” which had not been played for 4 years, and “Touch Me I’m Sick” were welcomed enthusiastically. They finished the set with The Dicks classic, “Hate the Police.”
The last time Soundgarden were in the UK, the news had filtered through that Kurt Cobain was dead, and yet the foursome were due to play at the festival a year before. However, singer Chris Cornell was struck down by polyps of the vocal chords and the band had to pull out at the 11th hour. Playing in 1995 was a major moment for Soundgarden, and the crowd respected the fact that they had returned as soon as they could to the festival to make up for the disappointment a year prior.
Soundgarden kicked off their set with “Searching with My Good Eye Closed.” 10 of the 18 songs were from Superunknown, and the 80 minute set led to nonstop crowd surfing. The set included a cover of The Doors’ classic “Waiting for the Sun,” and just before “Head Down,” Cornell admitted that this was his favorite Soundgarden song. The set ended spectacularly with The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” The long dragging bass of Ben Shepherd, the slow drums of Matt Cameron, and the snarling guitars of Cornell and Kim Thayil served during a dusty, windy, and cloudy early evening ended their set as if the stage was literally eating them up.
After a delayed start, Neil Young was the final act of the night. What made Young’s appearance so special was that his backing band was none other than Pearl Jam. The two forces of music had gotten together that year to collaborate on the fantastic record Mirrorball.
They opened up to a wall of flashes from the photographers eager to get as many pictures as they could of this historic moment. The first song was “Big Green Country” followed by “Song X.” With the crowd in a frenzy, as members of Pearl Jam had not toured in the UK since 1993, the atmosphere was electric. Most of the material came from Mirrorball, but Young had no problems diving into his older tunes. “The Needle and the Damage Done” seemed like a poignant tribute to Cobain, and “After the Goldrush” was played for an extended amount of time. The set finished with “Rockin’ in the Free World,” a song that Pearl Jam themselves would adopt in many concerts also as their show closer.
Reading 95 was indeed the last gasp of the Grunge era when the bands were still recognized in their prime of their careers, and it was definitely a fitting tribute to Kurt Cobain.