Friday, 19 August 2011

Lamenting Blind Melon

As a teenager, the 90s were my years. They will be the years I will brag to my children about, if I ever have any, annoying them with the stories and books and the music of the decade. As though it’s the only decade that ever existed. Although I don’t think I’ll actually be that bad, I do know that I will always cherish the 1990s. It was the decade I became passionate about books and music. Throughout the years since, I have stuck with the books, always remembering my old favorites, but some of the music has fallen to the wayside. One such band is Blind Melon.

Now, it was easy for me to let Blind Melon go. Their singer, Shannon Hoon, died of a cocaine overdose while on tour in October 1995. I remember that the day I heard the news well, actually. I was a big fan of Blind Melon’s and I heard of the dark news while watching Much Music, Canada’s equivalent to MTV. I didn’t believe it at first. And the fact that nobody else reported it nearly stamped my belief that the singer was still alive, his death nothing but a terrible rumor. I didn’t believe it until surviving band members appeared on Much Music, talking of their experience of losing the singer and their plans for the future.

Finally learning of Shannon Hoon’s death was a massive letdown for me, and for good reason. Anyone who is or has been a fan of the band knows what I’m talking about. Blind Melon wrote music that was infused with passion almost unmatched by any other band. They used many different instruments, infused many different genres, and the singing along the lyrics, in my opinion, was always topnotch. I’ve recently had the chance to check out newer Blind Melon music, their 2008 release “For My Friends”, but I just can’t get into it. Not yet, at least. The music doesn’t have the same “umph” and the lyrics, and therefore the music’s arrangement, seems dry in comparison to Hoon’s.

I am smart enough, and know myself well enough, to know that I might be biased, though. I’ve only recently rediscovered Blind Melon, and I might just need some time to adjust to the newer sound the band has acquired. Some say that it’s a lot like the old stuff. But right now, I just can’t hear it.

All this just brings home the fact that Shannon Hoon’s death pissed me off back in the 90s, and it still does today. The man, along with the band, was highly talented. His death was nothing but a waste. At the same time, however, I am glad to have just reconnected with this band and their great music. And I hope that, in the future, I can forgive and forget enough to enjoy what is new and what ought to be appreciated for what it is. Music. Life. Passion and art. It’s all there. I just have to find it.

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