#010 Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon 1995 | The Tapes Archive podcast

#010 Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon 1995 | The Tapes Archive podcast

(Upbeat Music) – [Narrator] Welcome back
to the Tapes Archive podcast where we release interviews that have never been heard before. Please listen to Episode
000, an introduction for the full back-story
about this podcast series. One this episode, we have
Blind Melon front-man Shannon Hoon. At the time of this interview in 1995 Hoon was 28 years old and out on tour promoting his band’s new album “Soup”. In the interview, Shannon
talks in depth about the making of the band’s latest record, what it was like performing
at Woodstock ’94, his years playing high
school sports in Indiana, and what was then his newest experience, being a father to his baby girl Nico Blue. Unfortunately, about a
month after this interview Shannon Hoon was found
dead after an apparent drug overdose. As always, we have music
critic Marc Allan at the helm conducting the interview. Before we get to the interview we have a couple of house keeping items. If you would like to support the show please go over to the website
at thetapesarchive.com and click on the support button. On there you’ll find many
ways to show your support for the show and all of ’em are free. While on the website,
check out Mark’s blog for more context of this interview and for some personal insight
from Mark himself. One last thing, the Tapes Archive
podcast is a proud member of the Osiris Podcast Network, a global community
connecting passionate fans with podcasts and experiences
about artists and topics you love. Thanks for tuning in and now it’s time to open the vault. SH: Then being in America. Q: And where are you now? SH: I’m in Toronto. Q: Oh, okay. For some reason I thought
you were in New York, so– SH: No. It almost gets so
frustrating that by the time you do get called, you don’t
wanna fuckin’ talk, good God. (both laugh) Q: Well, you got through. You’re not very late. That’s great. Anyway, well, I wanted to talk to you some about the new record and such, and then about your youth
here in Indiana, so– SH: Okay.
Q: Let’s talk about the new record first. How frustrating is it
to know that you’ve made a better, more interesting followup record and it’s gonna be much more difficult to get people to hear it? SH: I think that’s something we
were aware of when we went in to make the record. I think the one thing that Roger stated about the first record
which rang so true is it’s a good progressive
growth of the band. He talks about the first record being, it was the musical placenta. It was basically the
first songs that we ever had written and recorded together. And I think that since
then we have managed to hone in on making more of
a record this time around, opposed to a record with
a few singles on it. I personally like this
new record a lot more than I do the first one. The first record was a good
reflection of the time we were at the time we made it, but
I think that this record has more of a mix of styles,
which is the way we like it. We realize that financially and as far as eliminating a lot of the
housewives who probably bought the first record for
No Rain, we realize that. But I think that everybody wants to stay as honest as they can about the songs that we write, and keep that, not keep the hit single
thing as, not as the focus. Q: So, “No Rain 2” was not an option, is that what you’re saying? SH: “No Rain 2” wasn’t an
option unless it subliminally came through in a different form on this. I mean, I like the fact that you sit down and each song as an even,
there’s no obvious singles on the record. That was the first thing that we noticed when we sit down and we
discovered which songs were gonna be on the record
and which ones weren’t, and I think that after you
get done with the sequencing and you get done putting it
in and taping it all together, that was one of the first
things that I had noticed. I think that it’s a lot
better to have a record, I think that’s the point
of making a record. Otherwise, you just
release 45s all your life. Q: (laughs) Yeah, that’s true. But it just seems like
you guys are in with a whole bunch of other
people in that you get, your first record did
incredibly well and then by the time audiences seem to, like, burn it up and then they
just go on to something else. It’s like, by the time the
second record comes out, they’re on to something else. Do you have any sense
of that and do you have any feeling of why? SH: Of course I do.
Q: Yeah? SH: I think it’s just obvious
that human nature these days, there’s a rapid pace going on, things are quickly chewed up and spit out more so today than they
were five, ten years ago and I think that people are
not going to listen much to something that they
might have to listen to a couple of times. I argued a lot of things that are actually quite humorous, because you
see some of the critics, they, instead of falling over their
tongue they quickly, like, they quickly spit the
album as a piece of shit. And to me it’s kinda just, it’s obvious that the person that doesn’t have the patience to
really sit down and listen to anything more than
one time and it’s like, it’s that whole, don’t bore us, get us to the chorus type of mentality. So, I mean, to me I was
always a fan of records that you had to kind of
sit and soak with them for a little while. I always liked that
about Pink Floyd records. You could never really
figure out why you liked it but you always, first,
for a certain kind of mood you would always put
one of those records on, like “Saucerful of
Secrets,” there was always this mood that maybe only
came around like once or twice a week but it
was the kind of mood that ended up being like,
three or four times a week, and then the next thing
you knew, the thing was permanently locked into your CD player. I just, yeah, we were definitely aware of that, though. I’m in a band where, fortunately enough, there’s five songwriters,
so there’s never one guy writing all the stuff so
it’s never monotonous. And sometimes people just
want, some people like to hear bands that repetitively play
the same songs, basically, over and over, just with different words, and I think that we’re a
little bit different than that. Q: Yeah, and then you
go into it and you know exactly what people are waiting for. They are waiting for “No
Rain 2,” and then that’s just gotta be horrible as an artist, to– SH: It actually is. It isn’t as horrible if you recognize it. If you know that prior to it,
I mean, everybody is always like, they pull the beaker
out of the tone card, there’s no beakers on
this record, it’s like, to me that’s a compliment! It’s like, I don’t
wanna live my whole life doing one album by any means, so. I think that all I can really ask, and I think everybody
in the band will agree, the only thing that you
can really ask yourself is to try to musically move forward. You can’t really judge the
satisfaction of a record based upon how many it sells. I mean, all I can do
is ask that our playing gets better, that our
writing seems to get better, and that we feel like we’ve progressed, and I feel like we’ve did that. I feel like we really sampled
out a lot of musical styles that we all were interested
in, that maybe we didn’t feel like waiting to the third
or fourth record to get to, we just felt like getting
started with it now, and if you do that, you
do do it at the risk of losing a lot of people. But I think anybody that
really, really likes the band realizes, and if they’ve ever seen us, they know that we’re into, we like to change. It’s like, I don’t like
to stay in the same genre of music for too long. I like to kinda jump around
and sample everything on the table, and then come
back and reflect on it. And I think that everybody took the chance of branching out into different styles of music when we decided
to write the record and we decided to bring in
a lot of different styles that we weren’t used to working with, and working with them. And to me I think that
it’s like the Beastie Boys. The Beastie Boys’ first
record was phenomenal, and their second record, Paul’s Boutique, was not so happily embraced by everybody, but you know what? It was one of their best records. And I just, I’m enjoying myself, I’m enjoying where we
just started touring, we just got back from Europe, touring, and I’m enjoying playing these songs. They’re fun to play live
and it’s just fun to play other songs, after playing the same songs night after night for two years. Q: Yeah. (chuckles) You wanna take people
through a quick, guided tour of this record? What should they work for and what, and explain things that
might throw them for a loop? SH: Okay, yeah, we ended
up where we recorded it in New Orleans, which I don’t
know if you’ve ever spent any time there– Q: I can’t say I have. SH: It’s a city that one’s
willpower is tested in, that’s for sure. And the metabolism
usually doesn’t prevail. But we recorded it with Andy
Wallace, we recorded it in, like I said, in New Orleans, in a studio called Kingsway,
it’s right in the middle, or, right on the backside
of the French Quarter. So, there’s never a lack in
anything, or for anything to do. We waited for a long time
after the first record to record this one because
we weren’t so apt to wanting to jump on the hype of the
first record and quickly release the second record. We kinda wanted to let the
“No Rain” thing go away and we kinda wanted to just go away, we just wanted people to
just kinda forget about it. We stayed down there
for about three months. We brought in a brass
band, Kermit Ruffins, who’s like the high-flying
horn player in New Orleans. We brought in him and the
Lil’ Rascals brass band to have, like, add some
local flavor to it, and we got done probably
about three months ago. It took us about three
months to make the record. We didn’t really jump, I mean, to spend time in New
Orleans, we knew it was gonna have an effect on the record
so we just kinda stayed down there for a while
and a lot of the things were written before we went down there but they were never, like,
polished and finished off. They were just kinda ideas
when we went down there. We kinda wanted to wait ’till
we had all gotten together to finish them all up,
and we wanted to do that in New Orleans because we
knew that would have an effect on us, as well, and it would
have an effect on the music. The song is almost recorded in the order that they were on the record. The song “Car Seat” was a song about the seasons myth
from that whole thing. The song, let’s see, here I am, forgetting what the
songs are on the record. I never really think
about this part of it. I’m the most unpolished off interview guy that you’ll ever meet. Q: That’s okay. (laughs) SH: No problem with it,
I just don’t like, kinda, reanalyze it a whole lot, so
unfortunately I forget a lot. The song “Galaxie” was
written about a ’64 Galaxie that I bought while I was in town, there. The song “Vernie” is about my grandmother, and the song “Wilt” is
about, it’s a combination of a bus driver that we
have a time of, who had the worst breath, I think, that anybody could ever possibly have. Q: Tell me about “Toes
Across the Floor.” That’s– SH: “Toes Across the
Floor” is a collage of, it kind of is an extension of
the song “Skinned,” in a sense. The song “Skinned” is about
the serial killer Ed Gein. This guy used to build
furniture out of people’s bones. He was the guy they did sort of a spinoff of Silence of the Lambs on.
Q: Right, okay. SH: And you should, you
know what, actually? You should relay that message to the lady who reviewed the record
and said that I shouted. I doubt, my mother read this review, said, Hoon shouts Blind Melon’s Soup. You should tell her that you’ve found out what some of the meanings
of these songs are before she sets her mentality
on the chopping block. Q: Okay.
SH: Tell her that when she slams a song like “Car Seat,”
that she needs to realize that she’s slamming a very touching story that I’m sure that a lot
of people are affected by. Q: Okay, well she’s
working in Cleveland now but I’ll definitely
relay the message, yeah. SH: Make sure to tell her,
she’ll definitely get some, she does, she’s the kind
of person who seems like she’d be the first one to call for, like, free passes to the show. That’s humorous.
You get those people, that’s really funny because we keep all these bad reviews. And it’s alright if someone
legitimately slams you but when you have no clue,
and you can just tell that they didn’t really take the chance of finding anything
out before they decided to post their opinion
on it, it cracks me up, because usually those are the
first people who will call and ask if they can get them and four of their friends
into the show. (laughs) Q: No, I–
SH: You always say, yeah, yeah, yeah, and by the time they go through all the parking problems and
everything and then they get up to the ticket counter and then
they wave through the line, and then they ask for
the tickets they give their envelope and it has clippings in it. That’s always a fun thing to do. Q: No, it’s interesting, because I gave, I try to assign those
reviews based on the, to give it to somebody I
think would be sympathetic, or at least likes the style or music. And I did not, I gave her
the only copy that I got, and I got a copy, and I gave
her a couple weeks later, right after the review ran, and I thought this was a way more
interesting record, like, no offense to the first
record but I thought that was pretty much a
one-note record, and this one I like all the styles and I
think you take a lot of chances and it’s different from
song to song, which is what I always listen to a record for, so. SH: I was a big fan of
The Velvet Underground and I think that was what I liked the most about The Velvet Underground,
it was that you had Lou Reed who could
really, really write words and then all the other people in the band were into different kinds of music. John Cale was like, a complete
master of instruments, and like, each song would just, you know there would be a common thread but you couldn’t put your finger on it. There would be a common
thread that would intertwine all the songs, but you
could never put your finger on what it was. I think that, I mean, the
song “Lemonade” is probably the most bombastic song that
is full-on characteristic of New Orleans, it’s just, it was the song that Kermit and the
band played on which was a definite highlight as far
as the days in the studio. When those guys came in,
Kermit brought in, it was like, four other people, and they
were a band that played out on the street in New Orleans, and man, they were phenomenal, man. And they were the
embodiment of New Orleans. Every characteristic of the
city came through in them just as people who, while they were talking in-between takes. So they were so authentic, man. It was like, it was a pretty funny day. And man, they could drink, oh my God! I was just waiting for, just like, bubbles to start coming out of the
horns because they were, it was really, really funny. I think we enjoyed
ourselves more this time, making a record, because
we had done it before and I think on the first record, and no I don’t take offense
to it because I also believe that it was our first record and I believe that you’re very apprehensive
about feeling comfortable when you go into a studio
and you have all this money that’s pumped into making a
record, when you’re used to doing recordings for like,
a fraction of the cost that it takes, and you
realize all the seriousness that surrounds it. I think it took a long
time for us to relax and kind of feel
comfortable about saying no, we don’t wanna spend that
much money on something. We would rather wait,
rather than jump on the hype of the band, and wait ’till we’re relaxed and feel like making another record. So, I think there’s a lot of the elements surrounding the record are what makes me like the record more, as opposed, sometimes by just listening
to it, yeah, I can like it but I think there’s a lot of
things that are surrounding the record that lay very well with me and that was the manner we
took about recording it, the manner we took as far
as realizing the meshing of what we do together. Each one of us as individuals. Because we’re very different
people and if you were ever in a room with all five of us, you would definitely notice it. So, to try to find a common
denominator and something to grow on equally,
sometimes it’s difficult. There is tension in the
band because everybody knows how to write the songs. But I think the common
denominator is that everybody wants to make the song
as best as it can be. And if there’s only gonna
be one common denominator, thank God that that’s the one. Q: How did all this
feeling about let’s go away for a while, let’s not recreate “No Rain,” how did that sit with the record company? SH: Oh, obviously not well. I mean, but at the same time I think that some people’s plans
are a lot bigger for us than maybe what we want them to be. I can’t, if it’s because of enthusiasm then I’m not gonna say
anything but if it’s just for the almighty dollar
bill, I have to sit and go, you know what? You start fooling with
the longevity of things. After the first record, and
here you’re talking about guys who have never really been on tour and then all of a sudden we got thrust into a two-year tour. Our domestic lives have
completely crumbled, and I think that there was a lot of
foundations that had weakened, and we needed to strengthen them before this could be an honest record, and I think that’s one
thing that everybody really, really agreed on
quite quickly was that we did want to take some
time off and we did wanna repair what had been damaged
by the unexpected success of the first record. And I think it probably, and here you start to dislike
something you love to do, there’s gotta be something
wrong somewhere and I think it was because we were just
being, we were catering to the success of a single. You want to do it because
people wanna see you play a lot, and you wanna play, but
sometimes you really have to sit back and evaluate
if it’s affecting you personally, or not,
because you insult people when you get up there and
you don’t want to be there and you think that they don’t see it. I mean, I notice it,
when I go to see a band, if they don’t wanna be there. And I think that that’s the
way that the last six months of our tour was, because,
and those nights, there were a lot of them. The crowd, their enthusiasm completely carries you, sometimes. That’s where you realize the power of having a following,
because they sometimes are the only saving grace of touring. Because it isn’t all cracked up to what everybody thinks it is. It’s fun for about, like,
the first couple months and then you start to realize that you’re so sheltered
away from, like, reality. You have to quickly remind yourself that this is sorta similar to a carnival, or the 4H fair. It kinda runs along the same lines of it, and you just wanna see a familiar face every now and then, and sometimes that familiar face comes
from someone you’re never met before who knows all
the words to your song or something like that. So, I think that, yeah, to answer your question
in a very long way, the record label, they
probably weren’t happy that we didn’t want to record right away but at the same time, they’re not pushy. And I’m not, I think
record companies, yes, they make way too much
money off the artists who create the records, but I think that I managed to, I’m not
Mr. anti-record company. It’s your fault if you don’t
look at everything clearly before you sign on the dotted line so I’m not gonna sit here and say in hindsight it’s someone else’s fault. But I’m happy with the record and with what we’re doing now and the pace that we’re doing it at. We’re still doing the small kinda tours. We just went over and we
did Europe with Soundgarden, and it was enjoyable
because we know those guys and the shows were really big but I think that we’re more comfortable
in an intimate environment. I think for us, we come off better– Q: Well yeah, you’re gonna play, like, a 1,500-capacity place, so. SH: Yeah, and I think
that that’s where we’re most comfortable at doing. And anything else, because that, anything bigger than that,
the element of laptop computer starts to come around too much. Everything gets too
serious when the shows are bigger than that. Q: So, what was it like
being on stage at Woodstock? SH: It was interesting. I think that, by no means
did it even come close to capturing what the
first one was all about. I think it was a real weak attempt at it, but I didn’t see anybody there who really didn’t have fun, and I
think that what made it, the only things that really made it, they were when you heard the remnants of the first Woodstock, was when you saw, we went on after Joe Cocker,
and Joe Cocker seemed to be feeling all right, was something that just blew me away. I was like, oh my God,
not only am I blown away by this, but we have to play at Woodstock! I mean, I met Peter Max
there and that was someone who I always wanted to meet. I asked the guy to sign my guitar, and Peter Max turned
my acoustic guitar over and drew a whole picture
on the back of it. Q: Cool, that’s great. SH: And I was like, wow,
if this rock and roll thing doesn’t work out, this’ll
pay the rent for a while. (both laugh) Q: That’s right, that’s right. And, okay, well, let me ask you about growing up here. You said your mom sent you the clip so she’s obviously still living here. Did you grow up in Lafayette or– SH: Yeah, I grew up in Lafayette. Q: Okay.
SH: I actually just bought a house there. I live there still. Q: You do? Well, okay, oh my God. SH: I and my girlfriend who I
met, we grew up in Lafayette. We went to McCutcheon High School. We just had our first child
about eight weeks ago. Q: Oh, congratulations! That’s great.
SH: Yeah. Q: Boy or girl?
SH: A little girl. Q: All right!
SH: Yeah, we were, I had to leave like a
week and a half later so it’s hard to say, I
would be lying if I said I was 100% enthusiastic about
being out on tour right now. Q: Yeah.
SH: Because I just, I’m like, it’s hard to be away. Q: Well, you’ve got four more
weeks of crying, shitting, piss and shit, that– SH: I thought that this messed
a man’s sleep up for a living. Doing this, I thought that
you lost a lotta sleep and it ain’t nothing
compared to parenthood. Q: That’s true. But, you wanna be there at three months because three months,
you start getting smiles and things like that. SH: That’s what’s going on. Like, she’s starting to smile right now. She’s found her smile as far
as like, honestly and sincerely using it at times when she wants to smile. That’s what you’re
talking about, isn’t it? Q: Yeah, yeah. SH: Well, obviously, you’re a father. Q: Well, I have a little
girl who’s gonna turn four, and I’ve got another one
who’s due November 4th, so. SH: Oh, wow, congratulations for you too. Q: Yeah, so it’s very cool. But we start seeing the things and the little things that they do, yeah, it’s gonna suck for you to
be on the road and miss this. SH: Well, what I’m doing
is, I’m buying a mobile home to take out on the road. Me and Lisa, we like to
camp and everything as well, and since the baby, now, is
healthy enough to be able, we checked with the doctor,
he said that it was okay that we could take her out. So I think that we’re going to
do a lot of touring with her. Q: Oh, good, good. SH: But I grew up in Lafayette,
went to school there, and just moved back there from Chicago. Q: Yeah, when Dave Bangert, the critic at the Lafayette paper,
he told me a while back, he said, nobody knew
about Axl Rose, really, but everybody knew you and
that you were very vocal, and you made it plain to
anybody who would listen that you were gonna be a star. Is that accurate, or? SH: I think that’s very inaccurate. Q: Oh, okay, I’ll have to ask him again because that’s what I thought he said, but I’ll have to double-check on that. Anyways, so– SH: Dave’s a really nice guy, though. Q: He is, yeah. SH: He really is. He was, sometimes it’s hard
to, it’s not hard to talk to a local paper, but that
is where all my friends are and I feel kinda funny
because I like being at home, because my friends still
tell me to fuck off. And isn’t it wild how
you come to miss that? So I still, actually,
do you know Mike Kelsey? Q: Yeah, sure. SH: Mike’s with us right now. Mike’s here with us in Toronto. Q: Oh, really? Okay.
SH: Yeah, Mike actually played, there’s a hidden track on the record and I wanted, me and Mike played in the first band we
were ever in together, and we went to high school
together and I brought Mike down in New Orleans because
I wanted our producer, Andy, to see Mike’s new age
way of music, now, where, I don’t know if you’ve seen Mike play. Q: I’ve seen his video,
he sent me something– SH: Yeah, were he does
the acoustic percussion off the guitar, and everything. Q: Yeah.
SH: Yeah, that’s the exact video that our producer’s seen,
and wanted to see Mike. So Mike came down to New
Orleans and we ended up, I wanted Andy to record
it because we had a lotta extra tape and we had
extra time, and I was like, I want Mike to just, this
place where we recorded it was like a three-story mansion. It was really killer. And Mike went up in the top. It was really old, so
Mike goes up in the top and we set up a Mike right in the hallway because the echo in the hallway was great and it was sorta, you
didn’t have to create it through a bunch of technology. It was original and just authentic sounds that he was getting. And he played for like an hour straight, and we recorded all of it. And what we did was, we
took the best parts of it and we kinda just made
this swirl of, like, weird music and everybody
picked an instrument that they didn’t know how to play and it was all based around
what Mike had played. And then we took the song
“New Life,” on the record, which is about my child,
and Lisa telling me she was pregnant, it
was a song that we put on the record. And we took the vocals track
from that and we played it backwards over what
Mike had done, and it’s the hidden track on the record. And the only way to get to it, which, don’t tell anyone. You don’t have to put
this in your interview. I’m actually just telling you, personally, because you know Mike.
Q: Okay. SH: You have to lay on the
scan button, I believe, and it’ll scan back
through it at the beginning of the record. You have to scan all the way through it. And you’ll hear like a
blah-lah-lah, and it stops. And then let off the scan
button, and it’ll start. Q: Oh, okay.
SH: But, yeah. Mike’s here with us now. Q: That’s cool.
SH: He’s gonna play with us at this, we’re gonna take him on tour and he’s gonna play his little thing between the first band and us. Q: Great, that’s wonderful. SH: And he’s up here doing
this, it’s for MTV of Canada. We’re doing their Unplugged thing. And, oh, it’s such a pain the butt, but they’re fun to do. But setting them up you
have to go in and just do all the crap that does
around setting it up is sometimes a real pain in the ass. But Mike’s playing on it with us. Q: So, what was the band that
you and Mike were in together? SH: We were in a couple
that didn’t even have names, and then we were in a band
called Stiff Kitten for a while. Q: Stiff Kitten, okay, yeah. SH: And then we ended up figuring out that we really did like doing this, and so it was like this
cheesy cover-tune band that we were in, and we
used to just get our kicks out of doing that, and
then we just realized that you grow out of
that whole 80s rock thing and you think, wow, I really enjoyed the therapeutic value of writing songs. And so we started just, we kind of stayed and wrote songs together. We didn’t really have a band. And then we just started
to get into different kinds of music and stuff, like
that, and I ended up, I just, I had to leave Lafayette. I got tired of, I like
to write so I wanted to go on a vacation
and I think my vacation is still going on. Q: So, where did you go? SH: I ended up moving to
Los Angeles in, like, 1989. And I always kept in touch
with Mike and all that. And I really kinda went
out and I wasn’t really looking for a band, was the thing. When I moved out to Los Angeles, I was kinda just wanting to see it, and I was wanting to climb into writing. And I wanted to climb into
writing about just traveling around, and I was just a victim of a lot of small town
mentality as far as, like, the racist prejudice state of mind that inhabits a lot of small towns. And I needed to see why I
didn’t want to be that way. And I think that my point of
view was very, very narrow and I needed to broaden my horizons, and I needed to seek myself
into a community that had, like, a little bit of culture
and a little bit of, I went from, when I was in high school I was a very, very, very small-minded kid as far as anybody whose lifestyle, whether you be gay or whatever,
I didn’t agree with it, but I never really found out why. And when I moved out to LA I realized that I wasn’t as prejudiced
as what I thought I was. I was able to embrace a lot of people. I didn’t have to agree with it
as far as my personal choice, but that didn’t mean I
couldn’t understand it. And it was something that, as
far as me as a human being, helped me grow more
than anything was moving to Los Angeles and having
so many different colors and creeds on my block,
more so than I had ever come in contact with, from my roommate to the people next door. I had, like, Asians,
Blacks, gays, everything surrounding me, and I think
that finding the ability to adapt to all that helped me out as far as helping me grow up a bit. Q: So it’s kind of funny,
in a way, that you’re back. SH: I think everybody kinda, I’m speaking obviously
for me, but I think that the best thing for me was to move away, and one I stepped outside of my home, I was able to deal with
home a little better. And I love the fact that I can still feel comfortable in my hometown,
and there’s not a lot of people that bug me, as far as
coming in and ringing my door at three at the morning, I don’t have, a lot of people still don’t give a shit about what I’m doing, and I like that. Q: Now, so, this thing that I was saying that Dave said, that maybe
I’ve got completely wrong, so this is not right at all, I mean, you were just quietly going
along and playing in bands– SH: Well I wasn’t quietly, ever.
Q: Okay. Q: I don’t think quiet
ever fit in personally with me, at all. But I think, I mean, I
always suffered from wanting, being somewhere and wanting
to be somewhere else. I think sometimes that could be mistaken as what you’re saying. I was never satisfied, but sometimes it wasn’t, that
wasn’t a bad thing for me. I’ve learned to deal with it, well, I struggle with it, but
I’ve found a way to kinda ease the anxiety a bit. But I mean, I always want to do more. I’m never satisfied with what I’ve done. I want to do more. And I was an athlete
all through high school, and as far as being a star athlete, that was something that
maybe, a lot of people, because a lot of people
knew me from Lafayette, they never knew my
musical background at all as opposed to my athletic background. I pole vaulted, and played football, and I wrestled, and I
did all right in each one and it was funny because
I was looking through journaling career clippings
of me pole vaulting and things like that,
and it’s really funny because I still have
that hunger inside of me that was just like, man,
I can remember that. The competitive air that surrounded that, and I loved it. And it was like, I was never satisfied with the second place. And unfortunately that ended up being, actually, it turned out
to be very frustrating. I couldn’t enjoy a game
of pinball without wanting to beat my opponent to the point where it wasn’t a
recreational game of pinball. I think I just wanted to
get the most out of life. I think that anything
that entails traveling and meeting different people and different cultures,
and things like that. I think that’s what I
enjoyed about going to Europe and taking trips to third-world countries where you go out. Maybe I take a lot for granted. I realize that about
what I took for granted when I lived in Lafayette, and now I moved back home
so I’m just kind of applying what I’ve seen and learned, trying to build a quiet home life there. Q: That’s great. And I guess you had your earlier moments of rock stardom and getting into trouble and making headlines
with various incidents, but you were pretty quiet
the last years or so, and– SH: Having a kid does that to you. Q: Yeah, absolutely. (laughs) SH: I mean, I–
Q: There’s a lot less time to go out and do that. SH: I mean, someone told me
there’s a reason why, now. And I looked at him and
said, you know what? For me there’s a reason why not. There’s a reason why not to do something. Q: Yeah.
SH: So, I mean, I think that, I look at the big
picture a little more now as opposed to the small one, and this, I’m enjoying what we’re
doing and at this point in time I would like to
think that I have the energy to do it for a long time but I know that there’s a bigger picture,
and I think that this is just a small part of it. So I’m just kinda enjoying it now, but obviously the world is
revolving around my daughter. And I think that Lisa and I are trying to build a very good home for her, and I don’t think that me
being in jail somewhere is the appropriate way to go about that. Q: Yeah, funny how that works. SH: And I was, man, some
of my friends called me and they said, “Shannon, did
you hear what Bob and Tom said about your child?” And I’m thinking, I don’t care
what anybody says about me, but don’t take it out, my daughter was like a
week, not even a week old. And they were calling her who-blue-hoon.
Q: How nice. SH: Isn’t that horrible? Their element of humor
is about the other thing that keeps, I dunno, I don’t really know. All I know is that I could
never understand why they’d go, “This is Bob and Tom, and
this is Journey on Q90!” This was just such a contrast. But, you know what? Maybe it’s part of the humor. Q: Well, I don’t think so. I think they are trying
to be so mainstream that, because they say, we’ve
got the WFMS listener who’s gonna listen to Bob and Tom and you don’t wanna listen to
a song that’ll turn them off and you don’t wanna
play a song that’ll turn the easy listening guy
off, and you don’t wanna, and it’s like, man, you
start mass-marketing yourself that way, and pretty soon every song is “No Rain,” isn’t it? SH: Yeah, no kidding. From the hits of the 90s! In 20 years that song is gonna haunt me. Q: Yeah, can you ever see a day that you won’t be playing that song live? SH: You know what, actually,
we just started playing it live and I think that now,
it’s gonna start being a lot more comfortable. Last time we played it was
Woodstock and the other night was the first time we
played it since then. And I think we just had to
let it rest for a while. Now that you play it
in the middle of, like, a bunch of other new songs it’s a little bit more comfortable. And when they request it
out of every radio station we went to, when we do acoustic shows, it was like, that was the only thing that a lot of people wanted to hear so we started playing it first off, to get rid of the people
who just came to hear that. Q: Yeah, I saw the Rembrandts
a couple of weeks ago and then they got the problem of having that Friends song, and– SH: Oh, yeah.
Q: So they were playing it in the middle of the set and
just getting it over with and I think maybe playing it first isn’t a bad idea. Just getting it over with. SH: The Indigo Girls used to do that too with that Closer to Fine video. Q: Mhm, mhm, yeah. That makes sense. SH: Now. Listen to me, I’m so
corrupted by this video age. It’s like, that Closer to Fine video. Instead of saying song, I said video. Q: Yeah, and–
SH: That’s a lazy way of thinking it.
Q: And boy, I hate to ask this, but I know
that people are gonna ask. The B-Girl, is that the end of her career? Has she had her 15 minutes of fame? SH: I don’t know. But I know that that girl is gonna hate her parents one day. Why did you let me do this? Doing the video was okay but then she went out on her own, like, little B-Girl press tour,
and it was funny, man. She was annoying as all get out, and her parents were even,
like, twice as annoying. And I think if I wouldn’t
have been off-the-record enhanced by acid, I would have fuckin’ thrown her to the cows, man. That girl is just, like, she wouldn’t shut up! Not that I leave too
many gaps between words. I mean, this girl made
me look like a mime. Q: Well, that was the whole thing about the early successes. I looked at that and then
I listened to their record and I said, this isn’t what
this band is about at all. And people have just gotten the wrong, they think you’re the
Spin Doctors or something. SH: And they’ve got
this whole hippie thing. Q: Right.
SH: And I’m thinkin’, okay, well, I guess we didn’t do
too much to dissuade anybody as far as, like, the way our appearance may have looked in the video, or some of the people we hung out with. You know what I just
heard that’s really sick, which bothers me? With Timothy Leary. We just did the video “Galaxie” with him. He’s in the video with
us, and we just found out he’s got prostate cancer and is dying. Q: Oh, geez.
SH: Isn’t that sad? That guy was a real, I mean, man. What a little boy in a very, I mean, he seemed, he could
relate to you no matter. I watched him talking with
this young, little boy who was in the video, who
played the elf in the video. The little, his apprentice. The wizard’s apprentice, whatever. He was just a 10 or 12 year old kid, and I was just watching Timothy
Leary interact with him. And he was just such a kid himself! So young at heart! Q: And you can imagine
the revisionist history that’s gonna go out when he dies. SH: Oh, God.
Q: It’s gonna be ridiculous. But, just a couple of quick things. When did you, you graduated
from McCutcheon in– SH: In ’85.
Q: ’85. And so–
SH: We got beat by Franklin Central in ’83 in the High School State Final Game. Q: Uh-huh, and–
SH: I was, I was beat 17 to three by David
Bridgeforth from Warren Central in my 1984 Summer State
Wrestling Tournament. Q: Wow, okay. Well, that’s– SH: And Franklin Central
High School’s gym, which was the worst because
they had just previously whipped our ass in football. I was such a jock. Q: That’s just so hard to imagine. I don’t know why. But it’s really kinda cool. And now you’ve got a whole different life and a whole different
career, but, very funny. And so you’re about 28? SH: I turned 28 this month. Q: 28 this month, okay. So, okay, that’s great. And, anything else you
want me to tell people, or? SH: You know what? Just tell Bob and Tom I said hello and I hope they’re doing well. And I really cared for them. Here’s what I was thinking
which really made me angry. This was the only thing
that made me angry. What if, by chance, we
would of had difficulties with the pregnancy? What if there would of
been something wrong with our child? I think those are things that they should really think about before they, that’s why I’m saying, I don’t care, I put my own head on the chopping block. You don’t have to set it down there. And I shove, unfortunately, all
five of my feet in my mouth. But I’m aware of this,
so I have no problem when I’m attacked in any
type of manner, at all. I’m used to it. I’m above being thoroughly affected by it, but when you start to talk about things like that, and here I,
before we even had a child, one thing that, like, I
look at capital punishment and I cannot say that people
commit crimes against kids should just murder, are
not, that is the one thing that I deem where capital
punishment is appropriate. I don’t believe in anybody who
has the gut to kill a child has the guts to offer anything to society. And that is the only
thing, like, I believe in Amnesty International,
but that’s their big hangup is the death penalty. I believe that 90% of what they’re about is so morally correct, and
I believe it’s appropriate in third-world countries
where people kill people for their political
beliefs, but in America I think our judicial system is kinda a little more of a grip
than South America. South American cities that
we visited where people would walk around with
fuckin’ machine guns in the street, in malls and thing, and I was just thinkin’ I was like, yeah, I can stomach a lot of
things but when you start attacking children in any manner, I don’t care what it is, that’s something that I
feel is so inappropriate. Don’t condemn my child
because she’s my child. Q: You know what I wanted
to ask you, getting back to music for one quick second is, this record, and one of
the things that the person who wrote the review for us
criticized was your singing, and I think your singing
is so much more interesting on this than, I’m getting a lot more from your voice, I mean, I’m
getting a real wide range of sounds and such and I’m wondering if that’s just me as a
listener or if you’re consciously doing that. SH: You know what? I think after the first
tour, to be honest with ya, I tore my vocal chords to pieces. And I think that, I was never, I always would go and consult a doctor to make sure that I wasn’t
getting the throat nodules. And when I found out that
I wasn’t, I was like, well, God, it sure feels like I do. And I’ve always been a
fan of the raspy singer. I always loved that about Janis Joplin. And I think that a lot of people, it’s a love-hate thing. You either like it or you don’t. And I think that on this record, I think that because I was more apt to finding the conviction of believing of what I was singing about and the conviction of executing it, I think I really didn’t pay
a whole lot of attention to the singing proper way
which is what I loved to, I don’t wanna be perfect. I don’t want to sing every line perfectly, pitch-wise, or whatever. I’m looking more for the
feeling of satisfaction and I feel like if you have that, then whatever it sounds like is about as authentic as it can get,
as far as if you’re trying to really capture the
meaning of what you’re saying or what you’re singing, and
I think that I’ve finally got my throat to the worn-out, damaged way that I’ve always wanted it to be, to be honest with you. I’m more comfortable
now with the way I sing than I ever, I don’t feel
insecure about it anymore. I don’t feel like I’m
trying to sing something that I can’t sing and whereas, I mean, I can listen to the first
record and I can hear the insecure person that
I was before I was sure that I wanted to do this. When we made the first
record we were like, wow, we have a career! And none of us wanted
a career in anything. So all of a sudden, I have to go, shit, now we gotta go out and
follow this thing that, you know, everybody in the
band is into different things other than music, so it’s
like, now we have this engulfing all of our time, it was like, well, I’m gonna have to get
comfortable with doing this so I think after the course of time I’ve developed the voice
that I have now which I feel on the record is, if
you’re looking for someone with perfect pitch and perfect execution, then I’m not your guy! But I mean, I’m comfortable
with it, and I’m, it’s someone’s opinion and they have a right to it, and there’s– Q: I was just thinking of range. The first one, the
first record, I thought, this is very Perry Farrell-like. It sounds like that. But then you listen to
this and there’s a song that reminds me of Jon Anderson of Yes, and there’s a song that’s
weird but it reminds me of Jose Feliciano. So it’s sort of, so you
hit the smooth stuff and you hit the rough
stuff and it was just, I just thought it was a
more interesting range of stuff, so that’s, so, anyway, this is great and
you’ve been more than kind with your time and I’ll see you– SH: You know what? Great conversations are,
they take the interview out of the interview, you know? Q: Yeah.
SH: I mean, plus, with the kid thing I could talk to you all day about that. Q: (laughs) Yeah, I could do the same. SH: Weird how I feel when you
look into your child’s eyes, how you feel like the baby. And they take on the appearance of, like, an old human being, that’s
about a million years old, who’s come back to see how you’re doing. Q: Well the thing that your child will do, it’s just amazing, the
things that’ll happen all of a sudden, I mean, when she starts to crawl. And one day I went out for a little while, I came back, my wife said, “Look at this!” And my daughter was crawling up the steps, which I just thought, oh my God, this is the end of the world, now we’re– SH: I’m quttin’ my job! Q: We are dead. She is gonna come down
the stairs and just fall down the stairs and just, so you spend your life worrying about stuff like that, but when she– SH: So sad! Q: When she starts talking
to you and when she starts walking around, and– SH: How old are you?
Q: I am 36. SH: And you have two children>?
Q: Yeah. SH: Wow, good for you. Q: One and one on the way, so. SH: Man, that’s incredible. The calm demeanor is something that my child didn’t inherit from me. Q: Yeah, but that’s hard. You’ll see things that
just, I look at my daughter sometimes and I think,
man, she just looks, I see me in her, which
scares the shit out of me, because my wife is a hell of a
lot better looking than I am, so, you don’t wanna see that. But you see things that she
does and she picks up things that you do and say and you just go, oh my God, why those things? Why can’t she pick up my good habits? The other things. SH: Nico looks like Lisa, and then when she gets
mad she looks like me. The expression on her face,
and her eyes and everything change into me, and it’s really horrible! Oh no!
Q: Oh, yeah. That’s the same thing
that I experience, too. I just think, man, she gets mad, and that is me right there. The little body, little
30-pounder going nuts, and being stubborn as shit. SH: That’s so funny.
Q: And that’s my traits. SH: Well, Marc, it was a
pleasure talking to you, sir. Q: Same here. SH: And if you can, come out
the show when we’re there. Q: Oh, I’ll be there. SH: Alright!
Q: See you in a couple weeks. SH: Come up and grab me by the elbow. Q: All right.
SH: Take care. Q: See ya, bye.

7 thoughts on “#010 Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon 1995 | The Tapes Archive podcast

  1. Extremely Impressive, I totally liked it!, See this New Album 'Monish Jasbird – Death Blow', channel link www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_x5rlxirO-WKjLIyk6okQ?sub_confirmation=1 , you may like it 🙂

  2. It has always boggled my mind why "soup" was slammed and even more so now after hearing Shannon break down the description of the songs. Like I knew before hearing this what "vernie" and "galaxy" is about, but still, just cos "soup" wasn't a "no rain" type record, don't mean it should be discarded… give it a chance.

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