‘90s alt band Blind Melon headed to Agave in Avon
If you go ...
What: Blind Melon.
When: Saturday, Dec. 29, doors open at 9 p.m.
Where: Agave in Avon.
Agave in Avon will welcome alternative band Blind Melon on Saturday, Dec. 29. Doors will open at 9 p.m.
Twenty-five years after the release of a self-titled debut — an album that fused southern psych-rock influences with nineties-era alt-grunge — Blind Melon is returning to the studio and the stage.
The internet age has made rediscovering the gems of eras past all too easy and reunion tours of old material an obvious choice. But despite the fact that the band’s breakout single, “No Rain,” became one of the most indelible music videos of the ’90s, Blind Melon’s return is no exercise in nostalgia. With new members and new material defined by powerhouse harmonies, the band sounds both fresh and familiar.
Blind Melon began in Los Angeles, founded in 1990 by a group of southern transplants. Rogers Stevens, Brad Smith, and Glen Graham (on guitar, bass and drums, respectively) all headed west from Mississippi, while Christopher Thorn (guitar) hailed from Pennsylvania. The group’s original and iconic vocalist, Shannon Hoon, arrived shortly thereafter from Lafayette, Indiana.
The band gained some early buzz after Hoon sang on the Guns ’N’ Roses single “Don’t Cry,” and the group’s early demos landed into the hands of Capitol Records, which resulted in a recording contract soon after. Nearly overnight, the band went from honing the distinctive blend of stripped-down psychedelia in a sleepy old house to topping Billboard charts and shredding through a set at Woodstock ’94.
But all too soon the clouds began to gather. Critics panned the 1995 follow-up album “Soup.” Then, during a tour stop in New Orleans — just a few weeks after the album’s release — Shannon Hoon died from a cocaine overdose.
Hoon’s death was cataclysmic: He was just 28 years old and a new father. In the wake of the tragedy, the band struggled to carry on. The band released a record of outtakes, “Nico,” named for Hoon’s daughter and a documentary, “Letters from a Porcupine.”
The record included such gems as “Soul One” while the documentary received a Grammy nomination. But, unable to find a suitable replacement for Hoon, the band officially disbanded in 1999.
Blind Melon’s revival began in Austin, Texas, when Smith and Thorn produced a record by singer/songwriter Travis Warren in 2006. Few singers possess the range of someone like Hoon, and fewer still the raspy edge. Warren had it, and moreover, Warren had his own musical ideas, which served to push the band into new territory. The discovery brought the four remaining members together again, and with a new singer up to the task, they reunited.
In 2007, they sold out clubs around the country and recorded their first new music in over a decade, culminating with the 2008 release of “For My Friends.”
Although the band continued to perform around the globe, the dates were occasional and the future uncertain. Then came a period of unprecedented creativity.
Up late one night in late 2016, Stevens sent a sketch of a song to Warren. When he woke up the next morning, Warren had sent the track back with his vocals on it. Something clicked. That late-night correspondence ushered in a period of prolific songwriting, which continued into 2018. Based on the series of demos followed, a new album was afoot.
Limited pre-sale tickets are $27 at http://www.agaveavon.com.
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Looking to do a long hike this fall? Try the Fancy Pass-Missouri Lakes Loop in the Holy Cross Wilderness.