On September 26th, 1967, a beautiful baby boy was born in Lafayette, Indiana. He was given the name Richard Shannon Hoon. His father, Richard "Dick" Hoon, and mother, Nel Hoon, were very excited about their new bundle of joy. Shannon was the youngest of three children. Shannon's family lived in the country off a gravel road in Dayton. Dayton is a small town right outside of Lafayette. His parents drove about 15 miles into town everyday to get him to and from school. Since they lived in the country, Shannon spent a lot of time playing outside with his brother Tim, and sister Anna. Shannon was a very rambunctious child who was full of energy. Nel and Dick figured out very quickly that they needed to find something for Shannon to do. That is when he began taking Karate lessons. He was really good, too. By age nine, he had already earned his first degree black belt. His family traveled to seven different states for Karate competitions. He always came home with a trophy.
As Shannon got older, he continued to participate in many activities to keep busy. In high school he really enjoyed playing sports. He was a member of the football team, the wrestling team, and he was a pole vaulter. He was involved in school musicals, a member of the school pep team, the FCA, and competed with the Euchre Team. He was a very popular student. Everybody enjoyed hanging with Shannon. He was fun, kindhearted, and always made people laugh. Shannon also had a temper and, needless to say, he didn't take any crap from anyone. It has been said by people that knew him, that if there was trouble in town, more than likely, Shannon was involved. When he was about 17 years old he started dating Lisa Crouse. Shannon graduated from McCutcheon High School on June 2nd, 1985.
Shannon was involved in two different local Lafayette bands, Mank Rage and Styff Kytten. Styff Kytten became quite popular among the locals. They had a few steady gigs at local establishments in town. After spending time with both bands, he realized that he still wanted more. Shannon grew extremely bored with his hometown's back roads, windmills, and cornfields. With very little money in his pocket and a wild dream, he hopped on a Grey Hound bus and took off for L.A. When he arrived, he was lucky to already have a friend involved in the 'scene', his sister's old friend and classmate, Axl Rose. After hearing Shannon sing, Axl realized he was the real deal, and asked him to sing back up for a few Guns "N' Roses songs. Shannon also appeared in the 'Don't Cry' video.
By March of 1990, fate had brought together an amazing group of guys that seemed to have the same vibe. Together they had a chemistry that created a sound unlike any other. Shannon was the frontman (lead vocals, guitar, kazoo) from Lafayette, Brad Smith was the bass player and back up vocals from Mississippi, Rogers Stevens was/is the guitar player from Mississippi, Christopher Thorn was/is the guitar player from Pennsylvania, and Glen Graham was/is the drummer and percussionist from Mississippi. This amazing group of guys called themselves Blind Melon. After Blind Melon recorded 'The Goodfoot Workshop, a four song demo, Capitol Records signed them in 1991. Although they had not put out an official record yet, in June of 1991, Blind Melon began to tour. They quickly realized that California wasn't really their scene. By the end of the year, they moved to Durham, NC. That was where they rented the "Sleepyhouse". The guys would sleep all day and then stay up all night working on music. That is where they became really close. They took the music that they wrote in NC to the London Bridge Studios in Seattle, to record with Rick Parashar. It was released on September 22nd, 1992. After pouring their hearts out into their music, and spending many, many, many hours on the road, Blind Melon hit the big time. When they released a video for their single ‘No Rain’, which featured the ‘Bee Girl’, it became very popular on MTV. It was an instant radio hit, and defiantly helped to propel their popularity. In 1994 Blind Melon decided to move out to New Orleans to record at Kingsway Studios with Andy Wallace. They stayed there from November 1994 - January 1995. New Orleans is not the best place for someone fighting demons.
"New Orleans is just a city that enhances every kind of madness. They say that the Devil was born there and I'm not too sure he wasn't born in the room I had to sleep in! It brought the Werewolf out in me, man! That city will clean your pores, man." ` Shannon Hoon
On July 11th, 1995 Shannon's and Lisa's daughter, Nico Blue Hoon, was born. Shannon was so in love with his little girl. Everyone really thought that if anything would make him straighten up, it would be her. After another trip to rehab, Shannon hit the road with Blind Melon to promote the 'Soup' album that had been released on August 15th, 1995. Things got really hard for Shannon, both with the stress of leaving a new baby at home, and trying to stay clean. On the morning of October 21st, 1995 the world stood still for everyone that loved Shannon and Blind Melon. Shannon was found unresponsive by their sound guy, that had went to get him for sound check. His body just couldn't take it any more. He was pronounced dead in New Orleans, at the young age of 28, due to cocaine overdose. His family, the band, and his friends, were devastated.
On November 12th, 1996, Blind Melon decided to pay tribute to Shannon, and his daughter, by producing an album of previously recorded music. The album is entitled 'Nico'. To this day, the guys still have a very close bond with Nico Blue. On November 19th, 1996, the documentary 'Letters From A Porcupine' was released. It was full of never before seen footage of the entire band. It was quite the gift for fans after loosing Shannon. It was a glimpse into what it was like for Blind Melon from start to finish, or what we thought was the finish. Classic Masters was released on January 29th, 2002. It is a beautifully produced compilation album. Almost every band has a "best of" album., Well so does Blind Melon. 'The Best Of Blind Melon' was released on September 27th, 2005. On October 17th, 2006, we were given another awesome gift with the release of 'Live At The Palace'. Through the years, many other live Blind Melon albums have been released as well as some pretty amazing bootlegs. For those who knew Shannon, they know that his mother Nel had bought him a video camera when Blind Melon first hit the road. Shannon filmed everything!! A few years back, Nel and the family decided to give Danny Clinch permission to take all 250+ hours of Shannon's footage, and create a documentary through the eyes of Shannon. This film is entitled 'All I Can Say' and premiered at Tribeca Film Festival on April 26th, 2019.
For many years the guys (Blind Melon) didn't even want to play music. A few of them began to play with other bands but they did not play the music that they created with Shannon. In 2006 Christopher and Brad produced a record for a guy named Travis T. Warren. Travis blew them away. They had never thought that they would want to get the band back together until they met him. In 2007 they began to create music with Travis and in 2008 they released their first new music since the loss of Shannon. While nobody can ever replace Shannon, and Travis does not try to, he does an amazing job as the frontman for Blind Melon. Blind Melon currently performs both new and old music at shows. It is pretty fantastic that after all these years we still get to hear the music that Shannon helped write and create.
Shannon's memory also lives on through some very dedicated Melonheads, Every year on the weekend closest to his birthday, fans gather from all over the world in Lafayette, to celebrate Shannon. These fans have become quite the tight knit family. Check out the Celebrating Shannon section of this site for more information.