It's been exactly 11 years since the death of singer Shannon Hoon effectively put an end to Blind Melon.
It's been exactly 11 years since the death of singer Shannon Hoon effectively put an end to Blind Melon. But now, the group's surviving members -- guitarists Christopher Thorn and Rogers Stevens, bassist Brad Smith and drummer Glen Graham -- are back together again under the Blind Melon banner, with a new singer, 25-year-old Amarillo, Texas, native Travis Warren.
Warren met Smith and Thorn through a mutual friend and was initially interested in having the pair help produce his own music. Then, a joke email from Smith to Stevens got the ball rolling towards getting back together last summer. "Brad wrote a fake press release and sent it to me -- it was saying how we were back together and how Travis had brought us together," Stevens says. "It was the first I'd heard of it. I called Brad and I was like, 'What do you mean? You got the band back together without me?'"
Soon after, Warren and the four Melons congregated in the studio. "We decided to get into a room and play -- we thought it would be fun," Stevens says. "I was really skeptical in the beginning about doing anything, and none of us are into doing any kind of 'nostalgia trip.' We started playing, and I knew within the first half of a song that [Warren] was nailing it. It was something about the way he did it that it immediately disarmed my skepticism."
The group then took a break to collaborate on songs via e-mail, and recently got back together for another round of jamming, which confirmed that Blind Melon was back in business. "We started writing and recording, and we've got three new songs that we're excited about," says Stevens, revealing their titles as "Make a Difference," "Harmful Belly" and "For My Friends."
"His voice is in that sort of higher register that Shannon's voice was in, but he doesn't sound like him," Stevens promises. "There are certain similarities, just because he's in that range, but on the stuff that we're doing, his phrasing and whatnot is different than Shannon's. On the old songs, he can sing them really well. They are different, but he definitely was influenced by Shannon."
The group plans to have a new record finished early next year and hit the road afterward. Currently, a label is not in place. "I don't know what's going to happen -- we don't have anything right now," Stevens says. "We haven't talked to anybody about it. People are calling, but we don't know what's going to happen. These days, it's wide open."
Despite such a long layoff (their last all-new studio recording was 1995's "Soup"), Stevens says that the group is picking up right where it left off musically. "I feel like I'm back where I belong with these guys," he enthuses.