Matt Carmichael
mattc@rocknroll.net
Shannon Hoon remembered
Maybe it was a smoke screen. Maybe it was all image and no reality. Maybe Shannon Hoon thought that being a druggie rock star in trouble with the law was passe. Or maybe it was just harder than he thought to clean up his act.

"All that is of the past, I'm a new man now," Blind Melon's Hoon had recently told CoverSTORY about his past problems, "I've come to realize that that type of behavior takes away from what I could really be learning and what I'm trying to do."

The 28-year-old singer was found dead on October 21 in his tour bus. The band manager, Chris Jones, said it was an accidental drug overdose.

I believe he was trying. I believe, having spoken with him, that he wasn't the new-kid musician with the old-school rock problems. He got mad about being called a rock star. "You love to say that," he said, "You love to just smack me around with that term. To me that and zero have the same common denominator."

The biggest influence in Hoon's decision to straighten out was his baby daughter, Nico Blue Hoon. His relationship to her and her mother (his high school sweetheart, Lisa Crouse) was critical to Hoon. He said that his outlook had shifted as he became a family man. "You feel like a part of your identity just go away," he said "like your whole one-sided way of thinking."

Blind Melon rocketed up the pop charts in 1993 following the success of their single "No Rain," and the dancing bee-girl from the video. Their recent album, "Soup," wasn't much of a hit yet, but then again, it took more than a year before their first album took off. They were on tour promoting the new disc bringing their energetic shows to audiences who hadn't heard from them in a couple years.

Hoon's off-stage antics often focused attention away from his intense and intimate on-stage performances. It's a shame that he couldn't turn it around fast enough.

c1996 Thompson Target Media