HomeInterviewsChristopher Thorn of Blind Melon on Sea.Hear.Now, New Music & Shannon Hoon

Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon on Sea.Hear.Now, New Music & Shannon Hoon

Blind Melon
Photo Courtesy of 6Line Management

An iconic singer. An iconic single.

Blind Melon is a band that could easily be a nostalgia act. They could play their legendary song “No Rain” at any show anywhere and call it a day. They could hang their hat on this song, and the legend of their late, great lead singer Shannon Hoon.

Blind Melon is a band that could easily shun their past. They could look beyond their ’90s hit, and move forward with terrific new lead singer Travis Warren, and create a new name for themselves with a new sound.

Instead, Blind Melon has become a band that does a little bit of both. They’re a band that honors their history and their late frontman every time they come on stage — performing the songs he made famous with the same fire and energy they did nearly a quarter century ago. Yet, at the same time, they move forward with new band members, creating new, relevant music, and performing at cutting edge music festivals.

We caught up with Christopher Thorn, an original member of Blind Melon, to discuss All I Can Say (the Shannon Hoon/Blind Melon documentary), his art, the band’s new music, and performing at Sea.Hear.Now.

You’re playing Sea.Hear.Now this weekend, a festival organized by someone who has a long history with the band, Danny Clinch. How special is it to play the festival of someone you know so well?

It’s honestly the best thing to play for a longtime friend of the band. Truthfully, Sea.Hear.Now was one of the best festivals I went to in 2018. I went last year as a fan, and it was one of my favorite festival experiences. It had some of the best sight lines, I loved the music, and where it was.

Can you talk a little more about why you loved it?

Sometimes festivals are so spread out that you end up walking 10 miles in a day and that can be miserable. I just love the look of it, the art on display, the bands playing. [The art] inspired me and I hung out in the art tent looking at art, watching people playin and I ending jamming a little bit. It was a great feeling.

[The festival] felt like Danny and his buddies put on a cool show. It wasn’t corporate, it felt like a mom and pop show — but every little detail was thought it. It was a comfortable experience, and the details made for a great weekend.

Outside of your set what are you most excited for at Sea.Hear.Now?

The art. I’m sure my art this year. I’m a Lumineers fan so I want to see them. I want to see Dave Matthews Band. I missed them at Kaboo [del Mar] this year. My wife and son saw them and loved them. I’m also looking forward to discovering new bands I haven’t heard before.

What are you more nervous about — showing your art, or playing your set?

Showing my art (laughs). Art has been a separate thing from music for me for a long time. I started doing it when I was bored on tour. I didn’t show it to anyone for years outside of maybe my wife. I’ve put 10,000 hours into music. I can create you a song in a day. But, art. Art is pure. It comes from a different place. I’ve played a zillion sets but this is my first time [publicly] showing my art.

Here’s a super broad question — can you describe your art?

They started as drawings in hotels. When I was on tour I would flip the canvas of hotel paintings and I would create on them. So most of my pieces I don’t have — they’re spread out in hotels around the world.

I have kept a journal, an over-sized one, with me for 30 years. I’ve drawn and wrote in them. It’s a piece of [Blind Melon] history much like Danny’s documentary on the and which features videos shot by Shannon. So I’m taking these pages, cutting them out, and mounting them. The works is from the tours we did in the ’90s and ’00s. It’s something special an event like this.

Danny Clinch (and others) created the documentary All I Can Say, which like you mentioned features videos shot by Shannon Hoon. You scored the film. Can you talk how it was seeing footage from decades ago featuring your late friend and bandmate?

At times it was excruciating. Actually, I don’t think that’s a strong enough word. But, at other times it was so great to hang out with my friend for a few hours. Other times I’d look and say “God damn it why aren’t you here.” Other times I’d be laughing. I really loved doing it, but at the same time, it was real tough. It’s a beautiful movie.

Did working on this film allow for any personal type of closure for you?

In a weird way there was closure. Those videos were so important to Shannon. He was obsessed with filming. It pissed me off at the time (because he was always filming), but I’m so thankful he did it. I’m glad Danny, Taryn Gould, and Colleen Hennessey were able to make this finish. It’s great to have something this good out there about Shannon.

On the other side of the coin, did working on this film/the release of this film help bring closure in the world of the band? Did it help you move on?

We’re moving, but we’re not moving on from Shannon. We honor Shannon every night. Trav does an amazing job [as lead singer of the band]. Moving on doesn’t feel right … we’re continuing, but not moving on. Shannon’s always with us.

I totally get that. You dropped a new single recently called ‘Way Down and Far Below.’ Each single and album, in my opinion, is a new musical journey. What journey is this song, and eventual album taking us on?

The song is amazing with great lyrics written by Trav. We’re on a new path that feels organic. We’ve got something to prove. We’ve got new member in the band, and we’re working together and writing great songs.

With new members in the band has that lead to an evolution in your sound?

Yes, but as soon as you get me, Rogers [Stevens] and Glen [Graham] together [the music] is going to sound like Blind Melon. Glen is so key to this. If we had any other drummer we would not sound like Blind Melon. But when you get the three original guys in the room something special happens. But yes, Nathan [Towne] and Trav are helping it evolve, but the core is still there. We’re not trying to overthink anything when it comes to writing new music.

What do you think keeps Blind Melon relevant to this day? You guys aren’t on these all-90s shows where people just want to hear the hits and then shuffle you off stage. You’re on relevant, fresh festivals, you’re playing to strong crowds in a good-sized venues. What keeps people coming back to Blind Melon?

I’ve been asked this before. I’ve thought about it, and I wish I could figure it out. All I have to say is I’m blown away and flattered. I like to think we’re remained relevant because we followed no one else’s path. Yes, played in the Grunge Era, but Blind Melon was not grunge. We followed out own path, and I think that [and the music] stands up.

Also Shannon has a huge impact. He had this big personality (which he was in real life) and the legend just grows from there. This is why 15 year olds are finding our music and listening to it.

Do you think the readily accessible nature of streaming helps?

Yes, it does make it easier to find. However, there are some records that just don’t have a shelf life, they don’t hold up.

Speaking of albums, when can we expect a new full length from you guys?

2020. We’re recording in Joshua Tree, where I have a studio, in November. Everyone’s coming out for Thanksgiving with their families. We’re going to celebrate, and then do a recording sessions. That will get us close. We might need one more session after that and then we’ll be good.

We started with a Sea.Hear.Now question, let’s close with one — what can people expect from you guys on stage this weekend?

I don’t even know what to expect! I guess expect the unexpected. Honestly, it’s a loose, go with the flow feel. There’s improving, there’s jamming. Sometimes Trav comes out in a weird costume! We’re just us. We’re just five guys on stage making noise. I believe our friendship translates to the audience, and they’ll see it.

Blind Melon performs at the Sea.Hear.Now Festival on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. at The Sand Stage.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


  1. Love this band, hopefully they’ll come to Australia (or close, I’ll fly anywhere in Asia Pacific region) so I can finally see them live.

    New tune is superb!

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