In sad news, Blind Melon lead singer Richard Shannon Hoon was found dead on his band's tour bus in a New Orleans parking lot on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 21, according to the New Orleans police department. Hoon was 28.
According to the band's manager, Chris Jones, Hoon died of an accidental drug overdose. Hoon had been sleeping in the band's tour bus (along with members of the road crew), which was parked on St. Charles Ave. in the Warehouse district, close to Kingsway Studios, where Blind Melon had recorded their second album, Soup, earlier this year. He was discovered by the group's sound engineer. "A member of the sound crew tried to wake him up, and found him unresponsive, and called for help," said police spokesman, Lieutenant Marlon Defillo. "He was pronounced dead on the scene at 1:30 PM (CST)."
When contacted the New Orleans coroners office confirmed receipt of Hoon's body, but would not comment further. Police said there were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play. An autopsy was performed yesterday (Oct. 22) morning, but the results were incomplete.
Blind Melon, best known for their hit "No Rain," last performed on Friday night (Oct. 20) in Houston, Texas. They were due to play Saturday (Oct. 21) night at Tipitina's, a landmark New Orleans nightclub. They are scheduled to perform at Neil Young's Bridge concert this coming Saturday. After Hoon's death, the remaining members of the group got together and reminisced about Hoon's life, according to Josh Stevens, guitarist Roger Stevens' father. "They're in shock," said Stevens. "They were saying he brought so much energy to the band. It's funny he could be a wonderful person one minute and a tortured artist the next."
Hoon has a history of trouble--with the law, with drugs. In 1993, Hoon was charged with nudity and indecent exposure after removing his clothes and urinating on-stage during a concert in Vancouver; the charges were dismissed earlier this year. Hoon's mother told Rolling Stone in 1993, that at the time of the interview she was carrying four bail bonds with his name on them. "When he got into drugs I just gave up hope," she said. "He just turned 26 and there were times I didn't think he'd live that long."
Hoon was arrested for allegedly assaulting a guard during the taping of the American Music Awards in 1994. He was also arrested last year during the recording of Soup for being drunken and disorderly. After he found out that his girlfriend of 10 years, Lisa Crouse, was pregnant with their daughter Nika Blue (born this past summer), he vowed to clean up, telling AP earlier this year that "I need to start caring about myself if I'm going to be a proper father."
Last month he told the Indianapolis Star that he wanted to get a motor home, so he could take Crouse and four month old Nika on tour with him.
Hoon came form same home town as Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses in Lafayette, Indiana, where he lived with Lisa and Nika Blue. Blind Melon got their first public exposure when Hoon sang backing vocals on G N'R's "Don't Cry." Rose championed their cause. The band hit the charts in 1993 with their Grateful Dead-influenced single "No Rain" from their self-titled album released in September of 1992. That album sold over two million copies.
This past August, Blind Melon's second album, Soup, was released. The album was produced by Andy Wallace (who engineered Nevermind and produced Soundgarden, Jeff Buckley, White Zombie and others), at Kingsway. The album was a bomb, reaching only #28 on the Billboard Top 200 and, to date, selling less than 500,000 copies. Of course, following Hoon's death, we're sure the album will shoot up the charts. That's America, for you.