Published in The Hamilton Spectator Thursday, August 24, 1995

 

SOUP JUST AN APPETIZER

 

BY NICK KREWEN

 

ROGERS STEVENS, lead guitarist for Los Angeles rock band BLIND MELON, says any inference from the song "Galaxie" that the life of a pop star is an uncomfortable one shouldn't be taken too seriously.

"We really have nothing to complain about," says Stevens, 26, sitting in a Toronto hotel room opposite drummer GLEN GRAHAM to promote the quintet's latest album, Soup.

"You get to do what you love for a living, and you get paid these unbelievable piles of cash as everybody caters to your every whim. At this pace, I'm hoping to retire when I'm 30."

Drummer Graham said the toughest test he faced with the band was 18 months of touring.

"The first eight weeks were tough, because we were in a Winnebago that wasn't built for extended road use," recalls Graham, rising from his chair and posturing with his hands to illustrate the size of the cramped quarters that served as his bed.

"You would literally sleep wherever you could, squeezing into the next guy. Whenever we went over a bump, my face would hit the ceiling. Let's just say you learn very quickly whether or not you're able to hack it."

When Blind Melon tours this Fall -- including a September 12 Intimate and Interactive appearance on MuchMusic and an extensive Canadian tour in early 1996 -- buses will be welcomed by all.

The band can certainly afford the luxury. Formed in 1989 by Stevens and bassist BRAD SMITH after they migrated to Hollywood from West Point, Mississippi, they were joined a year later by vocalist SHANNON HOON and guitarist CHRISTOPHER THORNE before new Orleans native Glen Graham secured the drum chair.

After being picked by Seattle grunge gods SOUNDGARDEN to open a tour, and assembling a demo tape, Blind Melon was signed to Capitol. It's 1992 self-titled bee-girl covered debut -- a combination of spiky grunge and grass roots rock -- sold over 300,000 copies in Canada and 2 million in the U.S. Snappy videos of "No Rain" and "Tones Of Home" and non-stop touring helped wave the Blind Melon flag.

A successful coast-to-coast tour with TEA PARTY and 13 ENGINES helped the Blind Melon cause in Canada, although singer Shannon Hoon disgraced himself in Vancouver on Hallowe'en 1993 when he urinated on the audience during a concert.

Quizzed after the fact by journalists, different band members gave conflicting views of the incident, denying it had occurred in some quarters and inferring that legal complications prohibited them from telling their side of the story.

Rogers Stevens denies the band backed down from the controversial occasion.

"What can you possibly say to defend such an action?," says Stevens. "It happened. The fact is that we were celebrating my birthday and started drinking early that day, and it snowballed from there."

The band played a pair of charity Vancouver concerts in December '93, and in March of '94 Hoon was acquitted of indecency charges.

With Soup  shipping gold in Canada, Stevens hopes all is forgiven.

"It never was a big issue in the States," says Stevens. "We never really heard about it again until we came up here."

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

1992 -- Blind Melon

1995 -- Soup

1996 -- Nico

COLLABORATIONS

 

1994 -- Various Artists, Encomnium -- A Tribute To Led Zeppelin

1994 -- Various Artists, The Cowboy Way

1994 -- Various Artists, Woodstock '94

1994 -- Various Artists, Schoolhouse Rocks

In October '95, Shannon Hoon died of an overdose. Donations to the Nico Blue Hoon Educational Fund can be sent c/o Shapiro & Co., 9229 Sunset Blvd., Suite 607, Los Angeles, CA.


THANKS: Liz McEleheran, Beth Waldman, Wade Hemsworth

©1995, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink

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