Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Feb 20th 2009 5:00PM by James Sullivan
The observation turned out to be prophetic in more ways than one. Within a few years, Hoon and his bandmates in Blind Melon were one of the most recognizable acts on MTV. After signing a reported $500,000 contract with Capitol Records, the band's self-titled debut took off when a video for the hippie-vibe single 'No Rain,' starring its misfit, tap-dancing "Bee Girl," became a sensation.
By then, Hoon had befriended Axl Rose, another Indiana native, singing on several tracks on Guns N' Roses' 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'II.' For Hoon, instant fame led directly to infamy. Recklessly self-abusive, he had incidents with law enforcement and a security guard at an awards show, and he was arrested for indecent exposure (like his hero Jim Morrison) onstage in Vancouver. At Woodstock '94, he took the stage wearing his girlfriend's white cotton dress.
By the time the band settled into New Orleans to record its second album, 'Soup,' Hoon's drug abuse had run rampant. A stint he spent in rehab forced the label to delay the record release until summer 1995; shortly after the singer's daughter was born, the band went on the road to support the album. Though Hoon traveled with a drug counselor, he quickly fell off the wagon. In New Orleans, scheduled to play at Tipitina's, he crawled onto the tour bus after another daylong binge -- and never woke up.
The surviving members of Blind Melon released a collection of outtakes, naming it 'Nico,' after Hoon's daughter, before officially disbanding a few years after his death. A recent reunion, with a new singer named Travis Warren, lasted two years.
Inordinately successful during the band's brief run, Blind Melon never made it past one-hit-wonder status. Unlike his classic-rock heroes Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin -- and his contemporary Kurt Cobain -- Hoon just missed the immortal "27 Club": Two weeks before his death, he celebrated his 28th birthday.