Blind Melon’s Travis Warren talks performance for Shannon Hoon Vigilstock

Posted on November 21, 2013


Travis Warren (Photo Provided)

Travis Warren (Photo Provided)

By Rachael Mattice

Even though ’90s alternative rock band Blind Melon made their debut 23 years ago, radio stations still play “No Rain” and “Change,” which showcase former lead vocalist and Lafayette native Shannon Hoon. Both are classic songs from that era of rock that was transitioning out of hair metal.

Gaining fame came easy and natural for the band members with the success of Blind Melon’s debut album and sophomore release “Soup.”But the untimely death of Hoon, 28 at the time of his death in 1995, snuffed the potential of the band as a leading force in ’90s rock.

Eighteen years later, fans will gather in Dayton and Lafayette tonight to commemorate Hoon’s life and music for the 11th annual, weekend-long vigil and Vigilstock event. Hoon is buried in the cemetery in Dayton, a small Tippecanoe County town just outside of Lafayette.

An acoustic performance by now-Blind Melon vocalist Travis Warren, with local favorite Kyle Bledsoe and Canyon Collected as openers, is set for 8 tonight at Knickerbocker Saloon, 113 N. Fifth St. Tickets are $10.

Following Warren’s performance, a vigil will be held at Hoon’s gravesite at the Dayton/Fairfield Cemetery off of Indiana 38 on Saturday. The Vigilstsock concert with a lineup consisting of Krissy & Lath Motley, Aardvard Eats, Annie Meyer, Ron Buffington and more, will conclude the event on Sunday with doors opening at the atrium, adjacent to the Knickerbocker Saloon, at 5 p.m.

Warren officially joined Blind Melon in 2006 after connecting with bassist Brad Smith and guitarist Christopher Thorn. The band released the album “For My Friends” in 2008 featuring Warren, and later ventured off to write his own solo album “Beneath These Borrowed Skies” via his own label Clarity Way Records.

After missing the Vigilstock in previous years due to scheduling purposes, Warren will make his way to Lafayette to perform Blind Melon favorites and his own creative, solo contributions.

Here is my Q&A with the Blind Melon frontman Travis Warren:

Question: How many bands have you been in total, including Blind Melon? Why are you now performing solo? What else have you been involved in lately musically?

Answer: I’ve been in more bands than I can count. I know of at least 10 different projects I’ve been in over the years, some more serious than others.

I still perform with Blind Melon. We just don’t play as many shows as we used to because it’s difficult to coordinate with everyone’s schedules. We are spread across the country and have different things going on. So when I’m not out with Melon, I focus on my solo material.

I’m always working on new music, whether it’s for my solo career or not.

Q: This isn’t your first time performing in Lafayette, correct? What drew you here the first time around?

A: Shannon has roots in Lafayette and many of Blind Melon’s fans live in or around that area as well. The band pulls in a lot of fans from Indiana in general so it just seemed natural for us to play in Lafayette.

We also had a few other shows in Indiana at that time so it just worked out.

Q: Tell me why performing in Lafayette for this vigil this weekend is so important to you. What would want the Hoon family to know about this performance you are putting on and what it means to you?

A: There are few different reasons why it’s important to me to play for the Vigil this weekend.

I think it’s amazing that after all these years after Shannon’s death, people still come together from all around the country to celebrate Shannon and his music. I can’t think of many situations where fans get together on an annual basis like they do for Shannon’s vigil. That goes to show you what kind of impact Shannon had on his fans.

There aren’t many artists that come around like Shannon. He was very special, and the vigil is great example of that. To be a part of that means a great deal to me.

I’m also looking forward to hanging with Nel (Shannon’s mother). Nel has always been extremely kind to me and has supported me, even when many die hard Shannon fans did not. She gave her blessings to the band, and by doing that, she eased a lot of minds who weren’t necessarily ready for the “new” lineup of Blind Melon.

Also, it’s exciting to play Lafayette because it allows me to showcase my own material, which a lot of fans haven’t heard yet. I don’t get out east from California very often, at least playing my own music, so it’s going to be kind of a new experience for me. I’ve become really good friends with some of the fans over the years. I don’t ever really get a chance to hang with them because I’m out west so it’s going be fun hanging with everyone at the vigil.

By Brent Drinkut/ Journal & Courier -- Fans have left various items at the grave of Robert Shannon Hoon, from the band Blind Melon, at the Dayton Cemetery on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

By Brent Drinkut/ Journal & Courier — Fans have left various items at the grave of Robert Shannon Hoon, from the band Blind Melon, at the Dayton Cemetery on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

Q: Life can be so unexpected. Unwanted accidents happen as we all know with the unfortunate death of Shannon. If you knew something similar would happen to you, what would you want in place for your family and friends to have or know? What do you what to be remembered for?

A: I think if we could know in advance that something was going to happen to us, we would probably do everything that we could to avoid those unwanted accidents.

However, I’m not really different than most people in the fact that I would want to leave my family with some financial security. Preferably, leave them with a home up in the mountains on several acres, a goal I’m working on now.

We want to be as self-sufficient as possible — growing our own food, relying on the land, getting as far as away from chaos as possible, get as far away from crooked politicians, greedy bankers and corrupt corporations like Monsanto. They all plague this country and the rest of us 99 percenters. I would rather avoid them at all costs. If I could leave my family with something like that, I would be happy.

I’m an artist and I’m always writing and recording new music. I definitely would like to leave a legacy behind and hopefully my music will continue to inspire people far after I’m gone. People come and go, but art stays forever (as long as we don’t destroy ourselves).

We all live on this earth for such a short time and I think most people want to leave some kind of legacy behind no matter what their occupation is.

Q: Does Blind Melon have any plans to produce any more records, tour or collaborate on other projects in the future?

A: Blind Melon has been working on new material on and off for quite some time.

We have discussed putting out new material but don’t have any dates at this time that I’m aware of. We do have some shows coming up early next year I believe in South America. I’m really looking forward to returning there.

As far as collaborations go, I’ve always wanted to work on a side project with Christopher and Rogers. I’ve been a huge fan of their guitar playing for the better part of my life. That’s no joke! I think it would be exciting and creative to get into the studio and work on something entirely different than Melon at some point.

I know Christopher has been working on a solo album this past year and Brad is about to head back to South America with his solo band, Abandoned Jalopy. I believe he will be documenting the experience and plans on putting out a film sometime in the near future.

I’m always trying to evolve musically and explore unfamiliar territory. This is crucial in keeping things fresh and not becoming complacent. I’m constantly trying to keep myself in check and continue pushing the envelope musically. I’m currently listening to jazz and funk music- two styles I’ve never really given a chance until now. I’ve actually found I have more in common with that type of music then I would of ever imagined.

For more information on the Shannon Hoon Vigil and Vigilstock, visit the event Facebook page for locations and ticket information.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached or on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

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